Ready For A Miracle?

God blesses people who obey Him in faith and step out by faith.

Scripture: John 5:1-16


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Oh, I trust so. Bless your heart. If you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord, see me through this one.” And He will. You don’t always have to like everything, but you can trust God to see you through victoriously.

I just preached the other day on 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” God uses the pressure to make you His perfume. So trust your Lord even today. While we’re looking at the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, you and I, we had some comments about it the last time we got together. “Now, there was a great multitude,” it says, “Of sick people, impotent,” that means paralyzed, “Blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. And it says an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water. Whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in, was made well of whatsoever disease he had.” That was their belief. Now, whether it was a real angel or whether it was something else is beside the point, the Bible says it happened, and that is good enough for me. And these people were there because they had seen it happen.

Now, the Lord Jesus only healed one person out of all of that multitude. Does God always heal in answer to prayer? No, he doesn’t. Can He heal in answer to prayer? Oh, yes, He can. He’s God. And I’ve seen and so have many of you, miracle answers to prayer as God worked and when people prayed. But then it’s not always. He doesn’t always heal. It’s a mistake to say to some poor sick person, “If you had more faith you’d be healed.” Oh, no, that isn’t always true. And it’s also a heartbreaking mistake to say to somebody, “Well, there must be some sin in your life or else you’d be well.” Oh, that’s cruel. Don’t do that.

Here’s where Bob Cook stands, you can know where I’m coming from. Number one, God encourages us to pray for the sick. Read the fifth chapter of James and you’ll see it’s very clearly said there that if you’re sick you can call for the elders of the church and they will pray over you, anointing you with oil in name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up and if ye have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” It’s very clear. The key, of course, to understanding that passage is in the phrase, ‘the prayer of faith.’ When God gives you faith to believe Him for the answer to your petition then it happens. There are some times when people have asked me to pray for them and all I could pray was that God would give them peace as they came to the end of their life.

Here’s a person that’s 83 or 89, or whatever it may be, and ill, and say, “Pray that I might be healed.” Well, I can’t ask God to heal him but I can ask Him to do His perfect will in their lives and to make them a witness while they’re living and to give them perfect peace. But I don’t have faith to ask God to give them 10 or 20 more years. Now, you may disagree with me but then that’s alright. As my father used to say, “We’ll be in heaven and you’ll know I was right.” [laughter] He was never wrong about anything. [chuckle] No, it’s a prayer of faith. But the Bible says, “Pray for the sick.” The Bible also tells us that even those who had seen God work miracles in healing didn’t always see miracles of healing.

Paul’s co-workers, two or three of them, were sick and He didn’t heal them. Why not? Well, because I have to say God doesn’t always in His perfect will, doesn’t always choose to heal everybody. He does choose to make every believer triumphant in the circumstances, just as the dear lady who wrote me a letter on a typewriter which she operated with the tip of her tongue. There was a toggle switch that her genius son had fixed up connected to an electric typewriter and she wrote this beautiful letter all in capital letters to me praising God for what He’d done for her. She was paralyzed from the neck down, couldn’t move a muscle. But God used her to minister to many, many people, including yours truly. The real key to all of this, it seems to me, is let God use you to His glory however he chooses to deal with your infirmity. Yes, He can heal. But no, He may not choose to do so.

Joni Eareckson, quadriplegic, helpless, so beautiful, so gifted, so able in so many ways, but deprived of the ability to get about through a dreadful accident years ago that left her paralyzed. Why didn’t God heal her when she asked him to? No, instead of that, He enabled her to get through the bitterness and to become triumphant. And today she ministers to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people with her simple beautiful message of faith and obedience, with her songs, with her broadcasts, and with her writing.

No. God doesn’t always change the conditions but God will always change me in the conditions and make me a winner. Believe it. And live it. No, not all of these people got healed. Just one. Now, here he was, this man who had been ill for 38 years. Jesus saw him and knew he’d been a long time in that case, and nobody told him. Why? At the end of chapter 2 said He didn’t need anybody to tell Him for He knew what was in man. He knew what was in man. In the end of chapter 1, you have the Lord Jesus saying, “Before Philip called you, while you were sitting under the fig tree, I saw you.” Oh, that was too much for Nathaniel. He said, “You’re the Son of God.”

Well, our Lord Jesus knew and He does know. The Psalmist said with awe, “Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising. There’s not a word of my tongue but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it all together.” God knows all about you. I take comfort in that. Yes, I hide under the merits of the shed blood of Jesus who died for sinners, and I am one. But I take comfort in the fact that God knows. Knows all about me. He knows my heart. He knows my longings concerning Him. He knows what I’d like to accomplish in life and He knows the weak places in my life. He knows all about me and He loves me. “Casting all your care upon Him,” said Peter, “For He careth for you.” You are His concern, is the way someone has rendered it.

Jesus knew about this man. He knew he’d been a long time there. And knowing that, He said, “You wanna get well?” Now, I would never, making a pastoral call in a hospital, come to the person in the hospital bed and say, “You wanna get well?” That’d be cruel, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t do that. But here’s a person who’s God in the flesh, Jesus, the Son of God, very God, a very God, absolute deity, therefore absolute power. And He is facing a person who has been paralyzed for 38 years, those muscles have lost their tonicity and there isn’t any connection between the brain of that man and the nerve endings that might initiate movement in any single part of his body. There he is, helpless. And Jesus looks at him and says, “You wanna get well?” Why? Because the tendency is for us to accept and grow complacent in the conditions in which we’re placed. This man had grown accustomed to being helped by others, he had grown accustomed to being dependent upon others. And at this point, when Jesus asked him that question, he says, “I don’t have anybody to help me.”

This ought to lay to rest forever our excuses. When we face the challenge of a lost world and the fact that God wants us to do something about it, how often we say, “I don’t have anybody to help me. I don’t have any potential. I don’t have any money. I don’t have any open doors.” We’re waiting for somebody else to do it. God blesses people who obey Him in faith and step out by faith. The other man said, “I don’t have anybody to help me. But when the water is troubled and I’m trying so hard to move this inert, helpless body somebody else steps down ahead of me.” You can just imagine that on a given day, he would have said to the people who brought him, “Lay me right on the edge of the pool. We’re early today and there isn’t too big a crowd yet. Lay me right on the edge of the pool, maybe I can just roll over and plop in.” And then there was that strange turbulence in the waters and he saw it, and he said, “Now is my chance,” and he tried so hard to move but not a muscle moved. And the perspiration beads break out on his forehead as he tries vainly to move that helpless body inches into the pool, but somebody else makes it first. Oh, the frustration and bitterness of that. “While I am coming another steppeth down before me.”

A small thought here. There’ll always be somebody quicker, faster, smarter and better-looking than you. Do you know that? Always somebody who can run faster, talk better, look better, succeed more quickly than you. You’re not required to be successful in competition. You’re only required to obey God so that He can do the miracle. God uses the most unlikely people. I was traveling with my dear friend, Jim Savage, in Venezuela years ago. We were going from one meeting to another, following a World Congress that had been held in Caracas. And as we talked, I’d tried to draw him out and learn something from him. And so, he was driving the car and I said, “Tell me, what have you learned in 15 years on the mission field?” He thought a moment, he said, “Well, the one thing that I have learned is that oftentimes the most promising people disappoint you and the most unlikely people turn out to be the ones God uses.”

“Oh,” I said, “That sounds like a story.” He said, “Yes, there is a story connected with it.” He said, “There was a young man that came over from Colombia to go to our Bible school and he just couldn’t learn. He couldn’t pass any of the tests. With great difficulty, he passed his courses and after having failed a number of times he finally graduated. I think,” Jim said, “Largely by the grace of God and the kindness of the teachers.” And when he went on back to Colombia we said, “Well, he’ll never amount to anything.” But he said that same young man, when he got back to his own country, he got a small boat with a motor, outboard motor, and he started up the great river there, and every place he stopped, he preached the gospel and founded a little New Testament church. And he said, the first year after he graduated from Bible school, he had founded a score or more of thriving churches along the banks of the river and the villages where he stopped. A firebrand for God, wonderfully used of God. God uses unlikely people. Let Him do it.

Father God today, oh, may we trust Thee, may we obey Thee, may we be ready for Thy miracle work in our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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