I wrote this to a young man who is very dear to my heart. When I was finished with the letter I sensed the Lord asked me to send it to all of you, so that you may learn and be encouraged as well.
I think every one who is living for God faces the same temptation that you did on Sunday, which is to accuse God. People you love are hurting. You've prayed for them, laid hands on them, used your faith, used your authority and still rather than getting better, have instead gotten worse. That does not justify or excuse one's behavior. In Hebrews 3:7-9 for example, we are warned against hardening our hearts toward the Holy Spirit, as did the wilderness wanderers who hardened their hearts against God and in doing so, missed out on His promises. Many examples are used in the scriptures from the story of Gideon to the people that the prophet Malachi addressed. Hardening of one's heart is serious business. It is sin that if not repented of and turned away from, will take a believer into a back sliding position of losing faith in God. Without that faith, it is impossible to please God. One MUST believe that God IS and that He is a rewarder to those that diligently seek Him.
Again, addressing questions to God, inquiring of Him, asking for insight, understanding and light on a matter is totally acceptable. Asking for help comes from a position of humility and need. But demanding action from God is pride and arrogance. It's the same spirit that caused Lucifer to believe that he knew more than God, had a better plan than God and thus began efforts to overtake God's position. We do not know more than God and must not ever assume the position of knowing how to be God better than Him.
The Israelites "put God to the test" by asking "Is the Lord among us or not?" Instead of trusting God in the midst of ADVERSE circumstances (without water one will die) they DEMANDED that He show His hand in order to demonstrate to them that He was there with them to help them. To "put to the test" means to test to see what good or evil may be in a person. To 'put to the test for the purpose of approving God, should He pass the test.' This is the ultimate unbelief. This is an insult to God. We are warned not to take this attitude toward God.
We face perilous days. People will be bitterly persecuted for their belief in God and their confession of Jesus as the Messiah. If you can be moved to doubt God in the midst of your loved ones suffering with sickness and disease, how much more so will you be doubtful of God when faced with torture or seeing your loved ones tortured for Jesus sake?
God does not take this lightly. He cares about His children and He knows the destruction that can quickly come to one's heart, even after experiencing the sweetness of His presence and experiencing His wonder working power. But the Bible says that He is grieved with this accusation. Grieved is from the Hebrew words meaning 'loathe, be disgusted, to spew out, to exclude, to reject and abhor'. This is a strong word of extreme displeasure, amounting to offense. God was offended by Israel's words. First Israel gave thought according to their perception that God was failing them and then they started talking about it. They were 'led astray' in respect to their heart condition; The very seat of life where in every aspect of one's life lay. Having a hard heart means that this thought is affecting EVERY DECISION, every perception they have. They have error in their thinking. God said "because of this I was offended with this generation and I said, "Always they are being led astray in their hearts."
We must hold our confession of faith in God under the stresses of life even enduring persecution without wavering in our thoughts and words. "Take heed" means see to it constantly, keep your eyes wide open against it." It is certain that each of us will be tempted to doubt God and to accuse God. But we must not fall into that same line of thinking wherein we risk losing our salvation. An evil heart is simply put, an unbelieving heart. Unbelief may be present in a believer's heart but an unbelieving heart is not a believer and therefore, not saved. An unbelieving heart is the fruit of thoughts of unbelief remaining in the heart and growing as a weed that will eventually choke out all faith in God.
Determine - take your stand - that no matter what might ever happen to you, to your loved ones, no matter if you see signs, wonders and miracles, no matter if you never hear another Word from God, no matter if it appears that God is silent, that you will NEVER turn away from Him with an unbelieving thought or word. That you will never require Him to act in accordance with your wishes. If God NEVER did another thing for you than what He has already done, in saving you from sin's consequences, He has already done more than what you deserve.
God is eager to give you insight and understanding into the suffering of humanity. As you meditate in His Word, allowing His Spirit to lead and guide you into all truth, as your Great Teacher, you will come to understand more and more how little control or ability we have to affect changes in other people. Jesus did not meet the needs of ALL THE PEOPLE - He met the needs of those that God told Him to meet. You must grow to the maturity of being moved by the Spirit of God rather than being moved by human compassion. You must learn to know the difference. otherwise satan will target you for human suffering that will abound all around you and you will be in a constant state of distress, sorrow, anger, worry, etc. You must learn to stand strong in the face of all human suffering - caring and loving the people - but strong in faith no matter what you are seeing happening to them. When the Spirit of God moves on you, then you can see the greater works of Jesus being manifested in your midst. The temptation to be a rescuer of the world is very strong in tender hearted shepherd people like you. God is greater than human needs. Learn to see through His eyes and hear through His ears. Judge all things by the Spirit and not by your human emotions. God wants to use you to heal people - that's not the issue here. But you cannot arbitrarily heal everyone who has a need because it is not you that is doing the healing but rather, the Spirit of God doing the work. So you must learn to submit without doubting and let Him work through you, rather than your attempts at yourself working through Him. Telling His hand where to lie, telling His heart Who to minister to.
I suggest you begin asking God to reveal people's hearts to you. The Bible says that Jesus knew the hearts of men. The heart condition of men determines EVERYTHING. People are their own worse enemy. Their own hearts keep them from receiving the full blessings of God. God is not the one withholding, BUT it is more important to God to have someone's heart than it is to heal their broken physical body. Their heart is what God desires to heal more than their body. If in healing their body while they retain a sinful or broken or evil heart, God knows that it will separate them further from Him. Many needy people turn into great lovers of God during their time of need only to walk away after they've got His healing. God knows if people are serving Him because of what they think they can get from Him or whether they are serving Him out of true devotion and adoration. So ask God to give you this same insight that Jesus had - to know the hearts, the thoughts of men. We CANNOT discern this without knowing men's hearts. Men may appear wonderful, godly, seekers of all that is good. This does not mean that they are in God's will. This does not mean that they have faith.
Why risk shipwrecking your own faith by joining up with those who have no faith? Unless the Spirit of God comes upon you and He says "heal them" you are wasting your time and pouring out the precious gift of faith that God has entrusted to you. You do have faith to heal others - hundreds of thousands of other people. You need to follow the Spirit to get to the right place, the right time and the right connection to flow in this power. Just because someone has had a horrible past does not qualify them for special attention or consideration by God. Your friend with the abusive past has no greater right to enter God's Kingdom than another friend whose past is one of ease and good. Do not mistake NEEDS for faith. Needy people all over this world, from refugee camps to insane asylums are NEEDING God's help - even crying out for it. But God looks on the heart. Are these people in love with Him and living to please Him? Or are they simply desperate people with desperate needs trying to get Him to prefer them over others who are obeying His Word, trusting Him and living for Him? God is not moved by needs. You cannot be courageous, strong and victorious if you let your thoughts, your emotions and your words leave the control of the Holy Spirit.
In every situation that you are moved with compassion, immediately ask the Lord how He wants you to pray. Don't ever assume or presume anything! We know it is God's will that no man perish. Yet everyday God allows thousands to perish. God will not intervene just because it's His will. Likewise, just because it's your will to set the captives free, does not mean that you are to do it. We know that healing is always God's will. Yet everyday several million people suffer with pain, sickness and disease. Does God reach down and heal them because of their suffering? No. He loves them dearly. His heart is turned toward them. He is wooing them to truth. But He is not going to take control and heal them because they need Him to.
Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. You must keep your eyes on your Father God in order to watch what He is doing. As you inquire of the Lord He will tell you immediately and very specifically if you are to pray for someone and how to pray. The scriptures are not to be used as some sort of magic wand where we speak them over people's needs and the needs are removed. As you study the life examples of Jesus, you will see that He often healed in many varieties of ways. And sometimes, often times, He did not heal at all. He walked by needy people everyday of His life. He visited synagogues filled with religious spirits yet He did nothing to cast them out. He watched the Pharisees pray in vain and did nothing BUT use them as examples to His followers. He did not come and take control and require that anyone perform. Even to Peter, His disciple that had submitted to Jesus and given Jesus the right to speak into his life, Jesus said "satan has come to sift you as wheat, but I pray that your faith will not fail." Jesus did not say "but it's okay Peter, because I took care of it for you and satan's not going to be able to come and try you." No. Jesus alerted Peter to what was coming and prayed for him. Prayer is vital to our helping other people. Our prayers are a big part of our 'bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." As we pray for people, using our faith to believe the scriptures, such as "except the Lord draw them they cannot come" and as Jesus showed "I pray that your faith will not fail." This is the prayer of faith. There is a gift of faith, a gift of the working of miracles that has little if nothing to do with the recipient of the gifts but is rather by the exclusive decision of God Himself for a purpose of His glory. But that is not what we are talking about today. The Bible says that men have shipwrecked their faith. It talks of feigned faith and weak faith. Jesus even says, "When I return, will I even find faith among you"? So we must learn much about this measure of faith we have been entrusted with. We must guard it carefully as a prized and valuable tool given to us to work with God's express will and plan in every circumstance. I intend to live life without any more prayer or faith 'failures'. When I pray and use my faith out of presumption or based on need and try to make the Word of God work according to my idea of 'happily ever after' I shipwreck my faith. My faith does not produce the results that I was expecting. Then I have to painfully try to piece my faith back together, earnestly searching the scriptures, re-building my faith. In the past, because of some errors I made in presumptuous prayers, it took me YEARS to believe God and to trust Him to watch over His Word to perform it for me. I learned by the thing I suffered and won't make that mistake again. I've learned by trial and error to inquire of God - how do you want me to pray? He will give a scripture that is not one I would have selected as applying to the need. He will show me someone's heart condition and give me insight into what HE wants to do for that person, so that I can stand strong WITH HIM and pray according to His will, not mine.
When Jesus returns I earnestly desire for Him to find faith strong and powerful in my life. I want to use my faith to heal this broken world, one life at a time. I've learned to submit and yield to Him and not to be moved by my emotions, which will take me into assumption and praying for the fruit rather than the root of the problem in my life or others lives. God is so faithful! He cares about every one of us! He has a way out of all suffering for each of us! It is always His good pleasure to give us the desires of our heart. It's so easy to rest in confidence that He always hears us when we pray and that He gives us the petitions that we earnestly desire of Him. Follow His Spirit. He will always lead and guide us into the full truth of how to help our loved ones. They are not without our help. They are never hopeless. But in our love and desire to rescue them, we risk shipwrecking our faith if we are praying and using our faith according to our own limited vision rather than to gain an understanding and see the situation through the eyes of God. This keeps our hearts tenderhearted. This keeps our belief in God strong and unwavering. This keeps our hearts firmly anchored to peace. We trust that God loves these people and that He has the answer they need. We trust what He tells us. We trust that He is all the while effectively working in them, causing them to both desire His will and do His will. It takes strong faith to believe this verse in Philippians 2:13. It takes strong faith in the work of the Holy Spirit who is convicting the world ALL THE TIME of righteousness, sin and judgment. Letting God be God. Living in the spirit realm with Him, ruling and reigning with Him as we judge by His Spirit and bring His Spirit into these situations, knowing that He will not fail to give His attention, His help, His truth to the people we are praying for. We do have the assignment to set these people free. We do call them out of darkness to walk in the light. We do set the captives free and call those who are bound into liberty. We do this by the terms of God's loving nature and His will.
Obviously the efforts of man and the so called 'prayers of faith' on behalf of others have not been working very effectively. Our church buildings are filled with people who are in no better condition than people living in the world. If the old way of praying was the right way, then this would not be the sad situation we see evidence of all around us. There is a higher way - a better way - a light and easy way. It takes all the pressure off of us to perform. It keeps our hearts soft and pliable in God's hands. We trust Him. We trust Him to tell us how to pray and what, if anything, we are to do. As Jesus demonstrated God's healing power in broken bodies miles and miles away from where He physically was, so too, when we stay in the Spirit, we will work these same miracles. Jesus did not strive to get people healed. Jesus never took the responsibility for hurting, dying humanity as His assignment on the earth. He came to do the will of the Father. He could of His own self "do nothing". He relied on God's instructions, counsel, leading and power. God will not ever, ever fail you. He will NEVER fail you. You will fail others, fail yourself and even fail Him ... but He will never fail you.
Keep your heart pure and undefiled by this world's religions and religious acts. Honor God by looking to Him as the healer, the wonderworker, the miracle giver. Find out what His thoughts are in every situation. Stay in His Spirit power. Listen and do whatever it is that He says. If He says "speak this word and they will be healed" - speak it! If He says "spit and make mud and put it on their face" - then do it! If He says "tell them to quit sinning and they will be healed" then say it. Trust God in strong unwavering faith.
Have a light and easy week in service to others. Ask not what others can do for you but ask what you can do for the people God has asked you to serve. As His representative in the earth. Fulfill your divine assignment out of love for God and a sincere desire to please Him. As you seek FIRST this Kingdom He has instituted, you will find "all these things added unto you" (that you have need of). Judge these words by the Holy Word of God. Look carefully to your own heart. And prepare to receive the outpouring of blessings that God has laid up for you, as your inheritance. "blessings coming upon you and blessings overtaking you."