What Have You Heard?
Have you ever heard that the Lord God of Heaven and Earth promises to heal all those who call upon His name?
Have you ever wondered why some people are healed and other people are not?
If you have heard that God promises to heal His people, you might be wondering why so many, who claim that this is so, contract cancer or die unexpectedly.
A Sitting Pentecostal Pastor
At a conference held in Australia, a leading Pentecostal pastor died while sitting in the front row. Evidently, he had a heart attack. Maybe he had been sitting down too long, after spending too many hours in airplanes and a blood clot formed in his leg, traveled to his heart, where it lodged and prevented blood from being pumped into his arteries.
An Obese Pentecostal Pastor
Another Pentecostal pastor died at the age of fifty-two from heart attack. A keen advocate of the Word of Faith movement, he was fond of telling people that he could eat anything he liked without fear, and being nearly three sizes of many men—well, as they say—the bigger they are, the harder they fall. This guy rejected advice that he should go on a diet and watch his weight. He believed that he could eat what he liked and as long as he prayed over it, his word of faith sanctified his meal and made it healthy.
An Arrogant Pentecostal Pastor
Interestingly, another leading Pentecostal pastor disagreed with me about the need for good nutrition. He also claimed that he could eat whatever he liked and as long as he prayed over his food, God would bless it regardless of how unhealthy it was.
Now it just so happened, a couple of weeks later, I was at a function which this particular Pentecostal pastor was also attending. At the function, I shook his hand and said, "Hello". He did likewise. Then he walked over to the buffet table, picked up a large, deep-fried, brandy crepe, filled with cream. He approached me, and stood about three feet from me, looked me in the eyes, as if he were challenging me. He said nothing and ate the cream-filled brandy crepe. Somewhat amused, my eyes lit up and I smiled, rather intrigued to see what he would do next. With an air of arrogance, he walked off, with neither of us saying a word to each other That was on the Thursday. The next day he was in hospital with a severe case of pleurisy and was discharged four or five days later.
Due to his arrogance being what it was, I am not sure he learnt any lessons from his stay in hospital and not being behind the preaching podium on the Sunday because of his illness. The embarrassment of being negatively disposed towards optimal nutrition, while preaching healing and the word of faith, did not seem to faze him.
Around eighteen months later, this same pastor, once more challenged me and, in fact, belittled my conviction regarding the necessity of nutrition when a visiting speaker at the church I was attending. He claimed that God alone would heal and those who believed in nutrition as the means of good health were doubting God. He made a point of speaking disparagingly about those who overemphasis nutrition as essential for good health.
Afterwards, for some reason, people came up to me and made a point of telling me that they believed in nutrition as being essential for good health. This I found rather strange since the visiting preacher spoke against nutrition, while making haughty, challenging glances in my direction—maybe these people heard the word "nutrition", felt guilty, and thought of me; as nutrition is something I frequently mention to people in conversation. I was also in the process of completing a post-graduate diploma in nutrition at the time.
Tragically for the pastor, who made a point of preaching against nutrition, before the month was over, his son died from unknown natural causes. Due to his grief, he decided upon early retirement from his position as head pastor of a significantly sized congregation.
A Question of Natural Causes
People do not die from natural causes at a young age if they are healthy and their nutritional intake is adequate. People die before their time, from what appears to be natural causes, when they are nutritionally deficient in some area of their vital organs.
For instance, many years ago, I read an anecdote concerning a woman who had had numerous operations to rectify the internal bleeding of her bowels. Her surgeon was very concerned about her because she had once more presented with the same symptoms of internal bleeding, and he felt he had already removed as much of her bowel as he could without causing life-threatening complications. The woman was at the end of the road.
It just so happened that the surgeon was discussing the woman’s condition with some of his colleagues when they were having a meal in a restaurant, and a nutritionist overheard the conversation. The nutritionist made himself known and asked the surgeon whether the woman had an adequate diet of fresh vegetables and fruit; because, if not, she might be suffering from sub-clinical scurvy due to vitamin C deficiency.
At the next consultation, the surgeon asked the woman whether she ate vegetables or fruit. Evidently, she disliked vegetables and only had the occasional piece of fruit. Having been told the seriousness of her condition and what was causing her internal bleeding, the woman decided that it was better for her to eat the foods she disliked if it meant life or death. Much to her surprise, not only did the bleeding stop, but she found herself much healthier and with more energy. As a result of this discovery, I have been led to believe, sub-clinical scurvy became a recognized syndrome.
In 1979, Irwin Stone published a paper to discuss the history of scurvy in the United States during the first eight decades of the twentieth century. As a result of nutritionists discovering the need for trace substances in the daily diet, recommended daily diet allowances for vitamins and minerals were proposed in 1912. Stone claimed that the hypothesis of daily dose recommendations being adequate enough to prevent nutritional deficiency was insufficiently low, and doctors were derelict in their duty by not taking nutrition more seriously. He also stated:
...the wide acceptance of this misleading dietary hypothesis is the source of the medical complacency and apathy and the dangerous continuing high incidence of Chronic Sub-clinical Scurvy [i]
Not only is poor diet and insufficient nutrition the cause of sub-clinical scurvy but the cause of the majority of the modern diseases.
What God Promised
I have watched and heard of many people who claim prayer has healed them only to learn that they have become ill again. The reason these people fall ill after declaring they have been healed by God is they are ignorant of the truth the Bible teaches.
The Bible states in the book of Exodus:
If you will diligently listen to Yahweh your God’s voice, and will do that which is right in his eyes, and will pay attention to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you, which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am Yahweh who heals you. (Exodus 15:26 World English Bible)
Dietary Laws and Nutrition
Many people who believe in the power of prayer to heal, or that God answers prayers for healing, or that if they speak the word of faith for healing it will occur, often quote this verse from the Book of Exodus. What they overlook is that God also gave the Israelites dietary laws so that the people would not fall ill as a result of any form of disease.
The reason so many people overlook the fact the Lord God gave the Israelites dietary laws to maintain good health is that these are seen to be part of the Old Covenant and not part of the New Covenant. Some people even claim the dietary laws were part of the religious rituals and have nothing to do with nutrition at all. The truth is God does not change, and his principles remain. God heals His people and promises to keep them free of disease through good dietary practice. However, eat the foods that bring disease and you are flouting the promises and principles of God and challenging Him. Refuse to eat fresh foods and you will suffer the consequences of sub-clinical scurvy or something else such as one or more of the many autoimmune diseases that are commonplace today.
One of the observations I have made of the many people who do not get healed when seeking healing through prayer is their diet is the problem for their ailment and because they do not heed the Word of God, they are in fact sinning against themselves. The Heavenly Father is also being sinned against because the people who claim His name are not bringing Him the rightful glory they ought. Instead of brimming with health and energy, they are lacking vitality and zest due to their ill health. Consequently, people blaspheme God because of the witness of those who claim His name.
By all means, a Christian is instructed to pray over their food and thank God for it. However, thanking God for poisonous or injurious substances is not giving Glory to God. This is tempting God.
It is a different matter if people see to it that they eat healthily and ensure they have optimum nutrition. For if they do this and keep themselves unstained from the effects of sin, then their prayers will be answered because they are honoring God. In fact, they will not suffer ill-health and people will wonder why, and even assume it could be because they are walking in God's favor, and want to know more. This is what being a light to the world is meant to be. When people who claim to belong to God are walking in His favor, and doing good for others, this is how God is glorified.
[i] Eight Decades of Scurvy. The Case History of a Misleading Dietary Hypothesis. http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1979/pdf/1979-v08n02-p058.pdf