Are you facing increased physical challenges? Is your body showing the effects of illness or aging? Do you wonder how to address these challenges with faith and hope?
No matter how spiritually mature you and I become, there is a reality that every human being faces. Our spirits are housed in bodies which are subject to aging, illness, and decline. It is a truth we cannot change. But, as a dear co-worker has told me, we don’t have to agree with what our bodies are telling us. Faith plays a strong role in our attitude.
The Lord recently reminded me that our perspective regarding our bodies should not limit or restrict us. We must press on in His purposes—without wavering.
An Unsettling Call
I made the mistake of scheduling my annual physical check-up a few days prior to the Christmas holiday break. Two days after that examination, I got a call from the medical clinic where I had the exam. “The doctor is concerned with what he has seen in your blood work. He wants to schedule an immediate follow-up appointment.”
All sorts of thoughts were going through my mind as I agreed to take the first available appointment. Then, to make matters worse, the scheduler said, “Oh, wait. The doctor will be out for the holiday season. His first available opening won’t be until two weeks from now.” That gave me two weeks to deal with the news that something had seemed to be wrong enough in my body to prompt the doctor to see me right away.
The two-week wait over the holidays seemed a little cruel—but the Lord was in it.
Finding a Solid Platform
As I said, all sorts of thoughts were at first rolling around in my head after that conversation. Unsettling thoughts. Worst case scenario thoughts. “What could possibly be wrong with me” kinds of thoughts. Our tendency as humans is to think the absolute worst. However, at some point after dealing with this initial swirl, I was able to regain my balance and plant my feet upon the bedrock of God’s Word.
The passage that formed the platform under my feet at that moment was one I had memorized years prior out of the New American Standard version: Romans 4:19–21.
“Without becoming weak in faith he [Abraham] contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”
That passage became my countermeasure for the ominous call from the doctor’s office. How would I handle the situation? I would press on in faith—without wavering.
One Way or Another
With these verses from Romans as my inspiration, I began a further study of my “bedrock passage.” I made some interesting discoveries about how Abraham’s response was depicted. Other versions of the Bible, such as the New King James Version, have this wording: “And not being weak in faith, he [Abraham] did not consider his own body.” The same thought is conveyed in the World English Bible—that Abraham ignored the condition of his body rather than regarding it, as the NASB and other versions state.
No matter! Either strategy works.
Whether Abraham “acknowledged the decrepitness of his body” (as the Berean Study Bible says), or purposely ignored his body’s weakened condition in favor of God’s over-arching verdict, the result was the same. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He [God] had promised He was also able to perform.”
In my situation, either way would work. I could ignore the prospect of illness in my aging body, or I could look it squarely in the face, believing the provision and power of God over any adverse condition. Either way, I would press on—without wavering.
Facing the Facts in Faith
In a teaching series on Romans in which Derek Prince did a verse-by-verse exposition of the entire book, he himself took the position that it is best to face the facts in faith. In his message, Romans 4:1–25, here is how Derek presented those thoughts:
“Without becoming weak in faith, he contemplated his own body…
I want to say that faith is realistic. Faith tells it like it is: ‘All right, my body is dead. But that doesn’t make any difference to God’s promise.’ I don’t try to somehow persuade myself that there is a little light still left in my body. That would not be faith.
Essentially, Abraham said, ‘There’s no hope. In the natural, there’s no way this could come about. I accept this fact. Not only is my own body dead, but Sarah’s womb is dead, too. There’s no way in the natural we could ever have a child of our own. I accept it.’
In my case, I look the situation full in the face. I don’t try to blink my eyes. I don’t avert them. I don’t say that there is some other aspect of this situation. But I still believe what God said.
I have dealt with people who say they want prayer; but they try to persuade themselves that the situation isn’t all that desperate. Really, it’s much better to face the fact that the situation is desperate. There is only one person who can help you, and that’s God. That is faith.”
A Firm Declaration
How about you? Are you facing a situation like the one I described? Are you battling a physical condition, searching for an anchor of faith and hope to deal with it?
Would you like to join me in turning this situation over to the Lord?
Lord, You are fully aware of what I am facing right now. It may seem to be a desperate, hopeless condition according to man’s standards. Like Abraham, I fully acknowledge the potential severity of the situation, not pretending it doesn’t exist. But in full trust, I fix my eyes on You and Your promise for me, which supersedes the stark reality of any problem confronting me at this time.
Here is my declaration: I will not waver regarding Your promise through unbelief, but I will grow strong in my faith, giving You glory, being fully convinced that what You have promised You are also fully able to perform.
By faith, I move forward in Your purposes—without wavering. Amen.
Draw Deeply from the Word
The declaration you and I have just made is a powerful one. It is also personal. Sometimes, a battle with our health can be a very private matter—something we walk through with only the Lord and ourselves. Other times, we need a lot of encouragement.
If, as Derek indicated, you are facing a desperate situation, all of us at Derek Prince Ministries want to stand with you in prayer and faith. Even if the battle is primarily a solitary one, you still need to plant your feet firmly on the Word of God. That is where we can help.
Please take the opportunity to watch Romans 4:1–25, and draw deeply from this wonderful teaching. It's just one small way for us to thank you for your prayers and your gifts in support of Derek Prince Ministries. We have said it before, but I will say it again: we could not do this work without you!
Trusting the Promise
I hope what I have shared out of my own personal challenge has been helpful. If you have drawn encouragement from it, I will consider it well worthwhile. Let me clarify one point: it has been a struggle. I am not a super-saint. The moments after the initial call from the doctor’s office caused turmoil and upheaval inside me. It took a while to get myself settled down. I can’t imagine what I would have done without the foundation of the Word of God to stabilize me. That itself is a good lesson, isn’t it?
The irony is that on the very day I am writing this letter, I was supposed to go in for the follow-up visit with my doctor. Just yesterday, the scheduler called to say my appointment would have to be delayed due to an emergency arising in the office.
So, my journey of applied faith has been extended indefinitely. My declaration from Romans 4:19–21 continues, and my trust in the promise I believe the Lord has given me is stronger than ever. What is my game plan? I press on in faith—without wavering.