A number of years ago, I sat in an audience listening to T.L. Osborne, the legendary evangelist. He asked us to stand if we would give up our eyes for a million dollars. Not one person stood realizing how much we take for granted.
Fifteen years ago, I lost the sight in my left eye from a condition for which there is no treatment. Recently, I began experiencing similar symptoms in my right eye and was catapulted into the possibility of total blindness. Please pray for miraculous intervention.
Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye” (Matt. 6:22). Close your eyes for two minutes and imagine what it’s like not to see. Of the five senses, which would be most devastating to lose? Imagine the trauma of never seeing your children or grandchildren again, never driving, reading, writing and seeing the light of day. It’s a terrifying prospect.
No Sight or No Vision?
Helen Keller, who had no hearing or sight, told us, “The only thing worse than having no sight is having no vision.” As we all experience the realities of aging, it’s imperative that to have a biblically informed perspective on maladies we may face. Some have faith to live until 120 or can purchase facial makeovers, injections and implants, but Scripture tells us, “Our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
While it’s important to eat right, exercise regularly and regulate stress for temple maintenance, are there times when our physical bodies come under attack by the devil? If so, should we remain passive or simply chalk it up to building of character or the sovereignty of God?
Reading Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we learn that he first preached to them when he was ill. He told them he was blessed knowing they would be willing to pluck out their eyes to help him. He mentioned that he wrote with large letters.
This is the apostle who said, “Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 2:18b). He told the Corinthian church “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7b).
“Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him firmly in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). Does this include attacks on our physical bodies, especially at times where we are exerting strategic influence damaging to Satan’s kingdom?
Mario Murillo is a 40-year veteran evangelist who said he’s currently experiencing the greatest assaults he’s ever faced in ministry as he’s leading initiatives in California. I’ve been praying for him regularly as he’s encountered attacks on his physical body along with unbelievable resistance to his assignment in gospel work.
“New levels—new devils” is not just a cute cliche. When Paul began breaking spiritual ground in Ephesus (Acts 19:11-16) with high-level supernatural activity, seven men were driven away by demons who actually spoke that they knew Jesus and Paul but these guys were charlatans. We ask the question today, “Are you known in hell?” and if you are, you’d better “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).
This past month has been a defining moment for me approaching my 50th year in serving Jesus. It’s been a time of convergence with open doors and ministry opportunities alongside a prophetic clarity in communication I haven’t previously experienced. Smack-dab in the midst of this, I’m hit with an attack on my eyesight that has placed me in the midst of the most ferocious fiery trial I’ve ever encountered.
For those thinking, “God is in control … Don’t give credit to the devil,” let’s call to mind the caution of C.S. Lewis. He said some dismiss the devil to their peril while others are preoccupied with him. Avoid both errors and extremes.
Mr. Lewis called us to biblical balance. “God is sovereign over Satan. The devil has no free hand in the world. He is on a leash and can do only what God permits.” Remember the accounts in the Bible of Job’s and Peter’s testings where permission had to be secured in the supreme court of heaven before the attack?
While there is an element of mystery to God’s provision for healing and health, there are many reasons why people experience sickness and disease. We must never cavalierly attribute all infirmity to demonic involvement. Violating biblical principles (“For this reason many are weak and unhealthy among you, and many die” (1 Cor. 11:30) brings consequences, although God is oftentimes merciful in redeeming foolishness and disobedience.
Satan Causes Some Sickness and Disease
The Bible cautions us to remain vigilant, “lest Satan should take advantage of us. For we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). While it is true that “Healing and health is God’s normative will for His obedient and believing children” (Dr. Michael Brown), people can suffer with a “spirit of infirmity” like a woman Jesus healed of whom He revealed, “Satan has bound these eighteen years” (Luke 13:10-16).
The whole Trinity is involved in combating the “thief” Jesus says comes “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). If we don’t believe this or recognize the one whom Jesus called the “murderer” (John 8:44), Christians can lie down on the inside and become what prophetic leader John Paul Jackson called “needless casualties of war.”
The good news for the biblically informed Christian is remembering and remaining confident in the fact that Satan is a defeated foe! “And having disarmed authorities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15).
While I stay in His Presence, meditating upon His Word, continuing to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12), engage in agreement with me thanking Him for His miraculous intervention.
The very passage directing us to be watchful and resistant to the devil’s devices then states, “But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory through Christ Jesus, will restore, support, strengthen and establish you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 5:10-11).
Here’s the deal: Scripture exhorts us not to be “lazy” but “through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12). So let’s follow the instructions for us in the New Testament church so we fulfill the conditions and stand in faith believing on His Word:
Is anyone sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much (James 5:14-16).