If God protects people, then why do tragedies occur? In the early 1990s I was a guest on a worldwide weekly Christian program. The guest prior to my live interview had given a heart-wrenching story of how his loving son had been killed in an accident involving parachuting from a plane. I confess I felt uncomfortable as I, the next guest, began to share about God’s protective power and the ministry of angels. I caught a glimpse of the parent out of the corner of my eye, and instead of giving looks of frustration or anger, they were nodding their heads. It was then I realized a great truth. Just because we have a negative experience in life does not diminish the promises in Scripture. However, this sort of contradiction develops as a person may ask, “If God heals, why did my child die?” or “If God can protect us, why did this Christian die in a car accident?”
This type of question is common, especially when a tragedy or premature death strikes a family. Yet, when we read the Scriptures, there are several incidents in the lives of the prophets and apostles that reveal a strange paradox. The first involves the prophet Elisha. Prior to Elijah’s supernatural departure to heaven, this great man of God was already personally ministering to Elijah. It was Elisha who followed Elijah across the Jordan River and requested a “double portion of Elijah’s anointing” to be transferred to him (2 Kings 2). This special prayer was answered, and Elisha not only received a double portion, but he also performed twice as many miracles as Elijah! In fact, Elisha was so filled with the Spirit of God that long after his death a dead man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and the healing power still in the bones of Elisha raised the man from the dead (2 Kings 13:21).
With all of this “power” resting on Elisha, we would assume that he should be exempt from sickness and live a long, long life. However, we read how he died:
Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. (2 Kings 13:14)
How could a prophet with so much anointing power that his dried bones could raise a man from the dead have a sickness? Wouldn’t the anointing of the Holy Spirit drive out the disease? In explaining this, we must remember that we are body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). The body will age, and we are only promised a certain number of years in life (Ps. 90:10). Once we reach our full number of days, we will die, as the Scripture says: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Our departure will be by one or a combination of things–natural causes such as our hearts simply quitting, by some form of infirmity, or by some accident.
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There is a misconception among some that the precious anointing of the Holy Spirit will somehow exempt a believer from personal attacks or from any form of sickness or disease. David was anointed on three separate occasions: first as a teenager, second to be the king of Judah, and finally as the king of Israel. David had the precious anointing oil poured over him by the prophet Samuel, yet after years of confrontation with Saul, David wrote, “And I am weak today, though anointed king” (2 Sam. 3:39).
The anointing of the Holy Spirit often attracts the attention of the kingdom of darkness. When Christ was baptized in water, the Holy Spirit came upon him. Immediately He was led into the wilderness where He engaged Satan in a forty-day conflict (Matt. 4:1-2). Just as David was anointed, yet the anointing did not prevent temptation from coming against His mind. Elisha was anointed, yet Elisha also died sick. It is a strange paradox.
A second example is found in the Book of Acts. King Herod had arrested James and later had him beheaded. Peter was arrested and placed in prison, and his beheading was planned for after Passover (Acts 12). The church heard of Peter’s predicament and of the danger to his life, and they engaged in nonstop all-night prayer meetings. Because of their intercession, an angel of the Lord was commissioned to the prison where Peter was chained and released him from the jail. Peter actually thought he was dreaming or having a vision until he found himself outside the prison walls (Acts 12:5-11).
Now here is the paradox. Why did God allow James to be beheaded and not Peter? I have suggested two reason. First, Jesus had already predicted that Peter would live to be an old man, and at the time of his arrest he was still a young minister (John 21:18). Thus, Peter could sleep well knowing that his appointed time had not yet comes. Second, once the church heard of James’s death and Peter’s arrest, they “prayed without ceasing” for Peter’s release (Acts 12:5, KJV). These prayers were heard, and the angelic messenger supernaturally delivered Peter from his death sentence. James and Peter were both leaders in the church, and yet one was slain and the other was spared.
The same occurs today. Good people who have a relationship with Christ are taken to heaven through accidents, diseases, and other tragedies.
We must remember that the many promises in the Word of God are not activated in your personal life just because they are recorded in the Holy Bible. For example, we read that God loved this world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us (John 3:16). However, a person is not automatically saved just because that verse is in the Bible. A person must believe with his or her heart and confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and “they shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Salvation has been provided, but it can only be imparted by faith and confession.
Healing is a provision in both covenants. God told the Hebrew nation: “I am the Lord who heals you” (Exo. 15:26). In the New Testament, Peter wrote of Christ’s sufferings and declared: “By whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). At the time of Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Hebrew people were instructed to eat a lamb and strike the outer posts of their doorframes with the blood of the lamb. We later read that the angel of death bypassed the homes of the Hebrews, sparing the firstborn sons, and the entire nation came out of Egypt with not a sick or feeble person among them. This was a picture of the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose blood brought redemption and whose body (stripes) would bring healing (Isa. 53).
These promises of healing do not impact a person just because God spoke them or a prophet wrote them. An individual must read or hear and believe the Word of God and then ask God to fulfill His Word in his or her life.
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The following is an excerpt from Perry Stone’s book Angels on Assignment: God’s Relentless Protection of Your Loved Ones and You. For more from Perry Stone, please visit Voe.org, “like” him at Facebook.com/PerryStoneVoe, and follow him on Twitter @perrystonevoe.