"According to your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29) is most pertinent unto our present inquiry. God is pledged to honor faith wherever He finds it: never does He fail those who trust Him fully; no, not when they count upon Him working a miracle, as many can testify. But what is the "faith" here spoken of? It is one which rests upon the sure Word of God. It is one which is made up of two chief elements: expectation and submission. There are some who suppose those two things are subversive of each other, that the attitude of not my will but Thine be done makes real expectation impossible. But that is wrong, through a mistaken conception of what spiritual expectation consists of. Let it first be said that where there is not first genuine resignation there can be no true expectation. Spiritual submission is spreading my case before the Lord and asking Him to deal with it as He sees best, and if I count upon His wisdom and goodness, that is the exercise of faith; and if I have confidence that He will do so, that is the expectation of faith--the expectation not that He will grant what my carnal nature desires, but that He will give what is most for His glory and my highest good; anything other than that is not faith but presumption.
Some bodily infirmities are produced by the devil, probably more than are commonly suspected. Job's boils were caused by him, and we read of a daughter of Abraham "whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years" (Luke 13:16). Certainly it is neither an honor to the Lord nor a credit to His child for one of them to be overcome by the Enemy. Nor need he be, for it is written "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7), to which should be added "whom resist steadfastly in the faith" (1 Pet. 5:9). Many years ago it was arranged that we should speak in a certain city church, and a few hours before the service we were suddenly attacked by a heavy cold and developed a high temperature. The friends with whom we were staying urged us to cancel the engagement and phone another preacher to deputize, for it was pouring with rain and a long walk was before us. But we realized that Satan was hindering and committed ourselves into the hands of our Master, counting upon Him to protect us from any harm. He did so, and the next morning we were quite normal. On another occasion we lost our voice and could speak in only a hoarse whisper, but we trusted the Lord to undertake, and preached for an hour and a half without any inconvenience and could easily be heard in the remotest corners of the large building; yet as soon as we left the pulpit we could not speak at all. No, He never fails those who trust HIM.
The subject is many-sided and much has to be left unsaid. It is clear to us that many Christians are living below their privileges in this matter. "Jehovah-Rophi" ("The Lord that healeth thee": Ex. 15:26) is as truly one of His titles as "Jehovah-Tsidkneu"("The Lord our righteousness": Jer. 23:5), yet how few count upon Him as such, having more confidence in human physicians and their medicines. Fewer still seem to know anything about trusting the Lord for the body (1 Cor. 6:13). It is written "the prayer of faith shall save the sick" (James 5:15), yet the exercise of faith is not subject to a mere effort of the will. It is our duty to pray "Lord, increase our faith," yet that prayer will not be answered unless we use what we already have (Luke 8:18). Broadly speaking, when sickness prevents the discharge of duty, it is our privilege to count upon the Lord to remove the hindrance.
Here let it be said, we are far from affirming that all who resort to material remedies are missing the Lord's best, though in many instances that is probably the case; nor that God is always ready to heal if we trust Him. Rather is it His will that some should glorify Him "in the fires" (Isa. 24:15). God sent an angel to deliver Peter from prison, but suffered Stephen to be stoned to death. Some plants thrive best in burning heat, whereas ferns flourish in the shade. Certain graces, like zeal and intrepidity, are exercised on the battlefield, whereas meekness and patience are developed under suffering. God does not intend that many should do such a work as Geo. Muller did and therefore He gives not faith for it, and those who imitate him fail. The privilege and duty of each Christian is defined in "Commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in Him, and He shall bring to pass" (Isa. 37:5). Bring what to pass? His way, the best way, though it may be the very opposite of what you wish. Commit thy case unto Him, trustfully, and leave Him to decide what will be most for His glory. If sickness persists, beg God to sanctify it to you.