Some years ago a church in Ohio was having a period of fasting and prayer. On one of the days that they came to the church for prayer, a faithful member of the church, a lady, fell down a flight of steps and broke her hip. She underwent a series of surgeries but never recovered. She died shortly thereafter. On the night of the funeral, the pastor of the church stood with the bereaved husband by the casket of the beloved wife. Many people came to express their condolences. Someone said “God must have had a plan for this so accept it”. Another said “It was God’s will, so we must live by it”. And yet another said “Somehow, God planned this to test your faith”. The pastor went home from the funeral very angry at what he called “the babblings” that the sympathizers engaged in. He decided to rewrite the beginning of his funeral sermon which began by saying “God Does Not Push Young Ladies down Church Steps”, which I have chosen as the title of this article.
This article seeks to correct the theological inaccuracy and outright misinterpretation and misconception of God’s word regarding bodily afflictions and suffering of God’s people.
This year I have heard of the sudden death of quite a number of middle aged persons – someone that collapsed on the soccer field, another on the steering wheel, and yet another that went to bed and just didn’t wake up. I am currently aware of young people battling all manner of debilitating diseases like lupus, kidney failure, cancer, and so on. The general view both within and outside Christiendom is that God is testing the faith of such people, or that it is God’s will for them, or still that God is trying to teach them a lesson so that they may be able to comfort others who might be subject to the same bodily attack in the future. In fact, two years ago I saw a thanksgiving card that more or less states that whatever evil befalls us is from God and that He knows best why He chose us for such suffering. There is nothing further from the truth.
This idea or belief that God afflicts His children with cancer, diabetes, lupus, or any other disease or infirmity absolutely contradicts the scripture and the very nature of God.
First, sin, diseases and death entered the world after the Fall of man. Since the Fall, everyone has been under their sway and power. However, the Son of God was sent to redeem man from the consequences of sin, from diseases, and from death. Hence 1 John 3:8 says “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” In other words the reason why Jesus Christ came to the earth was to undo, destroy, loosen, and dissolve the works the devil has done. Whosoever believes in this spiritual truth is entitled to appropriate and proclaim its victory.
Secondly, as a parent, in order to teach your child that fire burns, would you grab his arm and stick it into the fire? After all, by so doing the child will learn that indeed fire does burn and will be able to counsel and comfort other siblings regarding the nature of fire. Certainly you would not! As a loving and responsible parent, what you would do is to instruct the child about the nature of fire and seriously warn the child not to go near it. So why should you think that God is a wicked and irresponsible parent? 2 Timothy 3:16 says “every scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.” (God’s Word Translation). It is clear from this scripture that God warns people NOT to learn from painful experiences but from His word. So God does not intend that we are taught primarily by painful, sometimes irreversibly crushing experiences, but from His word, for the very purpose of avoiding such experiences. Proverbs 8:1-2 affirm this thus “my son, forget not my law, but let your heart keep my commandment. For length of days and long life and peace shall they add to you.”
Thirdly, God will not setup His own child to be mangled on the freeway by an eighteen-wheeler or give them matchet wounds or gunshots through the activities of violent criminals. God says in Proverbs 9:11 “by me your days shall be multiplied and the years of your life shall be increased”, in Job 5:26 “You will go to the grave at a ripe old age like a sheaf of grain harvested at the proper time”, in Psalm 91:16 “with long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation”, in Job 36:11 “if they obey and serve Him they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasure.” and finally in 3 John 2 “beloved I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers”. Certainly a body afflicted with any disease is not prospering in health and that cannot be the will of God.
Fourthly, if it is God’s will for His children to suffer from diseases, it will be sinful to seek healing from the physicians or from other sources. Also if God is somehow involved in sanctioning the suffering of His children in the hands of wicked men, it will equally be sinful to pray against the activities of such wicked, violent and unreasonable people who seek to harm them, for that, under the theological misconception, would be seeking to violate God’s will.
The correct spiritual truth is categorically stated by Jesus Christ Himself in John 10:10 that “the thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, til it overflows)”. Therefore God is not the thief, the killer, or the destroyer. The devil is. God wants us to have and enjoy life in abundance and to the full until it overflows. Hebrews 2:14 says that “by going through death, Jesus Christ brought to nothing and made of no effect him who has the power of death that is the devil.” It is the devil who is responsible for deaths – of people before their time, of marriages, of businesses, of health, of relationships, and of any other thing that has life and gives joy. This is why 1 Peter 5:8 says “be sober, vigilant because your opponent the devil, as a roaring lion, doth walk about, seeking whom he may swallow up”. The Apostle Paul also warned in Ephesians 6:12 that “this is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.”(God’s Word Translation).
When a drunk driver hits and maims or kills a teenager, we do not blame the Minister of Transportation because he is not responsible for what happened. He has provided the traffic code that every road user is mandated to obey. Driving drunk, texting and driving, reckless driving, running a red light, and general carelessness during driving are all prohibited by the traffic code. However the Minister of Transportation cannot force every road user to obey the code, and we all must live with the consequences of traffic violations. In the same vein, God has provided the human race with a manual for living – The Bible. God cannot force all human beings to obey His word. Consequently, every tragedy in the world can be traced to the violation of God’s word by someone, somewhere, sometime. This is NOT in any way to imply that those who died young, or are bodily afflicted with diseases, are in any way receiving a penalty for their disobedience of God’s word. All of us sin and if God were to mark transgressions, nobody would be able to stand. Nevertheless, because the whole world is in rebellion against God, diseases and death are constantly seeking victims.
I encourage you dear reader, not to succumb to diseases or the fear of premature death. You must stand up against the spirit of sudden death and proclaim God’s healing promises over your body every day. I prophesy to you that you shall be continually delivered from the snare of sudden death, every terror of the night, and every wicked arrow that flies at noon day. Until you are satisfied with life, you will not enter the grave, and remember, by His stripes you are healed in Jesus name! Amen.
Oladipo Kalejaiye holds a Ph.D degree in law and was a litigation attorney in Nigeria, Europe and the United States for over 17 years. He entered into full time ministry in year 2000, and currently serves as the pastor of International Christian Center, Los Angeles ( You can contact him on the web: www.iccla.com, Facebook: iccla/facebook, Twitter: @DipoKalejaiye