In chapter 5, MacNutt says about a depressed person:
"Moreover, his wounds probably stem from such deep childhood scars that he can do little to change himself, even with the help of a psychiatrist. Yet how many priests or ministers are ready to prayfor a person like this, sure that God does not will such a state and would bring peace of soul if only it is sought."
"Benefits" of Suffering
1. It purges me of self-seeking and selfishness. If I can kill my excessive desire for pleasure by accepting suffering, I can then advance in detachment and purely unselfish love for God andneighbor.
2. I can unite my sufferings with those of Jesus' life and of the cross and ask him to use them redemptively to help other people. Like St. Paul, I can ask Jesus to make up in my body what is still lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the salvation of the world. In my desire for suffering, my chief aim would be toimitate Christ as perfectly as I might, to walk in his blood- stained footsteps so that I might become like him and share in his mission of redeeming mankind through suffering. Hasn't Christ explicitly stated that the person who does not take up his cross daily and follow him is not worthy to be his disciple?
There are two kinds of suffering. "The cross that Jesus carried was a cross of persecution, the kind of suffering that comes from outside a man because of the wickedness of other men who are evil. ... The suffering that Jesus did not himself endure, which he took away from those who approached him in faith, was that of sickness, the suffering that tears man apart from within, whether it be physical, emotional, or moral." Persecution is an attack from without; sickness is an attack from within.
In the story of the epileptic boy, the disciples' ability to heal appears to be hindered by a lack of faith. The boy's father says to Jesus, "If you can do anything ..." Jesus can do all things. There was doubt in that man.
What meaning does suffering have?
- The glory of God is man fully alive--alive in all areas of his life.
- Sickness is in itself an evil, though good may result from it.
- There comes a time for a person to die. We must ask for guidance in how to pray--for healing or for a peaceful death.
- Some sickness may have a higher purpose.
In his book, I Need a Miracle, Benny Hinn says there are seven things a person must do to keep his healing. (pp. 100-102) These are:
- Trust in God, not in man.
- Keep His Word.
- Confess your faults one to another. (James 5:13-16)
- Speak God's language. Speak when He speaks.
- Stay in prayer.
- Resist the devil. Draw near to God.
- Observe the laws of nature.