Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:13–17
We must not tell God what to do. Even less should we persist in praying until the Lord finally hears us. Such “faith” is resistance or even defiance to the Lord. Even if we include the words, “if it is the Lord’s will,” in our prayers, it is a sham. If we are honest, we often include these words only because we know we are supposed to. But we don’t really want God’s will to happen.
When we pray for God’s will to be done, we have to be inwardly and unconditionally prepared to accept this will. It is not right to constantly and expressly ask for our health, or someone else’s health, to be restored, especially when conditions seem to steadily decline. To pray incessantly does not help anyone –especially not ourselves or others who are ill. It only increases our tension and restlessness, and hinders our spiritual life.
This doesn’t mean we should just give up. God sometimes allows conditions to get worse (he knows why) before he finally provides help. What I mean is that we should become more quiet and resigned in our prayers for healing and health. It is God’s will that matters. And true resignation and submission to God’s will puts everything into his hands, so that his help, when it does arrive and however it comes, can come on God’s terms, not ours.
It is also better not to speak too much of dying or not dying. Each of our lives is a mist. Here we must become even more quiet, and in silence wait for whatever the Lord has in mind. If death is knocking at the door, we should prepare our hearts for either life or death (Phil. 1:20–26). If someone you know is facing a similar situation, help them to let go and accept whatever God has in mind. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring anyway. We must make ready our hearts. Then all will be right. God gives his grace to the humble, and those who are most humble and do the will of God receive abundant grace indeed.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt