Beyond the Broadcast: Suffering, Sickness, Sin—and Healing

“I believe in divine healing. I do not believe in divine healers. I believe in faith healing. I do not believe in faith healers. There is a great difference.” Charles R. Swindoll

In Scripture, we at times witness God miraculously healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, giving mobility to the lame, even raising the dead. Whether the healing was carried out by prophets in the Old Testament or Jesus Himself in the New Testament, often the question wasn’t if God would heal but how. So, has God changed? The truth is that many believers today who suffer must accept the fact that they might not be healed in this life. Inevitably, deep questions about God’s faithfulness and love surface when pain endures, illnesses progress, and the prognosis seems bleak: “Where is God when I’m suffering?”

Here are five foundational truths about sin, sickness, and healing:

  • There are two classifications of sin: original sin (Romans 5:12) and personal sin (3:23)
  • Original sin introduced sickness and death to the human race (5:12)
  • Sometimes there is a direct link between personal sin and sickness (1 Chronicles 10:13 and 1 Corinthians 11:30)
  • Sometimes there is no relationship between personal sin and sickness (Acts 3:2-8)
  • It is not God’s will that everyone be healed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

James 5:13-16 answers many questions about suffering and healing. The Greek word for suffering means “in distress” or “afflicted.” Many believers today suffer indescribable physical and emotional pain because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Others have witnessed the violent executions of loved ones, or have been separated from their families because of persecution.

Suffering with no remedy in sight can discourage even the strongest saint. With so-called “faith healers” claiming divine power to alleviate sickness on one side and well-meaning believers on the other side refusing all medical treatment, it’s no wonder we’re confused on the topics of suffering, sickness, sin, and healing. How would you communicate the message of James 5:13–16 to people enduring chronic pain or illness? How would you address their deep questions about God’s character? How would you emphasize the importance of prayer and confession in the midst of suffering?

From the beginning of James 5:13–16 to the end, prayer is the point. Prayer connects a believer’s heart with the sovereign plan of God. If we have joy and health, we should sing praises to God. If we suffer with mental, emotional, or physical pain, we must pray for healing, confess our sins, and entrust ourselves to God’s perfect plan.

“Suffering, Sickness, Sin—and Healing” is from Chuck Swindoll’s series James: Hands-On Christianity. You can stream this message online anytime at