Watchman Nee: Some Christians are Not Healed of Their Illness Because They Love the Attention They Get From It

Do you notice that some Christians are never healed of their sickness yet never tire of talking about it? According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book “Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 2, the reason that they are not healed may be because they take pleasure from the attention that they are getting from their illness:

I can report hundreds of cases that I have witnessed during the past twenty or more years of my life. They all prove that many people are sick for specific reasons. Their illnesses are healed immediately when they identify the causes, deal with them, and remove them. As long as the causes remain, they cannot be healed.

I know of a brother who always desired affection from others. He wanted to be loved, to be spoken to nicely, to receive visits, and to be treated in a gentle way. If anyone asked how he was doing, he immediately would relate everything that had happened the previous night or that morning in a detailed way. He could tell others almost the exact time of his fever, from what hour to what hour, and the kind of headache he experienced, from what hour to what hour. He could tell you exactly how many times he breathed and how many times his heart beat a minute. He was always feeling ill, and he always liked to tell others about his illness. He wanted the warm sympathy of others. If you talked to him, he would have nothing to talk about except his illness. Every day he talked about his illness, and he wondered why he was never healed.

It is not an easy thing to speak an honest word to others. One must pay a price to speak the truth. One day I gathered enough strength within myself to speak to this one. I said, “The only reason you have been sick so long is that you like to be sick.” He denied it. I said, “Do you not love your illness? You are afraid that this illness will leave you. You love your illness.” He denied it again. But I said, “You like others to sympathize with you and to love you. You like others to take care of you and to treat you nicely. You cannot have it by other means, so you try to get it by becoming ill. If you want to be healed by the Lord, you must rid yourself of this thought! When others ask how you are doing, you need to learn to say, ‘I am fine.’ See what will happen if you do that! When others ask how you were doing the night before, you should say, ‘Fine!’” He said, “My heart is sincere. I cannot lie. I feel that I am not fine. What should I do if I truly was not well the night before?” I said, “Let me read you a verse. The son of the Shunammite woman was lying on the bed already dead. She went to see Elisha, and he asked, ‘Is it well with you?…Is it well with the child? And she said, It is well’ (2 Kings 4:26). Actually, her son was lying on the bed already dead. Why did she say that it was well? She said it because she believed. She believed that God would save her son. Today you can believe, too. When others ask, ‘How were you last night?’ You should say, ‘Fine.’ It is fine even if you died the night before. You have to believe that it was fine.” He had nothing to say after these words. As soon as he denied his self-love, rejected sympathy, and dropped his expectation for consolation, his illness went away.

We must realize that many illnesses have internal causes as well as external causes. A man must learn to believe in God. When God’s purpose is achieved, the sickness goes away. Once God achieves His spiritual goal in us, our sickness is over.