Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4).
Jesus spoke these words when He heard that his good friend Lazarus was very ill. Two days later word arrived that Lazarus was dead. Jesus didn’t lie about His friend’s illness. He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. The sickness would not be the end of his friend’s earthly life.
Not all sickness leads to death, but this also means that some sickness does lead to death. Whether a sickness leads to recovery or to death rests squarely upon the eternal will of our sovereign God.
How should we then pray for a loved one who is sick? Can we pray that they recover? Of course! Since you and I don’t know if the sickness is unto death or not, there is nothing wrong with praying for healing. But this remember: we cannot demand, decree, or bargain anything from God. Whatever the outcome of our prayer, the Christian prays knowing that God’s will is always best and that He only does what is right and good.
Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus, still died a “second time” years later. Sin always claims its wages.
The outcome of Christian prayer is not that we get our desires, but that God is glorified.
This Jesus spoke, signifying by what death John would glorify God (John 21:19).