In this article I want to look at some of the issues that surround the subject of healing but I must warn at the beginning that this is a formula free zone. I also want to affirm with all my heart that God heals today. According to the doctors when I was about five years old I should have either died or had severe brain damage but when a minister visited my bedside and prayed for me a healing process began. When I was asked by the hospital consultant what had made me better I said “Jesus made me better” his response was who knows the boy might be right, we certainly didn’t do anything”. My testimony is the same today as it was when I was five, I have no doubt that Jesus made me better. Let me just put a few scriptures before you that testify to the healing power of our God.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. (Is.53:5)
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Mt 4:23).
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Lk 10:9).
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, (1 Co 12:9).
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (Jas 5:14–16).
These verse show us that our God is the healer and we need to seek him for healing, what is more all healing flows from the atoning death of Jesus and thre fore is a gift of God’s grace. The problem for many of us is we try to turn these verses and others into a formula and this just does not work. Healing is a gift of God’s grace and we have no right to demand that God heals anyone but Scripture does encourage us to seek the healing touch of God. Indeed the passage from James clearly commands us to pray for healing. When we are obedient to this command God blesses his people but not always in the way we expect. This is when the problems start to arise in our minds.
Sometimes the question arises who is guilty if someone is not healed, sometimes it is said that the sick person has not had a strong enough faith, this causes even more problems for the recipient of prayer. We need to clearly affirm with Jesus that faith the size of a mustard seed can accomplish great things. To blame a sick person for not getting well is to cause further hurt. If there is unbelief in the heart it is not our job to make the person feel guilty, our role is to show the love of God to them so that we built up in their faith. It is the Holy Spirit’s role to convince of sin not ours, yes we can invite people to confess their sins to the Lord but we have no business telling them which ones. There may be occasions when we need to point out someones sin to them but this must be done graciously and with love.
Other people blame the person who is praying for the one who needs healing, again because of a lack of faith when someone does not recover, yet it is quite clear that the arguments used above apply to this also. It is amazing to see how God will use someone who has very little faith to bring healing to others.
We are called to expect healing and we will see many people healed but there will always be some who do not recover and this will perplex us but it should not deter us from continuing in prayer. We need to see a greater move of the Holy spirit in our churches releasing his healing gifts to his people. We are also commanded to call our leaders to pray for us expecting God to heal.
When God does not heal, we need to rest in his sovereign wisdom, he knows what to do and when he should do it. the Lord is the God of love and he will always do the best thing.
We need to look to him who is full of compassion and trust him to do things in his way. sometimes he does not heal someone because he has plans to use them in a mighty way think of Joni Eareckson Tada for instance. Joni has been used in a powerful way and has been one who has demonstrated the love of God to so many people. would she have been used in that same way if she had been healed physically? I doubt it but this is where we need to trust God to get it right. We must have a God centered faith, when we have this we will expectantly expect him to heal the sick but we will not dictate to him how and when he should do it.