Friday, February 17, 2006

When God Doesn't Heal

When someone is sick, I pray for healing. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't. I can deal with that. After all, God is sovereign, and He has a much better perspective on what is best in each individual sitution than I could ever hope for. What I can't deal with are the folks on either extreme who claim that it is always God's will to heal and their counterparts who never really come out and say that God doesn't do healings anymore, but that's the way they pray. Those in the latter category I'll let off easy today. Dan at Cerelean Sanctum has already posted a great piece about the need to believe that Jesus really can still heal. Besides, I think those who really don't think God ever heals are suffering from a bigger problem -- a very superficial relationship with their Creator.

But on the other end of the spectrum, I've encountered some people who have actually claimed that God will always heal, if we have the faith. I've found that attitude rather sad. Allow me to steal this story from Pastor Jon's Blog. A lady called into a radio "ask the pastor" talk show.

The lady, who was obviously crying, said, "Pastor, I was born blind, and I've been blind all my life. I don't mind being blind but I have some well meaning friends who tell me that if I had more faith I could be healed."

The pastor asked her, "Tell me, do you carry one of those white canes?"

"Yes I do," she replied.

"Then the next time someone says that hit them over the head with the cane," He said. "Then tell them, 'If you had more faith that wouldn't hurt!'"


How insulted suffering folks have been from well-meaning, but ill-informed Christians like these. The arguments they give me are interesting but are drawn from an incomplete look at Scripture and the evidence surrounding us.

First, they say the Jesus didn't turn away anyone who needed healing. And to the best of my knowledge that is correct. In all the time Jesus walked the earth, I see no instance of Jesus turning down someone who asked for healing. The exception of course is that Jesus didn't do miracles where people had no faith in Him. Again, that point is granted. But to make a blanket statement from this argument ignores the times when the post-ascension Jesus did not heal. Paul's thorn in the flesh of 2 Corinthians is a prime example. So is Timothy and his stomach problems. And we could also go further and mention that within the time frame of the New Testament, John the Baptist and James, the son of Zebedee were each executed. Why didn't God intervene in any of these situations?

Paul tells us that he was given that thorn to keep him from getting a big head about all the special revelation he had been given. When he prayed (three times) for it to be taken away, he was told that God's grace was sufficient -- healing wasn't necessary. Now if God's grace is enough and thorns are given to teach in Paul's case, why would we think that we need more than God's grace? Do we not need to learn? Is the example of the refiner's fire, burning out impurities, irrelevent to our lives today? Of course not. Our suffering serves a purpose for our good. Our ultimate healing isn't the point. Our changed lives will bring glory to God.

Common sense tells us that we're all going to die. Many of us will die of a sickness or a disease. We are not plucked from the earth like Enoch or driven off in a fiery chariot like Elijah. Sometimes our sicknesses accomplish our exit from this world and entrance into the next. And thank God they do!

I have been told that healing is provided for in the atonement -- that is, that when Jesus died, He bore the punishment for our sins as well as our sickness on the cross. The proof text Isaiah 53:5 is often tossed at me, "By His stripes we are healed." But a closer look at the context shows that the prophet is speaking in parallel lines. The first two lines of verse 5 refer to Jesus' physical sufferings and our physical sins. These next two lines deal with Jesus' physical punishment and our spiritual state.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Unless we somehow believe that our life is all peace, we have to see this as a spiritual peace between perfect Judge God and dirty sinners Us. So the parallelism tells us that we are dealing with a physical punishment to bring about a spiritual peace and a spiritual healing. Nothing about this verse promises us a life free from sickness if we have the faith.

Besides, if we were physically healed by Jesus' wounds, why would we ever get sick in the first place?

What about where James tells us:

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
It sounds pretty straightforward. However, so does this passage:

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

But if we look carefully at passages like John 14:12-14, we see that we are to be asking things "in my(Jesus') name" for our prayers to be answered as we wish. The phrase "in Jesus' name" is not a magic spell to be uttered for a prayer to work. It means that we pray in the authority of Jesus. So our prayer -- whether for a blessing, a gift or a healing -- must be in accordance with His will if God is going to answer it. The two or three of us on earth must agree with God's will in the situation. God will not grant our prayer if it contradicts His will.

If one takes the position that it is always God's will to heal, one must also fall back on the excuse that anyone not healed lacks sufficient faith. Yet at the same time, Jesus tells us that even faith the size of a mustard seed, which was the smallest seed known by that generation, is enough to move a mountain into the sea. So how small must a believer's faith be if he or she is not healed? It must not exist! Or if it does, it is small enough to be negligible. And realize that nobody is throwing mountains into the sea because it is obviouly not God's will.

Now, let's get back to the obviously-not-faith-decificent apostle Paul. Or maybe Timothy. Is anyone going to seriously float the idea that either of these two didn't have faith the size of a mustard seed? Alright, what about modern folks? Joni Erickson Tada was paralyzed in an accident as a teenager. She prayed in faith many, many times, and has written about those experiences. So why is she still in a wheelchair? Why does Billy Graham have Parkinson's? Why do men and women of God wear glasses or walk with canes? Why do some faith healers wear toupees (and bad ones at that!)? Without enough faith?

A few years ago, my aunt died after a five-year struggle with lymph cancer. During the struggle, this woman with faith larger than a mustard seed was anointed and prayed for by the elders of the church, as called for in James. Cancer still took her. A lady in my church is now fighting the same type of battle. So are another dozen acquaintances. My neighbor was called home on New Year's Eve. He was never healed of his cancer.

Most everyone reading this could start a list like this of people of faith who have not been healed or died of their sickness. Yet instead of learning from Scripture, a few would rather tell these people they are "lacking in faith" -- almost accusing them of not being saved at all. How very sad. It is always easier to see the faults of others than to rightly understand that God doesn't always heal. Hopefully it won't take a whack to the head with a blind lady's white cane for these to see how God is glorified through the healthy and the sick, the blind and the seeing, the deaf and the hearing. God is glorified by healing, sure, and I've seen it happen. But God is also glorified through a life well-lived in spite of debilitating injury or a damaging illness. I know that I am inspired by a Christian whose faith is not destroyed even if their normal "healthy" body is. Praise God that He is thus glorified!

UPDATE! See also The Faith of Abednego for more thoughts on this subject.

45 comments:

A Human Bean said...

I wish those who believe such things could see the truth of what you are saying. The lack of understanding of Biblical truth has caused hurt to so many people.

My wife and I are not able to have children through normal biological means. After much prayer, we decided to adopt. I don't know how many people told us that we should just continue praying to have a biological child. Even when we told them that we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that adoption was God's will for us, they would not give in. We even had to literally stop a few people from trying to physically lay hands on us. They were offended that we would turn away their "help." They simply could not understand that they only things they were doing was hurting my wife and I and literally praying against God's will for our lives.

Mountain Mama said...

Very good! I think I will begin to carry a cane with me.

Gayla said...

A most excellent post! Of course, I'm in the throes of this right now. God's grace is indeed sufficient; I'm experiencing that on a daily basis.

In the midst of our trials (sickness or whatever they might be), Perhaps God wants to remove from us that which we do not need and replace it with what we absolutely cannot live without - namely Him.

I'm definitely discovering this right now, too.

Pastor Jon said...

That was a good post bro. Thanks for the link. I enjoy reading your blog!

Lyn said...

Good thoughts, Rev-ed.

My daddy was healed eternally last April from lung cancer, and Momma just a year later this past April from breast/secondary bone cancer. They are both completely whole today, walking with the One who is the God of the living!!!

He still heals, it's just not always on this earth, in our time, or way WE think it should be done...BECAUSE WE ARE NOT GOD, hellooooo!

Anonymous said...

It is always easy for someone who doesn't have a lifelong disease or physical problem(s) to preach about keeping the faith. When your 20 and have no hope, our glorious God isn't so glorious while your watching everyone live their self-serving, egotistical, self-loving lives without any supernatural repercussions to them, simply because they "believe" in Jesus.

Daniel said...

I don't know much about you or this blog. I found it searching the net on healing.

Let me just say:

Thank you.


and leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Having personally dealt with this issue, and still very much grieving over the death of my father from Pancreatic cancer, I can say that those people who say that if you have enough faith, you will be healed, do more harm then good. My father was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2005. He was a wonderful Christian man. He did not believe he would die. Rather, he believed that God would bring him through and heal him (as did we). We prayed, listened to the tapes on healing etc., thought positively, right up to the day he died (Oct. 2/05). I feel cheated, robbed, devastated. Rather than spending his last months and days preparing for his departure and saying goodbye, we spent it in foolish denial, believing he would be healed. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that God still does heal people. Just not everyone. And for that, I struggle. My father's battle with cancer was very, very bad. He was in constant, extreme pain every day. The lack of preparedness has caused family conflict like you would not believe. My mother ended up in the hospital 10 months after my father's death, almost died, and is still hospitalized. It has been a long, long road since April 2005, and to this day, I find it very difficult to pray for someone's healing, as it seems to me that it really doesn't matter, because God will do what He wants to do in the end.

Anonymous said...

You are right in many ways here my friend.
But instead of debating and questioning If or Why, why don't we get down on our knees and ask God - "is it your will that I be healed?"
If you wait, will he not tell you?

Anonymous said...

Hello Rev-Ed.

I'm not on here to debate you, but I truly do believe it is Gods will to heal everyone. If there is no instance in the new testament where Jesus didnt' heal someone who had faith, how can you make a statement saying that He won't heal everyone with faith? You kind of touched on what Jesus did on the cross in Isaiah 53, but you completely left out the reference of it again in Matthew 8:16,17 "When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:


“ He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses."



It references what Isaiah was actually talking about in chapter 53. It WAS physical infirmities and sickness
.
Its ALWAYS God's will to heal everyone, but not everyone is healed. Just like it is God's will that everyone be saved, but not everyone is. It takes FAITH. There is no account of any other reason someone isn't healed in the bible other than lack of faith. If you ever wonder if healing is Jesus' will, look at this verse: Matthew 8:2-3 "A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean" Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."

what does he say? I AM WILLING! He never ever ever ever once says, I AM NOT WILLING. Just because you do not understand or our finite brains can't comprehend why some people are not healed, doesnt' mean we should downplay and rationalize what Jesus did on the cross. Otherwise, the stripes He endured for all of us would have been done in vain. You better make sure you have all of your doctrine right before you go on writing a blog about it for everyone to read. It'd be really disappointing to go into heaven and learn you have taught and/or encouraged people to not have faith for healing. Jehovah Rapha, God is our healer.

Thanks, Phil

rev-ed said...

Phil,

Check your Bible again. Why was Paul not healed? Why was the thorn in his flesh not taken away? Are you saying the Apostle Paul didn't have enough faith. Nonsense.

You've conveniently ignored that just as you ignore that "My grace is sufficient" is the answer he received. How dare you tell those godly people sitting in wheelchairs or fighting cancer or suffering from any number of other diseases that it is all their fault because they don't have enough faith. It is that misappropriation of scripture that brings shame to Christ Himself.

Go back with clear vision and see that the prophecy in Isaiah 53 was not talking about physical infirmities. It deals with a much bigger problem than paralysis or cancer. It deals win sin. An honest assessment of the passage in context tells you that.

My prayer for you, Phil, is that you pray for enlightenment, far from the worldview you've been indoctrinated into. Until that time, please keep your simply mistaken notions to yourself. You have no idea how much harm they actually cause. I'll pray for you, brother.

Anonymous said...

:) I'm praying for you also. you have to take scripture and match it up with OTHER scripture. Your doctrine is wrong. And its killing millions every year. The thorn in Pauls side was not a physical infirmity. You read scripture and believe what you want to believe without even looking up the meaning!!!!! the bible is its own interpreter. read other scriptures that BACK IT UP! go here. http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/bible/thorn.html

Your words of ignorance and self-centeredness don't go unnoticed. I'm not sure who made you the "rev" or what judge appointed you to the high courts, but I'll inform EVERYONE I know about the gift of healing that Christ suffered for us. For you, HE suffered in vain. You are so enlightened, and I'm so far behind your almighty knowledge. Why don't you keep your selfish and self-seeking almighty thoughts to your self, and I'll go ahead and preach the gospel. (again, you have given me no reference of Jesus not healing anyone with faith.) You are so typical, you feel really bad about the people who have died with sickness so you make up your own doctrine, and spread it with hatred. and without multiple scriptures to back it up. what a sad waste of server space this blog is, its hurting so many.

-Phil

Anonymous said...

Just what the enemy desires, division! Please take to heart this Scripture - 2 Timothy 2:24-26-"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape the trapof the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." Not all of this pertains to the debate of the last two entries, but please be careful how you respond. Many who are struggling with this issue, one that I am personally researching, will be reading this and I know the sorrow and discomfort I am feeling as this discussion is being reduced to name calling and anger driven words (yes, it is felt even throught the written word). God bless.

rev-ed said...

Dear latest anonymous commenter,

You are right that we cannot let the devil divide us, but by the same token we must not be fooled and tossed by the waves of false doctrine. There are many places I allow liberty. To some extent, I allow liberty in this argument as well.

However if you have ever looked into the eyes of someone who has not been healed who thinks that somehow it is because God rejected them, you understand my emotion.

If you have seen the tears of someone who was told, "If you had faith, you'd be walking by now," or "It's your own fault you have that tumor," then you understand my disgust.

If you are truly investigating this topic, there is a good chance you will run into godly people who have been crushed by people who miss the point of Scripture -- that life is not about the earthly, but the eternal.

The "by his stripes" debate, when viewed in context, can only be viewed as a spiritual healing. That doesn't take away the fact that God can and does heal as He sees fit. It just doesn't put the blame on the people who are genuinely seeking God (and whom I have met dozens) who have been told by well-meaning, but misinformed people that if they are not healed it's their own fault.

I hope that clarifies my strong opinion. God bless you as you seek the truth.

Anonymous said...

after 12 years of suffering, i agree that god doesnt heal everyone, those who are healed should be greatful as they are lucky sods...

dont think god is as amazing as the bible tells us unfortunatly

Jerry said...

I ultimately agree with the main point of the post, but at the same time I would say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with truly hoping & believing that God will heal you. No matter how long you have been suffering, it's nice to know that God might very well answer your prayers about your condition. That doesn't mean you don't understand that there is a good chance he won't heal you, or that he won't heal you as soon as you'd like, just that you do have faith and believe God is capable of performing miracles in your life. Also what I think is a great sign of love is when we are suffering and do pray for healing, but remind God that even if we are not healed, our faith will not decrease, and our love for him will never change.

Anonymous said...

My young and healthy husband had just passed away from cancer. Like one previous reader, we had pray and believe that God will heal him......... But still, he went home to be with Jesus.

Indeed we have well meaning Christians friends who told us that it is always God's will to heal.......

Well, from what they said, it is God's will to prosper us, to bless us, to heal us........ Sounded like as Christians we will no have trials and tribulation, if we have faith and believe the above.

My question to these friends is that how to you explain the death of a young Christian in a road accident? He's supposed to live a blessed life and all right? How to explain the untimely death? It must have been God's will right? It is definitely the work of the devil but God must have allowed it right? To say that it i snot God's will would be denying His power and Sovereignty. Meaning God is unable to stop what the devil is doing?

Evelyn

Anonymous said...

This was the exact discussion I was looking for. I believe that God heals. I have faith that he does. I have also always beleived that part of the human condition is to suffer. In suffering we join the brotherhood and have the opportunity to lift our suffering up to God. I also ask why should I ask God to heal my arthritis when others, more "deserving" perhaps have greater need. I guess I feel unworthy to ask for a minor healing while others suffer greatly.

Anonymous said...

A dear friend of mine is suffering from lung cancer and is currently in the final stages of this frightening disease. He is model Christian, husband of 26 years, the father of three children who are also believers and has been a mentor and role model in my life for nearly 15 years. If you dare implied to me that his healing was somehow rejected by God because of his lack of faith; I'm not a violent individual, but I would probably knock you to the ground. This name it and claim it faith healing nonsense has soured my stomach from the first time I heard it.

It's teaching does nothing but divide the church and leaves controversy in it's wake. I have literally seen churches divide right down the middle over this devilish doctrine. Where is the compassion of Christ in telling someone who is dying of cancer that their faith is inadequate to save them? Where is the Mercy of Christ demonstrated in belittling the wounded, the injured and the maimed? Isn't the picture of the good Samaritan a picture of Christ and us, we were on the road to nowhere, cut down by the enemy, left to bleed to death. Then suddenly this good Samaritan stumbles upon the scene and as many times as I have read that wonderful story, I don't recall the good Samaritan ever questioning the victim of his faith, or lack there of.

Instead, his actions demonstrated the mind of Christ when it comes to helping those in need whether or not they have supper human faith. Is it God's will to heal every single time? probably, however, it is in this arena that we must let God be God. Perhaps His will is to reach a loved one of a cancer patient who never thought about his own immortality before his best friends death. Death has a way of touching that certain part of our soul that wakes us up for a minute or two. Brings to light questions of a divine nature that go unheard in the hustle and bustle of sometimes mundane life. In my opinion the debate here is secondary to the wonderful works that God accomplishes, whether it be through life or death, may God's Glory be revealed in every circumstance known to man!!

.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am saddened by the hostility and hatred portrayed by Phil. Makes me wonder, can this individual really, truly KNOW the love of God???? I think you would benefit greatly by asking God to reveal His truth to you on this subject. You are falling right into Satan's plan: Division of the brethren. Very sad. Get a grip, Phil.

Anonymous said...

Come one guys, this one isn't so difficult. Physical stripes for physical healing. The spiritual healing was provided when Jesus presented his blood on the mercy seat after defeating Satan once and for all and then rose again from the grave!

My question is this. If someone is sick and dying, why not believe for God to heal you? Especially since there is so much about healing in His Word! If it doesn't happen, when you get to heaven ask God why...although I doubt once you're there it will matter much.

As for the families of those who don't receive healing. Any minister who says that someone died because of a "lack of faith" should be punched in the face. What kind of minister would say something so harmful and such a sad time?

God's Word doesn't exempt us from evil or sickness. That's why ultimately the greatest act of faith is salvation. God's emphasis has been and always will be on eternity.

So yes, it's God's will to heal everyone. That's why Jesus healed and continues to heal. Faith is a fight and so is life. If you're going down, go down fighting and believe until the end. Even in death, believers have victory! Why is this so hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

This is a vexed question and one that will never be easily answered. It is necessary not to limit our understanding of the problem and then put God in the little "will he/won't he?" box. Let's take cancer. What if God DID send the person who would find the cure for it, but that person was killed in the First World War? The number of officers killed there were huge - all your leaders and and more intelligent people. Or perhaps such a researcher was nagged by an ambitious mother to go into surgery because the pay was better, and she could brag more? We can't blame God when we get in his way. How many accidents are human error, crime related or the result of careless manufactire of faulty equipment? We can't blame God, we have to recognise that every sin has consequences which the innocent pay. Yes there are so-called "acts of God", but again, in many cases the poor lose more than the rich - their flimsy badly-built houses can't withstand earthquakes, and their inadequate nourishment makes them unable to withstand diseases and other types of epidemic. laying hands and praying are what God ordered, and the pray-ers and the prayed for need to know that if God DOES perform the odd miracle, that is great, and he has his reasons for chooling one not another, but the message from such healings is, people CAN be cured, go and do thou likewise using what God has given to do so - intelligence, the power of the vote to choose those who will do the right thing, the willingness to sacrifice comfort and wealth so what we are asking will be donewih our support for our loved ones and for many people for many years afterwards. God has probably answered a lot of our prayers. The problem is, we aren't looking for God, we are looking for Father Christmas.

Ray said...

Pastor - can you comment on James Chapter 5 - "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church..."

My wife suffers from migraines and we went to a Benny Hinn healing crusade in March of 2004 in Beaumont, TX. She was healed for 2 years and then the migraines came back.

I can find no reference in the Bible about someone being healed and then the sickness returning.

A good Christian friend of mine referenced me to Revelation that says in the end times false prophets will arise and fool many performing signs and wonders.

Prophets were the ones who healed in the Old Testament - is that not correct?

I have researched all, listened to many (radio/TV preaching), read alot of books on the subject by different Christian authors.

If faith is the only way to be healed, then why does James say a pray offered up in faith and the task falls directly on the elders and not the sick person?

I am looking into the Greek translation of the words in that text and also in Isaiah 53 and Matthew 8.

As for the leper who said "If you are willing...", I noticed in different versions that is says he "worshipped/lay prostrate" and it makes no reference to "faith" being the healing factor as it does with "the woman with the issue of blood".

In one of the letters to Timothy, Paul tells him to "drink wine" for his "stomach problems". That's interesting as in earlier rexts in the New Testament, doesn't it reference "pieces of Paul's apron" being sent to heal the sick (or am I wrong) - did not search Bible to make sure it was Paul's apron.

I thank you in advance for your reply.

Ray / San Antonio, TX

Anonymous said...

After watching my 17 year old son suffer from life changing,severe, debilitating migraines (last year he had a seven month migraine) for the last five years, I have had my fill of hoping and praying to a God who finds it acceptable for sweet, innocent children to suffer. We mortals are expected to help those in need and do all we can for those who suffer and that it exactly how I live my life - in service to others. Why doesn't God play by his own rules? Seems hypocritical to me. I see more excuses, hocus pocus and differing viewpoints on Biblical versus and in the end it is all beginning to seem like hogwash. Am I angry? You're damned right I'm angry and I'm walking away for good.

branmuffin said...

I agree its terrible to tell someone that if they "only had more faith, they'd be healed." Thats highly insensitive. And your scriptural examples are interesting to consider.

But please explain to me, because Im having trouble with this, explain Jesus' words in Mark 16: 17-18

"And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; THEY WILL LAY HANDS ON THE SICK AND THEY WILL RECOVER." (emphasis added)

God's will is His word and clearly He says we shall recover. But believing Christians still die everyday. God can't lie, so how do we reconcile these two opposing views?

rev-ed said...

branmuffin - In the passage you cited (and added emphasis to) there is no universal nature to the signs. That is, not all will speak with new tongues. Not all will take up serpents or drink poison and live and cast out demons or lay hands on the sick.
So he does not say that we will recover. He also does not guarantee that those who are placing hands on people are actually true followers of Christ.

Jesus talked about the disciples doing greater works than He did. The disciples and Paul rarely healed anyone. That wasn't their calling. Jesus was referring to the truly greater works -- not of miraculous healing but of bringing people to Christ. We get so charged up in demanding our healing that we miss what Jesus wants us to really focus upon.

My caution is to be careful not to read into Scripture what you want it to say, but carefully take the meaning from the words that are there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, rev-ed for this blog and this post. I have an in-op brain tumor, grade IV, and I've been googling to get some answers (or at least ideas for possible answers). This post gave me some.

Why hasn't God healed me? It is not because I lack faith, it is not that God is not willing or able to heal me. This is a fallen world we live in, and it is not going to be a perfect place. God has infinite wisdom and knowledge, and He will use this illness to bring people closer to Him, and bring more people to Him. I must realize this is not just about me, want my wants are. His purposes are greater, and I pray that I do my part in them.

Did God cause this? It may have just happened as a natural course of this world, but He might have caused it. He caused the flood. I was living a pretty earthly life before this, (let's not get into that :-) ) and that has certainly changed! I pray more, seek Him more, and my family and friends are closer to each other and to Him. The cause is really not that important, what results from it is.

So I and many others continue to pray for healing, and if God determines that is best for what He has in mind, it will happen. In the meantime, the more people praying and seeking God, the better.

Thanks again.
Joe

Anonymous said...

Thank you, rev-ed for this blog and this post. I have an in-op brain tumor, grade IV, and I've been googling to get some answers (or at least ideas for possible answers). This post gave me some.
Why hasn't God healed me? It is not because I lack faith, it is not that God is not willing or able to heal me. This is a fallen world we live in, and it is not going to be a perfect place. God has infinite wisdom and knowledge, and He will use this illness to bring people closer to Him, and bring more people to Him. I must realize this is not just about me, want my wants are. His purposes are greater, and I pray that I do my part in them.
Did God cause this? It may have just happened as a natural course of this world, but He might have caused it. He caused the flood. I was living a pretty earthly life before this, (let's not get into that :-) ) and that has certainly changed! I pray more, seek Him more, and my family and friends are closer to each other and to Him. The cause is really not that important, what results from it is.
So I and many others continue to pray for healing, and if God determines that is best for what He has in mind, it will happen. In the meantime, the more people praying and seeking God, the better.
Thanks again.
Joe

rev-ed said...

Ray - Sorry for the delay as I just found your comment.

Anyway, I see no reference to part of Paul's apron being sent anywhere. Not sure where you got that.

As far as healing and a return of sickness, I, like you, find no reference like that in Scripture. No miracles that we know of were temporary in nature. My suggestion is that perhaps the relief after the service took away some factor that causes the migraines (stress, etc.) and that there was no "healing" at all from Benny Hinn's crusade. That's my best guess since we don't hear about the lepers getting leprosy again (although Lazarus did die again!)

Your question about why "if faith is the only way to be healed" doesn't follow. People without faith are healed all the time in the natural world. And the passage you cite from James talks about the prayer of faith -- which doesn't just mean the faith of the elder uttering the prayer.

The James passage works as the other "pray and I will give you whatever you ask" passages do. God will not grant your prayers against His will. God cannot violate His will. Every answered prayer is because the request is within God's will.

Answered prayer assumes that we are asking in accordance with God's will. If we are asking for the wrong reasons, we are not asking in accordance with God's will. This isn't an issue with Greek or Hebrew translations. This is an underlying principal which is sometimes (but not always) outlined whenever a promise about answered prayer is made in Scripture.

BTW, when you study Isaiah 53, your study should not be "words" but "context". That passage, as much of prophecy, is poetic. There is balance. The prophecy does not go from figurative language to literal language in the same verse.

Finally, the word "faith" will not be used in each instance of healing. If someone is worshiping God, there must be faith, correct?

I pray that your wife's issues will be healed, but even if they are not you can see God's hand in bad situations. Like Joe, in the above comment, there is a lot more going on in this world than our physical health.

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for answers to the "Healing" question for a while. I have a dear friend who had cancer and was given 4-6 months to live. She never stopped her treatments and we, the Elders of the church, Our pastors and others in our congregation prayed for healing. We did what is instructed for us to do in James 5. This lady has been healed of cancer. She was declared "Cancer free" by her Dr.s this fall. Praise the Lord!!!!
But then My brother who was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma, 2 1/2 years ago,Was not healed. We did the same things as with my friend. Most of the same people prayed, as they go to the same church. We, My family and my church truly believed that he was going to be healed. He also did not stop treatments. He was in Seattle receiving a Stem cell transplant when he passed away. All I can think is Why? And how do I encourage my cousin who has just found out that her cervical Cancer has spread to her Lymph system.
This whole thing about the prayer of faith really has me wondering. I am not a Bible scholar by any means and am seeking answers. The part of Scripture where we are told that " the rain falls on the Just and the unjust" keeps coming to mind. We do live in a fallen world and Bad things happen to God's people. Just as they have since Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden.
I would like to say that the harsh words between the "Pastor" who wrote this blog and "Phil" where quite disheartening. I almost didn't read any further. Too many people have been hurt through this subject. But there are alot of good comments on here.(And some that are not so good)I will sift through it and go to the WORD read what GOD says. And I would like to say also that no one lives forever. We all have to die.

Susan

rev-ed said...

Susan, thanks for your comment. I understand the struggle you are having. I think most Christians have to come to grips with this at some point.

I'm also sorry that you took my words to another commenter in a disheartening manner. But he was not considering what he was saying, and unfortunately the results of his viewpoint are often devastating. I've seen it.

Put simply - to say that healing will always happen if you have faith is just plain wrong. Sometimes it is God's will to take us out of this world. To tell someone with cancer that they lack faith is the real cruelty. Unfortunately, with some people, there is no kind way to tell them that they are hurting people with wrong ideas.

I rejoice with you that your dear friend has been healed, yet I also grieve with you over your brother. I don't believe that your brother was taken because he did not have enough faith. He was taken to get to heaven at that time instead of later.

God does not always choose to make earthly miracles happen. Your cousin may be spared from cancer or may not. I may survive the 40-mile drive to and from work tomorrow without injury or I may not. But if I get killed in a traffic accident, it's not that I lack faith.

Susan, you do have a wonderful understanding of the situation. We do live in this sinful world, and bad things do happen to us. God has the power to stop any of them, but He does not always do it. God also has the power to force me into obedience, but He does not do that either. He gives me the choices. Simply because God does not do everything the way we think He should does not take away from His sovereignty. But you know that.

And if I may, you can encourage your cousin by saying that God has not turned His back, and that He will be there throughout the process. He has also placed wonderful people like you in her life to help carry the burden. I pray that He will strengthen you both.

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joel said...

You miss one very central point:

God gives us Faith and promises, we do not produce them by ourselves.

My mother was healed from cancer. She explains that she did not have faith that God would heal her, but that God gave her supernatural Faith (Faith is believing the promise will come to pass). After God gave her Faith, she was totally sure that she would be healed. And she was.

If we have God given supernatural Faith in promise given by God, we can be healed.

If there is NO DOUBT whatsoever and neither can arise, then it is supernatural Faith given by God.
We cannot work this Faith by ourselves.

But to get this Faith: one must understand that he/she is NOT owner of his/her body, but God.
When one understands that in his/her heart, he/she will have PEACE and God can finally do what glorifies Him the most.

In order for God to heal you He must first have your permission.
If you do not understand in your heart that your body is not your own, then you have never given God permission to heal you and use you.

Then God can promise (give supernatural Faith) to you that you will be healed OR not.
Either way, you will have PERFECT PEACE (remember; God is now in control not you).

Do not believe the lies of the devil who wants us to believe we own our bodies, can do whatever we wish (sin).


Many on this comments section show anger towards God because He did not do what they supposed.
They should understand that God only took what IS ALREADY HIS to more close to Himself. He is sovereign God, that is; HE OWNS EVERYTHING.
And that God DOES NOT tell them to question Himself, but the devil.

rev-ed said...

But Joel, you seem to be missing something... are you then saying that the people who were not healed as your mother was did not understand that their bodies belong to God? I have personally known many who had the understanding that everything belongs to God, but were not healed and are with Him now.

You have hit upon the crux of the post -- what is the reason God doesn't always heal? You answer seems to say that our healing is up to us. Granted the faith is given by God, but you write that He must have our "permission" or that we must acknowlege his lordship. OK, fine. But your pat answer again does nothing for the people who have faith, no doubts, biblical understanding, and yet no healing.

We do have many points of agreement, but you seem to be missing the point here. Not everyone who is wheeled away from a healing crusade is a person of little faith or one who cannot have the supernatural faith you write of.

Praise God that your mother was healed. Now what about the dozens I know that were not? Do I tell their families they weren't that spiritually aware? Do I tell them they didn't have the faith to receive the faith that heals? I cannot do either because I know that is not the case.

joel said...

@Rev-Ed

We do not work the Faith by ourselves (that is; God does not require us to believe something He DOES NOT have promised).

And when He gives this Supernatural Faith (that cannot exist without promise), we will be absolutely sure that He will heal us.
(I used the term "Supernatural Faith" because it is what my mother described to me, this because God did not say to her with sound voice "i will heal you" but God caused her to be "supernaturally sure".
But in English; God promised my mother she will be healed.)

God did not require from Abraham to believe he will have son. Only after God promised Abraham that he will have son, it was required from Abraham to believe it.
There was no natural way Abraham could have had son, and there is no natural way one can get instantly healed from sickness that has no cure.

Everyone who is sick probably wants to get healed and therefore prays for God. God may or may not promise healing.


But let us not forget that God can promise healing that takes place only seconds after the promise.
That is, if there is man (that God uses) in town, we probably should go to where he is and hope God heals us using that/this man.

And let's not exclude the possibility that God wants us to go and see the doctor.
-


I have problems understanding His ways, and i suffer from food allergies. There is no cure for food allergies.
I should avoid over 23 different ingredients, but it is impossible sometimes. And then i suffer from it; nausea, heartbeat, very low-blood pressure, weakness, anxiety.. What is even more "fun" with food allergy is that symptoms depend on timing, amount and ingredient.

If God does promise me "i shall heal you", it will be no big deal for me to believe it.

Some people might claim that "God promised this and that, but it did not happen". But God does NOT lie.
If He promises (without preconditions), it shall surely happen.

1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were (PAST) healed.

You know this passage, and so do i. It has absolutely nothing to do with physical healing when taken in context, but still many people use this passage to claim God heals everybody.

Isaiah 53 (to which Peter referred) may seem to speak about physical healing but it does not when taken in context.
People who claim it says "God heals everybody", do not know that:
Words 1"griefs" and 2"sorrows" can mean:
1> khol-ee' From H2470; malady, anxiety, calamity: - disease, grief, (is) sick (-ness).
2> mak-o-baw' From H3510; anguish or (figuratively) affliction: - grief, pain, sorrow.

There is but one more major claim by some, and that is: "if you only have Faith, you will be healed".
The problem with this claim is that our prayer and Faith must be in accordance with His will.
Now, how do we know for sure our prayer for healing is in accordance with His will?
Simple, when He tells it is!
IE. when He promises.

I conclude from my studies that there is not one single passage that clearly promises healing for everyone (before resurrection).


P.S;
I am Finnish, citizen of Finland, so please forgive me for possible word order/spelling/sentence mistakes and my inability to explain what i mean.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with you Rev. I've been sick with Arthritis and Fibromyalgia since I was 14 yrs old. I'm now 31 and I dare anyone to tell me that it is lack of faith, my not giving God permission, or my lack of realisation that my body belongs to God as the reason why He hasn't healed me. I've had 'elders' lay hands on me, I've had 1, 2, 3 + people agree with me in prayer and yet here I am still sick. I've been insulted over the years by many people telling me that I haven't enough faith and that is why I am not healed. God will do what He chooses to do in His time and His way. Simple as that. God created the universe, so how great a problem would it be to heal li'l old me? Not very much of one, methinks. So therefore it stands to reason that if God Almighty wants to heal me, He will. Do I believe He can? Yes. Do I believe it HAS to happen? No. God doesn't heal everyone or why would any christian die a seemingly untimely death or suffer from an illness and die? My darling mum died last August after 24 years of suffering, a massive stroke came and took her home to meet her Maker. Her faith was limitless. No question. So lack of faith was not the reason why she passed, it was her time. Full stop.
Those of you who've been healed or know someone who has been healed by God, I rejoice with you. But those of you, like me who suffer pain on a daily basis, let NO-ONE tell you that you are not healed because you lack faith. It is a lie. Let 'Let Your will be done' be our prayer and rest be found in the knowledge that even if God's will doesn't give us what WE want, our prayer shows that our hearts are open and willing to do what HE wants for us. It's very difficult to stay positive, but let's remember that His grace is sufficient to keep us. And believe me, I'm encouraging myself as I write this. God Bless everyone :)

Anonymous said...

As I read through these posts, I was so appreciative of those who read the Bible cleary and completly understand that the healing spoken of in the Bible is miraculous and beautiful; however, to present that anyone who is not healed is lacking in faith is sheer silliness. I can think of no other way to respond. I do not mean to insult anyone; however, it is that kind of teaching that drives many people from going to church and others from even wanting to attend. First, we need to constantly priase God and thank him for his greatness and never ending love. If God always healed, then there would be no earthly death among those who have sufficient faith. God has a Divine reason for healng and a Divine reason for not doing so! It is far too big an issue for me to even attempt to completely understand. Far too many people who are good Christians have been mislead and spend their last months and days praying for healing, versus simply thanking God for having lived, having had the opportunity to accept him, having had the opportunity to have and love family and dear friends. The one thing many people fail to accept until absolutely forced to is that each and every one of us must die and earthly death. Some will go peacefully, others tragically! No, I don't completely understand that, except to say that we, as men, have brought about many of our own problems. Others are simply a part of living on this earth. Lots of life is simply not fun, but there is a sufficient amount that is! I found the greatest peace when I finally stopped thinking that there might be a logical answer for every issue. There is not! I no longer live a life in which I attempt to find an answer that makes me Happy in every instance and issue! Instead, I just attempt to take each day as it comes. I don't overthink tomorrow or an hour from now. I too believe that God is far more forgiving than many teach. Jesus Christ, God in human form, the Son of God, loved and loves each and every one of us. All I know is that when the time comes and we are being judged, we will know that his judgement is fair and just! We will not have to worry that our case has not been properly presented. Jesus is my Lawyer and I know he will win my case! That simply is how I live and believe. For some, it will be called that of a simpleton. For others, a different view. Another thing I finally learned is that I need only to look within myself and stop worrying about what everyone else said or thought in order to find peace. The best to all and may God richly bless and give you the same contentment and peace.

Anonymous said...

I was googling and found your post. Awsome word!i was diagnosed with Bipolar years ago. I praise God thata He gives me grace every day to serve him. I never stop believing for healing but my faith is focused upon the healer not the healing. He is God - I trust him no matter what the outcome. And some day I do get to lay this disease down, once and for all. There are so many questions that won't be answered in this life but the most important one is. Does Jesus love me...yes, He does - the Bible tells me so.

Anonymous said...

Some additional perspective that I think we can ALL agree with....I love unity...and feel that we need to be reminded "to live is Christ and to die is gain." God knows the number of hairs on our head, and the number of days we have on this earth. He tells us to pray "on earth as it is in heaven." Lord, we pray heavenly blessings to your earthly citizens, but let us not be divided. For the enemy comes to "kill, steal, and destroy," but you give us "a peace that surpasses all understanding." Lord, for those reading this that don't have your peace...I pray that they be given it. For each of us can turn to you and be comforted no matter what and usually it is only hurt people that hurt people.

Melissa said...

I am 30 years old. When I was saved five years ago, I became ill with a chronic disease. It causes pain every day of my life, and a constant need to go to the bathrooom. I got sick when I got saved, and I was so on fire for Jesus, and so in love with him with much faith. I still am, but the point is, I did get sick after I was saved. I do not think it was Gods will that I got sick. I believe I got sick because of the diet I used to eat, and the conditions of this sinful world we live in. I think even as Christians, we need to take care of our world and our bodies, because we are not immune to disease. I have prayed with SO MUCH faith believing I would get healed, with many people who claimed I would be. Instead, God keeps telling me when I am 31 I will be healed. But, not by a laying of hands. By radically changing my diet to a healthy one, and working with a natural doc who knows the right supplements to give me to detox myself. I felt abandoned by God so many times after I got prayed for and still remained sick. It was not a faith builder, it tore me down. The God who so graciously saved me, would not leave me out in the cold if it really was his will to heal every time here on earth. God has never left me in my suffering, and he continues to lead me in the path HE wants me to go for healing, which may not always be the easiest. He has refined me through this. He is building character, and for that I am grateful for my chronic illness. Its easy for someone who has never had a chronic illness to say God always heals. We should be careful what we say because you never know when you will be faced with disease that God does not heal.

Ruth said...

I have also been struggling with this issue since my Dad passed away 6 months ago of cancer. We too were all praying fervently, listening to healing CD's, taking communion daily and I don't think I could have had any more faith than I did....how could I have wanted anything more than to see my glorious father in heaven heal my amazing, inspirational father on earth? However the reverse happened and the onset of the cancer speeded up day by day until he passed away. I blamed myself for a long time believing that I did not have enough faith or did not pray enough or say the right prayers. One day I was praying to God and he said to me 'would it have been your doing if your Dad had got healed? Would you have gone around saying look at what I did, look at what my faith achieved or would you have said look at what my God in heaven has done?' Of course I replied that I would have directed all glory to him so he simply said ' well then the fact that your Dad didn't get healed also has nothing to do with you.' This has released me from a lot of pain and self blame and the only reason I post this is that it may help someone else too as it really is a tough thing to deal with. I thank God for my amazing Dad who just 2 days before he died said he was in a win-win situation he either gets healed or he goes to be with Jesus....either way he wins. I pray that every day my eyes would be fixed on what is eternal not what is temporary, this life is the shadow of the life to come not the other way round and ultimately we are all made perfect in him.

Anonymous said...

God is more interested in a personal relationship. If that means not healing someone, but the person will become more close to him than ever before that is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

I would urge you all not to fight because this is not wise. Their are loved ones dealing with their grief and many of us have suffered greatly for one means or another.

When it gets personal everything can change. For years I used to believe it was all about Faith, as I was "born again" in a Pentecostal church which claimed the answers were simply ABC.. Faith and you can be healed.

I studied the Scriptures.. God establishing a new covenant - giving us all access to the throne room, whatever we ask in Jesus Name etc.

The problem is that for most people attaining those kinds of promises unfortunately stays in the realms of far fetched; but that all said I have seen miracles I could never deny...

And then I got sick.. a rare disease... it's plaguing my body and the unbelief began because I have not been able to attain such promises.

Instead of getting support the church I loved ostracised me because of my "obvious" lack of faith.. and I've been wrestling hard to believe in God ever since.

Yet deep down in my heart I do know that sometimes there are so many variables in life that nothing is ever as simple as "just".

God is Sovereign and His Word true.. but it is 20th century philosophy amongst men that has turned these ideals into absolutes... as we try to put God in a box and say either one or the other.

God is (now) also a living human being (Jesus Christ)... and we sometimes forget as far as God is concerned it isnt just about the here and now...

Most of the New Testament disciples had it bad.. they were excuted, some tortured to death.

While we can argue semantics; and debate like the Pharisees and cause one another heart ache all in the name of our religion; we should also be mindful of the greater truth.. that of which reality reminds us... because reality is simply the truth.

And in the end.. all this debating serves no point but to make people disbelieve in God and throw away their eternal salvation because of a small physical gain.

Yes believe for healing... for this is what faith is.. faith hopes all things.

But in the end - do not crucify the church (people) because they can not attain. It isnt just faith.. because if it was that simple we'd all be healed. Remember God died for us.. that faith was never ours.. Salvation is a gift of God - it never comes back to works...

Those of you who believe Faith is the answer should be healing the sick.. not arguing about your lack of faith.

Have mercy on all of us who now suffer... for we need your love.. not your condemnation.

It is my prayer and hope that the church will stop persecuting each other and instead LOVE as Christ Loved us...

Remember Jesus Christ gave His life for us... and it was a cruel horrific way to die... and if that wasnt enough - He was seperated from God - a torture unimaginable.

Even into Hell itself.

Why didnt God heal Him?

Even Jesus had to die too!!!

One day - we all will... but despair not for our suffering whilst great will not be forever.

There is hope in Jesus.

God bless you all...

Keep the Faith...

Believe - always - no matter what.


Chovabub

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

When things get personal often only then do people truly understand that it is never just about Faith. It isn't about anything except for Jesus Christ. No matter what we get here on Earth the true reward is that which is to come. (Heaven).Earth is the unfortunate testing ground for us humans, but God (who sees the heart) will reward according to our faith. This faith is not ours.. it starts / ends with God. Salvation and healing are not ours - they are God's alone. God died for us while we were still sinners. We didn't save ourselves. All of us will die. All we can do is hope for the best for faith believes all things and hopes all things. Do not despair if you are not healed... God does love you!! But God unfortunately does allow evil on the Earth for a season... these answers will never be easy to accept in this place. But God allows this because His nature is to give everyone a chance... as He even gave the devil chance.. until iniquity was found within him. Whilst our suffering can be horrific it will not be in vain. we will be reunited with all those we love if we remain steadfast to the end. Remember only God can judge for only God sees the Heart!!!

Do not let your hearts be troubled - nor let them be afraid.. For this life is nothing to the life which is to come and reality is simply proof. If Faith was all that was required we would all be healed! Those who preach such only wish to rule and not to serve. The real heart of God is one who endures and loves everyone the end for such is the Heart of God.

God bless you all.

I am sorry for those of you who lost your loved ones... do not lose hope, for those who preach and those who walk with God are not necessarily the same.

The heart is all about Faith, Hope AND Love. All 3. Not just Faith!

I pray God give you wisdom and strength.

Love,

Chovabub

Anonymous said...

I would like to say thank you for this post, as well as the one about Abednego. I recently lost a student to cancer. He had many people praying for his healing, including me, and I was reading "God wants to heal all" type of books, so I was believing for this teenagers healing here on earth. Needless to say, when he died, my faith was shattered. It has been 2 weeks now, and I have spent the last 2 weeks not questioning whether I had enough faith, because I KNOW I had faith that this child would be healed, but rather questioning God, who He is. As another poster said, I felt devastated, betrayed, saddened, etc. My grief was for the teenager, yes, although he is in a much better place now, but mostly, I was grieving the fact that if I believed that God does want to heal all all the time, and I know I had enough faith, then God must not be who everyone says He is. It is a horrible place to be. I cry myself to sleep every night, because I cannot wrap my mind around this. And I prayed last night that God would somehow restore my faith. Today, I googled "when God doesn't heal" and your post came up. Thank you.
I think that the "God wants to heal all the time" theory leaves too many people questioning and shattered when a loved one is lost who was not healed. Just my thoughts...