Any visit to a hospital is a vivid reminder of how many people in our world struggle with sickness and suffering every day. The affects of The Fall are evident all around us.
So what about healing? God obviously still heals today but many people, including Christians, struggle with sickness. What's up with all of this?
Here are a few thoughts on this important subject.
The Bible and Healing
When it comes to healing, we must begin with an accurate understanding of God’s character and nature. The Bible teaches us that, when it comes to our need, God knows (Prov.15:11. Psalm 139:1-10), God cares (Ex.34:6-7. 1 Pet.5:7), God is able to help (Jer.32:17, 27. Matt.19:26), and God is willing to help (Matt.8:2).
In response to this, there are three different camps in the Christian community:
1. “God knows, cares and is able but is not willing. This is not the time or the age;”
2. “God knows, cares and is able and always willing to heal you. If you’re sick and you’re not well, if you have a physical need and you’re not healed it’s because you lack faith. It’s always God’s will to heal and so there is something wrong with you if you aren’t;”
3. “God knows, cares and is able and is willing unless he has a higher purpose.”
The first camp (called “Cessasionists”) are strongly Biblical, but keep God in a box, in that they don’t believe that God still heals or does miracles today. The second camp (extreme “faith” teaching) has the strength of faith but the weakness of always putting God in a box to move a certain way without exception. The third camp has the strength of “balance” but must avoid a fatalistic attitude of “whatever will be, will be”. Our responsibility is to pray and ask God to heal and help us (Jas.5:13-16), then to trust God with the outcome.
The Bible teaches that God’s will for our life, generally speaking, is “health” (See Ex.15:26; 23:25. Psalm 103:1-3; 107:17-20. Prov.4:20-22. Is.53:4-5. Matt.8:16-17. 1 Pet.2:24). God’s provision is complete. He has done all that we need for life and godliness. He has made provision for our wholeness – spirit, soul and body. God desires health and wholeness for each one of us, as we walk in obedience to Him, so we can fulfil our life purpose.
However, like salvation, good health is not automatic. There are things we need to do to position ourselves to have the greatest possibility of good health. We need to have faith in God as our healer (Hos.4:6. John 8:32. Heb.11:6), obey his commands (Deut.28:58-60), maintain a healthy diet (Ex.16. 1Tim.4:4-5. Lev.11. Deut.14), exercise, rest and relax regularly (1Tim.4:8. Matt.11:28-30), and deal quickly with negative emotions (Eph.4:27-31. 1Cor.11:28-31. Matt.5:23-24).
There is no set pattern or formula in the Bible for healing. For instance, blind Bartemaus called out to Jesus and Jesus simply spoke to him and he was healed (Mark 10:46-52). Another blind man was not instantly healed. Jesus took mud and saliva, mixed it together and put it on his eye. As he went his way and did what he was told (“go and wash in the pool of Siloam”), he was healed. God’s healing power and anointing fell on a natural substance and flowed through it (John 9:1-12).
We can conclude that, “The pathway of healing that God has for you may be different from the one he has for someone else though you may have similar health problems.” Also, “At times God’s healing is spontaneous and instantaneous. Other times healing is a process and requires patience and perseverance as our healing is gradually manifested.” It could be an instant answer to prayer, a radical change of diet, a change of lifestyle or even a medical operation. If you are sick, pray for God’s direction, believe God’s promises to you from His Word, have others pray for you and talk to a reputable doctor.
We need a balance of faith (God’s part) and wisdom (our part). We should avoid extremes in either direction – having only wisdom (no faith) or only faith (no wisdom). lack of wisdom can be very dangerous. There are many sad stories of families with a loved one with a terminal illness who never even considered or talked about the possibility of death. Anyone with a terminal illness needs to exercise wisdom and talk about it with their family and loved ones. Then continue to believe God in faith for your healing. This is not unbelief, but it can save a lot of hurt and disappointment.
Also, prayer for healing does not make doctors and nurses obsolete. Sometimes natural means are appropriate (see 1 Tim.5:23), sometimes God chooses to heal miraculously, sometimes he doesn't and we often aren't sure why.
[Tomorrow - Praying for Healing]