I would imagine that all Christians have prayed for healing at one time or another. Am I right? This is because most Christians believe that God has the power to heal and does heal. What does God’s Word teach us about healing?
1. IT IS IN GOD’S NATURE TO HEAL
To say that God does not heal people today is to say that the nature and attributes of God have changed. God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God still heals. There is a wonderful example of this found in Matthew 14:13-14. When Jesus had heard that John the Baptist had been beheaded, he was shocked and was overwhelmed with grief.
Matthew 14:13-14 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
When Jesus got word that John the Baptist had been beheaded, He was shaken emotionally and overwhelmed with grief and sorrow. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. He was six months older than Jesus and they knew each other since birth.
When Jesus learned what had happened to John, He boarded a boat and headed to a place where He could be alone and reflect and pray. But the people ran around the lake and thousands gathered in the place Jesus was going for some time alone. As the disciples rowed the boat toward the solitary place that Jesus wanted to go, I am sure the disciples were silent. Jesus sat quietly pondering what had happened to John. Jesus was experiencing the human emotions of shock, sorrow, grief and heartache.
Experiencing what He was experiencing, Jesus’ compassion for those who were sufering Him was intensified. As Jesus looked at the crowds waiting for Him, His heart went out to them. A deep sense of compassion and pity rose up from deep within Him for the people. This word “compassion” in this verse means, “to have the bowls yearn, to feel deep sympathy, to have great sympathy and pity and to be moved with compassion.”
When Jesus landed on the shore, He immediately began to heal the people who were sick. We learn from this account the great compassion of Jesus for the sick and suffering. His response to their need was to heal them. Healing is part of the nature of God.
2. GOD HEALS TO GLORIFY HIMSELF AND HIS SON
Sometimes God heals for the purpose of bringing glory to Himself and to Jesus. Consider the story of Lazarus. Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was very sick and to come as soon as possible. Martha and Mary had complete faith that Jesus could heal their brother. But Jesus did not come right away. He lingered purposely and Lazarus died. Why did Jesus do this?
John 11:4 NIV When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not end in death. It is for the Glory of God, to bring Glory to the Son of God.”
In this account we see that Jesus let Lazarus die, but for a reason Martha and Mary did not know. This story is not about the death and resurrection of Lazarus, but this story is about how God used the death and resurrection of Lazarus to bring glory to His Son, Jesus. Healing brings Glory to God and to Jesus.
When people are healed, it validates His loving nature and the awesome power of God, and God is glorified. Healing produces praise!
3. GOD HEALS TO REACH THE LOST
John 2:23 NIV When Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, many people believed in him because they saw the miracles he did.
Healing demonstrates the power of God over nature. It defies the laws of nature. It defies human logic and reasoning. It boggles the mind. And when confronted with a miracle that comes from the mighty power of God, people believe.So, God heals people in order to reveal Himself to the lost, and open the door to salvation.
4. GOD HEALS IN RESPONSE TO FAITH
There was a woman who had suffered with constant bleeding. She wanted Jesus to heal her. She was in a huge crowd surrounding Jesus. The dense crowd of people that was jostling, trying to get close to Jesus. This determined sick woman fought her way through the crowd and managed to get close enough to Jesus to touch His cloak, believing that if she could just touch His cloak, she would be healed.
Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned and saw the woman and said, “Be encouraged, dear woman. You are made well because you believed.” And the woman was healed from that moment on.
God honors your belief. God heals because of your faith.
There was a Canaanite (non-Jewish) woman who came to Jesus and pleaded for healing for her daughter who had an evil spirit in her and she was suffering a great deal. Jesus put her off and told her that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. But in spite of Jesus’ refusal to heal her daughter, she persisted because she believed Jesus and had faith that He could heal her daughter.
Matthew 15:28 NIV Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! I will do what you asked.” And at that moment the woman’s daughter was healed.
Why did Jesus put her off in the first place? He was testing her faith, and she demonstrated how strong her faith was. So, Jesus healed her daughter. Our faith is a thing in God’s sight. Never underestimate the power of your belief. God honors faith that is persistent. So, if God does not answer your prayer for healing the first time, keep asking. Be patient and keep believing with all your heart that God can heal you. God heals us because of your faith.
5. GOD HEALS BECAUSE OF HIS PROMISE
James 5:14-16 NIV Anyone who is sick should call the church’s elders. They should pray for and pour oil on the person in the name of the Lord. And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will heal that person. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The power of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
God gives us instructions on how we are to approach God for healing. You are to call on the leaders of the church. They will come and pray for you and anoint you in oil. Oil represents the Holy Spirit in the bible and was used in the name of the Lord to signify that the person was now set apart for God’s special attention and care. The prayer of faith will be heard and the sick person will be healed.
But God also gives more instructions to His people as well. They are to make sure that they have no unconfessed sin in them. If they have issues with other people, they are to forgive. They must have a clean heart in order to be healed. Having approached God from a righteous heart, God tells us that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” So, God heals us because He has promised to do so.
BUT DOES GOD ALWAYS HEAL?
Why doesn’t God heal us? What are some of the reasons God does not heal us?
One of the main reasons prayers are not answered is because of doubt. Doubt undermines faith. James explains this in James 1:5-8.
James 1:5 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:6 NIV But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7 NIV That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The word “double-minded” means “to be of two minds, to vacillate between believing in God and doubting God.” Doubt is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. He will do whatever he can to create doubt in you and get you to doubt God. In this way, he undermines your faith in God. So, doubt will keep your prayers from being answered.
2. THE REDEMPTIVE VALUE OF SUFFERING
Suffering from physical affliction is never pleasant, and we all want deliverance from it. But are there times that God does not answer our prayers and allows us to experience suffering for His purposes. Consider what happened to Paul. Paul had some kind of physical problem that he referred to as “a thorn in the flesh.” Whatever it was, God did not heal him of it.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8b NIV So that I would not become too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me, a painful physical problem was given to me. This problem was a messenger from Satan, sent to beat me and keep me from being too proud. I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.”
One of the reasons God allowed Paul to have this painful physical affliction was to remind him that he was not to be so proud. This may have been a problem for Paul, given his intellect, education and position in Jewish leadership and later in the church. In this case, God did not heal Paul because God wanted to remind Paul about his pride problem, and to show Paul that HIS strength was enough for Paul. It kept Paul humble and from becoming too prideful. There are times when God does not heal us, but it is not because we lack faith, or there is something wrong with our spiritual walk. It is for our own good. Look at Paul.
3. SOVEREIGN MYSTERIES
God does not explain everything to us. God has His reasons for everything He does and does not do. Consider the man at the Pool of Bethesda. There was a pool where sick people gathered to be healed. When the angel of the Lord came and stirred the water, the first one in the pool was healed. There was a man who had been sick for 38 years.
John 5:6-9 NIV When Jesus saw the man and knew that he had been sick for such a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well? The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the pool when the water starts moving. While I am coming to the water, someone else gets in before me.” Then Jesus said, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk. And immediately the man was well; he picked up his mat and walked.
This is a great story of healing. But why did Jesus choose to only heal this one man? There were many there that needed healing. We do not know why, but God knows. There are times that God chooses to heal some and not others. The reasons are His. We do not know why now. But someday we will.
Remember the man who had a skin disease who came to Jesus and asked for healing?
Matthew 8:1-3 NIV When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!” And immediately the man was healed from his disease.
The fact is that GOD DOES HEAL!
We know that we have a God who has deep compassion for us and wants to express His love for us through healing. And we know that if we have faith and believe that God can heal us, then whatever happens will be what God desires for us. So, every Christian and church should be praying for healing of all kinds; spiritual, emotional and physical!
God bless you all. Aren’t you glad that God still heals?