When I wrote this post in August 2014 I had no idea how close to home it would hit. As you know, if you have been following this blog and my Facebook page, that Ruth, my wife of 43 years went to be with the Lord on January 24, 2015. When we learned of her diagnosis we prayed and asked that others pray for her healing. While I prayed and asked others to pray asking God to heal her I asked that we also pray that God's will be done in her life.
I didn't publish this post here back in August. I read it again the other night wondering if the events of the last month have changed my thoughts and beliefs from last August. They had not. The post is exactly as I wrote it in August. I have resisted making any changes or inserting anything as a result of the events of the last month.
When you write an article like this you run the risk of being misunderstood so I did have some reluctance in finally deciding to do it. People may believe I don’t believe that God can and does heal. Nothing is further from the truth. I do believe in healing and I believe in miracles but my belief is in the way the Bible says it and not the way we have sometimes been taught by taking certain scripture out of context and trying to make it fit our specific situations. Then if we or our loved one is not healed and maybe dies we blame God and say He didn't or couldn't keep His promises or that we or our loved one didn't have enough faith so it was our or their fault.
What the Bible Says
There is a huge difference in believing God for our healing and claiming healing as if God owes it to us or that it’s guaranteed. I have often struggled with the scriptures that people use when praying for healing for themselves or others and when hands are laid on people for healing because they are often taken out of context. The answer is in the bible so I went there and here’s what I found that the Bible says about faith and healing.
We have always heard that it is God’s will for His children to prosper and be in health and we use
3 John 1:2 (HCSB) Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.
We quote that verse all the time and take it as a promise of God for good health and for prosperity. While it is God’s will that we be heathy and that we have all our needs met that’s not what this verse is saying. This is John’s salutation in a letter to a friend. It’s like our saying Dear John, I hope that this letter finds you healthy and prosperous.
Here’s another one:
Isaiah 53:5 (HCSB) But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
This is also quoted in 1 Peter 2:24. We quote this verse and claim healing for our physical bodies. Wrong again. The healing here is of our souls not our physical bodies. This verse is addressing sin and righteousness not physical illness. These verses are talking about forgiveness and salvation. Jesus did heal people but what happened during the crucifixion was for our souls not our bodies.
The Bible doesn’t link physical healing with spiritual healing. Sometimes people are physically healed when they place their faith in Christ, but not always.
We often hear that you weren’t healed because you don’t have enough faith. That is in direct contrast to the experience of a great man of faith, Paul. Remember this?
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (HCSB) 7 especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
People are trying to get more faith, and increase their faith thinking that “if I just believe I will be healed”. That’s more New Age than Christian faith. Faith isn’t just believing that something will happen before it does (Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.). It’s knowing that God has made provisions for that healing, and then trusting Him to manifest it.
Here is something that I found in my research for this post. This is from a website of Come Let Us Reason Ministries: (http://www.letusreason.org/Wf16.htm)
Of the 35 miracles recorded in the Gospel accounts the faith of the recipient is exercised in only10 of the accounts. Healing of the lame man (Jn.5:1-9) the cleansing of a leper (Mt.8:2-4) healing a mans withered hand (Mt.9:2-8) the healing of the man born blind (Jn.9:1-7) healing the blindness of Bartemaeus (Mt.20:29-34) The women who had a blood flow (Mt.9:20-22; Mk.5:24-34) Peter who walked on water to Jesus (Mt.14:24-33) the miraculous catching of the fish (Lk.5:1-11) and the second miraculous catch (Jn.21:1-11) The cleansing of the 10 lepers of which only one had faith (Lk.17:11-19).
Jesus did not heal everyone always either Jn.5:1-15 v.3 Multitudes were gathered at the pool of Bethsaida, but Jesus picked only one to be healed a blind and lame man and disregarded the rest. V.3.The blind man acted on Christ's invitation, having no faith. He didn't know it was Jesus who healed him until later v.12-13.How many times did Jesus go past the gate of the temple and not heal anyone? Why doesn't he heal everyone all the time? Why didn't heal those who had faith and picked others who had no faith?
Here’s the right perspective
1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB) 14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. (emphasis mine)
Sickness, disease, pain, and death are realities in this world. Unless the Lord returns first, everyone who is alive today will die, and the vast majority of them (Christians included) will die as the result of a physical problem (disease, sickness, injury). It is not always God’s will to heal us physically.
Sometimes it is God’s will to heal, but sometimes it is not as in this case with Paul. In Paul’s case God’s will was that he not become prideful because of all his gifts and influence. He wanted to remind Paul to stay humble and that His mercy was more than enough to sustain him. Don't think that because you have not been healed that you don’t have enough faith or some sin prevents your healing, or that you are under a generational curse. You just might have God's glory resting on you for a special purpose. Like the blind man in
John 9:1-3 (HCSB) 1 As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples questioned Him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “⌊This came about⌋ so that God’s works might be displayed in him.
As I said earlier it is God’s will that we be healthy, but that doesn't mean that healing is a right. Scripture, I have come to believe, teaches that healing is a gift received by faith. A gift is not something that you can demand or claim that you have a right to. When Jesus walked the earth those who wanted healing asked Him for it. They didn't demand it and Jesus healed them voluntarily. Salvation and eternal life are gifts from God to us because of His grace and mercy not because we earned or deserve them. I believe that healing is one of those gifts. We don’t earn healing because we go to church and bible study every week, or pray three times a day. It is a gift from God.
Ultimately, our full physical healing awaits us in heaven. In heaven, there will be no more pain, sickness, disease, suffering, or death (Revelation 21). We all need to be less preoccupied with our physical condition in this world and a lot more concerned with our spiritual condition.
Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB) 1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Then we can focus our hearts on heaven where we will no longer have to deal with physical problems.
Revelation 21:4 (HCSB) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.