The Case for Healing

Anyone who knows me well, knows that there is a certain aspect of God's Word that I am deeply passionate about, but for the most part, I also keep deeply hidden. For some people - including dear friends - this subject is extremely touchy, and it has kept me from speaking about it openly. It's a topic that has a hairline boundary between being extremely offensive, finger-pointing, judgmental, and compassionless, and being practical, faith-based, Gospel-infused, fruitful, and a blessing. It can fall into the basket of either miracle or blasphemy, truth or heresy. People can be slandered and criticized for it, or abandoned and judged over it. Many claim it as a good thing, still others believe that it isn't always good or needed. However one day when I sat down to my daily devotions, I felt compelled to pull out a notebook and write down every piece of Scriptural evidence I could find and in my own words, state exactly where I stand on this topic. When I was pondering my next blog post, this piece of writing came to mind, and I felt that now was the right time to share it.

The topic, as I'm sure you have guessed by now, is healing. Is it God's will for you to be well, or is it His design to teach you something through your suffering? Do miraculous healings still happen today or did those miracles pass away with the disciples? If I pray for healing, will God say yes or no? All of these questions I have attempted to address in one big statement of faith - if you will - on why I believe that yes, it is God's will for you to be healed, and yes, miracles still happen today. Copying from my notes, I've addressed each point with a question that I endeavor to answer from the Bible. This will probably be a heavy and long read, so either feel free to skip reading this one, or hold onto your hats. Here we go.

1. What does the Bible say about sickness?

The first mention of sickness in the Bible is in reference to Jacob when his death was drawing near. However otherwise, the first time it is mentioned in the context synonymous with "disease" is in Exodus 23:25 - So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and water, and I will take the sickness away from the midst of you. The first reference of the word "disease" in the Bible is Exodus 15:26 - If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you. Sin brought the curse into the world and according to Deuteronomy 28, sickness and disease are part of that curse. So in the Old Testament, whilst there was no atonement for sin, those living under the curse as a result of disobedience suffered sickness. Notice how disobedience to God was what caused sickness to fall upon the Egyptians? Living in opposition to God is operating in the curse, and that curse includes sickness and disease. Also notice how God does not say that He is that God that inflicts pain and disease, but He is the God that heals us. It was people's own behaviour that brought physical calamity on themselves, not God (note: this isn't to say that if someone is sick today it's because they're rebelling against God. Bad stuff, i.e., sickness, also happens as a result of living in a fallen world. I'll refer to this later).

2. Is it God's will we be healed?

No one who came to Jesus for healing was refused. Not for any reason. This should be a big enough piece of proof that it's God's will to heal every time, but I'll proceed. Jesus healed every single person bound under the curse of sickness. Mark 1:41 removes all doubt of God's willingness to heal - Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing." Jesus didn't say that He was willing to heal this man specifically, but was speaking as a whole. He is willing to heal, and that willingness encompasses everyone. Almost every instance of a healing miracle in the New Testament is proceeded by the glorifying of God. This proves that God is not glorified in sickness, but in health and healing. Matthew 15:31 - So the multitudes marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. The miracles and healings of Jesus were the precursor to what He would empower all Christians to do upon His death and resurrection. Before He died, He could only heal those who came to Him, because Jesus was bound by His physical body. But Jesus intended to pay the price of sickness and disease, pay the price of the curse with Himself so that people all over the world may be healed, and made spiritually whole. Isaiah 53:4-5 says that by His stripes - the price repaid - we are healed. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (read sickness, as it is included in the curse) having become the curse for us and in 5:1, we can stand in the liberty in which Christ has made us free. Sickness and disease are not of God, but Jesus bought back our health and healing by the wounds He suffered; notice the past tense of 1 Peter 2:24 - by His stripes we were healed (emphasis mine). Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death, which is the curse (Rom. 8:2). Therefore we are now called to live in the freedom of His blessing. James 1:25 - But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it... is blessed in what he does. Romans 4:7-8 now refers to us if we have accepted the atonement of Jesus and have given our lives to Him. So we are now able to lay claim to and live in all the blessings listed in the first part of Deuteronomy 28.

Now before I go any further, bear in mind that a sick person is still perfectly capable of glorifying God through their trials. No matter what we may suffer, we are still called to glorify God through every circumstance. Having said that, I don't believe that God's Word says that being sick, suffering, poor or otherwise needy in some way is a condition that glorifies God. We as individuals may glorify Him through such a situation, but that does not mean God has put his "blessing" on a curse. The church has somehow twisted things that are inherently bad, and are calling them "good" - 'The sickness was a good thing because God taught me patience', 'it was of God that we lived in poverty so long because we learnt to trust Him more' etc. This mindset is not Biblical. God can - and does - use any and every bad circumstance and situation for our own good, but this does not mean that God inflicted those things upon us. We live in a world overrun by the devil, and we often live with the effects of his evilness. However God can use what the devil meant for bad for good in all our lives. He brings good things out of the bad the devil puts upon us, and though God does this, it does not mean we should assume it was His will for it to happen in the first place. James 1:16-17 says do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Isaiah also warns in 5:20 - Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! God is only the giver of good things. So though sickness is a bad thing and God can still be glorified through it, God is not the author or giver of the curse, and He is not glorified in the enemy's devices. Luke 11:11-13 says: which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! We can always trust that God knows more than we do what is good, and it is not a matter of God loving us so much He would inflict us with something terrible for our own well-being, but more that God has even better things in store for us than we can even imagine.

3. The question of Job and Paul.

Firstly, it can't be assumed that the devil truly needed God's permission to inflict what he did on Job. The devil is not one who has ever nor will ever bow to God's authority, so why should this scenario have been any different? It could be that God already knew exactly what the devil was planning and simply let him know that He knew. It's more than likely that the devil was being highly sarcastic and knew it would hurt God more to torture Job than to kill him outright. I don't believe that passage can be taken on face value, since Job is also the oldest book of the Bible, his knowledge and revelation of who God is and how he works is a lot more obscure than in later books. I could warble on a lot longer about different things I've learnt concerning the book of Job, but those are a few thoughts to chew over.

As to why it happened, notice the calamities did not seem to come as a surprise to Job? Why is this? It would seem Job opened his door to destruction as he states in 3:25 - the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. It seems apparent that the devil took advantage of Job's thought life and greatest fears. It is often what we meditate on the most that comes to pass, whether it be good or bad.

I don't believe it was God's doing or God's will for Job to suffer what he did. What happened to Job was a result of living in a fallen worled where sins, curses and the devil exist. Job may have opened the door for his destruction through his worry and fear, yet God in His goodness used it for Job's good. I think the lesson we can take from Job is that though terrible things happen to us in the world, we can "be of good cheer, because Christ has overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33). This means that even though the devil causes bad things to happen (NOT God) we can be confident that in Him we can overcome them and that God will use it all for our good (Rom. 8:28). As you see in the story of Job, God brought him out of his destructions and set him on high, blessing him beyond measure. He overcame.

As for Paul, firstly, there is no true record that the "messenger of Satan" was a sickness. Also, you'll note that Paul suffered much at the hands of others for the Gospel's sake, not suffered sickness as a trial to be endured for the diseases' sake. God told Paul "His Grace was sufficient for him". What grace? The same grace that caused God to send His Son to die for him and to pay the price for his need. Paul was being told that he had the power and authority in Christ by God's grace to rise above this trial. We may be persecuted by others for the Word's sake, however God would never inflict us with a disease or illness to make us "trust Him more". Though God uses these things, it is never His design or will for us to remain in them. Notice that later, Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:11 that all the persecutions and afflictions he endured... out of them all the Lord delivered him (emphasis mine). The grace that is sufficient (definition: enough to meet one's needs, plenty of, ample, abundant) is the grace that caused Jesus to die nailed to a cross to give us access to God and qualify us for all His blessings, and redemption from the curse. That includes freedom from illness and disease.

4. Receiving healing.

Here's the bit that gets tricky. Actually, it really is rather simple, but a lot of speakers and fanatics have clouded the waters of this point, so I will try my best to make it clearer.

Over and over in the Bible, particularly the New Testament, Jesus commends those who had the faith to be healed and told several it was by their own faith that they were made whole. Everyone's mind has now leapt to the fabled "faith healing" movement, where if you conjure up enough positive energy within yourself, you'll make "enough faith" for you to be healed. This is not true. You don't need "enough faith" to the point where you have no doubt that God won't heal you. Faith healing movements really put an enormous blight on the truth and have misconstrued God's design for us to receive healing. Faith, put in laymen's terms, is simply believing it is indeed God's will for you to be healed. No great hocus-pocus or trying to prove faith to yourself by immense positive thinking. In order to be healed, we must simply believe it is His will (the same as we must believe that God is when we receive salvation) and stand on His Word and His truth about the promise and blessing of our healing. Speaking out what God has promised to you releases the power of His Word to transform your life (Heb. 4:12). It is not simply putting on a set of blinkers and ignoring the fact you are sick. It's not denying and lying about your condition. It is choosing to believe what God's Word says over what your body says. Just as we must believe what God says about our salvation, so we are to believe His Word about our healing. And this does not just apply to healing, it applies to every promise of God, whether that be His promise of children to childless couples (Ps. 128:3), His promise of provision (Matt. 6:26), His promise of safety (Ps. 91), or His promise of guidance (Is. 30:21). All of these things are received by the faith and belief that God is faithful and just to keep His promises (Heb. 10:23). This isn't to say that we are all healed based on our own works or our own merit, but rather it is laying claim to what Jesus provided for us. God is not a forceful God. He will not force anything upon us, not even blessing. It is up to us to step out in faith to receive that for which He has made available for us.

5. What about the ones who weren't healed?

Who am I to say why.

That's my honest answer. I cannot see into the spiritual realm. I cannot see into a person's past, and how different thought processes, experiences, and circumstances may have shaped the individual and predict why healing did not come about. I can't tell you why that good Christian lady died of cancer when she prayed for healing. I can't see what the devil is doing. I can't understand everything that happens. But should this change my perception or my understanding of what I can see God's Word says is true? God has told us that the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy (Jn. 10:10), so it is true that the devil has indeed stolen many lives through sickness and disease. Perhaps those people didn't understand that God wanted them well. Perhaps they didn't understand that they needed to believe it was God's will all along for them to be healed. Maybe they spoke the words, but didn't believe in their heart. Maybe they allowed their hearts and minds to be overridden with fear and doubt and disbelief that hindered God's Word from making a difference in their lives. How can I know? I can't. But should I allow the circumstances I don't understand change my opinion of God's truth? Does the Bible change because the devil wins a fight? It does not change. The Jesus that healed every person who came to Him is the same today as He was then (Heb. 13:8) and His promises are for the here and now (2 Cor. 1:20, 2 Cor. 6:2). The results are not up to me. I am only called to do one thing: and that is to stand on God's Word. He will do what He has promised. God has called us to heal the sick, and cast out demons (Matt. 10:8), not to understand why someone did not get healed. We are called to obey, not to question. So whether I see immediate results or not, when God tells me to pray for someone that they may be healed, I will praise God and thank Him that He is faithful, that He is good and the giver of good things, and that He will perform His Word; if not now, later (Is. 55:11).

I'm reminded of a quote from the movie Facing the Giants, where the coach says "if we win, we praise Him, if we lose, we praise Him". Regardless of the outcome, whether healing is seen or not, God is still good, and still worthy of our praise. We can seek Him and ask for His wisdom that we might know what could be hindering our healing, but God's Word is still true. His promises will still be performed. It's not our job to "heal" people. It's God's. So regardless of what results or lack of results I see, I will pray for people with the faith that God meant what He said when He said "I am the Lord that heals you". I will pray with the conviction God is true to His promises. I will pray with the assurance it is indeed His will - always - for you to be healed and whole. And I will pray that above all things, regardless of the circumstances, the outcome, or the final result, that above everything, God will be glorified.

Because if I am not glorifying God by loving His people, I am nothing. If I hurt people by preaching at them that they can be healed if they seek God and stand on His Word without any hint of love or compassion, I'm nothing less than a monster. How am I to know that God won't use this person just the way they are to reach people I could never reach? Though I believe it's God's will they overcome it, how am I to be sure God won't use their experiences to touch people I could never relate to? Healing is just one of God's many tools to reach people and love people. If it is not used with love, compassion and grace, then healing can just as easily be a bad thing. So though I speak all of this with solid conviction, it is in no way meant to condemn or belittle. The amazing thing about God is that He will always meet us wherever we are found, and it doesn't matter what we may be working through or suffering. His grace is sufficient. Through His victory, we can overcome whatever trial the devil may put in our way. And whether or not you agree or completely disagree with this post, I think that the one thing we can agree on is that we are loved by an incredibly awesome God and regardless of where we are on this road to eternity, He is faithful to bring us into that place where every tear will be wiped away in the end.

Thankyou for taking the time to read this. I truly would love to hear your thoughts (even if you totally disagree with me) so feel free to leave a comment!

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  1. So... do you believe that God will fix every sort of bad thing that happens to us, if we have faith?

    1. That is a multifaceted question that could have a million different variables, so I will answer it by saying that I believe it's always God's will that we overcome and conquer ever trial, and we can do it by faith in Him, and standing on His promises. :)

  2. Read it all, and agree. You must have put a lot of time into this post.

    1. I'm grateful you took the time go read it, Clare! I did put a lot of time into it, but it was insightful to study as I did. :)

  3. Thank you for reading, Twinnie. :)


Please feel free to share your thoughts. I would love to hear your perspective. Let's learn from each other.