Monday, August 2, 2010

Does God Promise Healing?

Does God promise to heal Christians?  That is a question that many people would answer differently.  Before I get into my view of this question, let me say that I do so in all humility as  I know some even close to me would disagree.  To them I would like to ask to take into account the whole counsel of Scripture and not just one verse.  Let me also say that I do believe God can and does heal people miraculously.  I have heard amazing accounts from brothers and sisters that I know to be honest and I have even seen it in my own life.  God does heal. I just do not believe it is an automatic promise to heal everyone. 

The common verse used for God's promise to heal all is:
"But He was wounded for our transgressions He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
When we look at the example of healings in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles those healings were used to lead people to Christ.  They were meant to show the power and Glory of God and as a vindication for the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. 

I have seen God use sickness in Christians for many purposes including chastisement for sin or as an outreach to others.  We all know of people who had terrible diseases but yet were empowered by God to accept that illness with the grace and comfort that only God can provide for the purpose of sharing that grace and comfort with others. 

If God does promise to heal all our infirmities then that would include all our infirmities.  It would include everything from a paper cut to terminal illness.  In fact, terminal illness would be meaningless to a Christian because if God heals no illness would be terminal.  Would have no need to band-aids, medicine, casts on broken bones, or Tylenol for a headache as these things would be healed of God and the example in the Bible is that when God heals it is instant and complete.  There are no "progressive" healings or taking it in faith that you are healed even though it is physically evident that you are not.  Again, I am not saying that God does not heal. I am just saying that God chooses whom He heals for reasons we can not know or understand on this side of eternity.  However we do take it on faith that whatever God does it is for His glory and we bank on the promise spoken in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose." 

Some even go so far as to "claim" healing when one of us is sick.  Even if God did promise to heal one that was sick, those are not the instructions given to the church for a member of the body who is sick.  God is clear in how we are to ask for healing that is given to us here:
"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins he will be forgiven."  - James 5:14-15 NKJV

Finally, if healing was a function of faith,  we would be able to judge faith by whether or not someone is healed.  Are we to judge someone of sinning because God is not healing them?  Are we to judge someone's walk in God by how often they get sick?  Are we to question our own salvation whenever we get a headache that lags on for a while?  Are we to doubt the faith of Paul for such accounts as in Galations 4:13
"You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first." 
or 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations a thorn in the flesh was given to me a messenger of Satan to buffet me lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me "My grace is sufficient for you for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities in reproaches in needs in persecutions in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak then I am strong."
And that brings me to my point.  Our focus, through trials, through infirmities, though anything in life should not be our own sufferings but on the grace of God.  It is when we are weak and humble that we can experience the strength of God.  God may heal us or He may not but either way God will give us the strength to get through whatever trial or infirmity that we go through in life.  God does not allow us to suffer for suffering's sake but He takes us through these times as a way of showing His Glory.  We also know that this life is temporary, that regardless of what we go through we have an eternal reward waiting for us in the presence of God Himself where there is no more sickness, no more dying, no more sadness, and no more suffering.  Let's focus on the that, let's focus on the hope for things to come.  Let's put our eyes on eternity and not the "momentary light affliction" that is this world.  I will leave you with this Scripture:
"For all things are for your sakes that grace having spread through the many may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal"  -- 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

1 comment:

  1. "God chooses whom He heals for reasons we can not know or understand on this side of eternity."

    His ways are so much higher than ours. I agree we'll never know His reasons.