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THE TRUTH ABOUT HEALING

Much emphasis is placed on healing in many churches today but, sadly, some very bad untruths are told by the churches in this matter. Some of these include:

•    You will be healed if we pray for you;

•    You just need to have plenty of faith;

•    God doesn’t like sickness therefore He will heal you (God always heals everyone who is sick);

•    If you aren’t healed when you have prayer, then it has to be your fault;

•    You must keep coming back for prayer so that the sickness stays away.

There are, of course, many other things, some of which are simply variations of what is in the list above. However, it is basic truth of these that I wish to address.

Before I start, let me categorically say that I believe in the power of healing, because it is written in God’s word; it happens time and time again; and I, personally, have been witness to healing. So to say that the whole thing is wrong would be also saying that God is a liar.

No, the fact of healing is not under question. It is the false teaching of too many churches that is under question.

So where do we find answers to this vexing question?

The answer is simple, we find it in God’s Word.

Let us start with the third item in the list above. To find the first answer to this falsehood, we will look at a general summary of the four gospels in the New Testament. There are just 34 people that are healed by Jesus in the accounts rendered by the four gospels (This can be extended to 36 if we take two accounts in Matthew’s Gospel and the corresponding stories in Mark and Luke). In addition to these 34 specific people, there are just 5 passages that mention general healing of sick people who came to Jesus. Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to believe that in the whole of Israel over the time period of Jesus’ ministry, that there was only 34 people who were sick or maimed in some way. That number is just far too small for me to accept, even allowing for the extra ones in the 5 general healing passages.

However, this is hardly the proof that everyone is not healed for we must allow that 34 plus the extras was indeed the total number, because we cannot, on just that evidence, rule out that possibility.

So we need to look further and, to do so, let us look at one specific healing that Jesus performed. We will not go into the aftermath of this healing and the controversy it caused, but we will look only at the event itself.

I refer to the healing of the paralytic as found in John 5:1-18 and, in particular, verses 3-6:

A large crowd of sick people were lying in the porches - the blind, the lame, and the paralysed. A man was there who had been ill for thirty eight years. Jesus saw him lying there, and he knew the man had been ill for such a long time; so He asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
John 5:3-6 (Good News Bible)

Now we note two very important things from this passage and specifically these 4 verses.

Firstly there were many sick people here. They had a good reason, for it was believed that the first person into the waters after a certain disturbance had occurred would be cured. One cannot blame the multitude of sick people for gathering there. So we note, very clearly, there were many people in this same category of being sick.

The second aspect is that Jesus singled out just one man. No reason for this process of elimination by Jesus is given, just that it occurred. This is of very great importance.

Jesus could have quite easily said to everyone present, “Okay people, I am healing you all, pick up your mats and head off home because you are all cured.” It was within His power to have been able to do that. However, that isn’t what He did. He chose just one man and quietly healed him there and then without any fuss or bother (though this certainly was to follow, as you will see by reading the remainder of this chapter).

Naturally, we would ask the question, “Why only this one man?”

Jesus obviously had His reasons, but these are not shared with us. Maybe it was to be used, just I am using the passage now, to explain to later generations of Christians just why not everyone is healed. I can only assume that as a possible reason, as I certainly have no special revelation from the Lord to say that this is categorically the reason.

The passage, however, does help us to understand that not everybody is healed, even if it does not necessarily satisfy our enquiring mind into the matter.

To look for a further explanation, we can look at the life of St. Paul.

Paul had some affliction which, again, is not explained to us (and I believe we do not really need to know what it was), that certainly placed some restrictions upon his ministry (though if we read his complete story we would wonder how much it did restrict him).

Paul, in his writings, makes it clear that it really bothered him and that it was a probable physical disability or problem of some type. So much so that he tells us:

But to keep me from being puffed up with pride because of the many wonderful things I saw, I was given a painful physical ailment, which acts as satan’s messenger to beat me and keep me from being proud. Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked Him to take it away. But His answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is strongest when you are weak.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (Good News Bible)

Now, here we have the great Apostle, Paul, admitting to a disability of some description. Not winging or whining about it but actually giving God glory for it (see further in the passage). Certainly he asks God to be healed of this infirmity, but that is not the answer God gives to him - “My grace is sufficient”. In other words, Paul was to live with it for, in this weakness, God was able to use him in a mighty way. It could possibly be said that if we knew the situation and how God used it then we would better understand. Maybe: but then we would also be able to argue, “Ah, but that is not my situation, so it does not apply to me.” Because we don’t know the circumstances, then it can be applied to us in a generalised way.

No, I am certainly not suggesting that if a person is not healed it is because God wants to place restrictions on him. This answer and explanation to Paul was for Paul and not for everyone. Sure, many people may have had the same answer from God, but this does not mean it is the answer for everyone. It is truly important that we do not use this answer as a “blanket, covers every situation” answer. God has a specific reason for each individual who does not receive healing and it is up to the individual to seek God’s answer for their personal situation and then, when it is given, accepting the answer, as Paul did, with praise and thanksgiving.

I remember reading a testimony many years ago of a young woman who was confined to a wheel chair (and I cannot remember who she was or her specific circumstances) because of some mishap. She was asked how she could possibly praise God for this being in her life and I was stunned by her reply, a summary of which I state here.

“If I was not confined to a wheel chair, then how could I possibly witness to those in similar circumstances and say how great God was. If I was whole, they would easily argue that I did not understand their situation, but as it is I do, because it is also my situation.”

Powerful words, when you consider them. Like Paul, she could see God’s purpose in her specific situation and gave praise to Him for it.


CONCLUSION

Now I do not want people to now say, “Well, what is the use in seeking healing?”

That may be the sole purpose of your situation. A need to admit to God that, in your weakness, you need His help and healing: to then humble yourself before God and seek His truth for your situation.

Healing is a reality but, according to God’s divine plan for each one, it may not be the immediate answer to a specific situation. Try and understand that God knows what is best, even if we don’t quite agree in the present situation we find ourselves in.

If you refer back to the five statements made at the start, you can see, quite clearly, that God’s Word does not support those statements at all and any church or person who uses these (and similar statements) is not aligning themselves with God’s Word.
R.J.Burling