|God painted this one. I just took the photo.|
I recently completed a wonderful Bible Study presented by one of the most popular Bible teachers in America today and was pained by her struggle to teach strong scriptural faith while obviously wrestling with the question of why some who are prayed for are not healed.
I also recently visited a church where, at the end of the service, the minister added some prayer list reports he had overlooked earlier. I couldn’t believe my ears when he said, “_________ is doing amazingly well right now with her cancer. She feels great……But we need to keep praying because we know she will be feeling worse at some point.”
I also had an almost surreal experience at a church we had attended for several months when, at the suggestion of the minister, I volunteered for the prayer team…..and was rejected because “the prayer team teaches a lot and the elders wanted to be sure members taught the doctrine they wanted taught….not giving false hope because God can’t heal everyone“. They actually said “God can’t heal everyone”. They quoted a few scriptures “at” me about Paul’s “thorn in his side” and “Paul leaving Trophimus ill in Melitum” as proof it’s not God’s will to heal everyone.
In another very nice church I visited, a wonderful man came forward to give the invocation and included in an otherwise moving prayer, “If it be your will, heal those who are ill, but if not, we ask for comfort.”
It’s true that everyone who is prayed for is not healed. Is that reality proof that it is not God’s will to heal everyone? What about our will? In fact, what about Trophimus’s will (faith) in Melitum (2 Tim 4:20) And, regarding that infamous “thorn” that God permitted to vex Paul even though he prayed three times for God to take it away. (2 Cor 12:8). The term “thorn in a side”, in the Bible as in modern terminology, refers to something that buffets us like people who irritate us as it was used in Numbers 33:55 regarding the Canaanites buffeting the Israelites….nuisances, vexations, etc.
Are we not putting our full faith in the healing power of God’s Word because we are so wounded by having lost loved ones we have prayed for? Are we trying to make our theology match our “reality” rather than believing God’s Word has the power to change our reality? Ministers and teachers who have powerful healing ministries seem to be answering, “Yes”. Charles S. Price, F. F. Bosworth, Smith Wigglesworth, T.L. Osburn, and Kenneth E. Hagin all had powerful healing ministries and write eloquently on the role of faith in physical healing. The humble but Spirit filled minister who conducted my own oil service that began my healing process agrees with these men as does Marilyn Hickey who, at nearly 80, is still traveling the world teaching and healing the sick even in “dangerous” countries like Pakistan and Morroco where large percentages of her “audiences” aren’t Christian.
Miraculous physical healing is achieved with great success in the “third world” where faith is childlike and “modern medicine” is not competing for that faith. “Proper” American churches tend to fall into various degrees of “cessationism”–altogether ignoring the Bible’s teachings regarding physical healing or rationalizing against the scriptures that God used to heal but not now…..still they profess that God is “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” about everything else…..or almost everything else.
I was raised in a proper, formal church that never taught the healing scriptures so, when faced with an “inoperable pancreatic tumor” and married to a classically trained physician, I faced a stone wall. Miraculously, just days before I learned my shocking diagnosis, a fencing contractor who came to bid on a job for me told me about his wife being miraculously healed according the the Fifth Chapter of James. At the time, I thought, “That’s a nice story….and went on to discuss the fencing project.” This nice gentleman was the first person I called after the shock of my diagnosis subsided. I believed because of this man’s testimony. I had childlike faith when he had the minister call me and we prayed on the phone. That very evening my husband and I attended Cornerstone Assembly of God Church in Danvlle, KY and were warmly welcomed by many people who, themselves, had healing testimonies. I had no idea what to expect but I believed I would be healed. After the praise and worship, the minister asked for any with prayer requests to come forward and I went and was anointed with oil and immediately I knew a change had taken place in my body….and, more than that, I knew I had been born again in Christ. An old life ended and a new one began just that simply.
I recommend reading the ministers mentioned above. Most of their books can be bought from www.Amazon.com used. They will help you understand God’s will as revealed in the scriptures and it is critical that we learn to pray properly according to the scriptures rather than according to our own rationalizations based on past heartbreaks. In the interest of time….because ill people need healing now….I will summarize a teaching from Marilyn Hickey and highly recommend her book and/or DVD, “Be Healed”.
Mrs. Hickey uses Psalm 107:20 “He sent His word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”(NIV) She says it is not how “spiritual” you are; it is how powerful God’s Word is. As scripture says, The Word cannot return void. The Word wil prosper for the purpose it was sent to. Stay “in the Word” while ou are looking for (indeed expecting) signs of your healing to appear. Do not let the enemy steal your confidence in God’s Word. Read it aloud daily. See our blog page on “God’s Healing Word”.