Before I get mis-judged on anything I have in this post, I want to give you a little of my background. I have been a born again Christian for over 36 years. I can testify that I have had a medically recorded miracle (physical healing) in my life. It was recorded by a doctor who was an atheist. I had my right arm torn apart in 1985 in a terrible accident. Part of my arm was actually torn off and unrecoverable. God miraculously restored the arm which was humanly impossible to restore. It was a visible miracle and my full movement and strength were restored. I know that God can heal just as much today as He could anytime in history. I believe in the great commission where Jesus said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17-18). Also, please notice the page at the top of this site labelled ‘Devotional’. In it I have Smith Wigglesworth’s Daily Devotional. Smith Wigglesworth was often knick-named the Apostle of Faith of the 20th Century. His ministry spanned the first half of the century. There were many documented healings in his ministry. So I believe in miracles and healings as much as anyone alive. But I also recognize that the final outcome is up to God. I found John Wesley’s note on 2 Timothy 4:20, where Paul left Trophimus at Miletus sick, very enlightening. He wrote, “Not having power (as neither had any of the apostles) to work miracles when he pleased, but only when God pleased.”
Ever since I have been a Christian, I have always sought the answer to, “Why does healing not always come?” I have covered different aspects of sickness and healing in my previous posts entitled:
1. Sickness and Sin
2. Sickness and Evil Spirits
3. James 5:14-15 Proper Rendering
In those previous posts I concentrated more on the causes of sickness, the methods of healing, and the discernment that needs to go along with it. But now I want to concentrate on when healing does not come. Simply put: When God says “no” or “not now” and the person seeking the healing has no hidden sin in their life. They have fasted and sought the Lord fervently. They have been persistent like the widow lady (Luke 18:1-5). They have full faith that their God is a God of the impossible!
So the question is, “Does God Always Heal if the ingredients are right?”
The apostle Paul had a greater standing with the Lord in terms of his ministry than I have or anybody else has probably ever had. According to 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul requested healing from the Lord three times. And three times he got an answer back: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Translation: God said no to Paul’s request for healing. And God had a purpose in saying no.
Did Paul have lack of faith? Rubbish! Was Paul suffering from some secret sin that he was carrying around? Do you see how utterly absurd this is? Do you see how it plays on people’s emotions and lives? Do you see how it undermines faith in the absolute authority of Scripture and transfers it to a human being whose experience becomes the criteria?
This type of teaching eats like a cancer in the body of Christ and it must be resisted and opposed at every opportunity so that Christians will not have a cloud hanging over their heads all the time. Instead, they will realize that Jesus really does love them (despite their illness) and that any healing that may come is in His sovereign hands, not ours.
1 Peter 2:24 says of Christ, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
One of the primary rules of biblical interpretation which must never be violated is context. What is the context in 1 Peter 2? Answer: salvation. There is no way to interpret it in any other sense. The verse is talking about Jesus on the cross dying for us, enduring punishment and bearing our sins, thereby providing salvation for us.
When certain people get hold of this passage, however, they change the context from salvation to physical healing. Every time such people see the word “heal” in the Bible they assume it refers to the miracle of divine healing for the physical body, regardless of whether the context indicates otherwise.
A number of times in Scripture the word healing has specific reference to spiritual healing. There are diseases of the soul that have to be healed — and the primary disease of the soul is man’s unregenerate state, which is rooted in sin. The good news is that God has provided healing for this disease of the soul. And that is what Peter is talking about in 1 Peter 2:24. He is not saying that physical healing of the body is guaranteed to every believer.
Certainly, healing for the body is a benefit of Christ’s death on the cross, a benefit for the church as a result of His atoning sacrifice (Matthew 8:16-17 & Isaiah 53:4). However, it is not — it has never been in the history of the church — a guarantee that God has to heal your body; He doesn’t have to! Healing for the soul and spirit have no restrictions (Acts 2:21, Acts 10:43, and Romans 10:9-13). Whereas, healing for the body is clearly conditional according to God’s will (1 John 5:14-15).
God does say He will graciously entertain our prayers. He says that if we exercise faith, and if our request is in accordance with His will, He will hear us. But He never said that the mark of true spirituality is that you would never sneeze.
Some within the church will try to tell you, “God’s perfect will is that you are never going to be sick.” Well, I’ll tell you something: there are certain lessons — if you are honest — that you’ll admit you never would have learned unless the Lord flattened you out long enough to get your attention. Sometimes God teaches us things through our suffering. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was to keep him from pride.
Moreover, I must say that sometimes a person, after praying for a healing, may receive a no from God — a benevolent no, a kindly no, a protective no maybe, but no nevertheless. Tragically, there are false teachers who have the colossal gall to tell people, when it is not the case, that if they were more spiritual, if they had more faith, if they believed like they believed, they would be well. Such faulty teaching can crush whatever faith these poor people have.
Now, I believe you should go to the Lord and believe Him for healing, and trust Him for healing, and pursue Him for healing. And I believe you should search your soul to make certain there is nothing in your life standing in the way of healing. But you must come to Him and lay yourself out on His conditions. The Scripture says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). If perhaps God intends to teach you something through an illness, He might not heal you immediately.
So don’t think you are being neglected by the Holy Spirit if you don’t get healed. Don’t assume that the Lord is against you. Don’t conclude that you necessarily have an absence of faith or secret sin.
Take a good look at 1 Peter 2:21: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” Circle the word example in this verse. Here we are told that Jesus suffered. And He left us an example. We are to follow in His steps.
And what is the meaning of Philippians 3:10, which refers to “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings”? Let us be clear on this: suffering is an integral part of the fact of life, and is often used by God in the development and maturation of the Christian. Look at these five portions of Scripture Paul gives us:
1. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
3. Romans 5:3-4 We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
4. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5. 2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.