Heaven’s Healing Hand
** Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0DaDQxJEog
I don’t know if you’re like me, hopefully not, because then I’d have to seriously pray for you. But whenever I go places, like the supermarket or around town, I always look at those around me, and while people are adept at putting on faces and putting up fronts, the truth is that people are hurting. We see people who are troubled and in need of peace, lonely people in need of relationship, people without hope in desperate need of hope, and sick people in need of healing.
And why is that? Well, it’s because no one goes through life without pain, hurt, and sorrow. Everyone has problems, hurts, and hidden wounds that they allow no one else to see.
People are also hurting in other ways. They may be financially in debt, or emotionally scarred because of some past trauma. They may have a physical ailment due to disease or illness, or they have suffered the loss of someone dear to them. Their family relationship may be strained to the breaking point, or they may be discouraged and exhausted due to living in this crazy mixed up pandemic filled world.
One of these hurts, wounds, and scars is called rejection. At one time or another we’ve all been rejected. We’ve experienced rejection from our parents, peers, co-workers, and friends. In fact, we remember words spoken to us 10, 20, 30, 40, even 50 years ago, words that hurt just as much today as when they were first spoken.
And so, in our time today, I’d like to talk God’s healing touch, or what I’ve entitled, “Heaven’s Healing Hand,” I’d like to look at how God heals these hurts and wounds.
And can I say, God gives us His promise of healing.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 NKJV)
Now, we’re all in need of healing, but if I could put this qualifier up front, sometimes God’s healing touch isn’t always the healing we had in mind. Just this week I put out one of my God Tweets entitled, “God’s Ultimate Healing.” And then I quoted Revelation 21:4 that says, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
But for us today, let me give you some hope, and that is the promise that Jesus made.
He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
Now, before we go further, let me say that Jesus may not heal every problem, hurt, or need. In fact, Jesus promised that in this world we will have these sorts of trials and tribulations, but also that He has overcome this world, which should bring us hope (John 16:33).
God can heal us immediately and miraculously, but He may also give us the power to endure the difficultly and problem, and triumph over it even while we’re still in it.
You see, divine healing is not just about becoming well, nor is it becoming what we were, rather it is becoming what God intends for us to be. This is probably the most important thing for us to understand, because maybe that illness or problem is God working within us His divine purpose, and thus, His divine healing.
Today, I’d like to look at Jesus’s healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda and how it applies to our healing. And there are four things found in this story that I’d like to share.
1. Identify the Need
In John 5:6 it says, “When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” (John 5:6 NKJV)
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I read this my first thought is how ridiculous this sounds. Of course, this man wants to get well! You wouldn’t ask a starving man, “Do you want food?”
But actually, it was a very valid question, for there are people who, if given an opportunity for a healing, might actually choose to remain sick.
People have become comfortable in their sickness, and any healing will change their environment if not their whole way of life. They’ve developed relationships through their illness, and when healed they will have to learn how to deal with life and others in a completely different way. And this scares people.
The first thing we need to do, therefore, is to identify what we need and want.
2. Quit Blaming Others
After Jesus asked if the lame man wanted to be healed, the lame man replied,
“Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” (John 5:7 NKJV)
It’s so easy to blame someone or something else for our problems. This has been humanity’s scapegoat from the beginning.
• When God asked Adam why he disobeyed, Adam replied, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Not only was Adam placing the blame on Eve, but also upon God who gave her to him.
• When Moses asked his brother Aaron why he permitted the Israelites to worship a golden calf, Aaron basically said, “It was the people’s fault, they made me make this idol because you didn’t come back. So, they gave me their gold, and when I tossed it into the fire, out popped this golden calf” (Exodus 32:22-24). Aaron blamed the people, blamed Moses, and he even blamed the fire. He blamed everyone and everything but Himself.
How often do we blame other people, the environment, or circumstances for what we did wrong?
King William once visited a prison in England. Every prisoner brought before him proclaimed their innocence and pleaded for a pardon, that is, except one man who admitted his guilt. King William said to the warden, “Get this guilty man out of the prison before he corrupts all these innocent men!” And the man was set free.
We have such a difficult time saying, “I’m responsible.’ And so, we blame everything and everyone but ourselves. Yet the Lord wants us to accept responsibility. The Bible says, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
3. Stretch Out By Faith
Once the man finished identifying his desire to be healed and blaming others, Jesus said to him, “‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” (John 5:8-9 NKJV)
Often God requires a response of faith before a healing takes place.
• To the ten lepers Jesus said, “Go show yourself to the priests,” and as they went, they were healed (Luke 17:12-14).
• He said to the man with a withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand,” and when the man made the effort, his hand was healed (Matthew 12:9-13).
In fact, when you look at the healings throughout the Bible there is generally a stretching out by faith.
• Namun the Leaper was told to go and wash in the River Jordan seven times, and on the seventh plunge he was healed (2 Kings 5:1-19).
• After being bit by poisonous snakes, the children of Israel had to look at a bronze snake that Moses put on a pole, and when they did, they were healed (Numbers 21:4-8).
Now, this guy couldn’t walk, and hadn’t walked for 38 years. But he stretched out his faith, stood up and walked.
4. Give Credit to God
After he was healed, the man gave credit to Jesus saying that it was Jesus who healed him.
Because the healing happened on the Sabbath, the religious leaders confronted the man saying that carrying his bed was unlawful. But the man replied, “He who made me well said, ‘Take up your bed and walk’” (John 5:11).
When they asked him who healed him, the man didn’t know because Jesus had left the scene. But later, wanting to make sure that the man became more than physically healthy, but spiritually healthy as well, Jesus returned, and so the man went and made it known who had healed him.
“The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well” (John 5:15).
When healing takes place in our lives, we need to give God the glory
This reminds me of a story about a woodpecker that was pecking away at a huge tree. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the tree and split it from top to bottom. The woodpecker flew off, and minutes later returned with several of his woodpecker friends saying, “Look at what I did!”
When healings take place, we are often tempted to give credit to the doctors. Now, I’m not saying they didn’t help or that they didn’t do the work, but what we must remember is that it is the Lord who gave these individuals their wisdom, and so we need to give credit where credit is due, and that is to the Lord God.
There is healing in Jesus’s touch, and He is reaching out today and asking, “Do we want to be made well?”
How Does God Heal?
Let me start by saying that God often times heals us by changing the way we think. So, how are we to think that will bring heaven’s healing hand?
The first thing is to know that we have been made Acceptable To God through Jesus’s sacrificial death upon the cross.
We Are Acceptable To God
Most of us spend our entire lives trying to be accepted by others including our parents, peers, friends, and even our enemies. Most everything we do is tied up in this endeavor. The desire to be accepted influences the way we dress, the kind of car we drive, the place we live, and the career or job we choose.
But I’d like for us to consider these words of Paul.
“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7 NKJV)
Jesus has accepted each of us without any conditions attached. Jesus doesn’t accept us because we do good or right things. Jesus’ acceptance of us isn’t based on our performance; rather it’s based upon His saving grace.
We Are Valuable To God
First, we’re valuable, because God not only created us, but as the Bible says, we’ve been created in the image and likeness of God. And so, God has placed within us great value.
Further, when you think about something that has value, it has value first because of who owns it, and then by how much someone is willing to pay for it. And since we are valuable to God, let’s take just a moment and break down these two concepts.
First, who own it, or in our case, who owns us?
Something that is owned by a celebrity is far more valuable than the same item owned by any of us. A car owned by Elvis is of far greater value than the same car owned by the average person. Sneakers owned by Michael Jordon are of far greater value than the ones we wear even though they are the exact same manufacture.
We are of great value because we belong to God.
“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NLT)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, then we belong to God and become valuable. In fact, we become beyond price, or priceless.
The second thing that creates value is what someone is willing to pay for it.
If someone is willing to pay $5,000 for your car, then your car is worth $5,000. Even if we think it’s worth more, it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
It’s like when we buy something on sale, we say, “Look how much I saved.” But this is a rationalization, because it’s really not about how much we saved, but how much we spent. That is how much it’s worth.
How much are we worth? The Bible says we were bought with a price, a price that cost the life of Jesus.
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV)
The greatest ransom ever paid was what Jesus paid upon the cross paying the penalty price for our sins, as the Bible makes us so painfully aware in how the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Therefore, we are of great value because the Father gave His Son, and Jesus paid the ultimate price.
And so, if you want to know how valuable you are, then look to the cross.
Now, to go back to our question, “How Does God Heal,” let me give just a couple of ways that the Bible tells us. And the first is, God heals through His word
Through God’s Word
Solomon gives us this piece of advice,
“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
This is why we need to read, study, and meditate on God’s word. It brings physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
Giving thanks for God’s wondrous healing and deliverance, the Psalmist tells us that it was God’s word that brought it all about.
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:19-20 NKJV)
Actually, this verse does double duty giving us a second way that God brings healing when it says they cried out to the Lord in their trouble.
The Apostle James gives us a wonderful passage about our need to pray for healing. It is found in James 5:13-16.
Pray for a healing
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” (James 5:13 NKJV)
This is as straightforward as it gets.
Call the elders to pray
“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.” (James 5:14 NKJV)
The word sick is a broad term including physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual sickness. The anointing oil is a visible symbol for the presence of God the Holy Spirit. And so, to those who are sick, by anointing them with oil it is meant to build faith saying that the Holy Spirit is present to heal them.
Confess our sins
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16 NKJV)
We need to confess to God. This is something King David knew well. After He kept silent about His sins, he says that his bones began to waste away (Psalm 32:3).
Now, when David sinned with Bathsheba, he realized that he sinned not just against her, her husband, her family, and the nation, but ultimately his sin was against God. He said, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” (Psalm 51:4).
But our healing is also facilitated when we confess to others, which is what James was saying in our verse, that is, we must confess to each other and pray for one another.
Now, not all sickness is caused by a particular sin, but some illnesses stem directly from our sinful actions and attitudes. These need to be confronted and confessed if we want a healing to take place. This is why a lot of people remain in their sickness, they are afraid of confessing and letting others know.
In the end, there is no sickness or suffering that is beyond the Lord’s ability to heal. We are then to confess our sin and cry out to God and let God’s healing take place His way.
“Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” (Exodus 23:25-26 NIV)
When I was going through the loss of everything, God gave me a song of worship where I found myself thanking Jesus for His sacrificial death upon the cross for my sins. This helped my get back to church where I was touched by the heaven’s healing hand more by the worship than the message.
Let me end with what the Bible considers to be a healing.
It begins with coming into a right relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s when we ask Him to be our Savior and our Lord. The Lord then works in a believer’s life to bring about the healing that is needed, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual.
It is this that will eventually see our ultimate healing, which is eternal life in heaven, which is referred to as the land of no mores, because this is where there is no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more suffering (Revelation 21:4).
Let me conclude with how we began, and that is, healing in the Bible, or divine healing is not becoming what we were, but becoming all that God intends for us to be. Healing is about our being made well in whatever way that may look like in God’s sight, and not our own.
So, we need to allow God to do His healing work His way instead of our own way.