Summary: A balanced approach to healing.
If you receive prayer requests via e-mail and listen to those at your prayer meetings, it does not take long to see that about ninety per cent of those prayers relate to some illness or physical weakness. We are a sickly people. Health and health care are primary issues for most of the world. Many strides have been made in the medical arena, but it seems for everything we find a treatment or cure for three more diseases show up that are incurable or at the least highly resistant to treatment. It appears to be a losing battle.
We expect this frustration and even failure from the medical field for we realize that they are but human. However, some teach that for a Christian disease should never be an issue and that it is a lack of faith to be ill. Some might even question the sick person’s salvation. Some teach that illness is only an illusion and once the person realizes it and dismisses it, they will be healed. These positions are untenable in the light of Scripture.
I do not hold to physical healing being in the atonement as some of the brethren do, but I do believe that because of the atonement I have the privilege of prayer to ask for healing and that I can come boldly to the throne as His child. I do not believe in many of the faith healers that are running around slapping people in the head for money and a show. Indeed, the more showmanship the less I believe in the faith healer. I do believe that faith can heal.
No matter what doctrinal position people hold in regards to healing, they all have to admit that like doctors they lose patients. As I pointed out before some would blame the patient’s faith, question their salvation, or blame it on unconfessed sin. I have yet to hear a faith healer to accept any responsibility for any sin in their own lives or that their faith may have floundered and may have caused the patient not to be healed. If all else fails, we can blame the devil or a myriad of his demons.
I have seen miraculous healing or life extension in some people. I knew a man that was told he would only live six months after he was diagnosed. He lived almost eight years longer believing that God would heal him completely. I would never question that man’s faith, salvation, or integrity, yet he died of that disease. You could say that he received the ultimate cure. All that healing does for us is to delay the ultimate day of death, which is the only complete cure for disease and old age symptoms. His added time was proof that doctors do not know everything, but his death is proof that God does not always work in the way we think He will.
We have had a lady in our church whose heart created its own bypass while my wife needed a bypass surgery. Oddly, my wife was a poster child for cardiac health and had no risk factors whereas the other lady had several. I have heard of people that were miraculously cured of cancer while others were cured by medicine. Others I have known died from cancer. The lists of cures and deaths of other people with other diseases could go on and on.
I propose tonight to show us that in the matter of healing that we must let God be God or to borrow from the Army recruiting ads, let Him be all that He can be! Sometimes He heals and sometimes He does not.
I suppose we should start with the one reason for illness that all would agree upon. We are not healed because of our sins. In John 5:1-3, 14, we are told that the impotent man was there because of his sin. He is told to sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon him. What was his sin? We are not told, but the illness came about because of some sin he committed. He had it for thirty-eight years before Jesus came and healed him. We are not even told if the man ever confessed the sin. Therefore, failure to confess sin is not necessarily a reason to hinder healing. When God chooses to show mercy, He does. The man may have repented of it a thousand times in the thirty-eight years, but Jesus did not make him confess it before he was healed. In fact, until they met in the temple the man did not even know if Jesus knew why he was ill. He just knew Jesus healed him and in fact, he did not even know that it was Jesus or the Messiah that healed him. I believe God has healed many people who do not know Him because of His mercy and to soften their hearts when they hear the Gospel.