Being raised in the Church, I saw lots of people pray for miraculous healings. I was taught to lay hands on the sick and believe God for knees to be restored and cancer to be destroyed.
I’ve heard all sorts of messages on how God wants all people to be healthy, and that sickness is a result of the Fall.
I even have heard story after story of divine intervention where diseases vanished and broken limbs were mended before the speakers’ eyes. Many of these accounts came from folks whom I know personally and would trust with my life.
The problem comes, as any Christian in a similar circumstance knows, when you go to pray for someone who desperately needs healing, and nothing happens.
You pray the “right” words and quote the most relevant Bible verses, but nothing happens — the person is still limping and the diabetes is still there.
I have gone back and forth on this subject many times. I’ve asked over and over, “What’s the deal, God?” I thought Jesus said we could ask and we would receive?
Folks from different theological backgrounds have told me so many different things. They say, “Ah, but you didn’t have enough faith.” Or maybe, “Healings like that stopped after the time of the apostles.” Or even more pointedly, “Of course they didn’t get healed. God doesn’t exist, and this is all nonsense.”
Well, I know divine, miraculous healing does take place. I’ve known incredibly honest people, full of integrity, who have witnessed the undeniable.
In fact, one of my closest friends recently recalled how he and others prayed for a lady with a grapefruit-sized neck tumor to no avail. Later during the worship service, standing just a row behind her, he saw the tumor shrink and totally disappear. If it could be disbelieved, my sister had dinner with the woman last night and said that she could not tell that anything was ever there.
If I believe that such healing takes place, but is not present in my personal experience, I am left with a few questions to ask and decisions to make. Some of those are personal and I can share with someone willing to discuss, but I have decided to at least ask the following question:
Is God’s word true, and does He desire to heal the sick through prayer?
If I answer yes, will I continue to pray for people to be healed, or will I sit back and assume that such experiences are not for me?
This week, I decided to believe. Regardless of my doubts, of which I have many, I will believe that God not only can heal, but will.
A week ago, my wife began to complain of some increasingly sharp pains in her hips and lower back. It got so bad that I told her I was going to take her to the hospital.
She said that she would wait it out one more day and see if it improved, but the next morning, the pain was only more intense. We decided to still go to church, and during the worship service, I laid my hand on her back and prayed that God would heal her and take away the pain that had plagued her for days now.
Almost immediately, she told me, the pain dissipated. It wasn’t as threatening as cancer, and the prayer wasn’t dramatic with shouts and charismatic displays, but the result was clear: God had healed her.
Something very similar happened once more this week, and the lesson is being well received.
I’m not drawing huge theological dogmas from these experiences, and neither should anyone else. What I am walking away with is this: It is not my responsibility or concern whether God chooses to heal someone, but it is my responsibility to obey the command to pray for the sick and believe Him for healing.
That’s enough for me.