About a month ago I posted a somewhat controversial blog about healing, God's will, and the Sovereignty of God. It was entitled, "I See Dead People...in Church." Rather than breeze over that controversy, I feel it might be better to add some clarification.
"Do you believe God is willing to heal you or that family member you're praying for? Do you believe it is God's will when you lock hands to pray? If not, I totally understand. But I want to tell you I believe you are missing a huge part of Jesus' heart for you. As a result, you may lack the faith to take hold of that healing."
If we don't believe God wants to heal us...that belief can be a roadblock to healing. It gets in the way of what God wants to do in us and for us. That's the simplest way I know how to say it.
For a long time in my own journey I didn't believe it was God's will to heal me. I knew He could. I just didn't think it was His will. Because of this belief, I stopped asking. Friend, I don't want you to stop asking. I don't believe God wants us to stop asking either. I believe it is right, good, and Biblical to pray all the way through for an answer.
That answer may still be no. But we need to pray all the way there. When we get to the answer, we trust. No. Matter. What. Even if the outcome isn't the one we were pushing and praying for. We trust anyway.
Make sense? Let's continue.
What I'm not saying is this: If you believe God wants to heal you, you pray fervently, and you don't get your healing...then it's your fault, and it's because of your lack of faith. WRONG! I'm not saying that. Please, please don't jump to that conclusion. That's a really unhealthy doctrine, and I don't subscribe to it.
At times there can be a lack of faith. But many times that's not the case at all. And regardless, I am not God. I can't possibly see your heart or measure your level of faith accurately. So I don't. I have met wonderful people, with super-abundant faith who didn't get the outcome they prayed and pressed in for. I don't think it's their fault. At the same time, I don't think we should blame God. He is good. All the time. That's not just a funny saying we yell at Christian conferences. It's actually the truth. Our response needs to be trust.
Let me give you a modern day, living example of this: Joni Eareckson Tada.
Joni has been paralyzed from a diving injury for over 40 years. She has not been healed of her paralysis on this side of the dirt. Many have prayed. But wow! What a lady. She loves Jesus. She trusts Him. She serves Him with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength - even from a wheel chair. I would NEVER belittle or dismiss that as a lesser faith. She has incredible faith. I am in awe of her faith.
So why isn't she healed? Why has God not supernaturally intervened? My best answer? I don't know. I don't know why God does not perform a miraculous healing 100% of the time. I don't get it. He has not given Joni the miracle of physical healing. But I do know this. God has done incredible things through her story. He is absolutely redeeming her pain and paralysis.
I don't believe God delights in our suffering. But He does use our suffering for good. He is so good at redeeming things, He is able to use even our worst tragedies, sicknesses, and sorrows to bring glory to Himself and bring us closer to Him. This is what the Bible teaches. And this is what I know personally. My relationship with God is much stronger and closer because God has redeemed and used this sickness called Lyme disease in my body. But He definitely does not delight in my suffering. It is still God who deserves our glory - not our sickness.
Sickness doesn't deserve glory. God does.
I stand behind that statement.
God deserves our glory. But not the "god" who is able but unwilling. That god is actually a false god I worshipped for a really long time. It's taught in a lot of churches. With all gentleness and sincerity: It's incorrect theology. It's not how Jesus operated.
Is there a single instance in Scripture where Jesus was unwilling to heal? When Jesus walked the earth, did He ever refuse to heal someone seeking His healing? Actually no.
Again, our best example is Jesus. He was always willing to heal wherever He went. We do well to follow in His footsteps and example. Let's press in, and pray for healing. Let's lay hands on our brothers and sisters believing God is able and willing to heal. We don't put our faith in our belief of His willingness. That's silly. We put our faith directly in the person of Jesus Christ.
But a belief that God is unwilling does put a roadblock in our way. For instance, I have heard many people say, "I believe God can heal and that He wants to heal. I just don't believe He wants to heal me." Why not? Why wouldn't you be worthy of healing? None of us are worthy of healing. But that's the point. God heals us based on His goodness, not on our goodness. We don't earn our worth or healing. We simply come. We come with childlike faith believing He is a good, good Father willing to pour out healing over our infirmities. We don't need to be afraid to ask. We need to take the risk and ask God for the healing we need.
Healing really shouldn't be controversial. And I'm sorry that it gets messy sometimes.
We pray. We trust. We go big and ask. We choose to love and trust God no matter what the outcome is. He is sovereign and in control. And the rest of the things we don't quite understand...we leave those under the umbrella of trust and mystery. His ways are higher than ours.
I think the enemy wins some battles. Sometimes the enemy gets his way. But that doesn't change God's heart for healing. It doesn't mean that He isn't willing. Our God is perfectly good. He cannot will sin and sickness on us. I know I'll get some pushback for that statement. Give me grace and curtesy. I'm still growing. But hear me out. Sin and sickness are contrary to His goodness and nature. We need to think about this when we pray.
Our prayers lack confidence, authority, and expectation because we have miscalculated and misunderstood God's heart. When we see someone sick or tormented, we need to step up in faith, and pray (the way Jesus did) with confidence and child-like faith that God is able and willing to do it; that it is His will to heal and bring wholeness.
I still believe this is true. God is powerful and loving simultaneously. So what is going on when healing doesn't happen?
The Bible clearly tells us we are in a war. It describes weapons and tells us how to do spiritual battle in Ephesians 6. The enemy and his cohorts do have authority while on the earth right now. They do have some permission. And because of our disobedience in the garden of Eden long ago, we live in a fallen world. Some of the stuff that happens in this life is simply because we live in a fallen world. But that doesn't mean we can't push back and pray against those fallen things. Jesus teaches us to pray "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We do well to obey that teaching.
Friends, don't forget you're in battle. Just because you can't see the spiritual warfare happening doesn't mean it isn't happening. My pastor, Paul, last week said, "in spiritual warfare, war isn't fair." Well said Pastor Paul. Sometimes tragic things happen in war. There are always casualties and death. But don't lose hope friends. Greater is the One [Holy Spirit] who is in us than he [the devil] who is in the world.
We stand with Jesus. He is all-powerful, and all-good. We take up our shield of faith and our sword of the Spirit and go after the darkness with our bold prayers and faith.
Please hear this. We may not understand all the inner workings of everything God does. But I encourage, exhort, and invite us to persist in our prayers. To rise up in audacious trust. To pick our faith back up off the floor if we have given up. If the outcome is not final yet, there is still time to wage war against the enemy. There is still time to press in through prayer and petition our Healer for a miracle. It's not too late. Be brave.
And if you are devastated by an outcome after praying with all your might, hold on, dear one. Please don't give up on God. He cares so, so deeply for you. Don't give up on His goodness. Don't blame yourself or live under a weight of shame. That is not God's desire or intention for you. He was beaten, died, buried, and rose again to take the weight of that shame off of you. Let your disappointment and pain push you into agreeing with God about the darkness. He hates it too. He hates that the demons torment His children.
So rise up. Rise up into the hands of Your loving Father. Fight the good fight of faith with Him. Stand in His presence and power. And with all truth and all love, full of the power of the Holy Spirit, extinguish the fiery arrows of the enemy. One. By. One.
PS - I know this is a very long post. Thanks for hanging with me. I promise to get them shorter and a bit lighter in the coming weeks!
This 15min video by Ravi Zacharias is very moving. It zooms right in on this topic. I encourage you to watch it (especially all the way through) and be encouraged!