We are back where we belong today, studying the word of God and having a good time doing it. We’re still in the book of Luke, our cozy little scripture home for the next however many weeks it takes to get through it. Today we’re going to look at one of the most difficult subjects in the faith of Christianity.
Late in chapter four of Luke, Jesus has begun his ministry and we find him doing something he does quite often. Healing someone.
Luke 4:38-39 After leaving the synagogue that day, Jesus went to Simon’s home, where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick with a high fever. “Please heal her,” everyone begged. 39 Standing at her bedside, he rebuked the fever, and it left her. And she got up at once and prepared a meal for them.
I’ve always been inspired by the final sentence in that scripture. She wasn’t just a little bit better, she was all the way better. This woman jumped up “at once” and started cooking a meal. The way she went from seriously ill to serving others is just a neat little detail that I find inspiring. But the thing I noticed when reading it this time is this. “He rebuked the fever, and it left her.”
So, let’s talk about healing. I’ve seen God’s healing firsthand, both in my own life and through me into the lives of others. I have watched healing draw people closer to God, and I’ve seen the lack of healing push people away from God. Why doesn’t God heal everyone? Why does cancer disappear sometimes when believers pray for it and why does it sometimes remain and end the life of others? If I had simple answers to these complex questions I’d give them to you, but everything about this subject feels complex sometimes. I know God loves us, and I know that He’s promised in 1 Corinthians we will have glorious bodies in the next life in a realm free from sickness and pain. I’ve always had peace when a believer suffering from a serious illness passes away because in my heart I know they are with Jesus and are free from all suffering forevermore. The hard work is at an end, and they’re now in an eternal paradise.
I don’t believe that God strikes people with illnesses, but I do believe that He can work within an illness. He’s used my disease to bring me closer to Him, and I promise you, my constant struggle with my disease keeps me in a place of deep humility and reliance on God for confidence, strength, and perseverance. We love to romanticize Romans 8:28, but sometimes Romans 8:28 can be a little uglier and a little more real than we want to acknowledge.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
God’s used my disease for the good of my spiritual life, and as such, I wouldn’t go back and undo it even if that was a choice. I wouldn’t risk it, because I can’t guarantee I would become the same devoted Jesus follower I am today if I had never had this disease. Someone told me once that it’s not always God’s will to heal people, and as much as we don’t want to hear that, I feel like there’s Biblical truth in it.
1 John 5:14-15 (ESV) And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
So here’s a challenging statement. If God loving, Jesus following people pray that I be supernaturally healed of my disease, and my disease is not immediately healed, isn’t it fair to say that it must not have been God’s will at that moment to heal me? He either said “no” or His healing doesn’t always take on the supernatural immediate form that we wish it did every time. And if that’s the case, then it’s up to us to get to a place where we’re okay with that. I know God well enough that I trust His will. He’s shown me ways that He can get glory through this disease. He did miracles in pain management when I was in the hospital, He did miracles when I was in physical therapy, showing Himself mighty to everyone in that clinic. He did a miracle when he walked with me up a mountain just five or six months removed from being homebound and unable to get out of bed. Trust me, I want this disease gone, it’s been especially difficult lately, but I trust God with it. I trust His timing and His plans.
I’m all for fervent prayer for supernatural healing. I’ve watched it work with my own eyes, and it’s one of the most magical things on all the planet. If you know someone who is sick or if you are sick, I highly encourage targeted, deep, passionate prayer for healing. Jesus rebuked the fever in that verse way up at the start of this blog. He didn’t beg it, didn’t ask politely, he got forceful. I absolutely believe in that type of prayer. But I also believe in this. Also pray that God’s will be done in the situation, that He helps us understand that His way is the best way, even if it doesn’t line up with what we believe the best way would be. Tell Him you trust Him, even in the most difficult of situations, and then just sit back and rest in the knowledge that He is infinitely good and that He loves you and whoever you’re praying healing for endlessly.
I find it helpful to remember that not everyone in the Bible was healed. Paul and Timothy, two important and powerful members of the emerging church of Jesus following his death, both suffered from ongoing ailments. A lack of healing doesn’t equal a lack of faith, and it doesn’t equal being outside the will of God.
Let me close with this. I know there are situations I can barely fathom where it’s not quite so simple to boil healing down to what I’m saying here today. Parents seeing a young child suffer from a terminal illness, things of that nature that go beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I hope to never know that pain and struggle and my heart breaks for anyone who has or is going through it. But I know that God’s love and provision cover even a situation that difficult. I know that because I know Him, and so if that statement challenges you, the encouragement I give is to dive deep into Bible study and prayer and get to know God better than you already do. That’s the only way you can develop the trust that He always knows what He’s doing, even when it doesn’t appear that way to us.
Healing’s a tough subject, guys, there’s just no way around it. I’m greatly challenged by it, but here’s the thing, I feel like that’s okay. As long as I don’t let it drive me away from God, I’m comfortable with being challenged by it. I talk to Him about it, and it builds my faith and trust in Him. I just want to encourage you to do the same. If there’s something on the subject of healing that challenges you, take it to God. He can handle tough conversations, I promise you. Talk to Him about it, let Him know how you feel. It just might lead to the breakthrough in understanding that you’ve been seeking.
I love all of you and I hope your week is off to a great start! If you’ve got any prayer requests or just want to talk about anything, my email is always open to you at firstname.lastname@example.org.