Yesterday afternoon I made a new Facebook page for my first book 6 Lies People Believe About Divine Healing and invited my friends to it and shared the link on my timeline. I had gone out to go pick up my wife’s repaired laptop and when I signed into my account I had the following private Facebook message, which of course I’ve not put the name or any way of giving away who wrote it.
My experience is, I personally received healing when I was 9 of cancer of the bone and muscles, and have seen a number of healings down through the years. At the same time, I have seen more people walk away not healed, than healed. I’ve had to carefully observe Scripture, to see clearly what the Scripture does not explicitly say and what we have deduced. I have to say that in the past many years, I have come to see “healing” in a different light and context. I don’t have extreme beliefs on this. I believe its worthwhile to understand what sickness signified to the Jewish mindset and belief. It would make sense why Jesus emphasized certain things in his ministry. Again, I respect your view, just don’t agree with it. Sadly, I’ve seen more people disheartened and turn away from Him than come to Him through the viewpoint.
I’ll be interested in hearing this friend of mine explain further just what it is that he feels sickness represented to the Jewish mindset and what things Jesus emphasized in his ministry, since he didn’t mention or indicate here. I wonder if the last line is the real crux of his disagreement with me — disappointment. But I don’t say that as a cop-out either, since the man who wrote this is one of the most highly intelligent and knowledgeable of the Scriptures out of anybody on my list of over 100 Skype contacts.
Learning Through Suffering
When I first sought out reviewers to read copies of my healing book, two readers independently of one another wrote me back telling me how the book was good, and stirred them up and encouraged them even though they have chronic issues they’re still not healed of. One has a condition that’s more visible than the other, and when she gets healed of it, it will be noticeable to everybody. Another reader contacted me later on and offered to write a candid review on Amazon. After a delay I followed up and she apologized because she was busy taking care of her paraplegic husband and would be delayed in writing the review. I encouraged her to take her time.
Friends and reviewers like these have encouraged me because they like a book about healing, but as of yet do not have a healing to testify of. But it doesn’t stop them. Therefore they’re more of an encouragement to me than I believe I am to them.
I don’t pretend the answer is that each of them lack faith. They clearly have obtained something in long suffering and patience and know something about the goodness of God in the midst of trials and suffering and not having the answers in which I’d benefit to learn from them.
I also thought it was coincidental timing that Relevant Magazine published an article yesterday called Testimonies of the Not-Yet Healed. I wanted to like the article and be able to say it brings a much needed balance to a sometimes extreme view — that God always heals, blesses, and His people have their lives in perfect order. I truly believe His will is always healing. But, just because something is His will doesn’t mean it always happens. It’s not His will that any should perish, but yet there’s people passing into eternity separated from Him. This is not a point I’m going to tackle in this post, but will clarify at a later time. However, it’s on this point and the result where I differ with some who’d “re-evaluate the doctrine of healing” to a length I can’t go to from my understanding and study of the Word to date.
I don’t personally know a church that functions like everything is always good all the time. If anything, I often find myself connected to believers — charismatics and evangelicals alike — who almost pride themselves in how much they can suffer for the Lord. It’s almost as though whoever is going through the worst trial or has gone the longest without being healed wins a contest. It was a background like that in which I came out of and was motivated to write the book — to combat lies people believe.
For that reason, I suppose it can cause people to falsely believe if I took the time to write a book to bring balance towards a point of view and try encouraging people in something, then it will inevitably cause some to believe I’ve never heard the side that doesn’t favor my view. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as I’ve also been prayed for hundreds of times for my fallen arches — not a life threatening or chronic disease — and yet my feet are still flat.
But that has not stopped me from praying for others’ feet and seeing their arches grow. That just fries my micro chip.
It doesn’t stop me from rejoicing with others when they receive their miracle, either.
A Rescue and a Martyrdom
We need to remember that sometimes we see breakthroughs and other times no. In Acts 12 Peter is miraculously released from prison. An angel appeared and unshackled his chains and he winds up walking out of jail much to the surprise of the saints having a prayer meeting after being shaken by a new wave of persecution coming on the early believers. They had all assumed him dead, and the servant girl who greeted him at the door was so shocked to see him that she ran to let the others know that she thought his angel was there.
However, if we look at the whole of the story, we need to remember on the occasion that Peter was thrown in prison, we read the first few verses of that same chapter (Acts 12) that in his persecution of the Church, King Herod arrested some believers and killed others. James, the brother of John, was one of those killed. Beheaded to be specific.
Suddenly Peter’s miraculous release story is held in a completely different context as James’ martyrdom for the very same faith that Peter’s miraculous rescue is a testimony to. It’s difficult to make sense of these things when, in the same act of persecution one is ushered into the kingdom of heaven while the other gets a miraculous story of an angel rescuing him to share with others until his martyrdom years later.
This is part of the tension and the mystery of the Gospel. For some, one of the two sides of this coin emerges as the “way” God works and it can be difficult for people in both camps to process the experiences of those in the other if they have not yet experienced it for themselves. How do we celebrate one miraculous healing while still crying out in mourning for the friend and family member who is dying or has died of cancer and not obtained a release?
To these things I don’t have complete answers, but I hardly think one instance of not seeing a healing come to pass nullifies the fact that God is Jehova Rophe — the Lord Our Healer. His name is not “sometimes He heals” but “He heals!”
If you’d like to visit this topic further, get yourself a copy of my book 6 Lies People Believe About Divine Healing for the price of a cup of coffee (or a few Tim Horton’s coffees). Audiobook version coming to Audible soon!