Many of us know people who are ill, some seriously, some even fighting death, who have been prayed for and have not as yet been healed. Some people have even died. We all know of situations with well-known pastors and ministers and their families where this has happened. When someone doesn’t get healed, or a tragedy happens, it can have a devastating effect on both the people concerned and the churches involved.
Messianic Jewish teacher and author Dan Juster tells of talking with a couple in upstate New York. They had lost three children in a tragic car accident when they were carpooling with other students while attending a Christian school. After the tragedy, they were asked to leave the church where they were elders as the pastor explained that their tragedy was undermining the faith of the congregation. As Dan states, ‘Wow!’
Bad things happen to good people and all of us know people who have not as yet been healed. What can we say? What are some answers that are given to the question, ‘Why aren’t you healed?’
LACK OF FAITH
Sometimes it is blamed on a lack of faith. After all, Jesus said in Mark 11:23, “If you can believe all things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus often rebuked people for their lack of faith, so it is obvious that we need to continually grow in our faith.
However, we have examples in the Bible where people who had faith did not see the answer to God’s promises in their time. Abraham was promised many things, including the land of Palestine. He never possessed any of it, except a cave to bury his wife Sarah in. Likewise, Hebrews 11 tells of great men and women of God who, ‘all of these having obtained testimony through faith did not receive the promise.” We have a call to faith, but even with faith, we do not see all of the promises fulfilled. What else is there?
SIN IN YOUR LIFE
We know that known unconfessed sin is a barrier to our relationship with God and it is clear from Mark 11 that the sin of unforgiveness, which is included in the teaching of Jesus on mountain-moving faith, is a decided barrier to the exercise of faith. Thank God for His grace and the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin.
Nevertheless, there are stories of people who were not even Christian believers who received healing. They were obviously not free of sin. Sin may be a barrier but God’s grace is greater than our sin. What else is there?
NEGLECTING MEDICAL HELP
Sometimes people give the impression that medical treatment is inferior to spiritual healing. We need to see that medical science is a gift of God and remove that barrier. In 1980, I was with a small group of pastors taken by Oral Roberts to inspect the City of Faith that was being constructed at that time. Oral shared how the “City of Faith was meant to be a medical center that combined medicine and prayer . . . God is the source of all healing . . . God heals through medicine and doctors; He heals through the power of prayer.”
Just recently, a couple in “Oregon were sentenced to six years in prison for criminally negligent homicide because they refused to seek medical care for their premature baby girl. She died hours after birth of fully treatable complications. Her parents are part of a Pentecostal faith-healing sect that teaches members to pray instead of securing modern medical treatment (Breakpoint).” It is a tragic story that illustrates what can possibly happen if we neglect much needed medical help.
Let me get your attention and perhaps shock some people by saying medical science has overcome sickness and prevented more deaths than all the healing evangelists that have ever lived. ‘How can I state that?’ you may ask. The incomplete answer in one word is, ‘Vaccinations.’ Neglect of medical help may be a reason. What else?
SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
I have been an Armenian since my youth, but the older I get the more open I am to the sovereignty of God and a more Calvinist position. We need a balance between these two.
Dan Juster points out, “That we need to recognize that faith is something that has to be given by God. The faith that moves mountains in Mark 11:24 cannot be worked up or drummed up no matter what we do.” As Dan points out, we live in a world of rugged individualism where it is all up to me. “It is God who gives faith and a mustard seed level of it can do anything.”
This also touches on the timing of God and the purposes of God as seen in the story of the blind man in John 9 or the lame man in Acts 3. At the right time, it was for the glory of God. There is a mystery as to how the sovereignty of God works in individual circumstances, but we can not ignore it. God is sovereign. Let us not rule this out.
SEASONS OF MIRACLES
Well known Bible teach Dr. David Jeremiah, in one of his devotionals, points out that there were five times in Biblical history where there was an abundance of miracles, “In the days of Moses, the prophets like Elijah and Elisha, Christ, the apostles and during the coming tribulation.” This does not mean that miracles cannot happen at other times. It simply records there were seasons when miracles happened powerfully. A look at recent church history or personal experience bears that out. The late 1940’s and the 1950’s saw such a season with the Healing Movement. Key to it is often a ministry or a place where miracles happen, such as with people like Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, Katherine Kuhlman and many others. Once again, it would seem to be the hand of a sovereign God was at work. There is a feeling that we are moving into another such season.
There you have at least some answer to why people are not healed.
There are many other answers that we could consider, but ultimately most honest believers have to answer the question “Why aren’t all people healed?” with the answer, “I don’t really know.”
SO WHAT IS ONE TO DO?
What can we do when we do not see someone healed? Let me give you a few suggestions:
- Lift up the Biblical standard for healing. Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA has received his share of criticism and even if you do not agree with all his teaching, you have to love his attitude in regard to healing. He has committed to both cultivate an atmosphere and build faith for healing at Bethel for one Biblical reason – Everyone who came to Jesus believing was healed. “It’s the only acceptable standard,” Bill says. “I can either lower the Scripture to my level of experience or I can fight to raise my level of experience to the standard of the Scripture-and that’s what I’ve chosen to do. As a result, there’s heartache. There are times when you miss it. There are times when loved ones and dear friends die. There’s no explanation. I don’t need an explanation. I don’t ever ask why. I know if Jesus were in these shoes, they would’ve been healed (Charisma).”
- Be understanding and loving with people who have not experienced healing yet. Do not heap condemnation on them. Show grace and compassion; stand with them in faith and prayer. They do not need a sermon. They need love and concern, compassion and prayer.
- The ultimate answer for me is this, “Even if I don’t understand, I will trust you, no matter what.” I will keep believing Your word and I will declare it in prayer and in my confession of faith. I will continue to teach and declare that God heals today, just as Jesus did 2,000 years ago. I will do that till the day I die, because “I would rather die in faith than live in unbelief.”
You may not understand why you have not been healed. But choose to trust God no matter what.
Let me hear from you as to what you think about healing.