As Christians, we are personally aware of, and have heard accounts of, healing by supernatural means. This has always been a part of the Good News we experience and share with others. We celebrate the reality of this event in our churches in various ways—prayer meetings, healing services, and special worship times.
Jesus tells us, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…,” and when facing an addiction, chronic disability, or life-threatening illness, we often hear that if we have enough faith, God will heal us. But how do we know when faith is “enough faith” for a healing to occur? The simple answer is: whenever God wants it to happen. Sometimes even a little faith or no faith is enough. Often faith follows a healing and sometimes it precedes it.
So does that mean if we have a strong faith and trust in God, is he obligated or compelled to heal us?
No. If remaining ill can better accomplish his will for us than a healing, then we are expected to wait on God. As difficult as this is to hear, or as theologically problematic as it may be for some, God is sovereign and will do as he knows best.
Remember Paul’s advice to Timothy for a chronic physical problem? He didn’t say “have more faith,” but “have more wine.” This isn’t an encouragement to drink, but a reminder that we are not yet in heaven, completely healed, and carry within us the marks of death and dying of this age. Even Paul’s “thorn” was not taken away because God wanted him to rely not on his own strength, but on God’s power.
Should we then carry on and battle through our illnesses the best we can?
Since we can’t always know the mind of God in these matters, we’re expected to pray for healing until we receive it or hear a “no.” We should continue to PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens). Christ encourages us to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking (Mt. 7:7). The good news for us is that our gracious Father often really does want to give us what we want and expect, but just like a caring and wise parent he ensures that it’s for our good and corresponds to his best will and purpose for us.
As much as we try, we can’t reduce this important issue to a formula. God is sufficiently revealed, but he is still mystery. God isn’t our personal genie waiting for the right command or incantation. We can’t capture him with our theologies and force his hand to do our bidding. Thankfully, this mystery of God is on our side. We may not be able to predict him or control him (fortunately), but even if we don’t perfectly understand about him, we may be confident that whatever he decides to do is done in utmost love and is, ultimately, for our good.
Even though God answers our individual and private prayers, there appears to be great strength and force in corporate prayer. As we have traveled thousands of miles these past three weeks, we have heard of God’s miraculous power at work in answer to the prayers of many. I’m putting together a prayer network so together we can join in prayer for the numerous needs that require a heavenly answer and rescue. If you’d like to be a part of the prayer network, please email me and I will put you on the list. In the busyness of our lives, we can’t afford not to pray. If you have a prayer request or would like someone to pray with you this Sunday, please let me know.