Is it ALWAYS God’s will to heal? That is the question I knew I needed an absolute answer to. If you haven’t read Part 1 on what started this journey, you can read it here.
Most Christians believe God can heal, but He doesn’t always. They believe His higher ways are not possible for us to know, that sometimes He gives sickness to teach us things, grow our relationship with Him, or for some other purpose that we can’t understand but need to trust.
This is what I believed. It sounded good. It fit my idea of God. It fit what I saw all around me. It fit my experience.
Then all of the sudden my life was on the line and just saying what I’d always said wasn’t enough – I had to know if there was more to healing.
As I think about, I actually hadn’t thought to ask the question, “is it always God’s will to heal?” until someone told me that He did. They had said is so confidently and though I did not agree, I realized I desperately wanted to know if there was any chance I was missing something that God wanted for me. This is what led me to start searching for myself and it’s a big part of why I want to write about it here. It was the question that was asked that started the search for the answer. I am so thankful for the person who spoke truth to me and I want to use the voice I’ve been given to do the same.
So here we are, highlighter in hand, Bible open and heart ready…
A big part of me felt confident that I already knew what God’s Word said about healing. It seemed pretty obvious that He could and sometimes He did heal, but not always. Another part of me wondered if there was more. What if I’d missed something all these years? I was open to whatever I found –probably truly for the first time ever – and I felt both skepticism and a spark of… hope. Maybe I would find something for me: the girl no one could heal. Or at least get some more clarity on why I was still sick.
I mentioned in the last post that I started looking for answers in the New Testament because by this time I had learned that although God’s heart has never changed there is a big difference between how God deals with mankind before the resurrection of Jesus and after the resurrection of Jesus – the finished work of Christ changed things.
I read through the gospels, the epistles, the whole thing, and scoured each page for one exception where Jesus didn’t heal someone who came to Him.
If God chose to sometimes heal and sometimes not or if He had a purpose for sickness, there would be evidence of it in Jesus’ life and after His death, burial, and resurrection. What difference did Jesus’ ministry make? What were the repercussions for us today?
I was looking for:
One instance where Jesus said healing was for Heaven but not always on earth.
One instance where Jesus used sickness to teach someone something or sanctify them in some way.
One instance where Jesus used sickness to draw someone to Himself or wanted someone to stay sick as part of His “greater plan.”
Or one instance where He broke someone physically so He could make something beautiful out of them.
When I found it – those one or two exceptions that should be there – it would make sense that I could be an exception, too. If I found it, everything would make sense.
In between doctor’s appointments and researching what doctors thought was going on in my body, I made my way through the New Testament. Once. Twice. Three times. Each time looking for that one example. I wrote down some questions that popped up as I read but what I was really looking for was very clear. After the third time through, I closed my Bible, and sat back. It was the same as it was the first time I read through it. I was face to face with the answer I was looking for:
It wasn’t there. The Biblical basis I was looking for that would explain why God sometimes didn’t heal wasn’t there.
There is not one instance where Jesus turned away or didn’t heal someone who came to Him for healing. There is verse after verse, story after story, of a Jesus who healed and redeemed, spoke to things that were not as though they were, raised the dead to life, mourned with those who mourned, reached out and touched the untouchable, healed and bestowed identity on those who had been suffering their whole lives. This Jesus brought hope and rejoicing and demonstrated the power of the Kingdom of Heaven. There are so many verses – so many beautiful verses – on Jesus’ willingness to heal.
“And He healed them all.” Matthew 12:15
“And He healed them.” Matthew 4:24
“I will come and heal him.” Matthew 8:7
“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” And He put forth His hand, and touched Him, saying, “I am willing: be clean.” Luke 5:13
“And great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.” Luke 5:15
“Arise, take up your bed, and go your way.” Mark 2:12
“Daughter, go in peace, and be whole of your affliction.” Mark 5:34
“He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them.” Luke 4:40
Jesus had a healing ministry.
I’d never noticed before how healing always went hand in hand with forgiveness of sins, deliverance, and salvation (Psalm 103:1-3, Isaiah 53:4-5 which is confirmed in Matthew 8:16 and 17, Mark 2 and many more). They were always taught side by side. It greatly upset people steeped in religious tradition but people who were seeking were drawn in because they saw Jesus had what they needed. Jesus – and those He commissioned – used healing as a clanging bell of sorts to get people’s attention and draw them in to hear the Good News of salvation for anyone by grace through faith.
I believe the Bible is the ultimate authority for any Believer in Christ who wants to live in the fullness of what God has for them. And what I now saw in the Bible regarding healing really stirred things up for me. It did not match my experience. It was different than what most people I knew believed. But it was right there clear as day, over and over and over again.
Jesus was an exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3) and is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). There is nowhere in the Bible that says healing passed away or was only for a certain time period. Not only that, but Jesus charged His disciples to freely give what they had received and, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons…” (Matthew 10:8). Long after Jesus ascended into heaven, we see His followers healing people as they preached the Good News.
God still heals.
Still wants to heal.
This was a huge revelation (“aha!” moment) for me. It meant there was hope. But if it was true, why was I still so sick, especially now that I saw so clearly in the Bible that it wasn’t God’s will for me?
I had so many more questions. It seemed pretty obvious that healing didn’t happen automatically (I know now why but couldn’t see it yet at that time). And what about Job, Paul’s thorn in the flesh, and the man born blind? What about the instances in the Old Testament where God inflicted people with sickness or used it to punish them? What about the Syrophoenician woman who approached Jesus and was at first turned away? Or all the verses about suffering and persecution? Where did those fit into this picture of a God who always wants to heal? Not to mention all the people who seek healing and even believe in healing and don’t get healed.
I didn’t have all the answers yet, but the one I did have turned my world upside down – or I should say, right side up. I had been so sure before that I knew what God said about healing and yet those closely held beliefs, that sacred cow I had not allowed anyone to touch, was actually not even in the Bible. It was things I’d heard in church and at religious events, in Christian songs and read in Christian blogs, it was how I was taught to interpret the verses I read – and it was all held up by my experiences. But are experiences really more important for what I base my beliefs on than the Word of God? It made me wonder, what else had I been believing that was not even in the Bible? I truly wanted to know. If I was in error about healing, what else had I developed beliefs about, built altars on, that were not rooted in truth? What was religious tradition and what was truth?
I felt shaken, but not in a bad way – more of a challenging way. Regardless of how many questions were still on the table, I had this one answer repeated all throughout the New Testament:
It is always God’s will to heal.
And as for all those questions, there will be another blog post coming soon! I never meant or even wanted to be a definitive voice for anyone – I only hope I can be a sign post for those of you who are on a similar journey and seeking answers, too. There are answers and I can tell you this:
God is better than I ever thought.