God desires to heal. We see this all throughout the Bible. So how do we deal with the contradiction of a God who is loving and desires to heal, when healing does not happen? This is something I have been wrestling with and feel like God has shown me some important truths.
One of the biggest mistakes I have made is to limit God to the what I have personally experienced. I didn’t realize I was doing this at first, but recently I have seen it more clearly. I would notice that when I would pray for healing for people I would remember the times I had prayed and didn’t see the healing. I would question, “God, will this be a time when I pray and I see healing? Or will it be a time when my breath is wasted?” It seems a little extreme, but that was truly where my thoughts were.
To understand how I got to this point, I have to share a bit of my experience. God gave me an incredible mother. She was a powerful force of joy and encouragement. As her only daughter, she and I had a special relationship. My mom was my best friend and truly the only one I knew I could always call for encouragement and belief in me.
When I was 21, my mom was paralyzed in a car accident from her neck down. She was a PE teacher and in an instant she could no longer even reach her hand out to connect with all those she loved. I was devastated by this accident. Although I didn’t consciously believe in God yet, I prayed for her healing. There was some small signs of improvement, but she remained quadriplegic.
Some years passed and I had become a follower of Christ. I felt like God was prompting me to pray for her healing again. I had become so disappointed by the fact that she didn’t receive healing, that I no longer prayed for it. However, because I felt God leading me, I prayed again for her with new fervor. I asked other people to pray with me.
Then, an ironic thing happened. Not only did she not receive healing, but she got very sick. Within a week, she had crashed and was put on full life support. Over the next few months in the hospital, doctors tried many different treatments and saved her from death several times. She finally started to improve and was released from the hospital to a rehab center to help her get off the ventilator she had been on for so long.
Just a few days before she was set to go home, she contracted a severe case of pneumonia. Within an hour of the realization that she had pneumonia, she began having cardiac arrests. They would give her medecine that would temporarily stop the arrest, but when it wore off, the arrest would happen all over again. After this cycle happened for a few hours, she said, “Enough!” The next time the medecine wore off, two of my brothers and a few friends watched her die. Because of the swiftness of the change in her health, I wasn’t given any time to fly to be with her. So I listened on the phone as my little brother told me what was happening. I stood by myself, weeping and I listened over the phone as my mother died.
The woman who had carried my in her womb, who had loved me unconditionally, who had encouraged me my entire life, my best friend. This is the woman whom I lost. I didn’t get to kiss her good-bye. I didn’t get to hold her hand so she would know how loved she was. Oh, and did I mention that I was also pregnant at this time? Not only had I lost my mother, but my unborn child didn’t even get to meet her grandmother.
I got pretty angry at God for a while. What was the point of Him having healing power if He didn’t use it to heal the people I loved? Was my faith too little? My lack of belief the cause of her death? In Matthew 21:21-22 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” I had faith that God could heal her, but I didn’t see healing. I have heard some people say God can heal on this side or the other. Meaning that death can be a healing because the spirit lives on forever with God.
I do believe that my mom was set free when she died. She was freed from a body that served as a prison for her. She was freed from the pain and daily struggle to just live through each day. After she died, when I prayed, I had visions of her just dancing and leaping around. The knowledge sunk in slowly that maybe it was better for her to have that freedom.
My mom’s death was over three years ago now. Through my grief, I have cried out to God to help me make sense of my experience. I have such a huge desire to see God heal, not only for myself and those I love, but for everyone. Miraculous healing is something that God uses to show all of us that not only is He real, but he loves us immensely.
My church and I recently prayed for a young father on the verge of death and God did a miraculous healing and saved him. As I was praying for this man, God showed me that God is healer, whether or not I always experience His healing power. His desire is always to heal. He is always willing, always able.
“Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all.” (Matthew 4:23-24 NLT, emphasis mine)
“Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” (Matthew 8:2-3 NLT, emphasis mine)
When we pray to God for healing, we can confidently know that He is healer. That is what He has said and God is not a liar. We don’t have to be confused by our experience, because our prayers, our faith, are not based on our experience. They are based on who God is and what He is able to do. I still don’t understand why some people are healed and some are not, but I know the character of the God to whom I pray.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah 55:8-11 NLT)
God is who I place my faith in, whom I trust, who I know to be loving and faithful. Although I prefer to understand everything, I know that I am not able to understand an infinite God. I do know that I can pray confidently for healing, knowing it is God’s desire to heal all!
Share with me your healing journey. How have you been able to understand God’s healing power? I’d love to hear from you!