Scripture is always a great place to begin when seeking answers. One of the areas of life that raises the most questions surrounds healing. When we or a loved one is suffering, our desire is for God to heal it — immediately. Right now. Just take away the pain. When people ask me to pray for healing, I respond by saying I do believe God heals — always. However, I add that God may choose to heal us in one of four ways.
There is the miracle: the instantaneous, unexplainable healing. We read how Jesus healed the blind and deaf, cast out demons and even brought the dead back to life. God still does this kind of healing. (If you haven’t seen Miracles From Heaven, be sure to watch it — and have a box of Kleenex nearby!)
But a second form of healing takes time — it takes doctors, surgeries, medications and/or rehab. God as the Great Physician works through others to bring about healing of our bodies, souls and minds.
The third type of healing is exemplified by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
Paul speaks of “a thorn” in his flesh. Many have speculated as to what ailment this may have been. The most common ideas have been that Paul suffered from bad eyesight, migraine headaches and even epilepsy.
Whatever the ailment, Paul says he prayed three times for God to heal him. God’s response was that His grace was sufficient. Therefore, Paul learned to live in peace despite the fact that he never was able to be rid of his ailment.
There are people I have been privileged to serve in each of my churches who have demonstrated this peace. Despite an illness that lingers or is known to be terminal, they know God has not forsaken them, and they trust God will daily walk with them to give them the grace to withstand the disease.
And finally, there is a fourth form of healing: death. God may choose instead of removing the disease from a body to remove a soul from the ravages of an illness. I consider this healing because death is not the end — God gives us eternal life with Him, so in heaven we finally have a pain-free existence.
On September 30, I will be preaching on the text of James 5:13-20. One of the verses that is included in this is the instruction that if there are those who are ill, they should have the elders pray over them and be anointed with oil. This will be a part of our worship service as I invite anyone who wishes to be anointed to come forward during the prayer time. We will all pray for healing — I pray we likewise all will pray for God to heal us as God sees fit.
In God’s peace,