The gift of tongues is considered, by many in the theological world, to be the ugly step-sister of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. If this is so then the gift of healing must be considered her identical twin. This darling of dunamis evokes some pretty diverse reactions among us, believers.
There are Bible teachers whom I highly respect who believe that healing is not for today. In their view if a person has a spiritual problem they should see a pastor, but if a person is sick they should see a doctor and only a doctor.
There are other teachers whom I respect just as deeply who feel that healing is not only for today but should be the normal experience of all Christians. Some will go so far as to say that if a Christian becomes ill it is because of some lack in his spiritual walk.
I feel casting your lot with the extremes of either camp is incorrect. They are far too simplistic to be accurate. To say that divine healing is not for today is to do violence to the doctrine of Scripture. On the other hand to say that divine health is the right of every Christian is to deny the revealed truth in the stories of Scripture.
If we say healing is not for today what do we do with scriptures like James 5:14:
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick…” James 5:14,15 KJV
What about Mark 16:18 or the command in Matthew 10:8?
On the other hand to say that as Christians we must always be healthy and sickness can never be allowed in our lives is also an extreme . Scripture does teach intrinsically that no healing we receive in the “vale of tears” is permanent. Lazarus is once again dead and the eyes of Blind Bartimaeus have once again gone dark.
Don’t get me wrong I believe in divine healing. I believe it is the right of every Christian to seek for and expect healing. I think we should probably be seeing more healing in the American church. I even agree that we miss out on a lot of healing because of unbelief and sin in the church. However I take an exception with the idea that every believer should get every healing every time he asks. I don’t think it’s that simple.
Now I don’t have enough space in this blog to develop each of the points I am about to make. So I expect that I am about to raise some eyebrows. I invite questions and comments. Let’s just say some of these ideas, as to why healing is not just a simple “dab ‘em and its done”, are truths held in tension within Scripture so I doubt we will all agree on any of these points. Greater men than me have put in their two cents and have been rebuffed so…
Why the gift of healing is just not that simple:
- Because in this world God does not always get His way in every situation. Certain things in this world limit our limitless God (let that bob around in your head for awhile and see what you make of it).
- Our physical well-being is not God’s primary concern. He will forego healing if it negatively affects His kingdom purposes.
- Healing like the other gifts is about confirming the gospel message.
- Healing is often a pathway, a journey and not a moment (even when it is spontaneous).
- Healing like every other gift of God relies on us discovering the will of God in each situation according to John 15. While I believe it is God’s will to heal all our diseases it may not be his will to heal them today.
The gift of healing does not work by formula. There is no ritual that guarantees its success. As men and women of God filled with the Holy Spirit we are called to operate in the gift of healing. But there is no three-step program to making this work. Instead God wishes us to spend time praying for each circumstance separately to divine His will and pathway for healing in each opportunity. So we pray and wait until we have an unction from God. When knowledge comes, healing’s pathway will follow.
Tell me some of your healing stories.