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Common Questions About Divine Healing

One of the most prominent promises in Scripture is that God has always made provision for the healing of His people. We see this all through the Old Testament with a well-known example in Exodus 15:26, which says, “…If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”          

And of course, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus took sickness and infirmity upon Himself (see Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:16-17; 1 Peter 2:24), and we also see how Jesus freely healed everyone who sought Him for healing (see Matthew 4:23-24; 12:15; Acts 10:38).
 
As we look at the Bible, it is easy to see that God wants to heal us and has made provision to do so. However, there are times when the Scripture we read seems very different from the circumstances we experience. Many people have ended up with questions regarding divine healing most often during times when they have sought to be healed and healing perhaps didn’t manifest as they expected.
 
Let’s cover some of the common questions people have when it comes to healing. While we won’t possibly be able to address every issue, hopefully this will offer some biblical direction and helpful insight along these lines.
 
1.       Why Was Healing Delayed or It Didn’t Happen?
 
First, there are several instances in the Bible where people were not healed even when healing was made available. We could deduct a few reasons, based on the following examples:
 
Unbelief or misconception concerning healing.
In Luke 5:17, we find the power of God was present to heal in the presence of the Pharisees but they didn’t receive it. The KJV says, “the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” [emphasis added] The religious leaders of Jesus’ day obviously didn’t receive Jesus and their doctrinal ideals hindered the power of God that was available for them.
 
We see this again when Jesus ministered healing in Nazareth. In Mark 6:5-6, it says, “he could therefore do no mighty work, …And he marveled because of their unbelief.” 
 
Trusting in natural resources/remedies over trust in God.
In 2 Chronicles 16:12, we learn that King Asa was diseased in His feet, but wasn’t healed because he trusted more in what doctors could do than what the Lord could do. The NLT says, he “turned only to the physicians.” [emphasis added]
 
Refusal to obey God; habitual or purposeful sin.
We learn in Acts 5, that when Ananias and Sapphira lied about their offering they died suddenly. There are many examples in Scripture of those who deliberately lived in disobedience and shortened their lives as a result. Isaiah 1:19-20 says the willing and obedient will experience good, but those who rebel will be consumed.   
 
The Bible gives many more examples, but here is a key point we have to consider: God may not answer every “why” when healing doesn’t manifest. We can certainly ask Him for reasons, but we also have to accept that He may not reveal every reason. Our human frailty can only receive so much, so God is only going to give us what we can handle and we have to trust Him in this. 
 
Additionally, no two situations are exactly the same. Therefore, we have to be careful not to make rash judgments or assumptions, or like some, just quit believing in God’s promises because of disappointment. Remind yourself that situations and other people’s experiences that seem to have turned out opposite of what God ultimately promises doesn’t change those promises! God may not reveal why a certain person wasn’t healed or perhaps died prematurely, but in spite of that we have to keep our focus on what the Bible promises over the need for everything to be explained. Our job is to keep trusting God and know that He will reveal what we truly need to know. 
 
2.       Does Taking Medicine or Going to a Doctor Reveal a Lack of Faith?
 
Let’s go back to 2 Chronicles 16 and look closer at King Asa because some have used this example to say that seeing a doctor reveals that you aren’t truly trusting in the Lord for your healing.
 
If you study the entire chapter, you will find that King Asa’s problem with trusting his doctors over God didn’t start with this situation. It happened earlier as he made a treaty with the king of Syria to obtain protection from the king of Israel. In verse 7, Hanani the prophet says to Asa, “Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.”  From this we learn that it wasn’t going to the doctor that was Asa’s problem. He had developed a pattern of fear that caused him to rely on other things over God.  It seems he was leaving God out of the equation in his effort to find natural solutions.
 
If going to a doctor was an indicator of faith, then it seems a little odd that Paul, the great apostle, traveled with Luke who was a physician. When their ministry group was shipwrecked on the Island of Malta, they ministered healing to the people of the island.   In this account, we find two words for healing used in Acts 28:8-9. The first word for healing, found in verse 8, is the word iomai which means “to cure.” We can see that this was strictly accomplished supernaturally when Paul laid hands on the man who was sick. The second word healed, in verse 9, is therapeuo¸ which is much similar to our word, “therapy.” It means to “wait upon menially” or “cure from disease.” This type of healing would indicate that there were natural healing remedies applied in addition to divine intervention. 
 
So taking medicine or seeing a doctor shouldn’t be the primary indicator of a lack of faith or even that we have faith. What should determine our faith is our habit of being in God’s Word because faith is determined and built by that (see Romans 10:17). We can, however, see that there are benefits of healing both supernaturally and naturally as our body needs natural things to survive such as a healthy diet, hygiene, sleep and exercise, etc. At the same time, natural remedies and medicine cannot answer every problem, and we have to be careful not to let them take precedence over our trust in the Lord’s healing promises. 
 
3.       Why Does Sickness Sometimes Return after a Person has Been Healed?
 
A good jumping off point to this question can simply begin with looking at our habits and patterns. All too often people get healed from something and then never examine the habits and patterns of their life that caused an illness in the first place. For example, God can heal a heart condition but if it was stress, anger, and anxiety that contributed to the issue to begin with and that habit is never altered, one risks a relapse. 
 
Here is a biblical example of this from John 5:14. This is from the story of the man Jesus’ miraculously healed at the Pool of Bethesda. After this man’s healing, Jesus tells him in verse 14, “sin no more lest a worse thing come unto thee.” In this man’s case it was a sin issue, but it does reveal that there are lifestyle choices or habits that can contribute to illnesses.
 
A second reason as to why sickness can return is found in Matthew 12:43-45. This was where Jesus talked about casting out evil spirits and how they seek to reenter a person. We know that in some cases (not all) that evil spirits can be directly attached to certain physical conditions. We see this with the woman who was bowed over because she “had a spirit of infirmity.” (see Luke 13:11) Sometimes when these spirits are cast out, they can attempt to come back.
 
Some obvious keys to preventing this from happening are, once again, lifestyle changes. Then in conjunction with that, filling your heart and mind with God’s Word. As your life is continually filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s presence there is little room for the presence of evil spirits to inhabit you!
 
4.       Did I Do Something to Cause This Sickness/Did I Open a Door Somewhere?
 
Many people worry that they have done something wrong without realizing it or perhaps opened a door that they didn’t mean to and now they are suffering the result. John 10:10 says the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Think about how thieves enter in. They don’t request permission or wait for you to open a door for them. They break in illegally even if you don’t give them access!
 
The devil is often the same way. Sure, he will gladly come in if we give him access and the Bible reminds us not to do this (see Ephesians 4:27). However, there are times when the enemy attacks and we haven’t done anything wrong. We see this when Paul was hindered by the devil in 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Think about when the towers tragically fell upon the Galileans in Luke 13:3-4. Jesus said it didn’t happen because they were worse sinners than any of the others. Instead, He emphasized that the real issue of concern is our readiness for eternity, not just why bad things happen in this life. 
 
We see Jesus reiterate this fact again with the blind man in John 9:1-3. His disciples asked if the man was blind because of someone’s sin and Jesus made it clear that was not the case. So from these examples we can conclude that sickness or tragedy isn’t always tied to some form of wrongdoing, it occurs because we live in a sin cursed world. Of course, that isn’t to say our sins can’t open doors to problems or sickness, they certainly can! Remember, we reap what we sow (see Galatians 6:7). It just means not every attack is related to our actions.
 
However, a last encouraging point to remember is that if there really is a door that we opened somehow, God is going to communicate it to us. He isn’t going to leave us in the dark, wondering and guessing what we did wrong. The Holy Spirit within us is our Helper and will teach us, causing us to remember the things Jesus commanded (see John 14:26).   This truth forces us to realize that God isn’t going to allow us to open some door or make a mistake without giving us ample opportunity to make adjustments and corrections first. And, typically when we do wrong, we usually know. We may not always want to acknowledge it in our hearts, but we know when we are in error. Honestly, it is more believable to assume that if we truly have opened a door for the enemy to attack, we probably had ample warning from the Lord and either chose to ignore it or deliberately disobeyed. If that is the case, then we can run to God in heartfelt repentance, and He will forgive and restore!
 
5.       Does God Allow Sickness or Use it to Teach Us Something?
 
We have to remember again that sickness is part of the earth curse. And while Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law, we will still have to resist the work of the devil whose goal is to invade our lives with it (see James 4:7). Jesus said that on this earth, we will encounter decay, corruption and corrosion (see Matthew 6:19-20).
 
That said, God obviously allows sickness or people wouldn’t get sick. However, allowing it or purposing it are two different things. Realize that God doesn’t have the intent to harm. He is a good God! God doesn’t want people to suffer, but let’s face it, suffering is part of this mortal life under the earth curse and we will encounter it until we get to heaven one day. So God may allow illness, but it doesn’t mean it was His best, or that He purposed it. And, regardless of why or how it came, God can and will use it for His glory if we trust Him. Yes, healing is still a biblical promise, but there are also many biblical examples that show how adversity, even sickness, can be turned into a tool for our benefit and personal growth.
 
Think of James 1:1-8, which explains how tests and trials can teach us the lesson of keeping faith for the long haul. We also know how Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for our good. This means even negative circumstances, sicknesses, or other trials can be turned around by God so that they ultimately become a learning device that will help us become stronger Christians. Think about it, how else would you learn to walk out a healing miracle or trust God for healing unless you had first been sick?
 
Here is a thought provoking verse: Psalm 119:75 says, “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”    Realize God has not maliciously purposed sickness in your life; He wants you well. But He will turn afflictions and adversity into a tool to grow and discipline you. God will take even what the devil attacked you with and use it for a good purpose!
 

In closing, remember God’s intent is always for you to live in health! No matter how each of our individual journeys play out, God wants us well in life, and our priority is to trust His lead each step of the way. May you continue to make God’s healing promises your own and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to incorporate them so that you can live a long and prosperous life!