I’ve struggled with some of the theology that proclaims that God will always heal, and if you don’t get your healing, it’s because you don’t have enough faith. People said those kinds of things to me in my early years when I battled Lyme disease. Not only were the comments not-helpful, they were downright hurtful.
For years I’ve felt protective of those who’ve suffered long without a breakthrough. I’ve asked God to give them a gift of faith. I’ve asked God to protect them from people who sounded like Job’s friends and who assess the sufferer with the preface, “You know what your problem is?”
Those who’ve suffered long don’t need more ought-to’s and should-do’s. Those compassionless statements only make our burden heavier.
But the thing is, when we suffer long, we get used to our situation. We identify with it. And we lose our sense of expectancy. I know this very well from personal experience.
It’s in those places, we need hope and perspective and a fresh word from God that’s specific to our situation. God has not left us. God has something for us. And God will move in our midst if we seek Him, trust Him, and do whatever it is He tells us to do. God deals differently with all of us. He doesn’t leave us in our pain. He redeems us right in the midst of it.
So while I want to protect the long-term sufferer from folks who would fling a thirty-thousand-foot view of faith into their very real, painful situation, I don’t want to protect them from the idea that God still moves, still cares, and will do something in their situation that they never expected if they will dare to lift their eyes and trust Him, and if they’ll determine to contend for the promise that He’s put before them. God’s promises are as potent as they’ve ever been.
And while I still believe that God performs miracles in our day, I also believe that there’s a mystery to this thing called life. Godly people get sick and die.
I must say, there’s a lot of heat around the topic of healing. Those who’ve prayed earnestly for a loved one—only to have him die—are so deeply disappointed that they sometimes get angry when the topic comes up. They’re done risking faith on the things that matter most to them. And who can blame them? Then there are those who’ve experienced a true-blue miracle and long for the rest of us to keep contending, keep believing so that we too will experience our own miracle. There’s a part of me that very much feels this way even amidst some of my own not-yets, loss and heartbreak.
You can see why this conversation almost forces us to choose one of two camps (and I’ve heard rants from both of these extremes):
- God always heals…if you have enough faith. And if you’re not healed, it’s your fault.
- God never heals, and those who think so are spiritual kooks. False teachers, even.
Lord have mercy on us for the countless ways we’ve divided over theology that actually requires faith, a willingness to embrace mystery, and a heart set on the Father’s love!
If you’re willing, let’s embark on a journey and explore Jesus’ desire to see us flourish, to heal our soul, and to make us whole. Sometimes we’ll get an immediate miracle, but I’d say more often, our healing-wholeness journey is more of a process. No matter what ails us—be it emotionally, physically, or circumstantially—God has more for us. We’re not meant to stay stuck here.
But to get unstuck, we need a sense of expectancy. Hope needs to make a comeback. Can we toss aside our preconceived notions and see if Jesus won’t meet us in a fresh new way and even upgrade our faith? Dare we consider the notion that this Kingdom life might be far more transformative than we once thought?
Each month on Middays, we do a show we call, Songs & Verses where we take calls and give listeners a chance to share which songs and passages of scripture speak to them about whatever topic we’re focusing on that day. For this particular show, we focused on healing.
We played songs, prayed for listeners, and shared testimonies of God’s faithfulness.
If you or someone you know needs an hour of encouragement around the topic of healing, listen in.
God is still a miracle-working God. There’s a mystery to His ways, but may we always err on the side of faith.
Adapted from Susie Larson’s book, “Fully Alive: Learning to Flourish – Mind, Body, and Spirit”