Should we always expect God to heal?

capsule-LR

So many Christians wonder about whether or not God still heals miraculously today, as we see Him do in the both the Old and New Testaments. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get some interesting answers.

My answer is somewhat simple, but then again, maybe not so. Here’s how I answer the question:

We should expect God to do what will bring God the most glory. 

To help unpack that, here are three things to keep in mind when wondering if God will heal someone of an ailment or infirmity:

1. Recognize the difference between ability and obligation.

God is capable of doing absolutely anything. He created the universe and everything in it from nothing (Gen. 1:1-2:3). He holds all things together with only a word (Heb. 1:3; Col.1:17). He is able to do more than we could ever think or ask (Eph. 3:20).

No one could look at how the BIble speaks of God and suggests anything is beyond His ability.

But we must remember that just because God can do something, it does’t mean He is obligated to do so. God does whatever pleases Him (Psa. 135:6), and only what pleases Him. Who He heals, how He heals and when He heals, that’s His business, not ours. We must, therefore, be careful to that we do not presume upon Him and put Him to the test (Deut. 6:16; Matt. 4:7; 22:18; 1 Cor. 10:9).

2. A lack of healing doesn’t mean a lack of faith.

One of the most dangerous beliefs a professing Christian can hold is in their connection between faith and healing.

I remember many impassioned conversations with a man who grew up in a Pentecostal church over this issue. He was convinced that God not only can, but God must heal His people from illness—and if He doesn’t, clearly it’s a lack of faith on the part of the one suffering.

Therefore, the logical response is to rebuke the one who is ill.

Can I just say, that kind of thinking isn’t going to go well?

My wife has been a model of suffering well (despite her protests to the contrary). When she nearly died during a miscarriage, her response was not to doubt God, but to cry out to Him. When she developed epilepsy recently, her response (although she’s admitted she has a long way to go) has not been to sit in sackcloth and ashes, but to look to see God’s purposes in it.

A friend and mentor, Chris, is another example of one who has suffered unbelievably, yet his lack of healing has nothing to do with a lack of faith. In fact, he’s among the godliest men I know. Nevertheless, he’s been dealing with a Crohn’s-like illness for the last seven years and been hospitalized multiple times because of it.

An important thing to remember about theology is that, as much as possible, it actually has to make sense in practice.

Would the right response be for me to rebuke my wife because she’s got epilepsy? Would Chris’ wife be in the right to rebuke him for having a disease?

Of course not! Responses like that only serve to pour condemnation upon those who are suffering—but there is “no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). We must should offer not condemnation, but compassion. If our theology of healing and suffering causes people more pain, it might be missing the mark.

3. God’s glory is His overriding concern—and it should be ours, too.

Finally, it’s important to remember that God does all things, ultimately, for His own name’s sake—His glory is His utmost concern (cf. Isa. 48:9; 66:5; Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22, 44; 36:22). That has to be our primary concern, just as it is God’s.

God does whatever brings Him the most glory in all matters—including if, how and when He chooses to heal someone. Any conclusions we make, any positions we hold, must be filtered through this lens.

So if you pray for healing and it comes (whether through ordinary or extraordinary means), rejoice and give glory to God! But if healing doesn’t come, understand, it’s not because you’ve done something wrong—it’s that by suffering well, you have the opportunity to give God the most glory.


Part of the “tell me what to write” series.

  • Steve Martin

    We should expect it. But not be surprised when we don’t get what we want.

    He heals all our diseases…but not in this life.