God is lovingly caring for us — even if the healing we pray for doesn’t happen.
“You might think if someone had the gift of healing they’d go to the hospital and heal everyone,” John Wimber remarked, “but Jesus didn’t do that. When he went to the Pool of Bethesda, the hospital of his day, he healed just one person.” (John 5:1-15)
Sometimes, Jesus left a city where there were people who still needed healing, but the Father told him to move on to another city, so he did (Mark 1:37-38). When Jesus visited Nazareth, there were many sick people who were not healed (Mark 6:5).
Why didn’t Jesus heal everyone?
Because healing is not the most important work God wants to do in our lives — the most important work is discipleship to Jesus in the Kingdom of the Heavens.
For fifteen years, my mother has been praying to be healed. She has dystonia in her mouth, which is an incurable, degenerative neurological disorder making it very painful for her to eat or talk. We keep praying for healing, but her condition continues to get worse. Yet, she has had a ministry of evangelism and healing prayer for others.
Recall that as Jesus was on the cross, he was taunted, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself!” (Mark 15:31). He’s helped others, but there’s no help for him. He’s a healer, but God is not healing him. He’s supposed to be so wise, but he looks so stupid.
Like with Jesus, sometimes God uses our pain to minister grace to others.
In Christian leadership or ministry we feel honored to see God use us to bless and bring healing to other people, but sometimes we find that we ourselves are hurting and stuck. What we’ve done with the Lord to help other people isn’t working for us. It did in the past, but now it’s not.
My (Bill’s) mom says, “I know God will heal me one day, even if it’s not till heaven. More importantly, I’m so glad about this because if it weren’t for my dystonia, I would not have ever known how kind the Lord is. Everyday I sense him with me helping me with my pain and caring for me.”
She lives in the physical reality of her suffering and yet she also lives in a larger heavenly reality of her Father’s love.
Don’t think your prayers or faith failed because God did not heal as you asked.
Actually, the opposite may be the truth. It may be that we are persevering with great faith in God and his sweet sufficiency.
This is the case with the men and women in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.” Their stories are told to show us that mature faith perseveres in trusting in God, even when we have not yet received what we long for. My mother is in Jesus’ modern-day Hall of Faith.
If you’re waiting on God for healing personally or for a loved one, the Lord does not want you to feel embarrassed or inadequate. He is pleased with your persevering trust.
This blog was adapted from Bill & Kristi’s book Healing Prayer: For Emotional & Physical Wholeness.
Listen to Soul Talks “Healing Prayer: When God Does Not Heal.” What does it look like to trust in God’s healing power and abandon outcomes to him? In this episode, Bill and Kristi open up Scripture and their personal stories to wrestle with keeping faith in the midst of unanswered prayers.