Raise the subject of healing among Christians and you will discover a spectrum of understanding. Some are persuaded that Christ always heals and that any lack of healing demonstrates a lack of faith. Others at the opposite end of the discussion affirm no healing happens and that “the best” one can do is to accept the suffering that comes.
There is certainly plenty of evidence in the ministry of Jesus Christ that He can and does heal. I cite two examples from Luke 4 –
1) Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (which, my Roman Catholic friends, clearly teaches that Peter was married). “Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.” That’s what friends do through prayer, don’t they? We are asking Jesus Christ to help those with issues (of any type) that we have no capability to address. Jesus “bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.” Here Christ demonstrates His authority over illness which He clearly possesses.
2) Those with various kinds of sickness – As the sun sets in Capernaum on that same day, “people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” (Luke 4:40). No illness is beyond the touch of God and each one received the gift of Christ’s touch.
What are some issues to consider when it comes to healing? I suggest a few, to encourage you to make a more careful Scriptural investigation.
1) As one preacher noted on this subject – “All healing is temporary.” Even Lazarus, who was raised from the dead, died!
2) God does not choose to heal everyone. I have tracked through several years some of the ‘claims’ of faith healers. The ‘extremists’ among them teach that no sickness has any place in the life of a genuine Christ-follower. They critique Paul’s “thorn-in-the-flesh” and experience of God’s “all-sufficient grace” as less than God’s best. They are mystified that Paul “left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” Yet this has been the experience of solid believers through many centuries. Perhaps led like Paul (in 2 Corinthians 12) to ask God’s removal of a physical ailment, they are guided by God’s Spirit to a deeper experience of God’s grace with their ailment. As author Joni Eareckson Tada has stated, “I would rather be in a wheelchair WITH GOD than out of a wheelchair WITHOUT HIM.” (emphasis mine)
3) Elders may be called with a request for prayer and anointing. James 5:14-16 explicitly states, “If any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other….” Sadly, some groups back away from this biblical option because of the extremist views of others. I have had the joy on several occasions of ministry of following this divinely ordered plan and have been amazed at what God has done! Perhaps we all need to read Scriptures like this and remove (as much as possible) our preconceived ideas of their meaning and application.
So let’s continue to “ask Jesus to help” those in our circle of influence who need his touch. Let’s pray in faith and seek God’s intervention when medical practice has proven ‘limited.’ But let’s also rejoice with those who have not experienced God’s full restoration, who are now proving that “HIS GRACE is sufficient, that HIS STRENGTH is made perfect through weakness!”