Some Christians are filled with faith and live a holy life, and yet they are suffering with illness and health problems. Also there are sick children, such as those with terminal illness like cancer. Why are these not healed?
This is a delicate issue and unfortunately, it’s one that has been greatly misunderstood. I don’t think it will help anyone if I tip-toe around this subject, so I’d like to give an honest answer that will probably be hard for many people to accept and frankly, will make some people angry.
Much of the disappointment and heartache that comes from failed attempts at healing is due to misconceptions about God and the kingdom of darkness. Many of us believe that God can heal whomever He wants and that if someone is not healed, it must be because God doesn’t want them healed. That’s a bit like saying if someone doesn’t get saved it’s because God doesn’t want them to be saved. There’s an entire school of theology built around this idea, but the truth is that divine healing simply doesn’t work this way. Actually, there is very little in the kingdom of God that does.
John Wimber was given a vision from God that illustrated the problem we’re discussing. This is how he described it in his book Power Healing:
“Suddenly in my minds eye there appeared to be a cloud bank superimposed across the sky. But I had never seen a cloud bank like this one, so I pulled my car over to the side of the road to take a closer look. Then I realized it was not a cloud bank, it was a honeycomb with honey dripping out on to people below. The people were in a variety of postures. Some were reverent; they were weeping and holding their hands out to catch the honey and taste it, even inviting others to take some of their honey. Others acted irritated, wiping the honey off themselves, complaining about the mess. I was awestruck. Not knowing what to think, I prayed, “Lord, what is it?”
He said, “It’s my mercy, John. For some people it’s a blessing, but for others it’s a hindrance. There is plenty for everyone. Don’t ever beg me for healing again. The problem isn’t on my end, John. It’s down there.”
When people have sought prayer for healing repeatedly to no avail, there is a strong temptation to believe that God has a divine purpose for our sickness or that He simply doesn’t want to heal us. It’s just human nature to think this way. This is despite the fact that the bible teaches that God sees both sickness and death as His sworn enemies and despite the fact that there isn’t one passage in the bible that plainly teaches that sickness is used by God for any kind of divine purpose. In order to better understand how healing works, let me draw a comparison with something most of us are more familiar with.
Healing, like salvation is not a sovereign act of God. Rather, it is accomplished when we do what God commissions us to do. Salvation comes as a result of man proclaiming the gospel. The proclamation of the gospel is a task that has been delegated to man as God’s representative and salvation depends upon our obedience. People are saved when men and women preach the gospel faithfully. If people are not saved, it is not because God doesn’t want them to be saved. It is because we’ve failed to proclaim the message we were given. Healing operates in the same way, through God’s representatives – the church.
God sent Jesus into the world to reveal his will concerning healing. Jesus didn’t just heal a few people that the Father chose here and there. He healed entire villages of all who were sick and demon possessed. He also raised the dead and he commissioned his disciples to do the same things He did. If we believe that God wants people to become sick and die at a young age– we must explain why He sent His Son into the world to defeat sickness and death and why He commissioned His disciples to carry out the same plan after He ascended into heaven.
The ministry of Jesus sent a clear message to the world that God is opposed to sickness and death. If it is the will of God for man to be sick, no one in history violated the will of God more than Jesus. Just as God desires all men to be saved, He also desires all men to be healed. Jesus gave us, His disciples all the power and authority we’ll ever need to deal with sickness and death. Once He gives us authority to do something, He is no longer responsible for doing it – we are. The ball is now in our court and it has been for 2,000 years. It’s up to us to exercise the authority He has given us.
As God’s ambassadors, it is our job to enforce His will here on earth with regard to healing. If we don’t learn how to conquer sickness and death by releasing healing, people are going to die. Most people have never been trained or equipped to heal the sick, raise the dead or cast out demons, even though these are the most basic things Jesus taught His disciples to do. When healing doesn’t happen, it is not because God wants people to be sick– it is because His ambassadors have failed to use the power and authority they’ve been given. Many of us try to put the responsibility back on God because we don’t want to admit that we’ve failed to take our responsibilities seriously. This is the reason why I wrote my book on healing. My heart’s greatest desire is to train and equip the saints to do the work God commissioned us to do.