Healing is something we all seek at one time or another in our lives. Regardless of whether the healing is for you or someone you love, the approach is often the same. We seek God’s favor to restore our health, that of a friend or a family member. Perhaps the most difficult part of these situations is realizing just how far the situation is outside of our control.
Turning It Over
We long to physically do something when things go wrong, don’t we? Agreeably prayer is the best thing we can do, yet we still find it difficult to stop and pray. Why is this process so tough? I have learned two things. Surrendering our well-being or that of a loved one requires a certain level of trust. As uncomfortable as it can be, praying for healing requires us to surrender the outcome.
The God Who Heals
When I am going through a situation like this, I have learned to look toward scripture for wisdom and insight. In the Bible, God has many names. In this situation, we seek God as Jehovah-Rapha, which means “The God Who Heals.” The first example of Jehovah-Rapha comes from the book of Exodus after the Israelites left Egypt. Wandering, as the Israelites were known to do, they found themselves in desperate need of water.
Not The Answer I Was Looking For
After traveling in the desert for 3 days, the Israelites came across a river, but the water was too bitter to drink. After crying out to the Lord, God instructed Moses to throw a piece of wood into the river, making the water safe to drink. While I realize this story is not about physical healing, imagine the level of trust that this required from the Israelites. More so for Moses, but the Israelites were trusting that God was directing his steps.
A High Potential For Disaster
Wandering in the desert, no gas stations for days. Everyone is grumbling, wishing they were back in Egypt. No cell phones, no triple-A. Moses is at his whits-end. If God doesn’t come through there is no telling what the Israelites might do. No one else was coming to their rescue.
After miraculously sweetening the water, God made this powerful declaration.
“He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”Exodus 15:26 NLT
Other Examples of Old Testament Healing
When I picture healing, I typically lean towards the examples I grew up reading in scripture. There is a multitude of examples of miraculous healing in scripture. Take a look through some of the examples below for further study.
- Jesus heals a man with leprosy Matthew 8:1-4
- Jesus forgives and heals a paralyzed man Mark 2:5-12
- Restoring the eyesight of two blind men Matthew 9:27-31
- Jesus heals a woman who had bled for 12 years Luke 8:42-48
- Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead John 11:41-44
- Healing of a multitude of people from touching Jesus’ garment in Gennesaret Mark 6:53-56
Praying for Miracles, Signs, and Wonders
When speaking of fear, anxiety, or any other ailment, I will always encourage those around me to boldly seek God for healing. God encourages us to pray about everything. God’s Word does not put criteria on when we should pray for healing. So I say pray boldly believing God for healing from anxiety or fear.
Although I encourage this, I also understand that God does not always work in this way. From my experience, there are three ways that God responds to our request for healing. The first type of response is miraculous, instantaneous healing. Next up is healing over time. Last on the list is when God chooses not to heal.
Miraculous, Instantaneous Healing
In my time following Jesus, I have seen God instantaneously heal a person or situation. No explanation, no indication as to why, just boom! The longer I live the more I wonder why God answers some requests for healing immediately and other answers seem to take a lifetime. I have learned that asking why is okay, but I rarely discover the reason behind the answer. I have learned to accept that God has his reasons and I may never know the why behind the miracle.
Healing Over Time
I will often reflect on times of instantaneous healing and praise God for them, but I strive to never take them for granted. I continue to pray, hoping for miracles, but I have learned that God frequently heals a person over time. Often this can happen little by little over months, years, or even decades.
This type of healing is not a lot of fun because it requires faith and lots of patience. Let us face it, we do not like to wait. No matter what it is, we want it now. We’re all guilty of this on one level or another.
When God Chooses Not To Heal
What do we do when we pray to God for healing and we do not get the answer we were hoping for? Not only are we not instantly healed, but we’re also not healed over time. We keep praying and praying without an answer. Just as Moses and the Israelites received bitter water when they prayed for water wandering in the desert, we too might receive an answer we weren’t expecting.
As we are praying for healing while we wander in our own desert, realize that God may choose not to heal. As believers, it is important for us to learn how to respond when God tells us no. While I have seen God answer in this way, I am not sure I am much better at handling this type of answer. As I have said before, time often helps me gain a better perspective.
While perspective does not erase the pain, it does help me to move forward. One of the hard lessons I have learned from receiving a “no”, is a Kingdom perspective. Sometimes God can accomplish more through our pain than through instant or eventual healing. Even Jesus experienced this when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane(on the Mount of Olives) for God to, “…please take this cup of suffering away from me…” Luke 22:42
The Ultimate Example
The perspective which Jesus ultimately shows us immediately follows in the same verse. “…Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42 Jesus’ example shows us what it was like to be fully God and man in this passage. He shows us how to express our desires to God while being obedient. These moments leading up to the crucifixion are chock-full of what it means to live out of a Kingdom perspective.
So as we continue praying for miraculous healing, I want to provide other things to think about. I believe in most cases, you would agree that your current approach to dealing with fear and anxiety is not working out as you had hoped. I would ask you to consider one question. Have you thought about what God might want to accomplish through your fear and anxiety?
In his teaching, Pastor Craig Groeschel will often describe how he plays out a situation. Essentially, this is considering what could happen. As an exercise, what if we play out your scenario?
Play It Out
What would it look like if God:
- Instantly heals the fear/anxiety of you or the person you are praying for?
- Heals this person over time?
- Chooses not to heal the person or situation?
What could God accomplish through each scenario?
Is there one that might better serve the Kingdom of God?
Is there anything that this exercise revealed to you? Often those who struggle with fear/anxiety spend a LOT of energy managing the outcomes. All for a variety of reasons, but this is a common thread. Does this exercise reveal any outcomes you need to surrender to God?