God Heals: Part 1
Are you ready for some good news?
God still heals.
Take a look at the majestic, powerful affirmation of Psalm 103:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” (Psalm 103:1–4, ESV)
I believe in God’s compassion and commitment to heal largely because Jesus’ ministry centered on healing and "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, ESV) But I also have a deep appreciation for the complexities of healing, our faith and the sovereignty of God.
On the one side, there are those who point the sovereignty of God, insisting: God can heal, but it’s not ordinary. Who could disagree with that? No reasonable student of the Bible would say that there is something that God cannot do. He’s God. He’s sovereign. Of course He can heal, but this view is incomplete because it has virtually no expectation of healing and utterly downplays the spiritual gift of healing.
On the other side of the theological spectrum, there is the view that God is always committed to healing and so, if someone is not healed, it is because the person doesn’t have enough faith or hasn’t prayed rightly. Sometimes this side of the ministry pendulum also suggests that the key is to receive prayer from the “right” person with a strong enough gift of healing.
The first view values God’s sovereignty but almost disregards the instrument of faith. The second view so emphasizes the role of faith that there is little room for God’s sovereignty. The scripture, however, does not treat the subject so simply. There is unapologetic room for mystery and complexity with regard to healing in the Bible. Sometimes Jesus healed people who had no evidence of faith (e.g., see the man with the withered hand in Matthew 12:9-13). Sometimes he healed a person because of the intercession of others on behalf of the sick (e.g., the paralytic let down through the roof, Mark 2:1-12). Other times Jesus healed the sick in response to the sick person’s faith (e.g., the woman with the issue of blood, Mark 5:21).
God heals. And He heals in surprising and unlimited ways. We don’t heal ourselves by “standing on the Word” or by praying in just the right way. But we aren’t relegated to doing nothing while we wait on His sovereign decision. Sovereignty matters. Faith matters. And amidst the complexities of it all, you can trust Him. And that’s the Gospel!