Beyond Healing

Today, in the West, the most likely causes of death are cancer and heart disease. Our self made-selves get to die of self-made diseases. Either that or we forget who we are and die forgotten in a home.

In this world of relentless, chronic illness and debilitating conditions from which there seems no escape, what does it mean to believe in a God who heals? What meaning has healing in a world which is slowly beginning to wake up to reality: That no matter how much you hide it or pretend otherwise, our fragile and failing flesh was never and will never be ‘perfect’.

Of course I write presumptuously. Many people maintain a carefully selected delusion. Hiding the disabled and the ageing, they can believe that these conditions are temporary ailments at best, which can be rectified by medicine, magic or healing prayer.

Take your pick, it’s the same kind of person who buys the lie anyway.

What possible meaning could healing have when the grave looms closer and closer? So you dodge it for a few more miserable, lonely years. What a blessing!

I think when Jesus touched and healed blind people, lepers and cripples he didn’t have in mind that he was in some way making them perfect. Their illness was no blemish.

The blemish, the ugly disfiguring scar across all creation was that the blind man had to beg on the street, or that the leper had to ring a bell to warn people he was coming near. It is the greatest of all sicknesses that a woman should have lost all her money desperately paying for doctors who could not help her. Her sickness cost her daily bread.

Christ healed the woman on that day. Many people have been blessed to witness similar sights in their own day too. Many have not and many beg God for a miracle. Is he capricious in his miracle dispensing? Are miracles earned by expressing the most faith?

When Christ healed it meant that the Kingdom of God had come upon a person or people (Luke 11:20). The kingdom of God, good news for the poor, restoration of all things and renewal of our weary souls. These kingdom things are witnessed to by the miracle. Yet these things of themselves are not in the miracle.

The healing of the bleeding woman is a miracle which points to the kingdom. It is not the Kingdom. In the Kingdom, she would never have had to spend all her money on doctors. In the Kingdom, blind men will not beg and cripples will be first in line at the healing waters. The miracles of healing are a sign but they are not the Kingdom.

Being Kingdom people, followers of Jesus, doesn’t always mean that we get to watch a deaf person hear or a sick person walk free of cancer. It most certainly does mean that we yearn, pray for and work for a world where our disabled, sick and dying are shown endless love.

This is the greatest thing. Love endures though death creeps through the door and steals the breath. Love is what lies beyond healing. Indeed love is the healing. If God were to restore all human bodies to the attractive, young and fit forms of their mid twenties in some platonic ideal of perfection, how could our love be anything like God’s? For then we would only love because it is convenient.

Love is costly and grace is costly. A cheap miracle cure changes no ones heart, and it is hearts that God seems very interested in.

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6 Comments

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  1. I need to write my book before you have all my other ideas and express them better than I do, too. I.e. yes, very agree

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  2. Being Kingdom people, followers of Jesus, doesn’t always mean that we get to watch a deaf person hear or a sick person walk free of cancer. ……….

    Three question – Why doesn’t it? And should it? And what is your biblical backup to make that statement?

    Matthew 10 v 7,8
    Mark 16 v 15 to 18

    Where in the new testament were deaf people not healed, sick people not healed?

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  3. 1. Why don’t we see instantaneous healing in response to prayer?

    How do you qualify sickness? How do you know if that sickness has been removed?

    2. Should we?

    Does God have any obligation to do things we want him to?

    3. What is your biblical basis?

    The burden of much of the Old Testament’s prophetic literature concerns the tragic inability of God’s people to ‘choose life’ by walking in fellowship with him. Jeremiah 31 and the second half of Isaiah (from chpt 40, ish) are filled with promises of God’s new covenant.

    As far as I can tell the essence of the new covenant is the transformation of the hearts of God’s people so that they will live in fellowship with him.

    Jesus’ miracles testify to this and are part of his announcement of good news. Yet healing miracles don’t seem to be the main burden of the new covenant.

    Paul takes this up in 1 Corinthians 13. His statement that prophesies and knowledge give way to perfect love (1 Cor 13:8-10) implies to me that signs, such as miraculous healings, are not the same thing in Paul’s mind as the perfect love of God which is the “greatest of these”.

    So throughout scripture I see miracles and signs as a form of witness to, but not the essence of, God’s new covenant. The essence of which is the indwelling of the Spirit in all flesh.

    Now, you already know that I cannot give you an example of someone not being healed in the New Testament. It is absurd of you to ask.

    The best I can do is point out that nowhere are we told that Jesus always healed everyone. Sometimes he was driven from an area or didn’t heal due to the lack of faith of the people.

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    • The best I can do is point out that nowhere are we told that Jesus always healed everyone. Sometimes he was driven from an area or didn’t heal due to the lack of faith of the people………….

      Not an accurate statement
      a) It doesn’t say Jesus didn’t heal – it says he could do not many miracles APART FROM heal ….. Mark 6 v 5
      b) If these verse is accurate it would appear the only thing that stopped healing was not coming to Jesus? Matthew 12 v 18, Matthew 9 v 38, Acts 10 v 38 (assuming we can agree that sickness is of the devil and not of God?)

      If it really was God’s will not to heal everyone – surely we would be told this as aren’t we reading his word so that we can prove his will (Romans 12 v 2)

      1 Corinthians 13 …… surely you don’t believe that prophecies, speaking in tongues, and knowledge have already vanished so I fail to see why this is an appropriate quote – you surely don’t believe all healing has already vanished.

      Does God have any obligation to do things we want him to? ……. of course not – but he DOES have an obligation to do everything HE HAS SAID HE WILL (Psalm 103 v 3 (to quote but one of many many scriptures where God promises to physically heal). God’s Word stands forever (Isaiah 40 v 8, Psalm 89 v 34) If God breaks his WORD the universe falls apart (Hebrews 1 v 3)

      The question is IS IT GOD’S WILL TO HEAL? – If the answer is YES – then surely as in ALL of GOD’s WILL – this should ALWAYS be the case? If the answer is NO – then surely Jesus was going against God in healing. If the answer is NOT ALWAYS – then surely we would have been clearly told that in scripture so that we didn’t bother praying for healing? After all what’s the point of praying a prayer that God has no intention of answering? And if we don’t know our prayer is in God’s will – there is little point in praying for something.

      (QUOTE ……..The safest way to know that you are praying in God’s will is to pray God’s Word! George Mueller (1805-1898) of Bristol, England was one of the mightiest men of prayer in his time. He raised over $8 million dollars (think of how much that would be in today’s money!) through prayer for the several orphanages that he founded. But, George Mueller never prayed for anything just because he wanted it, or even if he felt that it was needed for God’s work. Here’s what one author writes about Mueller’s prayer life:

      “When it was laid upon George Mueller’s heart to pray for anything, he would search the Scriptures to find if there was some promise that covered the case. Sometimes he would search the Scriptures for days before he presented his petition to God. And then when he found the promise, with his open Bible before him and his finger upon that promise, he would plead that promise with an open Bible before him.” The Power of Prayer by R.A. Torrey

      Are you praying with complete confidence because you know it’s God’s will because it came from God’s Word?

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      • The issue, firstly, is that there really isn’t an accurate way to describe someone as healed or not healed. All those who Jesus healed later died. They likely died of an illness aggravated by their frailty in old age.

        I have issues with calling what Jesus did, in those specific instances of miraculous healing, a description of what would always be the case.

        A pretty rubbish ‘good news’ if the best he could do was a few cures.

        So, as far as I am concerned what we have in scripture and in many churches today are indicators and pointers to the kingdom. These are not the kingdom in themselves, as they do not last.

        So a church might have prophesy or tongues or healing, but the enduring presence of God is testified to by love, which is the greatest of these.

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      • Interested you didn’t really address any of my comments.

        Illness isn’t the cause of death – the biblical cause of death is our spirits leaving our body. It is sheer supposition to assume those healed by Jesus later died of illness. We can die like Jesus – choosing to “give up the ghost” .

        Why do you have issues with Jesus’ healing not being for all time – He was perfectly fulfilling old testament prophecy – and He obviously thought it was important and significant enough to do it and have it recorded in His Word . If it was not an important foretaste of the kingdom – why did he bother doing it? And why did he leave instructions for us to do it. Again – what do you think of His instructions to us to heal the sick and raise the dead – did he mean just sometimes? if so why didn’t he say go and sometimes heal the sick and raise the dead?

        A pretty rubbish good news if all…… Seems to me a more rubbish good news if all we can experience is an unprovable pie in the sky vague future hope of something. Jesus clearly says that healing is proof of salvation – if you don’t believe in healing then what is your proof for salvation? And the word salvation/save always means totally whole.

        Pointers to the kingdom? Kingdom doesn’t last? What kingdom are you talking about? Either the kingdom is now …… or it isn’t. It is both present and future. We are now here in this life kingdom livers – we should live lives that represent the current kingdom (God’s) rather than satan’s world. Sickness is satan’s world. Our kingdom lives should show something different surely?

        I totally agree on love – but it cannot be deemed an expression of love to see suffering and not do something about it. That’s what Jesus did. LOVE in action for Jesus was healing the sick raising the dead and doing miracles to transform people’s physical and spiritual lives – why is the church today only interested in dealing (very badly it seems to me) with the spiritual – and not dealing with the physical. Hence why the church has the same divorce rate as outside the church, why there are just as many in the church depressed and sick and suffering as outside the church. This isn’t kingdom living. Jesus was the prime example of a kingdom liver – and he was not sick. If it had been expected or normal for us to be sick – wouldn’t Jesus have been recorded as being sick sometimes too.

        I am sure you didn’t really mean to say that the example we have in scripture didn’t last!

        LOVE in ACTION – is healing the sick. Compassion means when you find someone with a problem you solve their problem. That’s what Jesus spent his life doing. Ultimately solving the biggest problem we had – that of sin.

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