Sunday, April 20, 2008

No healing = No faith? Not the Jesus I know


A good thing, definitely. Its always good when God heals you, its a sign of His love, a sign of His power and His mercy. Its cause for worship and celebration.

What it is not, is a sign of how much faith someone has.

If you've been a Christian long enough, been to enough seminars and conferences and enough types of churches, chances are you will have heard some people talk about how someone wasn't healed because they didn't have enough faith. Or that they had 'some unresolved sin' to deal with before God would do them the favour of healing them.

Some people seem to think that God heals you on the basis of how strong your faith is, how much you know Him, how much you trust Him. That somehow you have this 'bank balance' of faith which 'pays' for your healing.

That analogy may sound shallow, it may sound materialistic and nothing like what God is like.

That's because the whole idea of being healed and not healed depending on your faith is nothing like what God is like. It doesn't fit with a God of mercy and grace.

You can't earn the salvation of Christ. You can't earn His forgiveness. You can't earn His love. None of us deserves them.

None of us deserve healing either. God owes us nothing, no matter how much we trust Him.

Everything He gives us or does for us is an act of love, grace and mercy. Including healing.

I heard a true story of three people who had the same fatal disease. All had a strong Christian faith. All were prayed for for healing.

Two lived. One died. Leaving a husband and two children.

Now can you imagine how her husband would feel. Two healed and his wife is taken. He'll be asking why. There are probably Christians out there who would think, if not say to his face that she died because she didn't have enough faith. Its almost worse thinking it at not saying it.

There are Christians who think like that.

They use the verse about 'the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well' and totally misinterpret it. Are not all prayers offered in faith? Why do Christians pray at all if they have no faith? There's no point in praying if you don't believe Jesus can heal. We all know He can, He does it in the Bible. He does it still.

Surely there's no question that God can heal us.

But if he doesn't heal us or our friend then does that mean there is no faith? That we don't know or trust God enough? That we don't love God enough? That we don't have enough 'credit' with God?

Of course not.

Some churches and Christians think if you aren't healed there is something wrong somewhere . Either you don't have enough faith, you don't trust God enough or you have 'unresolved sin'. As if they or any of us doesn't have unresolved sin.

They seem to think that God has to heal everyone who asks for it. That there is a problem if you're not healed by the next time you see them, or instantly.

Not at all. How arrogant, self-righteous, patronising and presumptuous. It shows no love, grace, mercy, or understanding. It doesn't reflect the real God. Just because someone isn't healed instantly or very quickly, or even at all, doesn't mean they don't have strong faith, it doesn't change that God loves them unconditionally and doesn't mean they don't trust God.

To think that, or to say that to someone is not, in my opinion, anything near Christ-like.

Jesus didn't heal everyone. He healed 'many'. The first thing Jesus said to the man lowered on the mat through the roof, wasn't to heal Him at all. It was to forgive Him. The healing was merely an outward sign to demonstrate His power.

Jesus shows right there what is important to faith. Its not whether you are healed or not healed., its not being physically healed at all. Forgiveness is shown as more important. Jesus shows its more important to forgive someone and to ask His forgiveness than it ever will be to be physically healed.

These bodies we have now are dying from the day we're born. Eventually we'll get sick and won't recover. We'll die.

We don't take these bodies with us, we get new ones when Jesus returns. However, what we do keep is our character. What we do keep is our faith. What we do keep is what we've done while we're here. How we've treated people. Whether we've known and believed in Jesus and asked His forgiveness, or not.

Surely that is more important than physical healing.

Jesus doesn't heal us on the basis of how much we trust Him. He heals us on the basis of grace. Its that simple. Sometimes people are prayed for and healed, sometimes they aren't healed.

That's up to God. But the really important thing when it comes down to it, is that we try to live like Jesus, and we accept the forgiveness He gives us.

His forgivness through the cross is the greatest, most important gift, most important 'healing' of all.

Everything else He gives us is just a bonus.