Why This?April 19th, 2017 | in Health and Healing | 0
Finding spiritual fulfillment in suffering
By: Grant McDowell
Early in my ministry, I asked God to heal a physical weakness in our family. Although a medical solution was available, my wife and I sought divine help. God gave a measure of relief but did not remove the condition.
A few believers were convinced that our lack of faith prevented healing. We took this seriously, prayed fervently, and searched our souls. No matter how sincere or boisterous our asking, God didn’t answer as we’d hoped.
We faced disappointment and even some condemnation when we resorted to a prescription. Why didn’t the God of the universe make everything better? We had asked the elders of the church to pray, we had confessed to each other any sin we could think of (James 5:14-16), and we had sunk our faith deeply into the healing power of Christ (Isaiah 53:4-5).
God had freely imparted His healing touch at other times, but this time, our sense of failure in the face of pressure to experience healing hampered our confidence to pray for healing and miracles.
Some believe that every Christian should be healed just as surely as everyone who repents of sin is forgiven. This conviction rightly cites God’s promises and reasserts healing as a priority (John 15:7; 16:23-24). The irony is that when we promote healing as a law, it can wound the soul.
Bad experiences with healing result from being treated as a project. For some, healing is a formula: declare healing with authority, believe, and then witness the healing—yet the Apostle Paul had to make space for suffering while living in the will of God (2 Corinthians 12:8). When healing is acknowledged as a work of the Holy Spirit rather than a law, it draws the sick person to the Father.
Eleven years ago, my doctor told me I had a particular form of cancer. His office felt institutional and sterile, not unlike prayer meetings where we expect God to heal on demand, as if He were a digital printer awaiting our command.
Later, I questioned God, “Why this? I want to see my children’s future. I want to spend more time with my wife. I have things I want to achieve.”
Quietly and unmistakably, the Spirit of God responded to my spirit. “You can face this with anxiety, or you can trust me. Either way, you are not in control.” I chose trust. I asked for healing, which God provided through successful surgery, good follow-up, and—I have no doubt—the loving power of the Holy Spirit.
Healing, like all good things, is a work of the Spirit and requires that we listen, ask, and trust. We are not in control, yet God gives healing and gifts of healing in order to build up His Church and bring glory to Christ’s name.
Ananias placed his hands on Saul, announcing restoration of sight and filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Jesus Christ, under the anointing of the Spirit, went about healing people (Acts 9:38). We too live in His Spirit.
John wrote, “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13).
Healing is neither a law nor a performance. Sometimes I’ve been deeply moved while praying for people who are sick, but God has not healed. At other times, I’ve simply prayed, seeing the Lord heal with quiet power.
The Spirit, not our healing ministry, is in control (Zechariah 4:6).
• The Gospel of Healing - Check out A.B. Simpson’s writing on this doctrine, including popular objections, principles of divine healing, and testimonies.
• My Soul Tingled – When God took our founder’s health in hand
• Jesus as Healer – Upholding the sick in prayer
• Taste and See – Daily experiences of His goodness
• Desperate for a Miracle – Proving the power of Jesus’ name
• Healed: He Makes the Lame to Walk; He Mends the Broken Heart; He Hears our Prayers – Miracles are happening every day
• A Restored Hand – The prayers of a believing family
• Conquering Chemo – Peace and praise in uncertain times
• Apart from a Miracle – Facing the reality of terminal cancer
• An Accessible Resource – Physical, spiritual, and relational healing in Nunavut
• A Wonderful, Horrible Season - The treasure of God’s love rediscovered through suffering
• Healing Worship - Practical insights to integrating this liturgical service into the total life of the church with a sidebar on planning a healing service
• Releasing Burdens, Gaining Freedom - Where the sick are healed, the oppressed liberated, the poor find hope
Grant McDowell is lead pastor of Cranbrook Alliance Church, in BCmore stories by Grant McDowell