Why are some healed and some not?
Last weekend we had some inspiring meetings with Nathan Morris and his team, and above all the Holy Spirit very much in evidence! Many were stirred and touched by God’s presence and many were healed in body or mind. Of course we believe God can heal people and we pray for many, week in week out. But it seems there is a special grace on some ministers and some occasions for God’s healing power to be released.
But there is always an intriguing question - and for some it is an agonising question. Why are some healed and some not?
We believe that part of what Jesus achieved at the Cross and Resurrection is healing of body and mind and emotions. In Isaiah 53:5 we have a prophetic foretaste - “upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” - and in Matthew 8:16-17 Matthew explains this is specifically fulfilled in Jesus’ healing ministry. So it is normal in church life for us to seek healing - James 5:13-16.
So why are some healed and some not?
Some would say it is just lack of faith - either the sick person or those around who are praying may lack faith. We want to encourage people to exercise faith. But this is dangerously close to blaming the person who is ill for their illness, something Jesus did not do. In John 9 He healed a man born blind after explaining that it was not the man’s sin (he was born blind) nor his parents’ sin. Instead it was “that the works of God might be displayed in him” (v 3).
So is it God’s will that some are healed and some not? The problem with this idea is that it just does not fit with the revelation of God whose nature is love and the revelation of the Cross/Resurrection as bringing us peace, “shalom” which includes wellbeing in every way. Jesus healed so many in His earthly ministry. And throughout church history, beginning in Acts 3, there have been many instances of supernatural healing. There must be some other reason why some are healed and some not.
We have a clue in Acts chapter 1. The disciples ask Jesus the “million dollar question.” Is this now the time that the Kingdom of God will be revealed in fulness? He does not answer the question with a simple Yes or No!
Instead Jesus says both “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority,” which implies the Kingdom will come at a future time, and “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses …” which implies the kingdom is coming in power as soon as they are filled with the Holy Spirit (verses 7 and 8).
The Kingdom is here. That is what John the Baptist preached and then Jesus Himself. It is the result of the Cross/Resurrection. We can be forgiven and made new, part of a new creation. Miracles of healing and releases from prison happen.
But the Kingdom is ‘Not yet’ - it is still to come in fulness. Meanwhile Christians might be imprisoned and ill treated. Some are martyred, not delivered. Some are not healed. And all who are healed are still subject to the normal decay that happens in a fallen world: all those Jesus healed later died!
The following chapters of Acts, 2, 3 and 4, are something of a rollercoaster - a mix of supernatural grace, imprisonment and beatings with miracles and supernatural releases from prison! Signs of the new creation break into the present but its fulness is future.
So we look to God for healing. We trust Him on the basis that healing and shalom in all its fulness are part of the atonement achieved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We recognise that we cannot blame ourselves or anyone who is in need of healing, and we cannot blame God for not intervening. Instead we simply trust the One who heals - sometimes here and now and certainly, completely at the last when Jesus returns.
So why are some healed and some not? I do not fully know. But I know God and I know He will heal, either now because the Kingdom is here or at the end of time when the Kingdom comes fully.