How many souls are living tortured existences due to the fact that they have some physical or mental malady and they have been told – If you truly believe, or forgive, or have enough faith God will heal you? Many televangelists, radio preachers, and name it and claim it types teach that if you are a Christian – God will heal you. My United Pentecostal Church taught that if you were ill, God would heal you or there is sin in your life. They took the scriptures “by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, I Peter 2:24) out of context and applied it as a blanket fixer for all physical maladies. Is there a Biblical basis for this? Isaiah 53:5 and I Peter 2:24 both texts, when read in context, make it clear that the true meaning is healing of our souls (salvation) not bodies.
I will be the first to say that I believe in an all-powerful God who can do anything but He does not heal everyone and all sickness is not a result of sin! (John 9:1-3) Yes, there is healing in the Bible. Jesus performed miraculous healing signs as He was establishing Himself as Messiah (John 7:31) as He was ushering in the New Covenant. He gave the Apostles gifts of healing to use as they were bringing the Gospel first to Israel and then to the Gentiles to validate their message but there was never wholesale healing of everyone who believes. Some examples from the New Testament of illness that was not healed miraculously are Paul (II Corinthians 12:7-9), Trophimus (II Timothy 4:20), and Timothy (I Timothy 5:23).
What about those who go home from these faith healing services without being healed? There was a time in my life when I desperately needed a miracle. I went through prayer line after prayer line. People stopped me in the grocery store and asked if they could pray. They would tell me if you take her here and let them pray, she will be healed. I did, she wasn’t. One day, I waited in line for hours to get into one of the colosseum style healing services by a well-known “faith healer”. Thoughts ran through my mind – if they see us surely we’ll get in – this would be the one of those miracles that would draw in the masses and their dollars. Unfortunately, as we slowly wound our way around the building, we were stopped. The auditorium was full and we would not get our miracle that day.
I remember one particular Wednesday evening after the service at my UPC church, several of the women took my baby up to the front of the church; I could only watch from a distance because I truly believe I was having a nervous break-down. I did not feel loved by these women; little by little I was somewhat ostracized, no one was cooing with my baby or wanted to hold her. I felt that they were only trying to get a better look. As a mother, I would do anything to protect this child. This fierce protection would drive my life for years to come. This protection would prove to be my undoing and salvation from a group of people who were more in love with their rules than a hurting mom trying to protect her child. As time went by with no miracle, the initial care and concern fading, I became more and more isolated, not only from them but also in my cocoon of pain but it would only be a matter of time before I would sprout wings and fly free.
God works through our pain and the greater miracle that I needed would come soon:
“So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you.” Ephesians 2:5 NIRV