It’s probably the most-asked question I hear, and, I guess, many in the healing ministry get asked it, too. ‘Why? – Why doesn’t God do in the west what he does in South America, China, India, and so on?’
I’ve pondered this for years, and have a number of reasons, even perhaps answers, at least in part. I often use these when preaching to explain a little as to ‘why’, so if you hear me preach ever, you might hear some again! So, here’s a few….
- 1) The Gifts of the Spirit clearly separate ‘healings’ from ‘miracles’ – I know miracles cover all sorts of other things, too, like natural phenomena, provision, etc: but often people look for the ‘miracle’ when God is in the process of healing, which by the very nature of the word implies a process. I strongly believe that no prayer goes unanswered, but if we are looking for the instantaneous, when God is doing the process, I believe we end up disappointed….
- 2) There are some people – many more than we think there are, and some surprising ones, I’ve discovered – who are more secure in their illness than they desire their healing: BUT they like ministry, attention, empathy, sympathy… I could give you some extreme examples of that – like a guy in Sweden who came forward in a wheelchair, stroke victim, whose first question to me was, having seen two other similarly aged men, also stroke victims of a similar 2½ year period, get out of their wheelchairs, ‘what will happen to my social security if I’m healed?’…. he decided then he didn’t want to be healed, his security was in his benefits, and he preferred that way of life to being a fit and well husband, dad, worker: he asked me not to pray for his healing, which clearly he didn’t all along. And he was only 38…..married, with young sons….
- 3) For years I asked God why the ‘hundreds’ happen in other countries, and not, to the same degree, in the western world. One day, I know that I heard God answer (at least to me, but I think this a ‘national’ thing) ‘I want you to repent of the unbelief you inherited by omission’. Not knowing what that meant, I asked for an explanation! For generations in the western world, anything remotely supernatural wasn’t taught, omitted from preaching, because of the ‘trad’ evangelical way churches had gone…. I didn’t think, up to that point, that I had too many unbelief issues, but I did repent of the unbelief that I had inherited by not being grounded in the Power of the Holy Spirit. I know we had occasional people who moved in power during those years, like Wigglesworth, George Jeffries, John G. Lake, A.A. Allen, and others, but they were ostracized and alienated, and often despised: it was only after Wigglesworth’s death that he really became a hero! Like Lake, Allen, and all of the others….
- 4) In Mark 8, even Jesus had to speak to the blindness more than once…. Many people ‘terminate’ their healing (process) almost immediately by saying/thinking, ‘Well, it didn’t work then’, or ‘God did nothing’. Like I said above, and had this rammed home to me by some pastors in China in 1987/88/89, that it IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR GOD NOT TO ANSWER PRAYER. Something changes: it HAS to. Why God chooses healing (process) sometimes, and miracle (instant) another, I can’t explain. I’m not God(phew!), and He’s sovereign, so he can choose whatever is good and right. Sometimes, the illness/disease/problem presents itself in a certain fashion, and to heal it, God has to put other things in place FIRST. Yes, of course he could do everything instantly: but healings and miracles are separated for a reason. I wish I knew why, but I’m glad I’m not God…. The film ‘Bruce Almighty’ brought that home to me! Sometimes, we need to be like the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8). That story, as with everything in Scripture, is there for a purpose. Sometimes, God wants to see how persistent, determined, we are….
- 5) In Matthew, he couldn’t do any miracles in Nazareth because of the unbelief in the place (and if we live in a generational society that promoted unbelief for decades, surely that applies so much of the western world?) (Matt 13:58, Mark 6:4-5). It is IMPOSSIBLE for faith and unbelief to occupy the same room. The wonderful prophetic wisdom of American preacher John Paul Jackson, believes that for every person with unbelief, they cancel out every person who has belief, or faith, or at least WANTS to believe….
- 6) Often, we prefer to believe in a doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis rather than healing: I’m praying more and more against the curse of both, and, frighteningly, praying for people whose bodies have been severely damaged by doctors – a lovely girl some time back, for instance, 25, cancer, many lumps, tissues, and bits of body removed, who GOT additional skin cancer because of the radiation treatment she didn’t need…. a lady, Josellina, in Cali, Colombia, diagnosed with cancer, treated with chemotherapy/radiation, was then told the doctors had got the original diagnosis wrong: by then, they have over-radiated her, and effectively friend her flesh and some of her organs, and she was dying. Graciously and wonderfully, God healed her. Earlier this year, I was initially diagnosed as having bowel cancer: it was 3 months before I had my ‘video-shoot’ (colonoscopy!), and, by then, if I’d allowed FEAR to cause me to believe it, I know I’d have had it. I constantly spoke against the fear, and the possibility of having cancer. And I don’t, thank you Lord! I love doctors: some of my best friends are doctors. I’m grateful for them, and allow them to dispense, for my knees, pain-killers, steroid and stem cell injections: but I’m not crippled, I won’t be crippled, just because a doctor has told me it’s likely. And I’m scheduled to see an orthopaedic surgeon at the end of January to discuss possible knee replacements (both knees, though not at the same time!). So, I’m believing that, as my knees are better now (not healed YET) than they were a year ago, that God will heal them totally, or much, much more, before that appointment…
- 7) Whilst the National Health service is marvelous in many ways, the easy access to treatment and medication undermines the gift of faith for healing….
- 8) I’m coming to believe, more and more, that we need to repent of being sick… it’s so clearly NOT part of a plan whereby God said, I’ll heal ALL your sickness and disease, by Jesus’ stripes etc., and Jesus ‘you’ll lay your hands on the sick and they WILL get well….’ I repent of my arthritic knees even as I type this….
- 9) I frequently hear it said that God does great stuff in other countries because ‘they have no hospitals’… that is patently untrue: many people worldwide DO have access to doctors/hospitals/medication. It might NOT be the sort of hospital we’d want to be ill in, but they do have hospitals.
- 10) I frequently – more than you’d probably believe – pray for people in meetings overseas who are there WITH a migraine, HAVING an asthma attack, etc. and they go to a meting despite their pain/problems because they want/believe that God will heal them. In the west, migraines and asthma attacks would cause us to say, in the main, ‘I can’t go to church because….’.
So there are a few of my thoughts, musings, things I believe God has shown me after 30 years in a ‘healing’ ministry. I’d be interested to know if you know of other reasons!
This is an addendum (I’ve put it on Facebook as a ‘comment’) to the blog…..
I ought to add here: not ‘appearing to be healed’ has nothing to do with the faith of the recipient – that’s one of the most damning, condemnatory things used by people praying FOR someone. Nor is it too much to do with the person praying, because everyone who prays for the sick, or is known to have a healing ministry, can’t heal a piece of paper without sellotape, let alone a cold, let alone cancer. God’s sovereignty HAS to be recognised in it all, and again I’d just add, for the third time in this blog! – that something DOES happen when you’re prayed for, as God DOES answer prayer. It might not always be what we want, what we THINK we need, sometimes we’re looking in the wrong place at the wrong thing… like pain level, symptoms… when God is wanting to revolutionise the person being prayed for from the top of their head to the tips of their toes. I’m so glad I’m not God….