I've been praying for a friend who has been having seizures. I believe that God wants to heal her. The situation has drawn my interest in healing away from myself and more toward God. Four years ago I was hurt when a girl suggested that healing should be a basic part of Christianity. Anger that I had not been healed clouded my understanding. But why, if believers were given authority to lay hands on the sick and cast out demons, shouldn't these things be basic to our Christian experience? If this was only for the disciples, then what relevance does it have for today? It is an example of Jesus' power. What relevance does that power have if it is not to be displayed today? If Jesus is the Savior today, then why shouldn't he be the Healer today?
My anger then was that God had not healed me. My anger today is that people are not acting on God's Word. In this case, people tell me that my friend needs psychiatric help or more counseling or more medical testing. Well, never mind whether or not it comes from Christians. There may be a need for one of those, but the bottom line is that she needs a touch from God and He is the first place to go every time her illness is seen.
I have asked for the authority to lay hands on the sick and bring healing.
In his book, Healing, Francis MacNutt writes: "The simple and poor followed Jesus because they saw what happened, while the religious leaders tried to figure out what it all meant." It is okay for me to say that from what I have seen God does heal and may not require anyone special to participate.
Does healing happen? Yes. Should I do something about it? Absolutely! MacNutt points out that many of the healings he has seen can be explained in other ways. I am reminded that faith is a choice that each person must make. I can choose to attribute something to God or to some other source.
"For me most of the battle in learning to pray for healing was simply to conceive that God would answer my prayers." (p. 35) "I believe that the ministry of healing is what brings the central doctrine of redemption and salvation from the realm of the abstract into the reality of men's lives." (p. 39)
Prejudices Against Healing
- e want nothing to do with faith healing.
- Sickness is a cross sent from God. Jesus did not encourage people to live with their illness.
- t takes a saint to work a miracle.
- e don't need signs and wonders any more. Healing is seen as a proof rather than a ministry.
- Miracles do not take place; they only represent a primitive way of expressing reality. We have the form of godliness but deny the power. Faith in God becomes a possibility rather than a conviction. Healing only takes place through medical cures.
Healing is one way God reminds us of His love for us. If we deny this love, then we soon have little reason to believe in Him. It is because of our belief that God does not care about ourphysical needs that the issue becomes a stumbling block.
"Jesus saves us from personal sin and from the effects of original sin which include ignorance, weakness of will, disoriented emotions, physical illness, and death." (p. 49) Healing takes away the barriers that keep new life from entering in.
The disciples did not pray to preach and to heal but to preach by healing.
"He who believes--that is, who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and him whom it sets forth--and is baptizedwill be saved from the penalty of eternal death; but he who does not believe--who does not adhere to and trust in and rely on the Gospel and him whom it sets forth--will be condemned. And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons; they will speak with new languages; they will pick up serpents, and even if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well." (Mark 16:16-18)
Lord, I understand this, I think. I also understand that it is possible for people whom You never knew to do things "in your name". How do I discern the difference? How do I make sure I am in line? "Do what God says and leave the consequences in Hishands."
The paralytic was brought by his friends. Jesus did not expect him to come on his own. His friends were stubborn: when they could not get through the crowd, they came through the roof. Jesus responded to THEIR faith.
We ask Christ to make us his ambassadors. Is it significant that missionaries can tell about healings while we who have all the medical help we could want continue to have the sick with us? We are not doing what we are given to do. If we were, more people would be believing and coming to church.