By: Rev. Nathan Hill
Why do you want to be healed? For some the answer to this question might be quite easy. I want to live. I do not want to continue experiencing pain. I want more time. I need reprieve from my misery. These and many other answers motivate us to pray for healing…and these are honest motivators!
A second question will bring some clarity to this. Why did Jesus heal people? The answer might be a little less obvious and of course it is not easily settled into one sentence. However, a major theme surrounding the healings of Jesus was that they were to make his name and his ministry famous amongst the people and to draw attention to his Father.
DOES JESUS CARE?
Did Jesus care about relieving pain? Yes, I am sure that he had compassion for the sick…but he did remind us all “…in this life [we] will have trouble” (John 16:33). Did Jesus want to give people more time to live? I think he preferred that they have more time to repent rather than more days to live. Even Paul reminds us that to live is good but to die is to gain.
I do not want to condemn our past and present motives for healing prayers. Instead, I want to help us adjust our thinking about divine healing. I attended a conference a few years where Dr. Van Johnson (of Master’s Pentecostal Seminary) suggested that the reason we do not see more of our prayers for healing answered is that we are praying with the wrong perspective in mind. Dr. Van suggested that if we are praying simply for our own well-being and to be saved from pain and suffering our heads and hearts are in the wrong place (my paraphrase of what he said). Miracles (such as divine healing) occur as a sign to unbelievers. In the aftermath people ought to be brought to Christ or brought deeper in Christ.
Notwithstanding what I have already stated about the frequency and occurrence or divine healing in Part I of this series, something in my heart resonated with what Dr. Van suggested here. I was convicted of my own perspectives and I was challenged to do something about it.
You see, while Dr. Van was speaking at this conference I was sitting in my chair with an appointment card in my wallet to see a surgeon…and I really did not want to go to that appointment. A few years ago I began to notice a lump on the left side of my back, up near my shoulder. The lump grew fairly quickly and caused a small amount of concern for my wife Mandy and I. My family doctor sent me for an ultrasound and confirmed that it was likely a benign mass (phew) but I should likely have it surgically removed.
I have never had surgery before. I am a little bit of a basket case when it comes to illness, especially when it affects my own body. I did not want surgery! I wanted to be relieved of the pain and suffering of this experience…not to mention the emotional turmoil of it all. So, I had the leadership and prayer team at our church pray for a month that this mass would shrink and disappear. Unfortunately it did not change.
The morning of my surgical consultation I prayed that this whole situation would receive closure that morning. I think I was ready to have the doctor cut it out that very day in his office if that is what it took! I prayed that whatever was required would just happen so that I could have closure. When I saw the surgeon he examined me and said that the mass would likely decrease without medical intervention and may actually be irritated and made worse by surgical removal. I was never more relieved. I received a measure of closure that very morning. My prayers were answered.
I am currently still praying that it would be completely gone some soon day…for now it is still there. I just checked.
The reason I am blogging about this is because I am attempting to change my perspective. I am attempting to position myself so that healing in this area of my life will not simply save me the pain and suffering of surgery but also be a sign of God’s blessing and therefore make him famous amongst people. Blogging is my way of changing my perspective…and so I challenge you to consider how you can change the way you pray for healing also.