I finished my Response Paper today. There are so many things I could have addressed with regard to healing, but in the end focused on what I posted below. The question was “What is God’s Will Regarding Healing?”
When God finished creating the world, He declared it good. Adam and Eve were given dominion over it and placed in a garden of delight. When they fell, they gave their God-given authority over to Satan, and sickness and disease entered the world. I believe sickness is not natural to human beings and that is why we instinctively resist it.
In Western cultures, sickness is viewed as a problem for doctors to heal. When healing doesn’t come, people seek alternative medicines and healing practices. Because evangelical churches are basically cessationist in their beliefs, people turn to the New Age movement for healing. It is there that they are introduced to a mixed bag of beliefs and practices, ranging from the good to the benign, the bad, and the demonic. And it is precisely because New Age religions have dug so deeply into the wrong spirit realm that they’ve made the Church afraid to pursue the true manifestations of God’s Spirit. These are opposite ends of the spectrum, but both have the same result: powerless Christianity.
But isn’t God all powerful? you may ask. As Dutch Sheets states in Intercessory Prayer, “Power never was and never will be the issue between God and Satan. Authority was the issue—the authority Satan had obtained through Adam. Jesus did not come to get back any power, nor to remove Satan’s power. He came to regain the authority Adam lost to the serpent and break his headship over the earth” Sheets (163). So while it’s Power that does the work, it is authority that controls the power. God is sovereign and all-powerful, but Scripture clearly tells us He limited Himself to working through human beings here on earth.
Alexander Venter, in his book Doing Healing explains, “The correct context to understand sickness and healing is the theology of the kingdom of God. In essence, this is war with evil to liberate human beings and the earth from the power of evil. Jesus came into the world for that very reason, to destroy the works of the devil. He saw his mission as an invasion of Satan’s kingdom or ‘house’, to tie him up and defeat him. Jesus then plunders his ‘possessions’–we who are held captive to evil by the curse of sin, sickness, demons and death. Jesus defeats Satan by his kingdom ‘coming upon’ people, and he empowers his followers to continue doing the same” (67). The church isn’t to be the sign, but the instrument reaching out to the kingdom of God “at hand.” Is it any wonder, then, that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chr. 16:9)? The Church is called to enforce and make effectual the freedom Christ procured and God is looking for co-laborers! “Our silence and passivity with regard to the good news of God’s kingdom could be the greatest scandal in human history, equal only to Satan’s deceptive cover-up since his defeat at the nail-pierced hands of Jesus” Venter (73).
Still, the question remains, why are some healed while others are not? Perhaps it is because of unbelief or lack of faith. In talking about the people of Nazareth, Mark 6:5 states, “He could do no miracle there.” There was a measurable degree of the power of God missing because of the unbelief. That said, the a person’s faith is not the source of healing, God is.
In God’s Generals, Roberts Lairdon described how Kathryn Kuhlman, a great hero of the faith, would weep as she watched people leave who remained sick or in wheelchairs. “She never tried to explain why some received their healing and some did not. She believed the responsibility remained with God. She liked to refer to herself as in sales, not management. Whatever Management decided to do, she would have to oblige. But she did say it would be one of the first questions she would ask God when she got to heaven!” (297) I think it will be one of mine, too!
In closing, I believe it is God’s will to remove the dis-ease and dis-order which entered the world through Adam’s sin and to restore peace and wholeness to His children through Jesus’ sacrifice. I believe that while God is sovereign He’s designed this world so that much of what is His will is contingent upon the attitudes and actions of human beings. “Whether through speaking, touching, laying hands on the sick, declaration or worship, when God’s power starts flowing upon the earth, it is flowing through human vessels. We, the Body of Christ, as God’s womb from which His life is birthed or released upon the earth. The life that Christ produces flows from the womb of the Church” Sheets (212).
Jesus had a moment-by-moment consciousness of God as his Father, dwelling in him and operating through him. He was so profoundly conscious of being sent by the Father, knowing he could do nothing on his own initiative or from his own ability. Utterly dependent on his Father, he showed us how it’s done, but do we do it? Do we practice the presence of God? How often do I turn from my own thoughts and initiatives and trust God for His? Do I have eyes to see and ears to hear? In John 15:7 Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you.” Lord, teach us to abide!