If God is Healer, Why Do Some People Stay Sick?

Gaby Lim

May 21, 2020

God is powerful

God is faithful.

God loves us.

God is our Healer.

If God is all this, why doesn’t He always answer our prayers for healing? Is healing from God like rolling dice, the results all by random chance?

I remember when someone I know sent me a message on Facebook, asking me to pray for her brother who was hospitalized. This person was a faithful Christian and volunteer in church. She prayed for and supported missionaries. She was also a good mother who tried her best to raise her only daughter in the ways of God. I prayed for her. She also prayed. But after a few days, she messaged me: “Thanks so much for your prayers. My brother is now at home with the Lord.” I couldn’t help but ask God why He heals some, but not others. If God truly cares, why doesn’t He heal all?

 

God is able and willing to heal in His own way and time.

If we’re looking for a sure-fire, three-step program to be instantly healed, we won’t find it in the Bible. There is no one method or prayer that can guarantee instant healing.

In one Bible story, Jesus sees a man blind from birth. To heal the blind man, Jesus takes several steps: He makes some mud with His saliva, puts the mud on the blind man’s eyes, and tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:1–7). In a different Bible story, another blind man, Bartimaeus, begs Jesus for mercy and asks to be healed (Mark 10:46–52). Jesus immediately heals him by simply saying, “Go, your faith has healed you.”

Different methods, but one message: Jesus is willing and has the power to supernaturally heal us.

 

Nobody is beyond God’s healing.

I love the story in Mark 5:1–20, which tells us of the demon-possessed man who wandered among the burial caves and hills. He would howl and cut himself with stones and no one could help him. Compared to many others whom Jesus healed, this man couldn’t ask for healing. He was not in his right mind and did not have the faith to be healed. Neither did he have loyal friends who could bring him to Jesus like the paralytic in Mark 2:1–12. I believe that he was left alone in his condition. But when he met Jesus, Jesus healed him, restored his sanity, and even clothed him.

This is a picture of God our Healer, who graciously and mercifully heals us. Even the most debilitating sickness and death itself are within His healing hand.

 

God’s ability to heal does not depend on our faith.

Obviously, faith is important to God. God is pleased with and rewards faith (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus encouraged His disciples by saying that even if their faith was small, it could do the insurmountable.

However, it is not human faith that gives power to God. God’s power does not increase or decrease based on our faith.

Jesus’ compassion was enough to move Him to act and resurrect the widow’s dead son—who obviously could not have faith for his healing (Luke 7:11–17).

Mark 6:5 also narrates how Jesus healed only a few in Nazareth, His own hometown, because of the people’s unbelief. Jesus didn’t suddenly become powerless because of their lack of faith. In fact, He still chose to heal a few. But even these miracles of healing could not make them believe in Him. The people were blinded and couldn’t see past their knowledge that Jesus was a carpenter’s son. RC Sproul says that the judgment of God was on Nazareth, so God withheld His power.

People who have hardened hearts will not believe in God even if they witnessed the most amazing miracles. The purpose of healing miracles is to turn us to faith in Christ. Jesus will not force Himself on those who persist in unbelief and continue to reject Him.

Faith itself is a gift from God. Therefore, healing is not about our ability to believe, but about God’s grace. 

 

God’s purpose is more important than our physical healing.

While God is able and willing to heal, He can also choose not to for His own good purpose.

God uses physical healing so people may know Him as God. But sometimes, God doesn’t heal for the same purpose.

The apostle Paul, whose faith in Jesus was unquestionable, had a “thorn in the flesh” that God did not remove. We do not know if this was a physical, mental, or emotional sickness. What we do know is that Paul prayed multiple times for God to remove it, but God did not. God’s reason was, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Sometimes, God does not heal so we can learn that this physical, temporal world is not our home. He alone is our strength and our life-source.

Sometimes He also allows us to suffer to build our endurance and character (Romans 5:3–5).

Sometimes, the purpose of sickness is to draw us closer to God (Psalm 119:71).

Jesus wants us to come to Him in faith, trusting His power, goodness, and love. As Job says, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10, NLT).

Whether our faith results in miraculous healing or develops endurance for the pain, God never ceases to be a good God. Because He is God and worthy of our worship, we continue to sing and declare His power and goodness.

 

Death is not the end.

We live in a broken and fallen world where supernatural healing is the exception and not the norm.

Hospitals are filled with the sick and the dying; homes are filled with the fear of death. But we continue to pray for healing, be an instrument for others’ healing, and have faith in the God who heals.

Death, or total separation from God, is not God’s original plan for us. He created us to be in an eternal relationship with Him. Because of our disobedience, we face God’s death sentence. The good news is, God  loves us and doesn’t want us to be separated from Him forever. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and died in our place to give us eternal life.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

I remember the story of one of our students who was being beaten by her father. In 2015, the father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental condition without a cure, and was admitted to the hospital for a long-term stay. However, the student had a hard time forgiving her dad because of repeated episodes of physical abuse.

In the latter part of 2015, this student got to know Jesus. She understood that Jesus died on the cross so she could be forgiven.

This helped her start her process of forgiveness towards her own father. It wasn’t easy to be healed from unforgiveness, and there were many times that she would cry out to God and to other Christians.

In 2016, her dad was allowed to come home and our student was so scared. She ran home, thinking that he might kill their mom because he had been furious for being put in a hospital. But when she saw her dad, she was overwhelmed with love and hugged him.

The student, who is now a young professional, says nothing is really impossible with God. She was healed from the pain of being abused by her own father. Since then, her father has never suffered from any episodes, even though the doctor had said that his case was hopeless and he would always have this illness.

The student’s mom is also now a Christian and her dad has undergone ONE 2 ONE (a discipleship booklet to help someone know Jesus deeper). Both the student and the dad didn’t experience instantaneous healing. But what is apparent is that God graciously heals. He didn’t just heal her dad; He reconciled the whole family and gave them the gift of love and forgiveness. 

If you or your loved ones are facing sickness or death, Jesus understands your pain.

He Himself was tortured, mocked, and deserted by the very people He wanted to save.

But we can also have hope that death is not the end. Jesus rose from the dead, assuring us that there is such a thing as perfect healing and an eternal, unfading life with Him. God may not heal us now, but we can be assured of an eternal future with Him.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

 

 

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The Author

Gaby Lim

Gaby Lim is a campus missionary, book hoarder, and dog lover. One of her dreams is to be able to help the poor and marginalized in sustainable ways. A former atheist, she’s grateful to God for changing her life.

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