The other day I was listening to a podcast by a well-known Christian speaker on healing. Walking on the treadmill at the YMCA, ear phones in, I was eagerly listening to every word as I tried to distract myself from the pain and fatigue in my body. And that’s when the well-meaning speaker made this statement::
God physically heals everyone who is taking care of himself, both physically and spiritually.
Angered, I had half a mind to stop the podcast and spend the rest of the afternoon moping about the fact that God has not healed me. Here I am, reading my Bible daily, going to church weekly, praying constantly, doing my stretches from physical therapy every morning, exercising on the treadmill (at least) five days a week, and I could go on and on… And yet, here I am, still hurting all over my body, still tired from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed, still so weak that I have to use two hands to lift a simple water bottle to my lips, still unable to walk up the stairs without resting, still having problems seeing and reading things straight, still struggling to simply stand at work for any long period of time. Here I am, still sick. God hasn’t healed me and yet I am doing everything I can to take care of myself, both physically and spiritually. So, what’s the problem? What am I doing wrong?
I can’t help but wonder if this speaker-lady has ever read the story of Job. Because if she has, she would have known that when Job lost everything and was in an utter state of despair and mourning, he didn’t do anything. Job simply sat down and mourned. “[He] sat down . . . on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13, NKJV). For seven days, Job just sat. He was sick, tired, and full of grief. He wasn’t taking care of what was left of his land. He wasn’t seeking for a job to buy more livestock, more food, more materials. He wasn’t even taking care of himself. He wasn’t doing anything! And yet God still healed him, his land, and his family. “Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before . . . Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:10b; 12a, NKJV).
Now, please don’t think that I am implying that in order to be healed, all you have to do is sit on the couch and wait for healing to come. That is not what I am saying at all. If you have the flu, go to the doctor that God has blessed with such wisdom and get your medicine. If you have cancer, go through the life-saving treatment that God has given man the thought to create. If you struggle with weight, go to the gym, exercise, find a diet that works for you. But above all, seek Him. Jehovah-Rapha. The God who heals. It’s like the woman with blood. She had bled for twelve years, seeking out every kind of physician to cure the incurable. And then she heard about Jesus. At this point, the woman with blood had a choice – She could either sit quietly on the outskirts of the crowd surrounding Jehovah-Rapha, or she could make a move and touch His garment. The woman chose to move. And because of her faith, because of her choice, she was healed. “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, ‘Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well’” (Matthew 9:22, NKJV).
But back to the speaker-lady…
Let me put it boldly and say that I do not agree with speaker-lady. Because sometimes, people – good people – get sick and there is no explanation and no healing. Sometimes, people get hurt out of the clear blue sky and their worlds are turned upside down. Sometimes, people can be totally fine one day, and the next, they find themselves in the midst of a chronic illness. These same people can do everything they can to take care of themselves. They can study God’s word daily; they can exercise five days a week; they can eat all the right foods in all the right amounts; they can pray and have the strongest faith of anyone you know, and yet they still get sick. And sometimes, they don’t get healed.
What the speaker-lady didn’t mention in her podcast was that there is another kind of healing. A healing that I believe is far more important than physical healing. Eventually, the followers of Christ will be healed when they pass through the grave and enter into the glorious gates of Heaven, but what about now? What healing can we expect while on this earth?
When I got sick, I fully expected a physical healing. I prayed for one. I believed for one. I waited for one. And yet, one never came. At first, I was broken and hopeless as each doctor’s appointment, each procedure, each scan passed with fewer answers than we had when we had begun. With each car ride home, healing felt that much more out of reach. What I didn’t perceive in that moment, staring out of the passenger window with tears streaming down my face like the raindrops falling from the sky, was that while I was not receiving physical healing, I was receiving something much more valuable – spiritual healing. A now-my-eye-sees-You-Lord kind-of healing.
In speaking to the story of Job, Dr. David Jeremiah puts it this way,
“In a matter of probably hours, Job lost everything that was important to him. . . . But he held fast to his integrity, determined to unravel the mystery of why he, a man who had done his utmost to live an upright life, was being treated by God as the chief of sinners. If he was a sinner deserving of divine punishment, he demanded his friends tell him what he had done – which they could not. He also asked the same of God – and received more silence in response.
The truth is, Job never did get an answer as to why He suffered. But more important, he got a deeper understanding of who God is.”
If you are suffering or know someone who is, understand that physical healing may never come. But there is beauty to be found among the ashes. Before Job was healed physically, he was healed spiritually. Job had the opportunity to learn more about God than he would have ever had the chance to know otherwise. “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset Your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let Me do the talking. Let Me ask the questions. You give the answers” (Job 42:1-4, MSG).
Speaker-lady said that physical healing comes to all who are living rightly. I do not agree. Sometimes, physical healing never comes. But to those who are living in desperate surrender to God’s will – even if that will includes pain – they will receive a spiritual healing beyond any healing they could have ever hoped for.
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.”
Job 42:5, NKJV