Nobody wants to be sick.
However, other than going to the medical doctor, what can we do?
Tens of thousands of sick people go to someone who claims to have the spiritual gift of healing.* I have wondered about this. Do spiritual healers really do the work of healing? Go to YouTube and type Kathryn Kuhlman, Earnest Angley, Bennie Hinn and Oral Roberts into the browser and add the words “healing”. You will see video evidence that this is real [at least video evidence that some believers believe it is real].
But is it?
Certainly The New Testament is full of instances when Jesus and His disciples healed the sick. Throughout the history of the Christian Church, many instances of healing have been recorded.
Truly in First Corinthians it says that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of healing.
Pastor Graham has a lot of say on this subject.
The role of faith…
He seems to have concerns about people who claim that healing of the sick will only occur if the afflicted has enough faith. He states “this has nothing to do with the gift of healing as such.” Some cite the death of Christ on the cross as not only for the forgiveness of our sins but also for the physical healing of the body. They point to 1 Peter 2: 24 where it says “And He Himself bore our sins in His body the cross, that we might die to sin and live in righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” The last phrase “for by His wounds you were healed” is enough evidence for many that physical healing is one of the gifts that man can have. Graham says that he believes this phrase means spiritual healing and not physical healing.
Going to the doctor…
Some Christians believe that we can have the gift of healing and there is no need to consult a physician. They take their faith as the only necessary healing element or instead of going to the doctor, they go to a faith healer. As with Jesus, the power that the healer has is enough to make the sick well immediately and permanently. Graham writes “a broken arm is mended instantly, a cancer disappears, the process of pneumonia stops and the lungs become well.” Grahams refuses to discount the role of faith or the spiritual gift of healing but he says [citing James] that all good gifts come from above, including the gifts that a physician possesses. Graham mentions Luke the physician who travelled with Paul and probably gave Paul his medical help from time to time.
Outlook is a major factor in working with physical infirmity. I believe that a positive outlook may have a beneficial effect on healing. Do physicians know everything? Of course they don’t. Sometimes medicine seems more art than science as doctors are asked questions they cannot answer. Sometimes they provide cures that even they cannot explain. Personally, I try to cooperate with my physicians as we [the doctors and me the patient] try to keep me healthy. I think of good physicians as having gifts that God has provided, just like all of us have certain skills and gifts. I try to have a positive outlook, combined with my faith in God. I think it imprudent to discount the skills of physicians totally, thinking that God gives them the ability to help me in a natural way [rather than a supernatural way].
What should we say about this topic? Is faith healing today a real spiritual gift? Should Christians emphasize their faith and the power of faith healers over the natural skills of the physician? Right now in my life I have two friends who are battling cancer. Some readers may think this whole post is a bit strange but when someone is facing a terminal illness like my friends, it is not strange at all. The correct decision about what to do about treatment is very, very important. To ignore medications and doctors and asking God to heal may not be the best decision. However, Graham writes that if doctors hold out no hope for the patient and the afflicted person can call for help from someone gifted with healing, why not do it?
Can God heal a person?
Yes God can.
Will God heal a person?
Maybe He will; maybe He won’t. Healing depends on God’s will and people who pray for healing don’t direct God. God directs us. “His will be done.”
A person who appears to have healing powers may have real spiritual healing gifts. But maybe the gifts are not real. As believers we have to use common sense mixed with faith and discernment about what to do in regards to healing.
Graham has much more to say on the topic of healing and I will comment on those thoughts in future posts, but Christians should not presume that they know what God will do when it comes to healing.
God is in control.
Doctors are not always in control.
We certainly are not in control.
He is… “His will be done…”
*one of the “sign” gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians along with miracles and tongues…