I know that may come as a shock to most Word of Faith communities and Pentecostals, but just stay with me a while.
I recently read a post in a Christian apologetics group on Facebook where someone posed this question: “I have recently heard several pastors in sermons say that believers who have any sort of sickness have “already been healed” by Jesus (referencing Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24/similar to all our sins have been paid for with his death and resurrection) and all anyone has to do is “receive the healing.” Salvation is already done, we just have to believe and receive. Same for sickness/healing? Is this a defendable assertion?”
This ideology is, in my opinion, a breeding ground for disillusionment and future hurt and doubt, and a gross generalization of the Scripture, as the context surrounding Isaiah 53:5 was specifically referring to how the Messiah’s wounds and the subsequent blood shed was sufficient for the freedom from the bondage of sin and to redeem and reconcile us back to the Father without the need for a third-party.
In response to his question, I posted the following in reply: “As someone who was born with cerebral palsy and has been dragged to “deliverance/healing services” throughout her lifetime, no that assertion is not defendable in the slightest (especially since my kneecaps dislocated yesterday as I walked from my bedroom to the kitchen!) “Well, it’s not happening because you don’t have enough faith.” Those people sound like the disciples who asked Jesus if Bartimaeus’ blindness was a result of his own personal sin or the sin of his parents. I wanna scream at them, ‘If Jesus wanted to heal me this side of Heaven, He would, but He chooses not to, so chill!’ but I don’t cuz that’s rude and mean. Anyway, yea, that’s not a defendable statement at all.”
The Will of God
Since we were young, we have always been taught to “pray the will of God” and certainly, people being healed is God’s will, right? Not always. It’s shocking, I know. Sometimes, God’s answer is “no” for reasons that may be–and often are–unknown to us. I have had conversations with friends and others concerning whether or not I truly believed God could heal me of cerebral palsy. The unknown implication of these questions is that my “miraculous healing” has not occurred because I don’t believe enough. They mean well; my friends see my difficulties and limitations, while helping me when the need arises, but to assume that my supposed “lack of faith” is the sole reason for why I am still plagued by this congenial, neurological disorder is a bold and wrong claim to make. Perhaps part of the problem is because they are able-bodied people who, in their caring for me, want me physically whole and healthy (and there’s nothing wrong with that).
Nonetheless, I’ve had several conversations with God about this topic over the years and questioned why He wouldn’t heal me, especially when my symptoms were more prominent and noticeable in my younger years. For a long time, I felt different and not in a good way. I felt ostracized from my peers because I couldn’t do the same things they could; I felt like there was something wrong with me. It took me a while, but after sitting with God for a bit, I’ve learned a few things.
- God’s will sometimes puts you in an inconvenient situation and you gotta learn to roll with the punches.
- If God healed me of my cerebral palsy, I wouldn’t be the person He meant for me to be. I feel as though I would lose some vital characteristics unique to me like compassion.
- You can’t force God’s hand, even with prayer.
- God made you special and He loves you very much. So, learn to embrace all of who He’s created you to be regardless of whether healing takes place or not. (This last lesson I was reminded of today only because I was jamming out to Veggie Tales all day. Don’t judge me!)