Two accounts in the Bible, both referring to mortal medicine in our illnesses, stand out when contemplating how we confront the innumerable diagnoses of sicknesses that plague our bodies. The first recounts King Asa in 2 Chronicles 16:12, who was afflicted with a severe disease in his feet and makes the point that he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians. The second in Mark 5:25-26, where the woman who’d suffered from bleeding for twelve years, under the care of many doctors and spending all that she’d had, but grew worse instead of getting better. Both of these passages reveal much to us about how our God expects us to consult Him, first and foremost, when dealing with the ailments that we face. King Asa died two years later, but this woman was healed after touching Jesus’ clothes. Is this to imply that if we’d just consult our great Physician, He will grant us healing? That King Asa’s neglect to do so brought his demise, but the faith of the bleeding woman brought her healing? Perhaps, but the answers to these, and more, questions about how we approach healing do beg another question: will our prayers for healing be answered? Indeed, they will, in one way or another.
How we pray for healing may be the key to unlock the answers God provides for us in Scripture. In Isaiah 38:1-5, we read that Hezekiah’s heartfelt prayers in response to being told by the prophet that he will not recover from his illness, result in God deciding to add fifteen years to his life. Looking at the words Hezekiah spoke to the Lord, we don’t see a specific plea for healing, but instead, he pleads his case before God by recalling how faithfully and wholeheartedly his devotion to God has been. Then a stunning depiction, written by Hezekiah, is offered after his illness and recovery (v. 10-20), where he pours out his gratitude and the enrichment he gained from his illness and healing experience. He lavishes praise upon God, acknowledging that “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish” (v. 17).
We can see that God is wanting us to give Him all the glory when healing takes place, whether by medical or by miracle. Modern medicine is amazing, how far we’ve come in the development of treatments and cures for diseases we witness. However, if, as Christians, we place our trust and dependence on medicine above, or even on equal ground, with the power of our God, we must correct ourselves and realign our focus on Him. When an illness or ailment presents itself in our lives, where do we turn first? With whom do we consult instinctively? Google, doctors, or do we turn our eyes and hearts toward the God who possesses the power to bring healing to our pain, regardless of what the statistics say, or trained physicians predict? Even then, if we are mature enough in our faith to consult our Lord first, are we capable of accepting His ordained will, especially when His will is not to bring the healing we desire? Can we give the proper attribution to Him, when the answer is “yes” to our pleas for healing or if the answer is “no” and we are not physically healed?
So many thoughts to ponder when we consider the topic of healing, but it is our answers to these leading questions that will bring us closer to the peace God intends for us to have as we endure the suffering brought on by disease. Perhaps that is embedded in His purposes when illnesses burden us. How will we respond? With a cancer diagnosis, will we fear the disease, following each and every instruction of our physicians, with a faith in medicinal miracles, without proper regard for Him who created man and medicine? When struck with the new reality of a disabling infirmity, will we persist with prayers for regeneration, with a faith that never fails to give God the glory due Him no matter what comes?
Inevitably, if our finite minds could grasp the infinite, we’d be better off embracing that God has already healed us, by delivering us from the eternal suffering that Hell is. Whether our mortal bodies are inflicted with tortuous pain and suffering for a time, that time is but a glimpse when we consider what eternity entails. There is where our hope lies, our saving faith flourishes, and the strength to persevere is discovered; in Him, the greatest healing is accomplished and all else will bow in awe of His glory. As David says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you” (Psalm 63:3). We have His love. He has our life.