“Can it be true?” I gasped. I couldn’t walk a few moments ago because of the searing pain in my right knee. How can it be that I don’t feel pain anymore? Starting with a slow hobble, I gradually placed my whole body’s weight onto my right knee just to be sure. No pain. I had just experienced what appeared to be a miracle of instant healing.
God made the human body such that it can heal itself and in many instances protect itself from greater harm. Healing is a natural process that comes in many different ways, some faster, some much slower. Sometimes, healing can be hastened with medicine prescribed by our doctors. We often forget that medical science working with our bodies is also part of how God made the world to be. Other times, amazingly, there are wonderful testaments to God allowing for instant healing as well. However, we need to address the times when healing does not come.
Is it my fault?
As I write today, I have ailments in my body that have not been healed despite years of prayer and medical treatment. Many who have come to God with a sincere heart and faith in seeking healing have been disillusioned and disappointed because their prayers for healing seem to have fallen on deaf ears. They have looked on in envy as others around them received their healing — but just not them. “Why, God? Is it because I don’t have enough faith? Is there some hidden sin I have not confessed? Or is God not pleased with me, thus He hasn’t granted me my requests?” Let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves: Has our healing been prevented because of something we have or haven’t done, or is there something we have failed to understand about God’s will to heal?
I have ailments in my body that have not been healed despite years of prayer and medical treatment.
Looking for clues in the Bible
Looking through Scripture, when Jesus healed people, there was often a lesson He was trying to teach (e.g., Mark 2:1–12; 5:21–43). In other words, the main point was not the healing itself but understanding the identity of Jesus. When it comes to seeking healing, what matters more than getting healed is how we are going to live life in relation to God from the point that we know Jesus. We need to come to terms with the reality that healing is not dependent on us. It is God who is the ultimate healer, and He is a good and faithful God who can be trusted. Even when things are rough, God is still in control.
A question to ponder — Is being physically healed the best thing that we can receive or is being healed in our broken relationship with the One who gives true life more important? I am of the opinion that on this side of eternity, God is more interested in moulding us into His image than causing all our pain to go away (Eph 5:1; compare Rev 21:3–4). Therefore, if healing is not the main restoration we should be seeking, what are we to seek? Simply put, the journey which God is bringing each of us on to refine us and draw us closer to him is of greater eternal significance than purging our bodies of ailments.
God is more interested in moulding us into His image than causing all our pain to go away
A story of true healing — restoration to Christ
Chan See Ting was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata at the age of 20, triple-negative breast cancer at 26, and leptomeningeal disease at 27, and passed away at 29 on 23 February 2021. In an interview with 3:16 Church, Chan’s constant refrain was to tell others that “in your valleys, [God is] still good. That [He is] the God in your valleys as much as [He is] the God at your mountaintops.” In the face of seemingly unanswered prayers for healing, Chan’s unwavering declaration of her love and trust in God amidst the pain, suffering and eventual death sounds the trumpet that having Christ is the greatest treasure. Her passing brings home how restoration to Christ is what truly matters and is the ultimate healing for believers.
Through Chan’s life and in her death, she demonstrated what being healed to Christ means. Even when physical healing does not happen, God is with us through the fire. He reminds us that he is always with us and would never forsake us (Josh 1:5; Isa 41:17; Heb 13:5). As Chan declared, “in my journey itself, my God has always held my hand”.
In conclusion, I believe that it is always God’s will to heal but not always in the physical sense that many assume. God is ultimately more concerned with us being restored in our covenantal relationship with Him through Christ — this is the true healing that is always in His will. Being healed to Christ keeps our eyes on God instead of ourselves, drawing us to respond to his call (Phil 3:14). Even if we are suffering in our physical bodies, may we walk with him faithfully, knowing and trusting that he holds our hand through it all.