I used to think that people who claimed God healed today were full of emotional hype and was deeply skeptical of any healing stories I heard. That is, I was skeptical of healing stories in the West.
‘Why would God need to heal us?’ I wondered. ‘We have the Bible and that’s all the revelation of God that we need.’
For people in other countries, especially those far from any medical aid and who didn’t have much, if any, of the Bible in their own language, it was a different story. For them, I did believe God healed them, because it was a way of Him revealing Himself to them. But as soon as they had the Bible, I concluded, God would stop healing them, because they didn’t need Him.
Put like that, it sounds crazy and illogical doesn’t it? Yet I’m positive I wasn’t alone in believing this.
My other argument for never praying for healing (I was happy to ask God to ‘guide the surgeon’s hands’ and to ‘give wisdom to the doctors’ but not ‘please heal’) was that I had a vague idea that God sends illness and, therefore, we should just accept it and pray for His grace to cope with it.
Again, I was wrong. Sometimes God does allow illness and He can teach us much through our suffering. Indeed, often the way to experience a deeper and more intimate knowledge of God’s grace is through suffering. But that doesn’t mean that we should simply accept it and live with it. Because sometimes God does want to heal us and give us a precious knowledge of His grace through doing so.
How did I change?
During my time working with a mission agency in the Arab world, I heard stories of Muslims encountering Jesus through dreams and visions and through miraculous healing, and having their lives radically changed as they came to know Him as God. I rejoiced with them while gradually longing for this kind of revelation from God for myself. ‘Why does He just reveal Himself to people from other religions?’ I wondered, rather wistfully.
Then in 2010, I became very ill with debilitating cerebellar ataxia and ME. At first, I was reluctant to ask for healing, believing that God had lessons to teach me through the illness. I was convinced I would have to live with the reality of using a wheelchair and of being unable to look after myself for the rest of my life. And God did teach me much through the illness, and I got to know Him more intimately than I had ever imagined possible. But in the October of that year, good friends fasted and prayed for me along with friends/leaders at church and I had a wonderful breakthrough healing. From then on, I pursued healing from God every day and in February 2011, He healed me of ME. Since then, He has gradually restored my confidence, my strength and my memory.
Through my own experience of being healed, the wonderfully compassionate side of God’s nature was personally revealed to me. Jesus became more real and for the first time, I could wholeheartedly enthuse about my saviour who answers prayer in real and tangible ways and cares deeply for us. I now appreciate that on the cross He was wounded for my transgressions; He was crushed for my iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought me peace, and with His stripes I am healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
God gets the glory in our suffering and He gets the glory when He heals us. Either way is perfect in His will, because He gets the glory. I don’t know why He doesn’t always choose to heal miraculously. I don’t know why He chose to heal me (but I praise Him that He did!). But I know that you will never know what He wants to do in your life unless you take the plunge and ask Him to actually heal you.
Here is a wonderful testimony to inspire you to seek God for all that He has for you.