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Friday, October 10, 2008

A Christian's New Definition of Healing

For those of you who don't know me personally, my aunt passed away this week from a brief battle with multiple myeloma (a cancer that affects bone marrow). The experience took me back to memories of my granddad's battle with mesothelioma (asbestos-linked lung cancer), and a conversation that kept coming up during his 8 month battle with the disease before it took his life in May of 2005.

Close relatives and well-meaning friends prayed for my granddad's complete, miraculous healing, right up until the day he died. They based their faith in his healing in scripture. One of the main verses I heard was Isaiah 53: 4, 5, emphasizing the part I'll put in bold for you:

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows .... But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV)

People told me that this verse meant that because Jesus died for our sins, if we claimed that healing in Him, we Christians don't have to suffer and die from traumatic illnesses.

I want to make it clear that I don't believe anyone who said this to me had evil motives in insisting that my granddad was going to be healed completely of his cancer. However,I think what they said could destroy people, because when it didn't come true, it seemed to prove that the Bible lies. My granddad's death must have come as a shock to them!

This actually drove me to examine the scripture they cited a little more closely, and I realized that the verse does promise healing, but not necessarily physical healing. If they were right, that means the apostles should still be walking the earth, because nothing kills Christians!

So here's what I think the scripture actually says. My granddad, and lately, my aunt, were healed, even though they died. I believe the healing the verse promises is a spiritual healing--their souls were healed and rescued from the spiritual death that sin brings.

Do you agree? Does this mean that Christians cannot ever ask God to miraculously heal them from a terminal diagnosis?


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree that God's healing is often spiritual rather than physical. He heals us at salvation, and again whenever our hearts are hurt. His work of healing in me after Granddad's death gave me the faith and maturity I needed to be ready for college.

Christians can and should pray for physical healing, but we need to pray in total submission to God's will, like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. This is such a tricky subject. As Christians we feel that we must say that God always heals, but experience shows that people do finally die. Even those that were miraculously healed by Jesus Christ himself, did eventually die. I agree with you about spiritual healing. I also believe that you must have faith to receive a physical healing when it is in God's plan for you.

Should we ask for healing and believe in the Lord's ability to accomplish it? Yes! Has God numbered the number of our days? Yes! Can we change His mind if it is His will for us to receive our final reward? Only King Hezekiah is recorded as having done so. So it is possible.

Believe for healing. Pray for healing. Trust God whatever comes. He knows what is best for us. That's what I believe.

Kamal Singarapu said...

I think Denise has said it well. Here are few of my thoughts.

No passage talks about physical healing like the passage in the book of John chapter 9. Here we see Jesus volunteering to heal a man who was born blind and answers an important question about healing. One of the main reasons’ for healing in the areas of physical, psychological or emotional is mentioned in John 9:3 – “so that the works of God might be displayed in us.” The primary will of God is that even through healing/miracle, His name be glorified even though this also brings a legitimate expression of joy and happiness in the life of the person being healed.
In my opinion even before answering why and when healing takes place, we need to answer why does one get sick or is born sick? Let me think of few reasons for sickness here:

•Sickness that come due to disobedience to God - Sickness is caused due to the sin in a person’s life – Romans 1:27 (“the due penalty”, I think this is sickness) & 2 Kings 5:26-27. Here the person is responsible for the cause of their sickness. This can be temporary or permanent in the body but can be healed by God when a person repents.
•Sickness (as a trial) that comes due to obedience to God - Sickness caused as a trial due to living for God. Here we see that God allows sickness to finally reveal his awesome power to deliver us. Job 1:12. Here the person is responsible for the cause of their sickness. This is different from the cause above. This is a worthy cause to get sick if that’s what it takes to live for God. I am in no way saying that we need to desire sickness to live for God but I am saying that if you are living for God trials (John 16:33) come and sickness can be one of them. God will reward the person who endures the trials.
•Sickness that comes without the person’s involvement – This is caused to later be healed for the glory of God – John 9. Here the person is not responsible for the cause of his/her sickness.