If God can heal, why doesn’t praying for healing always work?

Joel Virgo | Sunday 7th October 2012 | 7 Questions | Part 4

Notes

Like previous questions, this could come from a cynical, sceptical angle, or a deeply emotional place of real disappointment.  Joel began his answer by pointing out that the question of healing is a relevant one to everybody, because we live in a world that needs it.

Without God as a reference point for good and bad, we can’t make judgements about pain being wrong or bad, and without him there is no hope for anything better.  With God, however, there is hope for change.  In fact, the message of the Bible is that although God created the world without pain and suffering and death, our rebellion against Him brought that all about.  But that’s not the end of the story because through Jesus, God is healing the world from the inside out, and when Jesus returns all that’s wrong with the world will come to an end (Revelation 21:4).

So why don’t we see healing all the time?  “Lack of faith” is an answer often given and it is part of the story, but not all of it.  Like all prayer, our expectation is sometimes linked to the results we see, but at the same time, God is not a slot machine.  There is no “formula” that we can find that will be 100% successful.

That is because we live in the “in-between stage”.  Jesus kingdom has begun (through his incarnation, death and resurrection) but it will fully be consummated when he returns.  We live in that tension; still part of a sinful world, but the eternal kingdom is breaking through.

Nevertheless, we should still have confidence to pray for the sick.  God commands us to, and his criticism of his disciples was most harsh when they had low expectations of what God could do!  But we don’t have faith in our faith; we have faith in Jesus, who is our healer.