This is almost always the first question asked by laypersons and ministers alike when first confronted with the doctrine of divine healing.
Many laypersons first learning about divine healing are confronted with the to-them-daunting challenge of developing their faith where they have had no previous teaching or revelation from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit on the topic. Ministers have all that plus the very real fear of public embarrassment, push-back from the pew, and the very real possibility of losing credibility with their congregations if they start preaching and teaching divine healing and someone dies anyway. Not all of us have been blessed with decades of teaching on the matter like a host of others and I have, so I totally get that.
Developing faith in any area of God’s Word requires diligence over time on our part. Some are willing to exert that effort in order to obtain God’s best for themselves — others not so much.
This is what I’ve determined in my own heart for my own walk with Jesus.
Authority = Responsibility
First is the fundamental truism of authority and responsibility always being equal and its corollary: whoever is in charge is always responsible for the results.
The absolute truth of the matter is Jesus is Lord and I’m not. None of us are, for that matter, no matter how many times we vainly attempt to supplant Him on the throne. And because He is in charge, He is responsible for the results, not us.
Among Jesus’ final words to His disciples — and us! — in the Great Commission as recorded in the Gospel of Mark were these:
And these signs will follow those who believe:…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17a,18b
So if praying for the sick is what I’m supposed to be doing as a believer and minister, I choose to be obedient to His heavenly call, even if every person I ever pray for dies afterward.
The second issue is that of judging others. In this context, this takes the form of vainly trying to diagnose why someone else didn’t “get it.” Sadly, the folks prone to be the most egregious offenders regarding this exercise in futility are the selfsame folks who passionately teach healing, desperately trying to defend our God and His Word by shifting blame to anyone else, anywhere else. The most typical accusation is a dismissive, “Well, they didn’t have enough faith!” rather than a compassionate, “I’m sorry, but only God has the answer to that question. I simply don’t know.”
The truth of the matter is this: God is perfectly able to defend Himself, thank you very much! — and He absolutely does not need or want the likes of us to “help Him out” with that task. Engrave this on the inside of your eyelids: there is a very short list of those in this universe qualified by character and ability to know the innermost hearts and minds of us silly humans — and none of us are on it!
Why someone doesn’t receive their healing, even after their multitude of prayers and many hands being laid upon them, as well as the whole gamut of other things folks do while standing in faith believing, is all of their and God’s business — and none of ours! God reserves certain knowledge to Himself and there are simply situations which we will never understand this side of glory.
That fact changes neither His Word nor His faithfulness to watch over that Word to perform it one iota.
It’s our responsibility to believe God’s Word, then obey both it and the Holy Spirit as He leads us — all by His grace, I might add — regardless of where that leads us or what we perceive — or more importantly, cannot perceive — with our limited perceptions and our intrinsically flawed human intellects.
Thanks for reading!