By His Stripes We’re Healed #9:
What If It Doesn’t Work?

By | 7 May 2019
worshipping man standing next to empty wheelchair

This is almost always the first question asked by laypersons and ministers alike when they are initially introduced to the doctrine of divine healing.

Most such laypersons are then confronted with the 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, especially if 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, primarily in the area of mind renewal to overcome what may have been decades of being immersed in unscriptural religious traditions to the contrary. Some are willing to exert that effort in order to obtain God’s best for themselves — others not so much.

The following 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.

Jesus spent three and a half years modeling for His disciples how ministry for the Kingdom was to be done. After His resurrection, Jesus had some final words to His disciples — and us! — in what we call The Great Commission:

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick…So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Luke 9:1-2,6 (emphasis mine)

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.Matthew 10:8 (emphasis mine)

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:18-20 (emphasis mine)

And these signs will follow those who believe:…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mark 16:17a,18b (emphasis mine)

We see here from the passage in Luke 9 that Jesus empowered His core 12 disciples to heal the sick and deliver the demonized. In Matthew’s account of this selfsame event, he recorded Jesus’ specific instructions to them as: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.”

In Luke 10, He repeated that process with the original 12 while adding another 58 men to the mix. This puts paid to that old hogwash about miracles being limited to the original 12, I might add. Then in the Great Commission, he commanded them to teach all the new disciples they were supposed to win to do what? To observe (do) all He had commanded them. In Mark’s account, He prophesied that “all who believe” would lay hands on the sick and those sick folks would recover.

There’s that pesky word “all” again! We don’t get to stroll down a doctrinal cafeteria line, choosing which aspects of the Great Commission we will obey and which we won’t simply because we prefer some parts and don’t like others because they fail to conform to our theological preconceptions. All means just that: all.

Jesus said, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.”

“But we don’t heal anyone, He does!”

I concede your point, but I didn’t say that, He did. In all my Bible reading over the last 5 decades, I’ve never once seen Him check with we puny humans on how we feel about His commands. We are not authorized to change the assignment, regardless of what our theological schools of thought may have to say on the matter.

He said, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons,” period.

He said what He meant and meant what He said. Ergo, we are commanded — not suggested! — to heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons during our evangelizing, and then include teaching how to do all that into our discipling the resulting converts.

How we respond to that call is between us as individual believers and Him. Last time I checked, though, He kinda likes surrender and obedience in His children.

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 because I trust in His Word and His goodness even if every person I pray for dies on the spot.

Bottom Line?

  • He doesn’t work for me; I work for Him.
  • Trusting and obeying are my responsibilities.
  • Methods and timing are His.

Judge Not

The second issue is that of judging others. In this context, such judging 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.”

I refuse to sacrifice what I know about the goodness of God on the altar of human reasoning so that I have an explanation for why something didn’t happen. — Bill JohnsonThe 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, that is all of their and God’s business — and none of ours!

Such situations are divine mysteries. Our ability to tolerate them is a direct barometer of our childlikeness before God. As God, He reserves certain knowledge to Himself and there are simply situations which we will never understand this side of glory.

That fact changes neither His goodness nor His Word nor His faithfulness to watch over that Word to perform it one iota.

Bottom Line

It’s our mandate 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!