Q & A With Sister Swaggart - III
Why doesn’t God heal everyone who prays for healing?
If it’s always the will of God to heal, as Christ demonstrated, then why aren’t the sick always healed? Countless believers ask this question, so let’s begin by exploring the source of sickness.
Sickness did not and does not originate with God; its source is Satan, i.e., sin, whether directly or indirectly. Sin is the enemy of the body as well as the spirit, and personal sin may bring sickness as one of the many different judgments from God, as we find in the Old Testament. However, while sickness has sin as its original source, an individual’s sickness is not necessarily related to his or her personal sin. Why? Because mankind is trapped in the wreckage scattered across the whole earth by Adam’s sin. Also, man is vulnerable to the malicious attacks of demons. Even a faithful believer can be victimized by Satan.
The Old Testament relates sickness in human beings to God and also to sin. We must understand sickness as it relates to God in the sense of sowing and reaping. In the New Testament, we see God’s role in sickness expanded. While we recognize the fact that God allows some sickness, His actual role is that of healer. Jesus gives us a taste of this in His healing ministry. We see sickness attacked by Jesus as an enemy, not used by Him as a scourge. In the New Testament, we sense the love of God who yearns to heal and who only reluctantly plays judge (before the time for judgment). While God does permit sickness for His own good purposes—as discipline or even judgment; sometimes His wisdom demands such—the role that God plays (when we allow Him to do so through obedience and faith on our part) is that of healer. God is the source of health for humanity and right relationship with Him means an experience of His healing touch.
Jesus Healed Them All
“Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matt. 15:31).
When the people saw these tremendous miracles, they were astonished and gave praise to God. Again and again they saw Jesus healing people—no matter how devastating the illness, deformity, or malady was, the Lord healed them all.
The Holy Spirit, through Matthew, used the word lame to mean crippled, and the word maimed to describe those with missing limbs. What a sight that must have been—the Lord Jesus Christ among the lame and the maimed, reaching out to them, restoring arms and legs and straightening spines. Multitudes of eyewitnesses saw Jesus healing members of their families and friends from the worst diseases and plagues imaginable. In fact, there is no biblical record of Him failing even one time to heal anyone of anything, and that includes those He raised from the dead. People touched by the Lord went home whole—physically sound and healthy—and He desires to do the same today.
Praying For The Sick
“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:15)
What exactly does the prayer of faith guarantee? The automatic response is that it guarantees healing, but, if that were the case, that would make God subject to our faith, when the truth is, our faith is subject to God. The meaning is, if the person is healed, it will be the Lord honoring the prayer of faith. Many have misunderstood this passage, claiming that if a person is not healed, then the prayer of faith hasn’t been prayed. Oftentimes, we hear Christians say, “I want someone to pray the prayer of faith over me.” While that’s a legitimate request, understand that someone praying the prayer of faith doesn’t exactly mean that the desired results will be brought about. Remember, every promise in the Word of God is subject to the will and the wisdom of God.
We believe that it is always the will of God to heal the sick, but there may be times when it’s not His wisdom to do so. We cannot take faith and force God into an action—that is not what He wants or desires. Our faith is always subject to His will, but His will is never subject to our faith.
Unfortunately, many in the modern church have been taught that God is, in fact, subject to our faith. There are many Christians who think in their hearts and minds, “If I only had enough faith, I could ….” No, that’s not the case at all! God is not sitting up in heaven measuring our faith, waiting for it to reach a certain level before He responds.
Think of it this way: it’s not quantity of faith needed, but rather quality of faith. What do we mean by that? Once again, we go back to the cross. For our faith to be properly anchored in the Word of God, we must have it anchored in the cross. Considering that the cross is what makes it possible for God to deal with man, and for man to deal with God, the cross is where our faith must be anchored (Rom. 5:1-2).
Perseverance And Patience
When Christians are prayed for and don’t immediately receive healing, they often give up.
This is where many believers break down, grow weary, and quit. The Holy Spirit desires that we keep believing even though circumstances may say the opposite, as they often do. Jesus said we should keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking (Luke 11:5-13). Persevere until the answer comes! The answer will come even though at times it may be delayed.
Faith Finds A Way
If you need healing, keep this in mind: It’s not nearly as simple to touch the Lord as it is for Him to touch you.
Remember how Jairus went after Jesus, and when he found Him, he fell at Jesus’ feet, desperate for Him to come and heal his little daughter. Along the way, a “certain woman,” was also desperate for healing, but she reached out in faith and touched Jesus instead of Him touching her. This scenario shows us that faith will find a way. Faith will not take no for an answer, and neither will it be hindered by seemingly impossible circumstances.
If Jesus has not touched you, that doesn’t mean that all hope is gone—you can touch Him! If you touch Him by faith and with faith, you will receive just as much as if He had touched you. The dear woman who was healed of her infirmity proves that truth (Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48). This opens the possibility to any and all of receiving whatever is needed. No one is excluded except those who will not believe.
Doctors And Medicine?
We thank God for modern medicine—doctors, nurses, and hospitals. We thank the Lord for the knowledge that He has given individuals in these last days as it regards the medical profession. And, to answer another question that frequently comes up, no, taking medicine or being under the care of a doctor does not diminish or harm a person’s faith.
The Lord doesn’t need anything to heal anyone, but, as every believer knows, while the Lord does heal, He doesn’t heal every time. Thank God, at times, He helps us by using the medical knowledge of a doctor. Other times, it seems that He affords no help whatsoever from any source. Whatever the situation, we are to believe.
A Glorified Body
One more thing, even though the Lord heals in answer to prayer, the truth is that our physical bodies are getting older and, as a result, they wear out. With the wearing out process comes physical afflictions and problems, which will not be ameliorated until the redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23). All of this will take place at the resurrection when every saint of God will receive a glorified body—a body that will never be susceptible to sickness or disease. Praise God!