“Fred Craddock tells of a young pastor visiting an elderly woman in the hospital. The pastor finds the woman to be quite ill, gasping for breath, and obviously nearing the end of her life. In the midst of tubes, bags, and beeping medical machines, . . .
“The pastor says, ‘What would you like me to pray for today?’
“The patient responds, ‘That I would be healed.’
“The pastor gulps. . . .
“[Then he prays,] ‘Lord, we pray for your sustaining presence with this sick sister, and if it be your will, we pray she will be restored to health and to service. But if it’s not your will, we certainly hope she will adjust to her circumstances.’ . . .
“Immediately after the pastor puts an amen on this safe prayer, the woman opens her eyes and sits up in bed. Then she throws her feet over the side and stands up. . . .
“Before the pastor can react, the woman walks over to the door, pulls it open, and strides down the hospital corridor. The last thing the pastor hears before she disappears are the words ‘Look at me, look at me. I’m healed.’
“The pastor pushes his mouth closed, gets up, and slowly walks down the stairs and out to the parking lot. There is no sign of the former patient. He opens his car door, and stops. Looking up to the heavens, the pastors says, ‘Please don’t ever do that to me again’ (Beukema, in Biblical Preaching, 130).
In some cases, even pastors are slow to believe that God wills to heal. Nevertheless, He keeps on astounding us with His grace as He did the leper in
We’ll make a couple of observations about this incident – one concerning our requests and another about Jesus’ response. In the first place, . . .
We often qualify our requests for healing. (
Jesus always takes time for the individual as well as the multitude. (
Unlike religious hucksters, Jesus never shuns the ‘hard cases.’ (
Don’t be one of those people who question Jesus’ willingness to heal. (
When the disciples were in the boat and saw Jesus walking on the water in the night, Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you . . . tell me to come to you on the water” (
So even though Jesus always has time for the individual and never shuns the hard cases, we still tend to doubt His willingness to heal.
So, in the first place, we often qualify our requests for healing. In the second place, . . .
Jesus normally responds to our requests for healing. (
Jesus takes immediate action to reassure us of His concern. (
Afterward, the leper could have sung the words of that old gospel tune we know:
“Shackled by a heavy burden,
’Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same” (“He Touched Me,” Sing His Praise, #219).
No disease exists that Jesus can’t heal. (
Interestingly, there are times we should keep quiet about what God does for us. (
In any case, obedience to the Word of God remains the best means of showing our gratitude. (
For those of you who question whether God still heals today, listen to this story from Newsweek magazine: In May 1999, fifteen-year-old Tyler Clarensau [I know his father personally] shuffled to the altar in Park Crest Assembly of God . . . in Springfield, Missouri, to seek healing. Surgery to correct his malformed knee joints had left him with swelling and terrible pain. Forty other Pentecostal teenagers encircled him and began to pray. . . . Some 45 minutes later . . . Clarensau shakily stood up, then did deep knee bends – something he hadn’t accomplished in years. Now he can run. ‘I’d heard about people getting healed,’ says Clarensau, ‘and I thought it was pretty cool. But I didn’t know for sure until it happened to me” (“Teen’s Miraculous Healing,” www.PreachingToday.com, s.v. “Healing”). God didn’t hold this young man’s doubts against him because he brought his doubts to Jesus. Neither will He hold yours against you if you’ll do the same.
On one hand, Jesus always takes immediate action to assure us of His concern and has never met a disease He couldn’t heal. On the other hand, there are times for us to keep quiet and it’s always time to obey God’s Word.
Here’s then the good news – Jesus wants to heal your impaired body in spite of your imperfect faith. Regardless of how serious your situation may be, Jesus has the solution. He can do for you what no other can.
Let me share this story from Allen Golding. He writes: “When we were missionaries to the Philippines, we vacationed in Baguio City in the mountains of Northern Luzon. While there, we visited the St. Louis Silver School, . . . We admired exquisite workmanship . . . and took home a souvenir – a pure silver money clip embellished with a distinctive design. I carried that clip for the next 24 years. One day it finally broke . . . . I then took the two pieces of the money clip back to the silver school in Baguio. One workman, about my age, asked if he could help me. . . .
“After examining the pieces for a minute or so, he looked up at me and said, ‘I designed this clip. I was the only one to make this design. I made all of these that were ever made.’
“I asked, “Can you fix it?’
“He said, ‘I designed it. I made it. Of course I can fix it!” (“Creator Makes and Fixes Creations,” www.PreachingToday.com, s.v. “Healing”). God can ‘fix’ you too if you’ll bring the pieces of your life to Him.
So what are you going to do with your doubts? Bring them to Jesus and He won’t hold them against you.