The other day I was driving along, listening to a local radio station. A woman’s voice came on, shaky but clearly elated. She was sharing a healing testimony with the radio host.
Although I don’t remember the exact words, it went something like this. “I have struggled with anxiety all my life. I never thought I could be without it. And then, I experienced a moment where I gave it all over to God. A peace came over me that I cannot explain and, since that time, I have not struggled with anxiety any longer. He healed me. I am so grateful.”
Reaction 1: I believe her. God is a God of miracles and, for some, full healing this side of heaven does occur.
Reaction 2: Lord, please don’t let anyone listening be hurt, confused, or misled when they hear this. You don’t heal everyone this side of heaven — and not because You don’t love them, or not because their faith is not strong enough. Only You know why.
This second reaction is why the therapist in me went on full alert. I believe God heals people. He heals them physically, mentally, and emotionally. He redeems and restores things that seem so far gone they could never return. He remains, and will always be, the Great Physician. I will never, ever doubt that He does miracles. And, I love that this woman experienced that.
But, I’ve seen the other people. The people who have sat before me in pain, questioning if they weren’t faithful enough for God to heal them. The people who have wondered if God’s love had eclipsed them. The people who equated healing with their goodness or God’s favor, when neither operates as exact math.
It’s simply this. We must take Scripture in its entirety. If we don’t, when things don’t “go our way” we can get duped into believing things that make us feel unloved, forgotten, or faithless. That’s the worst.
As examples, these words are in the Bible: “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 30:17, NIV
And, these are too: “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4, NIV
But, so are these: “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'” John 9:1-3, NIV
And, even Paul shared this: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, NIV
It is so important to be loving and balanced when we offer, or hear, a testimony of someone’s healing. If we experience healing, we must keep in mind not to align God’s kindness with our efforts. And, if we find ourselves continuing to seek healing, we must protect ourselves from the false idea that God’s love has abandoned us.
Ultimately, it all comes down to this: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV
Sometimes, God heals people from their earthly pain. And, sometimes He doesn’t. I cannot answer why. But, what I do know is that we can love better by giving as much value to the healing story as we do to the other. Both have purpose. Both involve love. And, most certainly, both include God’s face so close to His child’s suffering that His breath is upon us. No matter what you may have experienced with healing, I hope you have known His love. And, may we honor how that love plays out in each one of our lives.