December 7 I Friday
“…for I am the LORD, who heals you.” —Exodus 15:26
Names of God like Jehovah-Rapha, which means “the LORD who heals you,” often perk up our ears, but some of us may struggle to believe this when we have prayed and prayed for the healing of a loved one and it has not happened. It is important we understand what the Bible says about healing generally before we make any definitive statements on when, why or how God heals.
Scripture records many miraculous healings. For example, in the Old Testament, God repeatedly healed barren women of their infertility. In Jesus’s ministry, we see “the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, [and] the dead are raised” (Matthew 11:5). There are also remarkable healings in Acts, including when people were healed simply because they touched Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16). James even instructs: “Is anyone among you ill? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up” (James 5:14-15).
The evidence of healing in Scripture is both comprehensive and impressive, but there are also numerous examples of non-healing. Paul wrote to Timothy, his protégé, “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses”
(1 Timothy 5:23). Paul also experienced a harrowing illness, one that was “a trial” to the people of Galatia while he was with them (Galatians 4:14). Timothy and Paul’s lack of healing was not because of a lack of faith. What is evident is that sometimes God heals
miraculously and dramatically; other times, people remain with their illnesses.
There are two mistakes we can perpetuate about God’s healing: the one, to guarantee someone they will be healed; the other, to tell them they won’t be. The truth is we may be healed if God, in His sovereign wisdom, decides it is for the best or, as is often the case, our illnesses may be a means through which God’s purposes will continue to be worked out in our lives and those around us.
By all means, pray for healing and rejoice if God chooses to heal, but we must remember that our physical health will never be perfect this side of heaven. Everyone God healed in Scripture eventually died. He is the LORD who heals, but more important than making sure our bodies are healthy is making sure our spirits are right with Him. Physical healing is temporary, but the cleansing from sin and everlasting life we receive when we are united with Christ is forever.
Prayer: Thank You, Jehovah-Rapha, for being my Saviour and healer. I pray for healing for those in my life who need it, but I trust You whether You choose to heal or not.