Healing and Affliction

In our study of Mark’s Gospel on Sunday mornings, we have already seen our Lord’s power on display in graphic ways.

One of the most gripping and emotional displays of His power is in His ability to heal anyone of anything.

The reason Jesus healed anyone in the New Testament had very little to do with the person being healed, but it had everything to do with the purpose of Jesus Himself.

The main reason Jesus healed people during His ministry was to validate or prove that He was God in the flesh and that His gospel was God’s message for all people.

God is still the only source of healing… and only God can heal someone.

We mentioned in our discussion on Sunday night that God still heals today, but He doesn’t give the power of healing to so-called “faith-healers.” Their claims to heal are false and deceptive.

But then we may reason, “If God hasn’t given the power of healing to ‘faith-healers,’ then He has certainly given that power to doctors who make people better all the time.”

Yet even that isn’t the case.

Even doctors and nurses and all the medical sciences can’t actually heal anyone of anything. We often associate them with healing and recovery because God allows so many people to get better under their care.

This is His blessing of mercy to undeserving people. But in reality, only God can heal someone or cause them to get better after they go to the doctor, or take the medicine, or get the treatment.

Doctors and hospitals are evidence of God’s common grace in our world and we are very thankful for them and for their work in the medical field.

Yet doctors themselves don’t have the power or ability to heal a person any more than a farmer has the ability to cause his crop to grow in the ground. There are many farmers who were unable to produce a crop this year because of the terrible drought.

Those farmers did everything they could do. They prepared the soil and tilled it. They sowed good seed. They tended the soil. They fertilized it. And they did whatever else they could to get scarce water to their seedlings by means of irrigation.

But alas, at the end of the season, farmers are at the mercy of the God who causes seeds to sprout and grow into food through the common grace of sunshine and seasonal rains.

Unless God causes a crop to grow in the ground, the farmer labors in vain.

In like manner, doctors can only promote healing and limit disease by preventing the spread of infections. They can do everything in their power to promote healing, but doctors themselves can’t actually heal anyone.

After doctors have done all that they’ve been trained and gifted to do, they must still wait for God to bring healing to their patients in recovery.

And if God doesn’t heal a person after all the treatments, then all the work and labor of the doctor is in vain.

This is another reason we pray for people when they go to the doctor. We pray because we know that the doctor isn’t an independent agent of healing. He is dependent on God for the healing of his patients, whether he acknowledges God or not. And therefore, we must pray.

We must also acknowledge that it isn’t God’s purpose for everyone to be healed.

If that was His purpose, then everyone would be healed. But sickness and affliction is a major part of God’s plan for most of us in this life.

In fact, God has an unfolding plan for the good of His people and the glory of His name that requires that a good many of us remain in unhealed bodies for the time being. Sometimes, it means living in a body that is totally disabled in every way.

While it’s easier for us to delight in God’s reasons for healing us instantly, it’s no less important for us to delight in His wisdom and goodness when He sovereignly chooses to favor us in a way that doesn’t result in physical healing in this life.

Right now, we look at all these trials through a mirror darkly; but one day we will see our Lord face to face. In that coming day, our unhealed infirmities will not only make perfect sense, but will become the subjects of our loudest songs of praise.

In spiritual salvation through faith in Christ, our physical restoration is assured in the life to come. Then it will be true of all disabilities, as Charles Wesley wrote…

Hear Him ye deaf, His praise ye dumb
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy!

In heaven, there will be nothing but health and restoration in glorified bodies forever. No pain, no tears, and best of all — no sin.

We will one day be grateful for the trials (physical and otherwise) God permitted in this life. Through these trials our faith is strengthened and proven to be genuine.

The same is true of all losses to the redeemed and of all tragedies and reversals that God’s blessed sheep must suffer in this brief pilgrimage called life.

In this life, all healings are temporary; but in the life to come those who are saved and forgiven through faith in Christ will have bodies that are completely free from sin, free from sickness, and all the other ill effects of our fallenness in Adam… and this will be forever!

Until that day, will you trust the God who alone can heal even when the healing doesn’t come in this brief time called life? Will you trust His purpose? Will you believe the message of Scripture which His healing ministry validated in the New Testament?

When we do this, great is our reward and greater still is our joy in His unfolding plan.

Until that day,
Pastor Kevin