Sunday, April 1, 2007

Question #2: Does God want my child to be healed?

Tomorrow (Monday) we have to take Bobby back to the hospital for his third round of chemotherapy. Alice and I will take turns being with him, but we will also get to escape and go back home once in a while. Bobby, unfortunately, is stuck in the hospital all week.

This morning was a rough one emotionally. Bobby's hair was falling out so much that it was like having a shedding cat around. We finally buzzed his hair all the way down. He was very upset about this and cried a lot.

Despite this, God still shows His grace every minute. He continues to support us in His mighty, loving hands.

So, my question today is, "Does God want my child to be healed?"

Healing is obviously a very real issue for us right now. We pray daily, as I know many of you do also, that God will heal Bobby. We know that if that is His will, then it will be done. No questions there.

But can we know for certain that God wants Bobby to be healed? Since this saga began in India, we have had a few different Christian people tell us that either 1) they know Bobby will be healed, or 2) they know that it is God’s will for Bobby to be healed. For these folks, this went beyond just trying to be kind. They seemed absolutely convinced that God will heal Bobby.

I was wondering if there was any scriptural basis for people knowing that Bobby would be healed. One verse quoted to me was a familiar one. Isaiah 53:5 says, But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” I was told that “with his stripes we are healed” refers to not only spiritual healing, but also physical healing. However, in light of the context of the passage, I just cannot accept that interpretation. For example, earlier in 53:5 Isaiah makes it clear that Christ suffered for sins we had committed (“transgressions,” “iniquities”). The prophet is clearly dealing with spiritual issues, not physical ones.

So what is the answer to this question? Several things are keys to keep in mind. First, we all know that Jesus heals. We see this in all the gospels. He seemed to do this to be merciful, to gain an audience for His teachings, and to give evidence that He is the Messiah. Second, we can pray for healing. In Phil. 4:6 we are told, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” This seems to include physical illnesses. James 5:14 tells us, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Third, the spiritual gift of healing seems to still exist. In I Cor. 12:9-10, Paul writes, “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” It does not appear that we have any solid scriptural reason to think that healing no longer occurs. I have heard of many accounts of miraculous healings taking place in other parts of the world, seemingly to give support to the gospel message, which may have been proclaimed there for the first time.

A key passage in all of this is II Cor. 12:7-10. Remember, Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh.” He asked for it to be taken away three times. Now, if we can know that God will heal, then why didn’t He heal in this case? As you well know, God instead poured out His grace upon Paul, saying, “My grace is sufficient.” Paul, interestingly, does not seem convinced that God will heal Him in this case. He undoubtedly knows that God can heal. Paul does not complain; rather, he is content to endure his suffering because that was the will of God.

So in the end, what is the answer? Does God want my Bobby to be healed? I have great faith that God can heal Bobby if He chooses to do so. I believe that God answers prayer. However, I also believe that scripture never tells us that we can know for certain that God wants us to be physically healed. It is simply not there.

What to do then? Trust in Him and bask in His amazing grace.


Alan Knox said...


We know that God CAN heal. We also know that God does not always heal, even when we want him to heal someone very badly. I think it is possible for us to know God's will in healing someone. Peter and John seemed to know in Acts 3, and Paul seemed to know several times in Acts. At this point, since we don't know God's will - at least, as far as I know - I am praying that God would reveal his will in this.


Eric said...

Alan, thank you for the comment and for your prayers. I think what I am getting at is that some people think that it is always God's will to heal the physically ill or hurting believer. However, this does not seem to be the case scripturally. We, of course, want Bobby to be healed more than we can say. I just don't think we can know for certain. At least, I have had no sense from God that Bobby will certainly be healed of the Lymphoma. Let's all keep praying.