We can rest secure in faith that God, who is the God of miracles, hears our prayers. He is an almighty God – not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from His will.
A man who had had an infirmity for thirty-eight years, picked up his mat and walked away a healthy man. (John 5:1-17)
Jesus put His fingers into the ears of a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. He sighed, said, “Be opened,” and his ears were opened and he could speak plainly. (Mark 7:32-35)
Peter said to a man who was paralyzed for eight years, “Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Acts 9:32-35. Then he arose immediately.
“Through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people….And believers were increasingly added to the Lord.” Acts 5:12-15.
There are a lot of examples of healing in the Bible. But are these miracles just a thing of the past? Does God heal people from illness? What does the Bible actually say about healing?
Faith in an almighty God
In the early days, when Christianity was new, and the Church was just beginning to be built, God used miracles like these to build faith. But the common denominator in all of these miracles lies in that one word. Faith. No healing can be accomplished without faith in God, who is almighty to save. (Zephaniah 3:17) Jesus said to the woman who touched the edge of His garment in order to be healed, “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:34.
God is just as mighty to heal in the times we are living in now. “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” Malachi 3:6. The same power is available through Him now as it was in the days of old.
A pure conscience before God
James writes, “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. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:14-16.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, that you may be healed.” Let God’s light shine upon your life. You know whether you can stand in purity before God’s face, or whether you are consciously hiding something that you have not been willing to give up. There can be no healing if there is hidden sin. Acknowledgement of sin, and turning away from sin, can bring healing. It’s not written as a guarantee, that if you confess you will be healed. It’s rather that confession is a condition for healing. If there is something that is coming between you and your relationship with God, something keeping your spirit from being clean and pure, then it needs to be done away with. And this is just as true and relevant for the one who is in perfect health as it is for one who is sick.
However, sickness is never a reason to accuse anyone of unrighteousness, least of all yourself. This includes both physical and mental illness. You can struggle with the question, “Why is God punishing me like this? What am I doing wrong?” If you are honest with yourself, if you cleanse yourself, if you put things right, then they are right.
God hears our prayers
God answers prayers. As humans we need to be reconciled to the fact that He will not always answer our prayers in the way that we expect Him to. The verse says, “the prayer of faith will save the sick”. Sickness can bring us into all kinds of temptations – impatience, unrest, anxiety, complaining, etc. If we use these opportunities to be saved from these sins, God can accomplish a work in us that would not necessarily have been accomplished in good health. The trials we experience can strengthen our relationship with God. And in that way we are saved! Saved from the sin that lies in all mankind and is the greatest sickness of all.
You have been obedient to the scripture in James, and the prayers of faith are before God’s face. He takes those prayers into consideration. They can move God’s heart. He loves us, and He wants the very best for us. He will listen, and hear, and in due time, do. We have a God who hears our prayers, and He is not indifferent to us.
Sometimes healing can be instantaneous. From death’s doorstep to full health, in the blink of an eye. Other times the progress of the arrow turning back from sickness to health is almost imperceptible. Sometimes the “miracle” is performed through the hands of your doctor. But never doubt that God has heard our prayers. “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Continue in faith! Believe in the God of miracles!
We can read the story about Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20. He was sick, and near death. The prophet Isaiah went to him and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’” But Hezekiah prayed to God, and God sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah with the message, “I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears, surely I will heal you….And I will add to your days 15 years.” God’s plan was that Hezekiah should die, but his prayers moved God’s heart.
Perfect peace in God
We can learn to trust in God to such an extent that we are at perfect peace in Him. He is mighty to save us. From sickness and from sin, which is the greatest thing of all.
Believe that when in God’s hand, then all is as is should be. In sickness and in health, strive to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, overcoming sin. Use the situations that God has given to be transformed into the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29) And when the time comes to go home to be with God, then rejoice! It’s not eternal death. It’s eternal life with the Lord!