Some Christians believe that physical healing is guaranteed in this life, as I discussed in my previous article. My disability, therefore, demonstrates a lack of faith. Today, I want discuss the problems with the practical applications of this thought. To start, though, I want to lay out some reasons as to why this is not a biblical idea.
First, this doctrine argues that God can only work in one way when involving an illness. Well, that seems to be quite presumptuous. The Bible is filled with stories of God working through bizarre circumstances. If He can use a whale, certainly He can use cerebral palsy. We humans are in danger of being blind to God when we have such a narrow view of where we can find Him.
Secondly, this thought does not properly understand what suffering does. We all have gone through hard times and come out better people for it. A major factor in our lives is how we respond in these circumstances. Most people recognize this to be true in at least some situations. To treat physical suffering differently in this regard is illogical.
According to this belief, a lack of faith is the only reason for someone not to be healed. Continuing to live with a disability indicates a spiritual problem. This idea allows for much condescension and well-meaning, but very hurtful comments. It takes an already sensitive topic and makes a judgment about the inferiority of another person’s faith using a less than perfect body as its only evidence. Even when these comments have the best intentions and are said in a kind manner, the only things they can give a person with a disability is a sense of smallness and powerlessness and, perhaps, a false doctrine that will only make their lives more frustrating. Typically, because the person means well, it seems wrong to even disagree with their blatantly unbiblical understanding. This position also fails to consider the amount of faith it requires to live with a disability. Believing in the goodness of God when one’s life is difficult takes an enormous amount of trust. For some people, this is harder to accept than the notion that God is waiting on their faith to be healed.
Lastly, the assertion that God always heals in this life is an unhelpful idea because it does not match reality. Good Christians do get sick and, eventually, all of us die. I could tell numerous stories, as I am sure all my readers can, of the most kind and loving people acquiring a difficult disease. I am not the only Christian with a limiting body. If I were, then I would agree that it is my fault that I have yet to be healed. But, there is simply too much evidence to the contrary.
Clearly then, the way we understand physical ailments must be larger than the expectation that everyone will be healed. We should stop wondering what we must do to make healing more common and ask what God is doing when He does not heal. Stay tuned to hear more about this focus in my next article.