It’s been on my heart lately to address the topic of healing. Far too many of us Christians struggle with sicknesses, diseases, and maladies of all sorts and we need the touch of our Lord to make it right. The Bible, that book that contains the word of God where He reveals His heart to us, has a lot to say on that topic, and, for my own sake, I feel I need to once again get a good picture of how God views our earthly struggles with sickness and disease. So, I guess my purpose for this series is to settle some things, at least a little, in my own mind and heart. I’m interested in finding a place of faith from which I can discuss my difficulties with my Lord. There are many scriptures that address this topic and I’m going to quote some of them, but the issue isn’t how many proof texts I can point to. The real challenge is to see God’s heart and that is the focus of these posts. How does He see Himself and what is His desire when it comes to the grinding battles with sickness and pain that sometimes consume the lives of His children? I’m not going to try to answer all the questions surrounding the topic of healing – I just want to see His heart.
Before we jump into the actual topic of healing, there are three things that are all important when seeking truth in the Bible. First, the Bible is true in every word and was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). In other words, every word in the Bible is God speaking directly to us. If you can’t start from that position, then the Bible is useless. Second, we do not interpret the word of God according to our experience. God’s word is true regardless of our perceptions! Our perceptions of how God works are colored by our struggles, our tragedies, and our observations. Our perceptions and experiences can often get in the way of us truly receiving the revelations that God wants to give to us through Bible study. God’s work in our lives transcends what we perceive to be true through our experiences and observation. Third, the truth contained in the word of God is not found only through our intellectual skill at studying the word of God. Don't get me wrong. God made us smart and He expects us to use our smarts, but our success at understanding the Bible is not a matter of how well we apply our intellect as we study what it says. Our understanding is not dependent on whether or not we are applying the right methods of exegesis to our Bible study. Here’s what I’m driving at – we interpret the scriptures according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit as He reveals to us the meaning, heart, and life He wrote into it. Our intellect is a great tool God has given us to use, but the real learning takes place when the Holy Spirit speaks the truth to us (John 16:13).
Finally, here is a principle that one can apply, especially when pondering something that just doesn’t seem to make sense, something that leaves you mystified:
The most straightforward interpretation is usually closer to the truth than a complicated and involved explanation.
Watch out for complicated reasoning paths that try to adapt the word of God to our experience or to how we think things should be or to what everyone else says it is saying. That type of purported explanation usually misses the mark. Especially dangerous are explanations and reasoning paths that attempt to reconcile the teachings of the Bible with our current culture. I like to put it this way:
When the teachings of the Bible conflict with our common culture, the Bible wins, and it is the Bible’s teachings on which we must base our lives.
In our modern world, vast swaths of the Christian church have been sidetracked into deep error because they have not held true to that principle and instead have compromised with the world and the world’s sinful ways. Much of the church has, in open-armed fashion, received sinful and idolatrous practices into her midst and we must be careful that we do not do the same.
One red flag that will help you recognize that kind of compromise is the claim, “That was for them, then, not for us now”. Every part of the word of God is directly applicable to every culture of every age. No part of the word of God can be set aside because it doesn’t fit our “advanced” and “sophisticated” modern ways. Here in these last days, humanity has gained much technology and gathered much knowledge, but mankind’s sinful nature is exactly the same now as it has always been. We, here in our modern era, are not in any way superior to even the most brutal and primitive cultures of the past. Our sins are the same now as they were then. Indeed, one could easily make the argument that we are worse than the ancients. So, when the Holy Spirit uses the words of the Bible to point out a sinful and wrong practice in your life, a practice or ideology that may be acceptable in the eyes of your peers and the practices of your culture, the Bible wins and it may be time for you to make some changes.
With that, I’ve used up all my space in this post. Here are some topics we are going to address in future posts:
• What does God say about Himself in regards to the subject of healing?
• How did Jesus respond to sickness?
• Where does faith on our part enter into the equation?
• What about unbelief?
• What is the relationship between sin and sickness and how does that affect miraculous healing from God?
• What was the Apostle Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”?
• Does God ever deliberately choose to leave us sick?
I’m looking forward to studying these questions with you. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d especially love to hear how God worked healing in your own life.