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The Mystery of Healing

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And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ  (Eph. 1:9–10).

It is impossible for us to understand why our Heavenly Father chooses healing for some and not for others. His will is mysterious and yet we have this confidence that at the right time everything, including sickness and sorrow and death, will be brought under the wonderful authority of Christ. But just because we cannot understand all the mysteries of our Father’s way of healing doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be involved in a healing ministry to those who are suffering around us. The following are practices I have established in my place of service to care for ill and needy people well.

1. Seek Out the Sick

Put yourself among the sick and needy in your community. For me, this has meant regular visits to the hospital, a center for the disabled, an orphanage, and the deaf community. It has meant looking intentionally for the ill among the different groups I teach. It has meant a ministry to widows who, over and over, have experienced healing in their lives and their children’s lives. And it has meant always praying for the sick and asking those with a physical need to raise their hand during the prayer or to stay afterward for a time of prayer with our team.

2. Imitate Jesus

Note Jesus’ ministry to the ill. He never held back or seemed too busy to stop and bring healing. His interactions should serve as a model for our own response to those who are suffering. I sometimes think I cannot bear the sight of the sick children at the hospital, lying on their mats with so little medical attention. But then I remember Jesus by the pool of Bethesda. He intentionally went there to care for the paralyzed man instead of joining the happy crowd going up to the temple.

3. Expect the Impossible

Always remember that there is power in the name of Jesus, that His arm is never too short to save, that He will always be faithful to those He has called, and that He Himself has a great love and concern for the sick. Pray always in His name and with His authority. Pray expectantly, courageously, and allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you.

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Rom. 8:25–27).

Once our team gathered at the home of a dying woman for prayer. This woman had cancer, and her X-rays had shown that she had masses throughout her body. Chemo was doing nothing but wearing her out. At one point the doctors even thought they would have to amputate her arm because one of her treatments had gotten into her skin.

During our time at her bedside, our teams’ prayers suddenly took on a fervency that we had not experienced before. No one took notice of the time or the state of this woman’s health or the dire prognosis that had been given. New life came into that room, and the power of sickness and death was overcome. This woman was restored to health with medical people (including myself) saying, “I know what I saw on the X-rays, on the lab reports, and in the physical exams. This is just impossible!”

4. Visit the Sick

Our team regularly quotes Matthew 25:36: “I was sick, and you looked after me.” Visiting and caring about the sick is something we can all do. The presence of godly people full of the Holy Spirit at the bedside of a child covered in burns changes the whole atmosphere.

One evening after a prayer meeting, our pastor was looking for some people to go to the hospital. A call had come that a man from our fellowship was dying from a combination of typhoid and malaria. I was so tired from a long day, but I thought, “I do care, and I can visit even if I am too tired to pray.” We arrived at his bedside, and all of his family members were in tears. The man’s young son was propping his father up, trying to get him to drink something or open his eyes. I could do nothing but stand there as the pastor and one other man began to pray.

As the prayers went up, I moved closer to his bedside and put my hand on the sick man. When the prayers were finished, I noticed the man was looking at me, reaching for my hand, and giving me a soft smile. Think what I would have missed if I hadn’t visited the hospital that evening!

5. Provide Tangible Help

Be prepared to help the sick in practical ways with food, clothing, helpful advice, and money. During our early days at the hospital, as we were praying in one of the wards, a man said to me, “We need your prayers, but we could also use some soap.” This comment opened a door for us to begin regular distributions of soap at the hospital, a center for the disabled, and our widows’ group.

6. Pray for Healing Intentionally

Include times of prayer for the ill in your regular gatherings. We believe that a prayer covering over our hospital, our city, and even the prison brings healings that we will not know about until heaven.

7. Don’t Blame the Sick

And of course, never blame the sick person or yourself if healing doesn’t happen right away. All the results of our prayers are in His hands. God will choose how He will be glorified.

From Taunted to Healed

As our team has put these suggestions into practice, we have seen some marvelous healings in response to prayer. Several years ago, I was asked to speak at a youth conference. Afterward, I noticed a young man, Shadrach, lying on a mat outside the church. The pastor explained that his family had brought him and left him there a few days before. Shadrach’s legs were swollen, and there were open sores all over his body. He was scratching at these sores and seemed a pitiable mess.

About four months earlier, he had noticed a small sore on his leg. A few days later more sores began to cover his body. He went to the doctor and was prescribed different lotions and medicines, but the sores only became worse. Now, he could no longer work or walk, and he needed to borrow money to pay for medicine. As his situation became more and more serious, his family and friends pulled farther and
farther away.

He once had a childhood friend who was a believer, and when Shadrach came of age, he left the religion of his
family to become a Christ follower. But now that he was sick, his family would taunt him, saying, “Where is your Jesus now that you’re sick? What is this religion you’re following? You are worse off than any of us.” And with that, they picked him up, dragged him to the church, and left him there as a sign that his death was imminent and they wanted nothing more to do with him.

But that day, the Lord Jesus had a different plan for Shadrach. Our team quickly bent down and laid hands on him and began to pray. Shadrach himself said later that he knew it was a divine appointment and that he would be healed. Almost immediately the itching stopped.

The next morning the pastor called me to say that the sores on Shadrach’s body had begun to go away. A few days later a message came that Shadrach was eating and able to walk. And a few weeks later Shadrach visited me, completely restored and praising God.

The mystery of healing in the power of Jesus’ name will always be with us. I have prayed for countless sick people who have not experienced the healing that Shadrach has experienced. But it should not keep me from praying expectantly that the sick will be healed or from declaring the complete authority in Jesus’ name over sickness and death.

May we be a people chosen by God, sent by the Lord Jesus, and equipped by the Holy Spirit to bring spiritual and physical healing to the community around us.

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