by Don Watson

 

Mark 3:10 tells about the huge crowd of people who came to Jesus from all over Israel—even the heathen areas of Tyre and Sidon—to be healed and have devils cast out of their loved-ones. And so I've wondered many times why God doesn't heal people today like He did back then. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure it still happens. Perhaps it even happens more often than I know, particularly in poorer countries, where affluence has not dulled people's dependence on God. But another thought has come to my mind that I want to share with you. Perhaps these thoughts will help keep your faith firm in God when you have a loved one who is sick, especially when God seems absent, not provide healing in the way you wish.

 

First of all, let me say that I believe God sees our healing as already accomplished rather than something that hasn't happened yet or may not happen. In other words, because the Great I AM is not a creature of time and His promises are as sure as if they had already happened, Jehovah declares it already accomplished. Isaiah says, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:5, KJV). Peter quotes this prophetic declaration of the Healing-Messiah as well in 1 Peter 2:24. So we may not SEE our healing, but we ARE healed because God says so. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we, as Christians "walk by faith, not by sight," because God's Word is more sure than what we see. So the more we speak faith—the REAL reality—the more our spirit hangs on and soars rather than letting go and diving into the depths of despair.

 

Another thing: When Jesus came to this earth the teachers of Israel believed that sickness, deformities and other weaknesses or ailments, including even poverty, were the result of God's disfavor toward men who were terrible sinners. The existence of the condition, whatever it might be, confirmed the sinful state of the person. Their lack of repentance was obvious because they remained sick. If they had repented, God would have forgiven them, and they would no longer be sick or infirmed. Sick people were considered to be unrepentant, unforgiven people who remained under the condemnation of God.

 

This was a horrible misunderstanding of God’s love and mercy. So Jesus set about to correct this evil doctrine from the beginning of His ministry. The record states that multitudes came to be healed. A simple touch of the hem of His garment could give healing. THAT is the picture Jesus wanted people to have of His Father! Every time He healed a person of some disease, or corrected some malady, such as blindness, or cast out demons, He was revealing the God who forgives first and then heals. According to the thinking of New Testament times, Jesus could not heal a person unless God had first forgiven that person. In this way Jesus brought the Gospel to life, demonstrating His love with a gift of healing for those that suffer, revealing the Good News about who God truly is. God accepts us WHILE we're sinners (Romans 5:6,8). The healing change comes afterwards, and it too is a gift of God. That's the Gospel!

 

Of course, nothing demonstrated God's unconditional love for every man better than the cross (Romans 5:7-8). So now in our day, we have a fuller understanding of the Gospel as revealed in the life AND death of Jesus—God loves sinners. Our sickness, defects or deformities are not God's punishment for personal sinfulness or a sign of His disfavor. Every man is loved eternally and unconditionally; they are saved and accepted exactly as they are (Romans 5:6-8). Calvary has settled the issue concerning God's love for us. Healing is not necessary to prove God's love and acceptance of us.

 

All that being said, Revelation 14:13 says that those who die in the Lord are blessed, because they get to “rest from their labors and their works follow them.” Certainly, we miss our departed loved ones and are saddened by this loss, but we can be happy for THEM because the next thing they will see is Jesus coming to resurrect them. In fact, the next paragraph (Revelation 14:14-16) describes the coming of Jesus and the end of the world.

 

I lost my Dad about 25 years ago. Every now and then I think of his laugh or some funny thing he would say. For example, after eating a piece of pecan pie, he would tell the person who made it that it was "musty—musty have some more!" Or after a great meal he would declare: "My sufficiency has been suffunsified." And then when I was discouraged, he would take me into the bedroom and kneel down with me and pray until I knew everything would be all right. God heard Dad; I knew it. But Dad developed Alzheimer’s, so when he died, though I missed him, I wouldn't have wished him back to life for a moment. The next thing dad will see is Jesus.

 

Now I know what you're thinking right now: "But Johnny was only 17 years old" or "Tiffany was still so young" or "Rebecca had four kids." And you're right, none of them wanted to die, to say nothing of those of us left behind who loved them, needed them, and miss them in a way so excruciatingly painful. But what is the next thing they will see? Jesus. And the next thing they will experience is being reunited to live FOREVER with all those people they love. Let's not forget that the best life any of us have is full of hard labor, pain and a lot of sorrow. But that will end when Jesus comes. This life is only a short breath compared to heaven’s everlasting, perfect peace, joy and endless love, leaving behind forever the suffering that now fills this world.

 

So why doesn't Jesus heal like He did back when He was here on earth? Does He love us less now than He did then? Was it because He had the center stage back then and had to make a really big splash while He was in the spotlight? No, a thousand times no to all of these ideas! He healed so you and I today, 2000 years later, would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that regardless of our sin, sickness or weakness, we are loved without limit or condition by the God who gave His Son on Calvary so we would never forget who He is. He is Jesus, who died FOR us to rid this world forever of sin, pain and death. In the meantime, because He died, He has earned the right to live IN YOU, suffer with you, cry with you, hurt with you and be lonely with you. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me!" (Psalms 23, KJV). In this world of pain, the Jesus who endured all pain is with you!