Heartache, sickness, that longstanding condition that just won’t leave you alone, or the unanswered prayer that constantly breaks your heart. Why hasn’t God healed me yet?
People go through all sorts of afflictions and setbacks in life. Some are minor, like learning your favourite barista has moved shops and you have to put up with the new one’s definition of cappuccino, missing the 10% off sale, or not being able to find where all your left socks are going. There are others in the moderate range, like being turned down for a date after you’ve met someone you seem to click with, or being passed over for a promotion you thought you might like.
And then life hits you with the really heavy stuff. The relationship breakup that you didn’t see coming. The feeling of being passed over by a friend or loved one. The betrayal of someone you thought was supposed to be close to you. The medical diagnosis that just isn’t fair at all. The mental condition that seems to plague every decision in your life.
It could even just be an unanswered prayer that seems so small to everyone else, but to you, it’s everything, and the fact it’s still sitting unaddressed in your life is a source of constant torture.
Life can sure leave its scars, and even leave you feeling like you’re walking around with a big open wound in your chest, constantly exposed and bleeding, producing sharp instances of pain whenever the slightest bit of pressure is put on it.
And through all this, God is supposed to be a loving God. He’s supposed to be a God who cares. Even people who don’t believe in God throughout most of life can’t help but look up to heaven during the hard times and wonder why God is being so cruel to them, and why He isn’t coming through for them like He’s supposed to.
The issue of healing is a huge theological challenge for scholars, as well as a painful source of confusion for us normal people. You have so many testimonies and stories of people getting healed, babies coming back to life, relationship breakdown being resolved, dreams coming back together, and they become a huge source of pain and struggle, reminding you that someone else is getting the miracle you want. So you know it’s possible – it’s just not clear why it’s not happening to you.
I think it’s really important to face the big questions in life in an open and an honest way, and I’ve known a number of people in recent months who have especially found this question one to wrestle with. So let’s have a look at this one. Just why hasn’t God healed me yet?
Now I need to warn you – I’m going to look at a few of the reasons that are actually present in Scripture that don’t always get a lot of air time. I’m not trying to make light of what you’re going through – that’s not my intention at all. But it is my intention that we give the severity of your condition the honest look it needs and deserves, and to hopefully leave you with something you can take with you on your journey to wholeness that you maybe haven’t considered before.
Healing and faith
The first issue that comes to mind is the issue of faith. There are many faith preachers out there in the world today who have told people that they’re not well due to a lack of faith. Smith Wigglesworth was one such theologian and modern figure who famously put forward that he didn’t believe in partial healing, only immediate. Jesus told the disciples that a particular ailment couldn’t be healed without prayer and fasting, citing a lack of faith. I’ve seen people tell cancer sufferers that they just need to have more faith.
Let’s get it clear – faith is important. It really is. To believe that God can heal and wants to heal you is an important thing. But I think there is more to it than that, and having a naive view of healing will lead us to not see God’s healing in the way Scripture paints in its entirety, and results in well meaning people and verses being used as weapons on the dying instead of sources of comfort for those who needs answers.
Because something else needs to be healed instead
I’m loving rewatching The Office at the moment. It would have to be one of my favourite TV shows. There’s an episode where the boss, Michael, isn’t paying proper attention to his driving, and accidentally hits one of his employees with his car in the carpark. She is taken to hospital to treat her minor wounds, but then discovers on further testing that she has a worse disease than the broken bone she suffered in the accident, and it likely wouldn’t have been found without the accident.
Did you know that God cares for you enough that He will let one area of your life suffer so that you’ll finally pay attention to another? In Ecclesiastes, Solomon points out that God will let us continue in our ways and suffer the consequences of our sins so that we can see that we’re not better than the animals, and learn the true lesson of humility. Paul, James, Jesus and Peter all tell us in the New Testament of the wonderful things that are born through the journey of affliction – things like character, perseverance, a readiness to hear the voice of God in your life.
Could it be that this affliction isn’t about the affliction at all, but a means to get your attention and heal something else that’s going on? You think it’s your body, but maybe it’s your heart that God is actually trying to heal.
Will you let Him?
I’m not a parent yet, but I always find it interesting to watch other people I know parent. And it’s such a difficult art form. One interesting scenario is when a child has hurt themselves and begin to cry. Mum or dad try to come and calm them down and bandage the wound, but the child will often scream louder and sometimes pull the wounded area away. “I can’t fix it if you don’t let me”, the parent will say. The child has to make a decision – will they surrender the hurting area, or will they continue to cry and scream and refuse help?
I wonder how many times you and I resemble this child. We are so deeply hurt by our pain, and then we blame God for not being there for us. The truth is many times we don’t allow Him to be close enough to do anything. We keep kicking and screaming and complaining to everyone else about how much God doesn’t care, or we complain silently within our own hearts, failing to see that the heart of the Father is to help make the pain go away.
But you have to let Him.
Are you letting God close enough in your life to bring the healing you say you want?
Destructive habits and refusal to do what you know you should
I have a super, super, uncomfortable reality check for you:
You might still be sick because of your own destructive behaviour.
Did you know that if you stay in a state of unforgiveness, you’re allowing a root of bitterness to grow? Did you know that if you mistreat your spouse, your prayers will be hindered? Did you know that if you are not doing the things you should be doing, you won’t be healed? In the Old Testament, Namaan asked the prophet how to be healed of leprosy. He was told to wash himself in a river seven times. And he almost missed his healing because he thought the instruction was too stupid and too beneath him.
I wonder if your lack of healing is due to a proud heart? The fact that you don’t want to change? You want God to fill your balloon back up with air, but you also want to keep the holes you’ve put in the rubber. Any healing you could receive may be instantly destroyed by your habits, your sin, your unrepentant heart.
We are way too soft on our mistakes and our sin. Jesus thought it was so severe that the only way to truly address the problem was for Him to die on your behalf. That is not a small decision. That just highlights how destructive and evil sin really is.
Lose the pride – do what you know you’re supposed to do. You can’t expect right results with wrong living.
The power of community
We often are looking to God to perform a magic trick on us, a wave of the hand, and off we go. One source of healing that Scripture talks about in the book of James is the power of confession. James says that we should confess our sins to each other, and then we will be healed.
Have you ever told anyone what you’re going through? Are you open about what you’re struggling with? Have you shared what keeps you up at night?
I have seen it first hand so many times in my own life and in the lives of others that when something is kept secret, it festers, it bleeds, to gets gangrenous, and it eventually spreads. However, the second that community is engaged, and the person opens up, the light comes back in and the person is able to breathe again. There are so many afflictions and issues that can only be addressed by opening up to another person (not just to God) and getting it all out there.
God gives people the gifts of healing, no doubt there. But He has also ordained community and sharing your struggles as an additional mechanism for your healing. And sometimes you won’t get healed until you do.
The power of giving someone else your miracle
Another verse on healing I barely ever hear people talk about or consider in their life is in Isaiah 58 when God is addressing the spiritual parade that the Israelites were performing in their church services in order to receive healing and answers to their prayers. Boy oh boy, aren’t we a trying group of people when we try to do exactly the same thing. We go to every service, sing every song as loud as we can, spiritualize every conversation, and then still go home bitter and disappointed inside with our prayers still unanswered. Why?
Because if you keep reading, God is trying to show us that we’re missing the point, and that there is great healing in giving to others rather than remaining focused on ourselves and trying to dramatize ourselves into wholeness. To feed the hungry, to break every yoke, to invite the homeless into your house. Then guess what? The verses we like – then our healing would spring forth quickly, and He will hear every word.
One of the worst things about being sick for too long is that you start to make things all about yourself. Because of the constant struggle of things, we tend to obsess and form an attachment to our problem or issue. We start to become bitter and angry at others when they don’t seem as upset about our affliction as we are.
And yet in that moment, something awful happens – we fail to see the suffering of others around us.
In the Old Testament, Father Abraham had one final test on the journey to becoming a father, and that was to pray for the maidservants of Melchizedek to conceive. He had many women in his household who had issues giving birth. It would’ve been interested for Abraham, because his wife Sarah had had the same problem for at least 20 years. And here’s an opportunity to help someone else receive the miracle he’s been believing for, and guess what? He does it, and the very next verse tells us that after that point, his wife conceived.
I wonder if your miracle is on the other side of you being there for someone else? I wonder if you just put down your own drama and broken heart long enough to see the even more broken life in front of you in the form of another person, just how quickly God would come rushing to your aid.
Because God is trying to do something greater
At our church recently we’ve been looking at heroes of the faith, and one young man who keeps coming up is Joseph. Joseph was a well intentioned young man who is given a dream by God that one day he would be a great leader. His brothers hate him for it, he’s sold into slavery, he’s accused of rape, he’s thrown in prison, and he’s forgotten. And yet all of this eventually led to him becoming the leader of a great nation by the age of 30, and the salvation of several nations during a time of famine.
I wonder if God loves someone else so much that He’s willing and happy to let you go through this affliction for just a little while, just for the sake of the people on the other side? For that hurting couple who will need you to tell them how you made it through Thursday night that one week with your joy in tact. For that church who needed to hear the faithfulness of God through your pain. For those people who won’t listen to anyone else to see someone else who has gone through the darkest night and made it out alive.
Are you able to make it through this without getting bitter? Are you able to see the bigger purpose that God is trying to achieve? Or will you shortcut it by not allowing the process to produce what it needs to in you so you can be exactly what God needs on the earth today?
Who is on the other side of your pain?
My intention in writing this isn’t to condemn you for anything, but rather to show that there are multiple paths and facets to wholeness. And yes, God does often heal people in the matter of moments through the laying on of hands or the words of a pastor or fellow believer – I’ve been seen this more times than I can count, and have seen this happen through me also.
But it’s not the only picture. And there may be one of these other paths that God has for you in your journey for healing.
I’m believing that you’ll find the answers you’re looking for today. A bit more wisdom and a larger perspective on the types of healing that God has carried out through Scripture and history can be exactly what you need to finally arrive at the place of wholeness and contentment your heart has longed for.
So, why hasn’t God healed me yet? It could be one of these reasons, and all you need to do is your bit to see a miracle in your own life.