This is a question that has been on the hearts of many Christians who have prayed and not seen their prayers answered in that the person they prayed for did not receive healing.
The reason today many pastors don’t discuss healing is because there can be so much disappointment if no physical healing occurs and they fear that people become disillusioned with God and leave the church.
I believe whilst we can become disheartened, those who are truly born again will persevere with God just as Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32. Perhaps you may be wrestling today about why your loved one wasn’t healed when you prayed for them. That person may have even been a believer who loved Jesus and showed the love of Christ by the way they led their life.
We know that Jesus said in Mark 16:18, “they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” In James 5:14 it is written, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
But what if when you do this, you see nothing happen? My answer to you is that we believe that Jesus is the truth and we know that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9) and sometimes, although we have done everything we know we should do, we don’t see an outcome that we were hoping for and at this time, our faith is tested and we face a time of wrestling with God. For me, I come to the conclusion that I don’t understand why we don’t see healing for some when we do in others, even others we may feel are less deserving when our loved one has been a faithful servant to Christ.
Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Why would Paul say such a thing? It is not easy to understand in the natural why it is gain for a believer to pass away; he is released thereby, and delivered from all the troubles and distresses of this life, arising from diseases of body, losses and disappointments in worldly things; from the oppressions and persecutions of wicked men; from indwelling sin, unbelief, doubts, and fears, and the temptations of Satan; as soon as he dies he enters into the presence of God where there is fullness of joy, and is immediately with Christ, which is far better than being here, beholding His glory and enjoying communion with Him; he is at once in the company of angels and glorified saints; is possessed of perfect holiness and knowledge; inherits a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, and wears a crown of life, righteousness, and glory; enters upon an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled; is received into everlasting habitations, into mansions of light, life, love, joy, peace and comfort; is at perfect rest and surrounded with endless pleasures.
Many years ago, on April 15, 1912, HMS Titanic sank beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic, taking with it 1517 lives. The largest and most luxurious ship at the time was gone, reminding the world of our frailty as human beings. But there is more to the sinking of the Titanic than a historical tragedy. There is a story of courageous heroism and unshakable faith.
John Harper was aboard the Titanic when she set sail from Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage. An evangelist originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he was well known throughout the United Kingdom as a charismatic, passionate speaker who led many to Christ through his gift of preaching. In 1912, Reverend Harper received an invitation to speak at the Moody Church in Chicago, U.S.A. On April 11, 1912, John Harper boarded the Titanic.
Some of the wealthiest people in the world were aboard. While many passengers spoke of business deals, acquisitions and material desires, John Harper was diligently sharing the love of Christ with others. In the days leading up to the tragedy, survivors reported seeing Harper living like a man of faith, speaking kind words and sharing the love of Christ.
On the evening of April 14, as passengers danced in the ballroom and tried their luck at the card tables, John Harper put his daughter to bed and read his devotions as he did every night. At 11:40pm, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The “unsinkable” ship was doomed. Either in disbelief or unaware at the time, passengers continued about their pleasures. It wasn’t until the ship’s crew sent up a series of distress flares that passengers realised the seriousness of their situation. Then chaos ensued.
It all happened so fast. But John Harper’s response left an historic example of courage and faith. Harper awakened his daughter, picked her up and wrapped her in a blanket before carrying her up to the deck. There he kissed her good-bye and handed her to a crewman who put her into lifeboat 11. Harper knew he would never see his daughter again. His daughter would be left an orphan at six years of age. Harper then gave his life jacket to a fellow passenger, ending any chance of his own survival. From a survivor we learn that he was calling out, “Women and children and unsaved people into the lifeboats.” So he understood that there was a more important thing than surviving that terrible disaster. He understood that there were those who were unprepared to face eternity.
As the sounds of terror and mayhem continued, Harper focused on his God-given purpose. Survivors reported seeing him on the upper deck on his knees, surrounded by terrified passengers, praying for their salvation.
At 2:40am, the Titanic disappeared beneath the North Atlantic, leaving a mushroom-like cloud of smoke and steam above her grave and, tragically, over 1000 people, including Harper, fighting for their lives in the icy water. He managed to find a piece of floating wreckage to hold on to. Quickly he swam to every person he could find, urging those about him to put their faith in Jesus Christ. While death forced others to face the folly of their life’s pursuits, John Harper’s goal of winning people to Jesus Christ became more vital.
Soon John Harper succumbed to the icy sea. But even in his last moment, this tireless man of undying faith continued his life pursuit of winning lost souls. One person remembered, “I am a survivor of the Titanic. I was one of only six people out of 1517 to be pulled from the icy waters on that dreadful night. Like hundreds around me, I found myself struggling in the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic. The wail of the perishing was ringing in my ears when there floated by me a man who called to me, ‘Is your soul saved?’ Then I heard him call out to others as he and everyone around me sank beneath the waters. There, alone in the night with two miles of water under me, I cried to Christ to save me. I am John Harper’s last convert.”
John Harper lived his life for Jesus and saw that he was in the best position out of all the passengers that were on that boat. Many lived after that day, but truly the ones who perished in that water after having come to Christ are the ones who truly lived after that day, and those who lived but rejected Christ were those who really died. John Harper realised that there was a more pressing issue than his physical well-being or survival and set on his plight to save as many people from the fire of hell as he could, understanding that this life is like a vanishing mist – here one moment, and gone the next.
I preach on healing for those people who are ill and need to hold on to the hope of relief from their physical condition, however 99.9 percent of my ministry is spent on providing a solution that will bring relief for people’s spiritual condition.
Ultimately, our full physical healing awaits us in heaven. In heaven, there will be no more pain, sickness, disease, suffering, or death (Revelation 21), however, more important than our physical condition in this world is our spiritual condition (Romans 12:1-2). Then we can focus our hearts on heaven where we will no longer have to deal with physical problems.
Revelation 21:4 describes the true healing we should all be longing for: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
— By Judah Ayling