One of the biggest questions I receive in healing ministry is this: Why are some people not healed?
Sparks especially fly when I make inflammatory statements like the one I did yesterday: “If you place your hands on sick people and they don’t get well, then you have reason to question what you’re believing and find out what needs to change.” (See “Is It Biblical to Heal in Jesus’ Name?“)
A good friend of mine replied to that article with a very sensible concern:
Art, I really liked this article, but I disagree with this statement only: [quoted above]. Not everyone that we lay hands on gets healed…and you know that. I hope you did not mean that if the person is not healed that we Christians are doing something wrong or not believing…
Actually, that’s exactly what I mean! In our carnal flesh, we love to dodge responsibility when things don’t work according to plan. In the next several paragraphs, I’ll share the scriptures that prove it.
When physical healing started happening more and more often in the Church during the last century, people started explaining the tough cases by blaming the victim: “Come on! You need to have more faith!” There’s a problem with that, though. When Jesus raised the dead, the dead person didn’t need to have any faith! And if you think dead-raising is a different category from healing, what about people who are in comas or are unconscious? Are they beyond the help of Jesus because they can’t believe for themselves?
While it is true that Jesus often said, “Your faith has healed you,” it is also true that this was only in about half of the miracles recorded in the Gospels. Other times, it was the faith of others–like friends or family of the recipient. But there are also cases where the responsibility rested solely upon the minister, as I’ll show you in a moment.
Eventually, someone with a little compassion realized that blaming the victim was cruel and unbiblical. But the carnal flesh–still wanting to save face–pointed the blame somewhere else. Soon the most popular theory was that healing simply wasn’t God’s will in that situation.
There’s a problem with that too: Jesus proved otherwise! Every single person who came to Jesus was healed:
Matthew 4:24—News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.
Matthew 8:16—When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
Matthew 9:35—Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
Matthew 12:15—Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick.
Matthew 14:35-36—And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Mark 6:56—And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Luke 4:40—When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.
Luke 6:18b-19—…Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
Acts 10:38—…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Do you see the common thread? Here are nine scriptures in which entire crowds of sick and tormented people were healed. Never do we find even one passage in which Jesus said, “I’m sorry. My Father is building character in you, so you’ll have to stay this way.” Never do we hear Jesus say, “God doesn’t want to heal you today, so you’ll just have to keep suffering until He’s in a better mood.”
And yet these are the things we basically say to people when healing doesn’t happen.
In Matthew 17:14–20, we find a scripture that proves what I’m saying. A father brought his son to the disciples for healing, but nothing happened:
Matthew 17:14–16 – When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
If this happened today, many Christians would sigh, frown, place a hand on the father’s shoulder, and console him, “The Lord works in mysterious ways, brother. It appears that this is God’s will, and He is going to use it for His glory somehow. Continue to trust Him until the end and remember that He loves you.”
Jesus didn’t do that. He knew better. Here was His response:
Matthew 17:17–18 – “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Apparently, the disciples were doing something wrong. Jesus didn’t have any problem working the healing.
Was it the boy’s fault that he hadn’t been healed? Of course not.
Was it God’s fault? Apparently not, because the boy was healed when he came to Jesus.