K. Neill Foster
Some who desire divine healing are not healed.
This fact has been used by the opponents of divine healing as a faith destroying weapon. Rather than see faith destroyed, we would endeavour to enumerate a number of reasons why some are not healed.
It is our opinion that we need God's supernatural healing power manifested today. The ministry of healing was an integral part of the New Testament revival. This world is still burdened with the sick, the lame, and the afflicted. Unbelievers need to see the unmistakable power of God. Our young people need to learn at first hand the power of the God of their fathers. Healing ability was one of the credentials of the early church. Our own faith needs the strengthening effect of miracles of healing.
If the listing of a number of reasons why some are not healed can stimulate faith, then we are delighted to have this ministry. There are many reasons why the sick are not healed, (certainly more than 23). There would be no attempt at this time to set them down in order if we did not believe that one reason used by so many to explain failure in divine healing is not a biblical reason. Search, but you will not find here any intimation that "God is not willing to heal."
To assist in classifying the reasons listed here, we have divided them into four groups:
A. General Reasons,
B. Personal Reasons,
C. Ministerial Reasons, and
D. Unusual Reasons.
1. Lack of Knowledge "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17). It goes without saying that if people do not know the teaching of scripture on the subject of the "Lord for the Body," they are not going to trust Him. Many are not healed because they do not know that "by His stripes we are healed.."
2. Unbelief Jesus Christ, in his home area of Nazareth discovered that "he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk and healed them" (Mark 6 :5-6) If Jesus Christ, anointed with the Holy Spirit, who was given to Him without measure, was bound by unbelief then surely today this is the greatest obstacle to healing faith. "Beware lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12).
3. Hindering Sin "The Lord's hand is not shortened that it can not save, nor his ear heavy that it can not hear, but your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you. . ." (Isaiah 59 :1-2). James declares: "Confess your faults (sins) one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed" (James 5:16). If we can not expect God to answer any prayer when sin blocks the channel, how then can we expect God to heal if there is to be found sin in the heart of the seeker or the servant of God?
4. Lack of Patience and Persistence "So I say unto you, Ask and keep on asking, and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking, and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door shall be opened." (Luke 11:9 Amplified New Testament). Jesus applied this .principle to the ministry of healing when He prayed the second time for the blind man. After praying once, the man saw men as trees walkingo With persistence, he saw clearly. Lack of this persistence is an obvious reason why some are not healed.
5. Disobedience James says, "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church" (James 5:14). That means when a Christian who is sick calls anyone before he calls the elders he is disobedient to the plain command or the Word of God. "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17)
6. Doublemindedness ". . For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1 :6-8) A double minded man is not willing to let the case rest wholly in God's hands and stand in faith. If it seems that God delays, then other help is sought. God can bless the other help but that is Esau's blessing. Dr. A. B. Simpson, years ago, said, "Give me Jacob's blessing.'
7. Inability to Believe Believing is an aggressive act of faith. "Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them" (Mark 11:24). The anointing oil, the laying on of hands, even Peter's shadow, in the Word of God presented opportunity for the unleashing of faith. Believing is like turning an electrical switch. There are a very great many who know nothing of the simplicity of this.
8. Failure to be Filled with the Holy Spirit "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8 :11) . The Spirit of the resurrection is here found to be quickening mortal bodies. Believers who know nothing of the indwelling Spirit are not likely to be found trusting God for healing as healing power is nothing more than an earnest of the resurrection power we shall all experience one day.
9. Wrong Motive There are some who desire healing only that they might enjoy the pleasures of sin and the world. Simon the sorcerer desired something of God, but his motive was wrong and he was denied the authority he desired. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3).
10. Disorders at the Lord's Table "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.' (I Cor. 11 :30). The Corinthian church had failed to properly discern the Lord's body. As a result, there was weakness and sickness in the church and some had prematurely died. To properly discern the Lord's body is to see, as Isaiah did (chapter 53) that Christ's blood atoned for our sins, and that Christ's body was broken for our sicknesses and infirmities. There is no better time to pray for the sick than at a communion service, for it is there we seek to properly discern the Lord's body.
11. It May be Time to Die "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement" (Hebrews 9:27). There are those who would suggest that to believe in divine healing is to believe we will never die. This of course is not scriptural. Those who do not remain alive until Christ's return will die. But even death is to be healed at the resurrection. The resurrection will be (if you will allow us charity to use the expression) the greatest healing meeting of all time. There is no greater miracle of healing than the raising of the dead. The reversal of the decaying process that Lazarus experienced is a token of what all will experience at the resurrection. Death at the most is a temporary victory for the enemy.
12. Chastening Not Heeded "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11). If God chooses to chasten His child and allows Satan to afflict in the same manner that Job was afflicted, the chastening will continue until the child of God has been "exercised thereby." Failure to heed chastening will keep healing from us.
13. Some Would Rather be Sick There are a few souls, who through self-pity, self-indulgence, self-consciousness, morbid introspection, selfish sorrow and selfish sanctity would rather be sick than well for if they were well they would not get the same attention or perhaps others would no longer feel sorry for them. This self must be crucified if healing is ever to be received, for it mistakes the oppression of the devil for the providence of God.
14. Failure to Testify "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). "The prayer of faith shall save the sick" (James 5:15). Salvation includes more than the forgiveness of sins. It encompasses all the blessings purchased by the death of Christ. People sometimes even receive their healing only to lose it through failure to testify. We know personally of a man who came to the altar in much pain from crippling arthritis. He left without pain. A day later he was still without pain. But when he testified, he made no mention of God's work in his body. The affliction is now back upon him.
15. Lack of Authority "Then he called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases" (Luke 9:1). Christ later extended this authority to all: "All power (authority) is given unto me . . . and, lo, I am with you alway . . ." (Matthew 28: 18, 20 ). To be filled with the indwelling Christ is to possess His faith and authority. Failure to understand this principle engenders servants of God who fear to boldly take authority over sin, disease, Satan and demons.
16. Lack of Spiritual Discipline In Mark 9 we have the record of the disciples' failure to cast out an evil spirit. Jesus was able, because, said He, "this kind can come forth by nothing but prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). The lad, conceivably, was prayed for ten times. Nine failures were due to the lack of spiritual discipline on the part of Jesus' disciples. They had not fasted and prayed as they ought. Lack of this discipline will cause the same failure today.
17. Lack of Discernment The lame man of Lystra had faith to be healed. Paul perceived that he had such faith. So with a loud voice, the Apostle cried, "Stand upright on thy feet" (Acts 14:10). And he leaped and walked. If Paul had cried aloud and the man had not had faith, news of a great failure would have spread. Lack of this discernment, manifested in the life of Paul is the cause of many failing to receive healing.
18. Hasty Dealing "Lay hands suddenly on no man (I Timothy 5:22). No doubt this scripture refers in its' immediate context to the ordaining of elders in the churches. However, a spiritual principle is here involved. There ought to be preparation before prayer and the laying on of hands for ordination, for the fullness of the Holy Spirit or for healing. Fasting, reading, prayer, meditation, and praise are usually helpful in preparing seeking persons for the laying on of hands and healing. There can be no doubt that hasty dealing on the part of God's servants keeps healing from some.
19. Gifts and Ministries are not Available In I Corinthians 12 various gifts of the Spirit are listed. Included are gifts (plural) of healing. That the church ought to be equipped with spiritual gifts, no serious student of the scripture will deny. The Amplified New Testament speaks of gifts of healing as "extraordinary powers of healing." If there are extraordinary powers of healing then there are also ordinary powers of healing. Extraordinary powers of healing ought to be present in every local church. That they are not means that many who might be healed do not have a healing ministry available to them.
20. God's Servants are not Always Spirit Led "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God"' (Romans 8:14). Divine direction in the lives of the leaders of the early church was a common experience. Guidance now as to who to pray for, and how to pray in each particular case would no doubt bring about greater effectiveness in the ministry of healing today.
21. The Time for Healing Has Not Arrived In John chapter nine the ministry of Jesus to the man born blind is recorded. His blindness was upon him "that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (vs. 3). There was a time and a place in the eternal timetable for this man to find deliverance. He did not, and could not have found it sooner, for God's time had not arrived. When it arrived he was healed. Some are not yet healed who will be healed in the time of God's providence.
22. God Smites for the Sin of Another
"And the Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bare to David, and it was very sick. . . and it came to pass on the seventh day that the child died" (II Samuel 12:15,18). David's sin brought about the death of his infant son. This circumstance is rare in the Word of God, and ought to be considered rare in everyday experience. It is a mistake that the disciples fell into to consider every sickness to be the result of sin. Concerning the man born blind, Jesus was prompt to say, "Neither this man nor his parents have sinned" (John 9:3).
23. A Thorn in the Flesh Paul said, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure" (II Cor. l2:7). We all know that Paul sought the removal of this thorn without result three times. Some believe that the thorn was a physical affliction. Paul however, gives the thorn personality and calls it the messenger of Satan. It can not be certainly affirmed that the thorn was a physical affliction. If it was a physical affliction, (which we doubt), then it was very rare. Jesus healed all that were sick and discovered not one thorn. In the days of the early church they were healed everyone and not a single messenger of Satan was found.
In deference to those who do believe that the thorn was a physical affliction, let us say, a thorn in the flesh is so rare that the possibility of several members in a local church possessing this oddity is so remote that we can not believe these claims to be any more than well worn cloaks for unbelief.
In this study we have listed a number of reasons why the sick are not healed. We believe that there are many more reasons in the Word of God to be discovered. There is one thing that can not help but come to our attention after enumerating these 23. It has not been at all necessary to say, God is not willing to heal. In fact there are so many ways that could explain failure that it seems no less than impudence before the Almighty to say, in an area where man can be at fault in som many ways, "He is at fault."
We protest any impugning of His compassion and mercy!
"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. " (Psalm 103: 1-3).