Seeing the Big Picture When Healing Does Not Come
By David L. Fauss
Two days ago my wife and I drove over 200 miles, almost without conversation, returning home from the funeral of Sharon Chance, wife of Pastor Mike Chance in San Antonio, Texas. Sharon surrendered to the arms of the Lord, at the age of 58, after battling cancer for several years. We and hundreds of others prayed for her healing. The church was packed and there were hundreds of ministers and friends there to bid her farewell and give support to her wonderful family. With four children, two of which are pastors, and several grandchildren, she had so much to live for, yet God chose to take her. Though we were happy for her spiritual victory, we were deeply saddened by the tremendous loss.
When these things happen to someone near us, we cannot escape the human tendency to question. It is not wrong to ask questions. After seeing the tremendous miracle of healing from cancer that happened to my wife three years ago and the many miracles that have happened to those in our own church since, I too question why God would choose not to heal. How can we keep the balance of faith in the face of situations where those around us do not receive the desired outcome that a simple miracle of healing would bring? How can we keep praying for people, believing in His healing power, when there are times when it does not come? How can a family that has just lost a loved one to cancer rejoice with someone who just received a miracle?
In Acts 12, there is a similar scenario that unfolds in the scripture. Herod begins to persecute the church. He arrests James, the brother of John, and kills him with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, the Scripture says that “he proceeded further to take Peter also.” The time was during the Passover. He had every intention on executing Peter as well. The church begins to pray for a miracle for Peter. Then, in the middle of the night, the angel of the Lord comes to Peter and leads him out of prison. When he arrives at the meeting place of the church, there was great rejoicing. It was a tremendous miracle. Though the Scripture does not give us all the details, I wonder how the families of James and Stephen must have felt when Peter walked into the room very much alive. Why would God take these others and deliver Peter?
First, it must be understood that we cannot see everything from our human vantage point. God has the advantage of seeing the “…end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). God’s work and plan in our lives are impossible to comprehend on the human level. In the plan of God, all things will be beautiful in the end. “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Eccl 3:11 NLT).
Paul said, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now” (1 Cor. 13:12 NLT). At best, all we have is a partial understanding of God’s plan and purpose for our lives. The glass we see through is cloudy and sometimes unclear. If the answers to our questions are apparent, then we are blessed. However, the answer to many questions will only come when we see Him face to face. What a day that will be!
Secondly, suffering brings a depth to our lives that nothing else can. The fragrance of a rose is much stronger as it is broken and crushed. Without exception, those precious saints of God I have watched go through suffering have offered up to the Lord a fragrant and outstanding love and devotion that could have never happened without the affliction. Though healing would have stopped the suffering, the suffering worked something so much greater and powerful than itself. Paul said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Cor. 4:17 KJV). If healing were to come, then the work that could have been fully accomplished would have been circumvented. When healing does not come, we should ask ourselves what good work the situation has brought to us.
Thirdly, sometimes it is the will of God for us to go through suffering. Peter said, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Pet 4:19 KJV). Peter’s miracle of deliverance from prison would not have been so spectacular without the backdrop of the death of James at the hands of the same man who arrested Peter. Also, the suffering of those early martyrs drove the Christians to other parts of the world, thus, the great commission was accomplished. Jesus, in His teaching, taught His disciples that they would suffer. We have to see that God’s plan, even when it includes our suffering, never pales His faithfulness. He is always faithful. His salvation is just as real, no matter what happens in our lives. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21 KJV).
Lastly, when suffering seems to be there to stay, know that He is also there. Paul speaks of having a thorn in the flesh that evidently bothered him greatly, yet, after all the miracles that were wrought at the hands of Paul; he was not delivered from it. Cloths were taken from Paul’s body and people were healed, yet healing did not come for him. The Lord spoke to Paul and gave him a special insight. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9 KJV). God will give you His grace to go through your suffering, and His power will continue to rest on you.
So, if God delivers you from your sickness we can proclaim that He is a deliverer! However, if He chooses to deliver you through it, He is still a deliverer none the less! Will we stop preaching healing because someone was not healed? Absolutely not! We will believe it as long as it is in His Word! If He heals, we will rejoice in Him. If He does not heal, we will still rejoice in His grace! Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!
This article “Seeing The Big Picture When Healing Does Not Come” by David L. Fauss is excerpted from Forward Magazine, winter 2008.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”