I'd like to dedicate this message to the friends who have come to me often for prayer and are still not healed. I want you to know that I haven't given up on seeing you healed. You've received prayer from so many people and you're still not well, but you refuse to quit. Your persistence is remarkable. I've learned some things by talking with all of you and it's my hope that eventually you'll get the breakthrough you're looking for.
Thanks for being patient with God as He teaches us about healing. Thank you for not giving up on us.
I want to recognize a couple of friends who've challenged and enlightened me on my journey. My wife is at the front of the line. She's my best friend and one of the people who awaits her complete healing. She's my inspiration for pressing forward in understanding how healing works.
Jon Sellers has been at my side continually reminding me of the need for a balanced approach in looking at healing. It's easy if you're passionate, to become one-sided. As Emeril Lagasse said after seasoning both sides of a steak, "I hate one sided- tasting food." It's because of Jon's wisdom that I'm even considering these things, which lie outside the box for most of us.
I'd also like to thank Matt Evans, who took an interest in me and got me started in healing. He's been a fountain of information. Lastly, I'd like the thank David McLain for the countless phone calls, text messages, jokes, humorous pictures, words of advice, perplexing questions and hours that he's spent praying for me.
We’re on a journey of discovery. That journey is a progressive revelation of eternal truths that have existed in the mind of God and upon which His kingdom was built long before Adam walked with Him in the cool of the day. On this journey, we’ll find many things that have been hidden, waiting for us to find them. For in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and it is His good pleasure to gives us the kingdom. Yes, God has hidden from us the treasures of wisdom. Why, you ask? So that we might pursue them and in the process find Him. The journey is nothing less than the complete revelation of God and all of His ways through His son, Jesus.
One of the mysteries we hope to uncover has to do with the question of why some people are healed while others are not. Some may be content to shrug their shoulders and say, “We’ll never know.” I am not one of them. I think we may know, but I believe many will reject the truth, finding it distasteful.
So the question is: Why are some people not healed despite having received prayer from faith - filled believers, who know their authority and who otherwise have good results?
I’d like to share a story about a co-worker that I prayed with who wasn’t healed the first time I prayed with her. We worked at our station on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona. On October 17th 2011, early in the morning as she made her way outside to wash an ambulance, I noticed that she was limping and asked what was wrong. She showed me a painful, swollen knee that was wrapped in a support device. I asked if could pray with her to be healed. With some fear about what I planned to do, she agreed. I prayed over her knee three times but she felt nothing.
On the same day I prayed with a different co-worker, who had a partially torn Achilles tendon and pain in his back. He was healed of everything instantly, but she wasn't. That day and for a few days following, I asked God why one person was healed and the other wasn't. Here's what I heard: The man with the Achilles tendon injury was healed because he gladly received his healing without fear or worry. She was afraid I would hurt her and that fear prevented her from being healed. It wasn't that God could not heal her. It wasn't that He didn't want her healed. It was because she could not receive healing in a state of fear.
I was disappointed. I really wanted her to be healed. I saw her a few times afterward, still walking with a limp. On December 2nd 2011, she saw me loading my gear in the ambulance. She came over and asked why she wasn't healed. I told her that I talked to God about it and I believed it was because she was afraid of being hurt. I asked her to explain why she thought I was going to hurt her. It turns out, her father had asked her the same question, "Do you want to be healed?" When she said ‘yes’, he hit her hard on her injured knee. So when I asked her the same question, she was afraid I would do the same thing.
I told her I had no reason to hurt her and I let her know that the offer was still open. If she wanted to be healed God would heal her. She said she did. We sat on the couch in the day room. She showed me her swollen knee, wrapped in a black elastic bandage. I asked God to bring his presence upon her then asked what she felt.
"I feel really relaxed and at peace."
I commanded the swelling, inflammation and pain to leave and commanded the ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, cartilage and bones to be healed. She felt heat going through her knee, which increased each of the three times I prayed over her knee. While her knee was being healed I taught her about the battle over healing. I warned her that the symptoms might return, told her to stand in faith and believe she was healed and to command the symptoms to leave if they returned the same way I did to make them leave. She seemed to understand.
I saw her three weeks later and asked how her knee felt. She said it felt great. I asked if she was serious. With a smile, she looked at me and said, "Yeah - it feels great!"
When she wasn’t healed the first time, the easiest explanation would be to assume that God didn’t want her healed. This is what many of us do. The fact that she was healed at a later date demonstrates that it wasn't a problem with God. It was a problem with us. Unfortunately, we often blame God when healing doesn’t happen, but this should be the last explanation we consider.
The most likely explanation for failed healing is a lack of faith in the one praying. The next thing to consider is that some obstacle may be present in the life of the one we’re praying with that needs to be removed. Sometimes it’s a spirit of sickness; sometimes it’s an attitude toward God or us that needs to change. In this case, it was fear. Once the fear was removed she was healed.
I'm a creature of habit. One of my habits is finding patterns in things. I'm not sure that I do it intentionally. It just seems like I notice patterns more than most people. In my time on Facebook, I've noticed many different patterns of behavior and beliefs among the thousands of friends I have. People who have these behaviors fall into groups, at least in my mind, and sometimes they form literal groups. Three groups of people continually interact with me.
Two of the groups operate in divine healing. The first sees people healed by exercising authority over sickness. Authority and faith are the tools they're familiar with. But they have one problem; not everyone they pray for is healed. It's been said, "If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." I think this group suffers from working with a small toolbox.
Because they believe that only faith and authority are involved in the equation, every failure is attributed either to a lack of faith or a lack of exercising their authority. They rarely consider other possibilities. And although they see impressive results in the area of physical healing, they don't do as well with deliverance or emotional healing, though they agree that 100% healing is the goal.
The second group also has the focus of healing, but their approach is different. This group focuses on other things besides faith and authority. Although they recognize them to some degree, it isn't to the degree of the first group. They're more likely to approach healing from a revelatory standpoint. They desire to have God reveal the issues involved in a person's life that contribute to their condition and through a process of dealing with each issue, healing takes place. This group probably doesn't have the success in physical healing that the first group has, but they seem to have better results in the areas of inner healing and deliverance.
Both groups have a measure of success and a measure of failure, but neither sees everyone healed. I think both groups could learn a great deal from the other, but this never seems to happen. Both groups are highly suspicious of the other and frankly - there's a lot of hostility between them. Sadly, the hostility is instigated and encouraged by many of the leaders.
The third group is small; just a handful of people who receive healing prayer often from many of us but their illness remains. Most of these illnesses manifest as physical symptoms. Often their symptoms confound medical experts and defy conventional diagnostic tests. They’re often told “We don’t know what the problem is”, “We can’t find anything in our tests” or they simply receive a generic diagnosis like fibromyalgia, which is really a confession of ignorance. While other people with serious illness gradually get better or experience a sudden miracle, they suffer continual disappointment, never getting better and some actually become worse. They always ask, “Why?”
I've begun to see patterns in this group as well. It seems like many of these people have gone through times of emotional trauma without being completely healed of the painful memories from their past. In addition to the memories, there are a host of feelings they struggle with like helplessness, worthlessness, rejection, fear, bitterness, mistrust and loneliness. Some of them clearly appear to be suffering from demonic oppression. I believe at least one contributing factor to the failure of their physical healing is their failed emotional and spiritual healing.
What they desire most is physical healing from the symptoms of disease. What they seem to want least is to re-live the events of their past and go through the emotions again or to be involved in the circus that inner healing and deliverance can become. Most have found a way to survive the emotional trauma and keep going in spite of their physical afflictions. I believe it's God's ultimate desire for all of us to be healed, set free and walking in the truth. God is interested in our complete healing; body spirit and soul; in a word; Sozo.
When we use the term sozo, we're talking about something that's more than just physical healing. In fact, sozo contains the idea of physical healing but it’s much broader in scope. It means to
2. Keep safe and sound
3. Rescue from danger or destruction
4. Rescue from injury or peril
5. Save from suffering or disease
6. Make well
8. Restore to health.
If someone is healed of an illness affecting the physical body, we refer to it as physical healing. If they receive deliverance from an evil spirit, it's a spiritual healing. If they're healed of post-traumatic stress disorder, it's an emotional healing. If they were to be healed of all three, we're describing something referred to as being made 'whole', which is the idea behind the word 'sozo'.
Jon Sellers and other friends have taught me the importance of wholeness, and the fact that God is just as concerned about our spiritual and mental health as our physical health, even if we are not. Let me rephrase that; God may care more about our emotional healing than we do. The same is true for spiritual healing. The problem is that some of us care too much about the physical healing we want and not enough about the spiritual and emotional we need. The fact is that our physical condition may require emotional and spiritual healing to be completed first. Why?
There are two reasons. The first is that some physical diseases have demonic origins. As we’ve seen with the woman who was bent over for 18 years and the boy with seizures who was deaf and mute. Both had physical symptoms that required deliverance from a spirit before they could be healed. Many who so badly desire to be physically healed, are actually in need of deliverance (spiritual healing) first. And because that hasn’t occurred, they remain unhealed and tormented by the enemy.
The other reason is just a hunch. God wants us to be healed in every way. Strange as it may sound, some of us only want to be healed of a disease or condition that causes physical pain. We have no great desire to be healed of painful emotions or memories. We’re willing to put up with feelings of fear, rejection and other wounds because to us, they’re just a part of life. But God wants us to be free of those as well.
Perhaps God knows that if we were to be healed of our physical sickness, we might never seek healing for the unforgiveness that poisons our soul or the spirit of fear that attacks us at night. The wisdom of God may allow our physical healing to manifest only after the spiritual and emotional problems are dealt with as a way to assure that in the end, we are completely healed. What good is a healed body connected to a bitter, unforgiving heart? What benefit is a sound tummy to someone plagued by a spirit of fear that dominates their every thought?
I think what these friends need most is not more prayer over their physical symptoms, but the completion of their emotional and spiritual healing which, if it were to happen, would result in their physical healing being completed. Many of us need some degree of deliverance and others need inner healing to take place before any long-term physical healing will happen.
The pain involved in dealing with the past may prevent us from pursuing those problems and resolving them through inner healing. The healing that God desires for us may require us to do things we'd rather not, like facing bitterness, unforgiveness, rejection, fear, lust, abandonment, shame, etc. Submitting ourselves to God and surrendering our right to allow these things to remain as a part of us is a process but as long as we allow them to remain, they hold us captive and the spirits of infirmity will have a hold on us that can't be broken, no matter how many people pray for us to be physically healed.
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I'm all for persistence in prayer. I'm convinced that some things just take time. But those cases are the ones where gradual progress is being made. If we pray and pray and pray and absolutely no progress is made or the person seems to be getting worse, and there are obvious signs of emotional healing and deliverance needed, it's foolish to continue on the same course. In such cases we must consider using other tools. That might require us to discover tools we haven’t heard of or perhaps use tools that others use which we don’t like.
If we are to walk as Jesus walked and do the things He did, we might consider the novel, peculiar and sometimes bizarre methods he used. I don’t think Jesus avoided predictable formulas just to confound us. I believe He continually asked His Father for the best solution to the problem he faced; not assuming it would be the same as the previous one. His openness to the leading of the Father was what gave Him such a consistent and power-filled life of victory.