The other day I saw a little thing posted on Facebook. It was a picture of a famous TV faith healer and the caption said: Faith healers don’t empty out hospitals for the same reason that Psychics don’t win the lottery. ( Here is a similar one I found online) The implication being that both groups are fakes and full of hooey…. or there would be no sick folks in the world and all the psychics and fortunetellers would be living the Life of Riley on some private tropical isle.
Do I need to state emphatically that psychics and healing ministries are drawing from very different power sources? Good. Also, I am not an apologist for the veracity of any particular, jet-setting “faith healer”. I am well aware that there are money- grubbing charlatans abounding in any field. I will pause here to add that nowhere in the Bible do you see money being taken in exchange for healing. It is a love gift to be shared. That being said, several days later I am still bothered by that post and the knowledge that a Christian who is really ill posted it and others Christians signed on in a heckling, mocking manner. A few years ago I might have joined them in poking fun at such a concept. Now, it just breaks my heart.
I have heard similar sentiments offered as definitive proof in the pudding that, not only are signs, wonders and miracles no longer happening–but any purporting to have this gift are manipulating hucksters pulling the wool over the eyes of those dumb peasants! Therefore, I want to take a little time and discuss it today.
I think a lot of people–Believer’s and Non-believers– are confused by this question: If God does still operate in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit why DONT people with those gifts go into the hospitals and heal all the folks ? Surely that would be the loving, Christian thing to do!
It is a good question. A valid question. If we go to the Bible and read thru the Gospels you will quickly see that Jesus healed lots of people during his ministry. They may not have understood all the why’s and the wherefores of it all but they all came to him or were brought to him by people who believed that he was actually the Messiah. They saw that he was capable and willing to accomplish the healing or the demonic deliverance that needed doing. Often both together.
There were several instances where Jesus raised the dead…but even then, someone in that family had begged him for help for their loved ones. Based on what folks had seen him personally do or heard thru the grapevine that he had done something miraculous for others; they rightly reasoned that he had the Spiritual, Messianic Chops to do the same dad-gum thing for them! Parents came and earnestly asked for help for their children, blind men called out to him from the curbside as he passed by and acknowledged him as the Son of David or the Messiah! In fact, the only place where we see very little happening in the way of healing was in his hometown of Nazareth where they didn’t believe him at all. Belief and expectation, on some level, is key in this process.
Yeshua, Jesus gave his authority and power of the Holy Spirit to his followers heal, deliver folks from demons and preach and to do even greater things than he did. (Matt. 10:8, Mark 16:17-18, Matt 28:18-21, John 14:12-14)
I don’t want to get into a big in-depth exhaustive seminar on the veracity and importance of Spiritual Gifts. I want to keep this simple. It needs to stay that way. We need a child like faith-walk that says “Jesus showed me how and told me to keep on doing the same things…easy peasy!”
Meanwhile, back to the hospital question. Why don’t Christians or at the very least, proven Faith healers go to the hospitals and heal everybody. Wouldn’t that be awesome? What a testimony that would be!
While I am perfectly willing to go give it a whirl, let’s face it, no one would know me from Adam.If I walked ,unknown, into a hospital and loudly announced to anyone within earshot to come on over for healing and prayer. Crazy lady in the lobby–somebody call security! They would be highly suspicious of my presence, nor would they have any expectation that Miss Sally could achieve anything for them. But how about somebody widely known to have a powerful healing anointing like Randy Clark or Katherine Khulman, or Smith Wigglesworth walked into a hospital and did the same. Would they, with their obvious current or historic anointing and proven track record be able to take care of everyone’s needs and empty those beds?
People in the hospital have a great deal of faith in the doctors and the medicines which are prescribed, the treatments offered. That is why they are there.( I am not disrespecting doctors or medical science, by the way) Even God-fearing Christians for the most part have no expectation of modern day healings because churches have taught them God doesn’t operate that way any more. Never having seen it operating according to the pattern they have no reference of faithful reliance. Just as we saw in the gospels, the people would have to ask, or agree to be prayed for and healed. This is coming into agreement with who Jesus claimed to be. Just as with Jesus back in the day; A sick person needs to yield themselves to that healing anointing and receive it. Often there is repentance or forgiveness that has to happen in the midst of the process before the healing can happen for them.
The snarky post on FB was suggesting that “faith healing” operates like Cinderella’s fairy godmother on Fancy Ball Night. However, Jesus did not give us a magic wand and a Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boo to heal the sick. He gave us the Name of Jesus to wield as a powerful weapon. Any anointed Believer with the gift of healing might go room to room asking if anyone wanted prayer for healing. Unless people agreed to be prayed for and had some level of faith in this person’s ability, like Jesus in hometown Nazareth, they probably won’t achieve too much. This is why if people line up to go see Randy Clark, Mel Bond, Tony Kemp, or the like, they are coming to that meeting with a faithful expectation that something miraculous is going to happen in the midst of all that worship and praise which generally happens first!
That is not to say that Christians aren’t out there doing just that! For instance, I know that Bethel Church in Redding California, Patricia King in Phoenix, and street healing minister,Todd White often take small teams to the emergency rooms and announce they are available, at no cost, to pray for healing for those who don’t want to wait all night to be seen by the overworked ER doctors.
All it takes is one guy with a swollen, twisted knee, to get prayed for in front of all those exhausted waiting patients and see him jump up after prayer and say “WOW my knee isn’t swollen any more, it doesn’t hurt. Look! I can walk without pain, or limping!” Suddenly everybody in that waiting room is reevaluating what they had previously thought about the power of prayer and the reality of healing! The power of Testimony suddenly gives the others in that waiting room a big deposit in their Faith bank account! That should be “normal” Christianity.
There are disreputable folks in the healing business. There are disreputable people in every profession but Satan really loves to rip off what God has created for his kids. That does not mean that signs wonders and miracles are not still quietly operating everyday. One must be discerning, that’s all. Jesus clearly stated that we were to preach the Gospel, heal folks and perform deliverance. If you aren’t seeing it happen regularly and successfully then that’s a sad problem but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a real, viable gift of the Holy Spirit
We need to make sure that all our beliefs line up with actual scripture. God doesn’t change. He doesn’t want to see you sick, or hurt or addicted, or broken. He left us here to do a job which is more easily achieved if we are physically well, and mentally and spiritually whole and free from all bondage. He loves you. That’s why he came, and bled and died. He specifically told us to go and do the same and I defy you to show me any verse in His word that says there was an expiration date on any of that!
I pray for healing for people all the time. Sometimes they get healed and sometimes they don’t. I keep on praying and hope that my stats improve. I don’t feel that I have a particular anointing in this area, I have other gifts but I am just being obedient and doing it, and doing it.
I have received healing on numerous occasions so I know it is real. When I pray for people and it works then I praise God and keep on. I add that to my testimony and keep moving. It builds my faith and the person who received the healing (large or small) has their faith boosted as well! When it doesn’t work I pray about it and try to assess why it didn’t work. I always assume that it is a lack of faith on my part.. I never think that, Goodness Gracious, suddenly God isn’t in the healing business anymore! I keep praying for people all the time and praise God for the good, the bad and the partial healings and keep at it. I pray for headaches and I pray for terminal cancer. I pray for sprains and depression and addictions.
I believe for healings even when I don’t see them every time because I have testimonies of miracles that I have seen and read and heard of. But, people have to yield to the Holy Spirit and receive that miracle. Some folks will do it and some never will. Some would rather hang on to unrepentant sin than receive healing. The two are linked. Some prefer to cling to their anger, bitterness or unforgiveness rather than set it aside and be whole. I can explain this to those who need a miracle but I have no control over who will do it and who will not. That’s a sad, often heartbreaking truth.
And there you have it. The reason that Faith healers don’t clear out hospitals is NOT because they are fakes or charlatans. It is because healing isn’t a magic formula. It isn’t a matter of shaking Pixie dust over a building full of sick or tormented folks. It’s ask and you will receive–seek and you will find . Where any two agree he will give it to you ( Matt 18:19). What are we agreeing about? We are agreeing that Jesus is the Great Physician!