Is it possible for a person to be healed by God without going to the doctor or by drugs? We are told by many ministers to trust God for healing or to believe that God has already healed you and you will be healed. The Bible does support that teaching. Jesus said to believe you receive what you pray for when you pray (See Mark 11:22-24, Matthew 21:22).
However, why do some people not receive healing? Why do some people die of diseases after they have called upon God to heal them? These are the questions and more that many Christians have about divine healing. Some people conclude that there is no such thing as divine healing or that God doesn’t heal people anymore. The resolution to this dilemma is multifaceted as we will see.
I hope to show in this article that receiving healing from God is possible, but there are reasons why people don’t receive. We will see that God is not the problem and God is not holding back on us. God provides for His people, but it is up to His people to obey him, know Him, and trust Him. There are many reasons that people are not healed by God today and those reasons may shock you as I reveal them herein.
I would also like to say that in no way am I suggesting in this article that I have the secret and that I always get what I pray for, even healing. I find that I can believe in one area more than another. I find that I have issues with believing and have been working for years, by God’s guidance, to shore that area up. The things I present in this article are the things that I have learned and am simply passing on to you. Always be sure to study the Bible for yourself and test anything that I say.
Have Faith in God
What does it mean to have faith in God? The word faith means to put your confidence in, to trust, to lean on (as one might lean against a wall for support). When we put our faith in God, we trust that He will do what He said He would do. We trust that he will care for us, provide for us, heal us, and overall love us. These are all biblical principles that we attempt to govern our lives by. However, we aren’t told how to do these things. How do you actually put your faith in God in a given situation? For example, should I go to the doctor if I am sick or should I go to the elders of the church as the Bible reveals to us we should do (See James 5:14-16)?
The problem is that we know to trust God and we know to put our faith in God, but we don’t know how to do it. We don’t know the proper way or perhaps the proper context of trusting God. Does it mean we reject what the world offers, e.g., medical attention, loans from banks, etc.? This problem is exacerbated by the fact that you will get different answers from different ministries, pastors, ministers, etc., so how would you know which path to take? Going down the wrong path could cost you your life, financial well-being, safety, etc. So, the question remains, how do we have faith in God?
Trust in Man?
One day I happened to read a passage of scripture that really shocked me. Consider this.
Jeremiah 17:5 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.”
When I read this scripture, I thought it meant that we should not put our trust in the world (man), e.g., doctors. However, the last part of that passage helps to qualify what it means. It says, “Whose heart departs from the LORD.” Hmmm. Is it possible to go to the doctor and still have faith in God? Is it possible to go to the doctor and have no faith in God, but instead the skill and abilities of the doctors? Both are true. Think about it for a moment. Do we lack trust in God when we go to the bank for a loan? Do we lack trust in God when we take our vehicles to the mechanic? Not necessarily. Our trust may overall be in God regardless of the mechanism we believe He will use to get us through the circumstance.
I was watching a video last night about C.T. Fletcher. He is a former world champion powerlifter and a highly influential motivator now. He has had a bad heart for years and needed a heart transplant. He finally got the call for the transplant and went through with the operation. At first, I was thinking, “Can’t God just heal his heart? Why does he have to go through all of this when C.T. professes his faith in God?” I noticed that C.T. Fletcher was thanking God for the advancements of medical science and for the doctors that helped him. Perhaps God works through those and not necessarily through miracles all the time? I recall a passage in the Psalms where David said, “The LORD is for me among those who help me” (Psalm 118:7).
Perhaps our idea of having faith in God and what it really looks like in our lives are misaligned. Perhaps we are expecting God to operate a certain way when God just gets the job done. Perhaps God will work through doctors, accountants, lawyers, mechanics, etc. Therefore, perhaps putting confidence in man does not mean that your heart has departed from the LORD. However, the question I still have is, “Are these modes of faith valid from a biblical perspective or have we created a paradigm based on our failed attempts to allow God to help us His way?” In other words, have we created a theology that agrees with our experiences and therefore turned our hearts away from God in the process?
Faith and Experience
Are we creating a belief system that aligns with our experiences or the word of God? This is the question that continues to bubble up in my mind. I have attempted to “trust God” and things didn’t work out as I expected. I called myself trusting God to heal my thyroid, but at the end of the day, so to speak, my thyroid was removed by doctors. The interesting thing is that I felt as though God was guiding me through my experience with the doctors and medical staff regarding my thyroidectomy. I must admit that it was a wonderful experience considering what was done. I don’t have my thyroid and I still wonder why I wasn’t healed. However, with that said, I do not blame God or allow myself to accuse God of failing me.
I’ve heard people teach that God chooses who He will heal. I don’t agree with that and I do not believe it from a biblical perspective. If God chooses whom he will heal, then we cannot have faith in Him because we will never know if we are one of those whom he chooses to heal. I believe that God provides healing for everyone, but that we simply do not know how to receive that healing.
I think that we should be very careful to base our beliefs on the word of God and not our experiences. Ideally our experiences should align with the word of God if we are really doing what the word says. However, I believe that we do not do what the word says. Not only that, I believe that the church as a whole as failed miserably in providing the provisions that God has made available to His people.
It’s Not God’s Fault
Therefore, if we experience hardships that seems to be contrary to what God’s word reveals to us, then we have to assume that we are the problem. It’s not God’s fault that we experience hardships or unanswered prayers, if I can say it that way. People pray for loved ones to be healed, delivered, or whatever, and sometimes their prayers do not produce the desired result. Why wasn’t your loved one healed? Why are you still in that horrible financial situation? Assume that it is not God’s fault and that something else is holding you back or hindering your deliverance.
I remember many years ago when I had a hernia. One of the things I remembered thinking was that there was some sin that I was doing that caused the hernia. I felt as though I was being punished by God for past sins. Basically, I blamed God for my hernia. After going to the doctor, having the hernia repaired, and getting back to my normal life, those thoughts vanished.
Another situation was when I was laid off from my job many years ago. This time my thought process was a bit different. I didn’t blame God for getting laid off but instead assumed that God would take care of me by providing another job immediately. Well, that “immediately” turned into 18 months. Money was running out and we were in danger of losing our house because we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage. However, I remember coming to a point where I said something like, “Even if we lose this house, God will take care of us.” I was scared, frustrated, and according to my mother and wife, very angry at the whole situation (I don’t remember being angry). God kept us through that situation and delivered us at what seemed to be the last minute. He came through for us by providing me with a new job.
In past bad experiences, I chose not to blame God, but instead looked elsewhere for the reason why bad things persisted in my life. However, I found that there was even a danger in this.
The Witch Hunts
When we attempt to trust God to deliver us from a situation or condition and that deliverance does not come, it is very easy to blame God or ourselves. If we refrain from blaming God then the next step is to go on a witch hunt. I became very good at witch hunts even though I never really found a witch. I would listen to ministers and one would teach something that would make be believe that I’m not living right and another would teach something that would make me believe that God is not angry with me or condemning me. I became very confused.
Still. If it wasn’t God’s fault, then it must be my fault somehow. Perhaps I wasn’t praying enough or reading the Bible enough. Perhaps I was not as nice as I should be. Perhaps I was to worldly. All kinds of condemning thoughts would go through my head. The fruit of these thoughts led me down a path of self-destruction instead of the deliverance that I desired.
I believe that these are the same or similar mechanisms that we see in history when a plague would ravage a land and the religious leaders or people would blame a certain group of people for the plague or assume their sins caused it. As soon as things would go bad on us, we would either blame God (in one way or another), blame others, or blame ourselves for our condition. Faith in God is therefore relegated to our own performance instead of His mercy and grace.
Blame the Church?
I was watching a sermon several weeks ago and the pastor said something that took me by surprise. His sermon was about healing and he said that the church should be the repository for the healing power of God. Is it? Consider the following passage of scripture from the Bible.
James 5:14–15 (NKJV) —  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Consider carefully what this passage proposes a sick person in the church should do.
- Call the elders of the church
- The elders will pray for that sick person
- The elders will anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord
- The sick person will be saved (healed) after the elders pray the prayer of faith.
- The Lord will raise the sick person up
- The sick person’s sins will be forgiven
The critical component to this process is elders that pray the prayer of faith. Now consider very carefully what James said for someone in the church to do when he or she is sick. He didn’t say go to the physicians or speak to the mountain (referring to Mark 11:22-24). He said to call the elders of the church who would effect healing for you. Now here is a serious question. Do you think that the “elders” in your church are capable of praying the prayer of faith so that you would be healed of whatever ails you? Do you have confidence that the elders of your church are capable of effecting healing in your body? If you are honest, most people would have to say no. This is evident because most people will not call the elders when they are sick, but rather they will call the doctors. Why? Because they have more confidence in medical science than the process that the Bible has revealed to us to use when we are sick.
How can this be? It is quite simple. Consider the typical church today. There is no power in many if not most churches. They do not promote the word of God and they do not practice the word of God. Many church leaders are weak with regards to the power of God. Many pastors or bishops are more social club directors or business builders than they are spiritual leaders who “know the words of prayer,” as they used to say when I was a kid. The church has become powerless and therefore irrelevant in the practical lives of even the people that are a part of them.
It has been a very long time since I was part of a church that regularly demonstrated the power of God in the lives of those who were a part of it. Other than that church, most churches I’ve been a part of were run by pastors who were not biblically oriented and therefore had no power. Of course, people don’t have confidence in the church leaders to get them healed. To them, the odds are better with medical science.
Therefore, if the church is really supposed to be the repository of healing and deliverance along with salvation, but instead is merely social clubs or kingdoms that a worldly pastor is creating, then we can surely blame the church for the fact that putting our faith in God doesn’t work. It’s not that God has failed us, but rather ignorance and impotence in the church has made the power of God ineffective in our lives. The late Pastor Albert Walsh highlighted this same point at one time. He basically said that the condition of the church (the ignorance of the people of the word of God) was on the clergy. The clergy wasn’t and isn’t doing what they are supposed to be doing and the people are experiencing the consequences.
The Clergy Problem
What is the pastor of your church doing or what is he or she about? Does your pastor promote Jesus, the word of God, Bible study, prayer, discipleship, etc., or does he or she promote social events, rituals, special services, and other such things? A big part of the impotence of the church and the subsequent suffering of it is the ineffectiveness of clergy. In other words, so as to make this point very clear, part of the reason that the church cannot trust God for its well-being and expect results is largely due to the clergy.
Now I am not suggesting that it is the clergy’s fault that someone has cancer or that someone died of a particular disease. However, what I am suggesting and what appears to be evident to me is that since the clergy has not done what it is supposed to do, the power of God is not effective in the lives of God’s people and therefore people will suffer and die when they probably don’t have to. How can I say this? I can say this because the Bible reveals the following to us with regards to God’s provision.
- It is the will of God that we be well or at least He heals all who comes to Him for healing. There is not one record of Jesus rejecting someone who came to him for healing for any reason.
- Jesus is the express image of God (Hebrews 1:3).
- Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30).
- God doesn’t show favoritism (Acts 10:34).
- If you’ve seen Jesus, then you’ve seen the Father (John 14:9)
What this tells us is that God is not the one holding out on us. In the same way that God has provided salvation for all, he has provided healing for all even though all are not saved and all are not healed. The same theological adjustments are similarly made to salvation as they are to divine healing. Namely, that all people aren’t healed because God chooses whom he wants to heal, which is the same theological adjustment that people make about salvation. Since everyone is not saved, then God must choose who He wants to save.
Even with this theological adjustment, consider how many pastors promote salvation in church services. When was the last time you heard the gospel preached or promoted during a sermon? Many sermons are fluffy stories that make you feel good, but no real substance that you can lock onto when challenges come. Now it is ok to feel good, but we need to be sure that we are feeding on the word of God because only that will make a difference in our lives.
Clergy do not teach and preach on salvation in the same way they do not teach or preach about healing or deliverance or provision that come from God. Of course, this is not all preachers, pastors, etc. Couple this with the fact that most church goers do not read their Bible and you have a recipe for impotence.
A large part of the problem of the condition of the church with regards to health is the clergy’s neglect to promote the power of God, teaching about the power of God from the Bible, and practicing the power of God.
The “You” Problem
Even though the clergy has failed miserably in equipping the saints for the work of ministry by using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to the church (Ephesians 4:11-13), you have to take some responsibility for not pursuing the truth yourself. The word of God is available to you just as it is to the pastor or Bible teacher. People tend to put the entire responsibility of their spiritual well-being onto the pastor, which is a very bad practice.
Paul wrote something very interesting.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV) —  Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
How would the people know to imitate Paul unless they knew Christ, whom he was imitating? This means that it is our responsibility to build our own personal and intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Our relationship with God should not be based on a pastor or religious leader.
Some people think that because a person has a degree in the realm of theology or the like, that they are somehow approved of God or otherwise qualified to be a pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc. Such is not the case. These degreed ministers can only show that they have met the requirements for that degree from that particular institution. It has nothing to do with the calling of God or the heart of that person for the people. There are many pastors who are hired hands and not real shepherds of God’s people.
Therefore, you cannot blindly put your trust in your pastor or favorite evangelist because they may not be a true agent of God so to speak. I’ve seen this many time in my over 30 years of ministry. I’ve worked with pastors that really cared about the well-being of the congregation (sheep) and I’ve seen pastors who were only interested in building their kingdom. There are also pastors who only exist to perform marriages, funeral services, and visit the sick. They have no interest in ministry. Know God for yourself and use your pastor or the like to help you on your journey. Consider the following passage of scripture.
1 John 2:27 (NKJV) —  But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
We have to take responsibility for our own spiritual well-being and development. We cannot put it completely in the hands of a pastor, minister, etc.
The Devil Problem
One of the things that disturbs me greatly about Christians is how often they let the devil off the hook so to speak. Consider this.
John 10:10 (NKJV) —  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Here Jesus is referring to those who come to the flock except through Him because He is the door. He is the good shepherd. It is the devil and his agents that come to steal, kill, and to destroy. However, when bad things happen, one of the first things we tend to do is to blame God or to accuse God. We may say things like, “God is punishing me for something” or “God is trying to teach me something” or “Why me, God?!” We totally neglect to consider that the devil is out to destroy the things of God. He wants to kill you! Instead of fighting back with the sword, the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). We need to be equipped and fight back. God is with us, but He will not fight for us when we are supposed to take up His sword and fight back.
So instead of merely accepting sickness as hereditary or something from God, learn to recognize it as an attempt of the enemy to kill you or your loved ones. Be familiar with God’s word and use it against your enemy the way Jesus did in the wilderness (Matthew 4).
Reality Versus Fantasy
One of the biggest problems with Christians receiving anything from God is that they base their actions on fantasy instead of reality. By fantasy, I mean the dogma that people have been indoctrinated with. Some people believe that God doesn’t heal so they simply put their trust in man (doctors). Others believe that God does heal, but he chooses whom He will heal, which makes trusting him for healing problematic. Some even believe that God is the one that makes them sick for some divine purpose, which by the way, is not supported by scripture. Besides, if God makes you sick, then why go to the doctor to get well.
Reality is what the Bible reveals to us about God’s ways. We should know what God provides for us and access that provision the way we should based on the teachings in the Bible. For example, the Bible teaches us that if we believe what we pray for when we pray, then we will have what we pray (Mark 11:24, Matthew 21:22), as long as we pray according to the will of God (1 John 5:14-15). Therefore, if we say that we are believing God for something and we don’t receive it, then perhaps we are not really believing or it is taking longer than we would like for the thing to happen. In any case, our belief system should be based on the Bible and not religious dogma. Know the word of God for yourself. Know God for yourself. You should be able to discern if a person is telling you the truth per God’s word or if he/she is merely regurgitating dogma or false teachings on you.
The subject of divine healing is a controversial one. There are basically four schools of thought on this topic.
- God heals all who come to Him even today
- God does not heal anymore
- God can heal, but he chooses whom He will heal
- God uses sickness to teach us something or for some other greater good.
For the most part, we are the problem when it comes to receiving healing from God. For one thing, God is not in heaven answering prayers the way we tend to think He is. He does not receive a request for healing and then decide yes or no. His answer to healing is always yes as demonstrated by the ministry of Jesus Christ.
So why are some healed, and some aren’t. I can’t definitively answer that question except to say that we are simply not receiving God’s power to heal. That may be a hard pill to swallow so to speak, when we consider loved ones who have died because of an illness.
I think of my cousin Linda who I believed did not have to die. However, no one knew what to do. I was just learning about the topic and provided some materials for her. After talking to her one day on the phone, she seemed to improve afterwards because she went and had a big meal. However, shortly after that I was informed that she was dying. I was crushed beyond measure and beyond what I thought. I loved my cousin Linda and I didn’t want her to die. I still get choked up thinking about her today.
God didn’t kill her. Her cancer did. Where does sickness ultimately come from? It ultimately comes from the devil. However, the church typically blames God. During Linda’s funeral, I heard it said that God loved her more than us and that he wanted to take a flower from His garden and other nonsense like that. Really? This just goes to show how powerless the church is.
Clergy have failed us immensely for the most part. There are great ministers and pastors out there, but they are far and few in between. You would be hard pressed to find a church that gets people healed and delivered. The church is spiritually impotent because the clergy is impotent. People think that a minister is qualified because of a degree or because of popularity when in fact, a minister is qualified because God called him or her to a specific ministry. They may go on to get more education (seminary, Bible college, online courses, or whatever).
Should you go to a doctor? That is ultimately up to you. If you truly believe in the power of God to heal you then you may find that you don’t need a doctor. There are some people who have done this with success, but there are those who have attempted this and failed miserably even to the extent of losing their lives. What is your conviction? What do you really believe? God works through doctors the same way he works through lawyers, accountants, banks, mechanics, and more to help you in a particular area. So do not discount doctors. Trust God even if it involves medical science. However, remember your conviction and what you really believe in your heart.
Remember that God always loves you even though the situations in your life may make it seem that he doesn’t