This month, we kicked off our series Crossroads with a challenge to lay our burdens at the foot of the cross.
On Palm Sunday, Holy Week began with a look at noise versus praise, and yesterday we saw Jesus’ example for how we can respond when faced with temptations in our lives.
During Jesus’ three-year ministry, He healed many people. He cast out demons, made the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and countless healings of people’s mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.
In our world today, it is hard for us to comprehend fully the healing of physical, mental, or emotional needs, but we know it exists. The Lord asks us to bring our requests to Him, so He can answer them.
He told us in the Gospels that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could,
“Say to this mountain, move and it would move.”1
Certainly, some of these things were metaphors and faith deepening pursuits, but how do we react when we pray for healing in someone’s life, and they are not healed, or worse, they die? How are you to respond then?
Woman Healed of Her Bleeding
In Mark 5, we see a wonderful story of Christ’s healing power going out to a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years2. Let’s jump into the story.
Jesus was in a crowd of people heading towards a home where a young girl was dying. As they were walking a woman who was in the crowd came up behind Jesus.3
She thought to herself, if I can only touch the hem of His robe, then I will be healed. As Jesus walked, the people pushed.
Then the woman gathered her courage and touched Jesus’ robe. At that instant, she was healed, and Jesus knew healing power had gone out from Him.4
Jesus stopped the whole procession of people and asked,
“Who touched me?” – Mark 5:31
The disciples were indignant. They told Jesus there were too many people to know who touched him.
Jesus countered and said,
“Someone touched me, because I felt healing go out.” – Mark 5:30
At that moment, the woman who had been healed cautiously said it was her. Jesus, filled with compassion, looked at her, and said,
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” – Mark 5:34
The disciples saw what was on the outside but did not know healing took place until Jesus said something.
Blind Man Bartimaeus Healing
One of my favorite stories of healing is the blind man Bartimaeus. Jesus and his disciples, along with a large crowd, were leaving the city of Jericho when they encountered Bartimaeus.5
Bartimaeus was in the same place on the road every day. When he heard Jesus, it was Jesus passing by; he cried out to Jesus,
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” – Mark 10:47
Jesus asked Bartimaeus,
“What do you want me to do for you? – Mark 10:51
“Rabbi, I want to see.” – Mark 10:51
“Go…your faith has healed you.” – Mark 10:52
Bartimaeus was instantly healed and could see. Imagine how this man felt – he was blind and now had sight.6
What Happens When Our Prayers Appear To Go Unanswered?
Jesus healed many people during His earthly ministry, and today, we request healing for people. You may have asked the Lord for healing in your life or for someone else.
One of the easiest things we can do is pray for someone, but one of the hardest things we might encounter is the lack of healing in someone’s life.
Only the Lord knows why some people are healed, and others are not. Five years ago this Easter weekend, my good friend Hugo had a hiking accident and was paralyzed from the waist down.
He had been hiking with some friends when someone tripped and broke their foot. He bent down to help them, and when he stood up, he fainted and fell over the cliff. I remember those early days – asking for total healing but not seeing it. Why was God not answering my prayers for healing?
Five years have passed since that accident, and God still has not healed his physical body, but God did use that accident to move Hugo and his family forward on their spiritual journey. God’s actions make sense to Him because He sees the big picture, and we only see a portion or a snapshot of the story.
For Hugo, his story is a message of hope – a beacon in a dark world. His story brings glory to God in a way we don’t understand, but it also provides encouragement for those struggling with other similar physical issues.
I’m not saying that Hugo has great days every day, that’s unrealistic, but God has been faithful to him and his family. And we have to understand that God is not done with Hugo yet.
What about you?
Are you struggling with a physical issue? Does someone in your family have cancer or some other debilitating disease?
I know I have asked many times for people to be healed, only to be met with their obituary. God allows people to go through things for various reasons. We don’t understand the rhyme or the reason, and that can breed discontent and anger towards Him.
You cry out to God and ask, why are you not healing my loved one?. It stinks when there is no reply. You beg God for the answer to one of your questions, and you are met with silence.
Some days are better than others, and your hope returns. It might show up in a smile or a word or a look or in some other way.
However, sometimes, healing occurs differently. It shows up in death. Excuse me, how can death be healing?
Their pain can be so great that when God calls them home, they are healed but in a different way.
A friend of mine battled cancer for ten years. She lost her hair and struggled to smile some days, but she never lost her faith or her hope. Her earthly body was temporary, and she knew it.
The Lord called her home one day, and she was no longer in pain. She was no longer suffering. She was healed; however, that healing did not occur this side of heaven.
I cannot tell you why God heals some people and not others. At some point, we all will experience loss, and the pain of the moment will meet with a realization that our loved ones are no longer suffering and they have been healed if they know the Savior.
Our role is to keep praying and asking for healing. Many times, God is at work in our hearts to develop strength, reliance on Him (and not on ourselves), and deepen our faith. I want to encourage you to keep praying, keep fighting, and keep relying on God even when the valleys seem too deep and you wonder how you will get out.
God sees you, and He may be doing something in you that is preparing you for something further ahead in your story. I know that is hard to hear, but I believe it to be true.
Today, take a few moments to regain some focus if you have lost it. The God of the Universe created you and me, and He sees your pain and struggles. Ask Him to reveal to you one thing about your journey that will give you strength during these tough times.
Sit and listen for His answer, and write it down so that when you encounter something similar, you can look to this moment as God’s provision in your life.
I want to be clear for a moment. He may answer you, and He may not. I am challenging you to ask Him for what you want and leave the rest up to Him.
If you are struggling with asking or seeing a response, lay that at the foot of the cross this Easter season. Ask Him to work in your heart today and for your future.
Lord, just like Bartimaeus, we want to be healed. We ask you to heal our weary bodies and souls. We know you are doing something in us and through us, even if we do not see it, but we ask you to reveal a small portion of Your plan to us. When our hearts are weary and heavy-laden, we ask for an extra amount of grace in our lives to walk through the valleys. Thank you for healing people and for using ordinary people to be a beacon of hope for the lost. Amen!
- Holy Week 2021 series
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