This is a common question. It’s also a common argument for why someone chose not to believe in Jesus. They are most impacted or even bothered after reading this.
“And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”
– Mark 1:40-42
My mom even told me how her own faith was so challenged as she prayed hard for Jesus to heal my father as he was dying of cancer. I was just born, and he died when I was 10 months old. This lack of healing broker her. The Bible said Jesus took “pity” on the leper and healed him. Why was there no pity for my mom?
So many people face similar challenges, praying for physical healing like shown in the Bible. But the truth is, that the Bible never promises physical healing. When Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah, he said “and with his wounds we are healed” (Isa 53:5b). This is not a physical healing, though many do receive this as well. The healing that Isaiah was talking about is a spiritual healing. We were dead in sin and through the cross and resurrection, we are made Holy again, alive in Christ for eternity.
You see, there are times that God’s Glory shines through physical healing. In the story in Mark, this was the first healing and caused a firestorm of curiosity of people coming to know more about this Jesus. At other times, that healing shows the power of prayer to others who don’t believe. But the fact is, sometimes God’s plan involves suffering. Sometimes His healing comes in a way different than we would expect.
In the case of my father’s death, my mom remarried a man who would Adopt my brother and I, and have another child who is now my sister. That act of adopting would inspire me to later adopt two more children. My passion through this adoption experience would lead me to teach classes for 3 years on “God’s Will in Adoption” and inspire others to adopt.
You see, my father’s death had a profound impact on dozens of families’ lives, perhaps even more. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isa 55:8) As a result, he smiles down from heaven and is proud. One day I will get to meet him.
So remember, when you pray for physical healing, pray as Christ did on the Mount of Olives… “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Nothing wrong for praying for that healing, but more important is to pray that His will be done and that you would have peace in that will.