“to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit”
Healing is a gift that many seek as recipients. Healing is probably the first “manifestation” gift that springs to mind for most people when miraculous gifts are talked about. The world and the Christian know about healing. Some practice healing in false ways using deception and manipulation to achieve their ends but the ends that are not necessarily of God. Does that detract from the genuine gift of healing? No! Does that mean the gift of healing is not for today? No! Do you throw out all bank notes just because there are counterfeit notes around? Likewise don’t throw out the concept of genuine gifts of the Spirit available today because you have seen some charlatans at work. Be balanced in your approach to the manifestation gifts of the Spirit.
But how does healing work? At times it works; at times it doesn’t. Note that the power of healing was not resident in the Apostles in the first Century. Paul could not cure Timothy, nor remove his own thorn in the flesh. God’s healing was and is granted on certain occasions and at other times it is not forthcoming. It is a mystery. Many of the world’s noted healers were not able to heal themselves. The power of the Lord operates in weakness. It is not ours by right. He heals some and He doesn’t heal others. It is how it is and we have to accept that. Oh I know some of you will claim 1 Pet 2:24 and tell me “By His wounds you are healed”. It is written so claim it. Now that opens up a can of worms, doesn’t it? There is much I could say about that but won’t at this point. You will have to wait until we Gem Peter’s letters. Suffice to say at this point I struggled with this “truth” and its application while we were at Bible College. I saw two close friends, who were sick with major illness, besieged by well meaning fellow students who wanted to see them healed. The classic line at the end of the process was always “well there must be unconfessed sin there which is the reason why you are not healed.” These fellow students must have been kinsfolk of Job. I spent a long time finding answers in the Word of God.
Is physical healing in the atonement and ours by right? So if healing doesn’t happen, do we put the burden on the one who is not healed, claiming the fault is theirs. People, that is not Biblical, neither is it Christian. Oh I know I will get howls of protest from some of you. I told you we were entering controversial waters. My views on Scripture may lose me followers but I am prepared for that. I just want to be biblical. I am a serious student of the Word. I am bound to step on theological toes everywhere in my effort to be biblical. That is fine, I am prepared for that. I will handle the matter of healing being in the atonement when we look at 1 Pet 2:24. You can’t have it all at once.
But I will say this: I totally and utterly believe in the healing gift being operative today. I believe that there are those whom God has placed in the body of Christ to be ministers of His healing power. I have to say that: I have been the recipient of His healing a number of times. Miraculously healed by God’s direct power and through the gift of healing in others. I cannot deny it. But each time I have been healed it was different. There is no magic formula to healing. I have many stories to tell but I will limit myself to one at this point. I believe it is illustrative of God’s creative and multi-faceted ways of bringing healing to His people. So we don’t put Him in a box and treat Him like a genie, rubbing the lamp when we have a need. God will never be treated in that way.
One Sunday in the late 1970’s I was in church in Matamata (NZ) and suffering great pain in right knee from a injury on the soccer field on Thursday night when training the school’s 1st XI. We had a visiting speaker Graeme Coad, who also practised the gift of healing. At one point in the service, while he was calling people out for specific ailments, he said “There is someone here with pain in their knee, will you stand please?” I stood up and so did my best friend. He asked, “Which knee has the pain?” My friend said “My left knee”. He said, “no I specifically saw the right knee”. He then asked me, “Which knee do you have pain in?” I told him the right knee and he invited me forward.
After praying over for sometime he asked me if the pain had gone. I said No, it hadn’t. I wasn’t going to lie and go along with a farce. Either I was healed or I wasn’t. I won’t play games. He announced to me and the church that the Lord had healed me but I had to wait three days. Oh I had a major problem at that point. I was so annoyed at what I thought this man was doing. I wasn’t healed and so we play this other game of cover up saying I would be healed in three days. I thought what nonsense. This is a sham and left church that day somewhat disillusioned. Three days later having forgotten all about it, or pushing into the back of my mind. I wasn’t dwelling on it, the moment had passed. God had had His chance to show me healing and had blown it. I didn’t believe the preacher’s statement and so I was not holding any hope of anything more happening. I was sitting on the couch in the lounge and reading my Bible. I sensed the thought form in my mind, “Put your hand on your knee (the right one).” I did it out of impulse and “obedience” to the thought. Instantly heat flowed from my own hand into my knee and I was healed. I sat there amazed. Remembering what the man had said on the Sunday I started to cry because I had been so anti and so unbelieving of the preacher’s statement. Despite all that, God was faithful and it seems he had put in the preacher’s mind to tell me “three days”. God brings His healing in the way He determines. Just accept that and embrace His purposes for you. And what about my friend? Why wasn’t his knee healed too? I am sure he was more deserving than me at that time, he was certainly more spiritual. God is God and He will bring His granted His healing as he please. Healing is not Christian magic or a matter of saying the right words. But it is real and it meted out through the gifts granted to members of the body. That much I know. See the “scars” – he healed me.
[Ian’s note: I am sitting here now and wondering why I have never shared that story with Graeme Coad, the visiting preacher. I don’t know. Negligent perhaps. Caught up in my own little world. Now is the time to tell him. If any of you receiving this in NZ know of Graeme’s whereabouts or his email address or other contact details please pass them on to me or pass this Gemz on to him. I would love for him to know the other side of the story, albeit years later. I only hope he is still alive.
I have since been put in touch with Graeme Coad and shared the story with him and thoroughly blessed him too. How often these things happen and we don't think to pass on the blessing to the one whom God used as the channel of blessing.]
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to our own physical healing.
O LORD, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone! (Jer 17:14)
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. (Ps 15:13 captured in a song).
You don't stop laughing because you grow old, You grow old because you stop laughing.