I feel as if I’ve put it off long enough while going around in circles, thinking, thinking, thinking, feeling that it must be said, to myself and to you – if you are a Christian believer – that you and I are no different from the man on the stretcher whose sins were forgiven by the Son of God, or the woman who touched the hem of His garment and found the healing she had sought from her disease.
You and I are no different. But more important still, Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is no different. And if He is the same today, tomorrow, and yesterday, then why must the result of faith be different today than yesterday.
The truth is, the result can be no different. Every ardent request taken by the child of God to the Father’s throne is heard and received. And in the absence of a clear negative, as was given Paul regarding the “thorn in his flesh,” I must believe that the request will be granted.
Faith is the key, a faith magnified and multiplied by the inner working of the Holy Spirit.
I have heard of many miraculous releases from addiction and healings from disease for those who have been newly converted, usually but not always in a non-Western nation. I believe these testimonies as they accord with what happened in the first century accounts in the Bible.
At the moment of conversion, hearts newly opened to the grace and power of the gospel, flower in a burst of faith, believing that their sins have indeed been forgiven, having been newly born into the family of God through the body and blood of Jesus. This faith is unreserved, leading to exceeding joy. It is a mountaintop moment and experience.
No one seems to expect to stay there. Life gets in the way. The world, the flesh, the devil. Our faith dries up into a limp-wristed thing hardly recognizable from the lusty, ardent one that sang, shouted, leaped for joy. We go to our prayers hardly expecting results. Just as a matter of routine, maybe even self-righteousness? We’ve done our part. God will do what He wills anyway. Life goes on. Hearts remain hard. Addictions hang on. Diseases uncured. Miracles unknown. We plod into church and out again. Nothing changes.
What has happened here? Have we stopped believing, really believing that our sins are forgiven, past, present, future? Have we stopped expecting, really expecting that our prayers will be answered? Do we go to the Father for His lovingkindness or just to mothball anxieties? Do we cry out to Him in hope or in despair?
Ravi Zacharias – the contemporary Christian apologist nonpareil – shared his personal experience of healing recently.¹ He had endured excruciating back pain for years with no relief in sight even after two back surgeries. Then one morning a friend prayed with tears over him and this man of God who had spent most of his life arguing the validity of Christianity from the standpoint of natural human rationality was supernaturally healed.
What we see and receive by faith far exceeds what we know by reason alone. We need both of course. But we must not “use logic to silence the Bible,”² wandering into fruitless unbelief.
Prayer is a privilege we have abused and watered down too long. Only the Holy Spirit can revive our faith from the lukewarm to the hot. Let us walk in the Spirit, boiling over in faith, love, joy, and hope. Let us be unflagging in knocking, and seeking, and asking impudently, insistently, confidently like a child who knows she is loved by her Father.
There are miracles ahead. For us. For those we pray for. Believe it. Believe Him.
[Then the LORD answered me and said,] ".... But the righteous will live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4 NASB). Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy..." (Psalm 103: 2-4). And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2: 5-12)
¹Ravi Zacharias’s testimony of healing, C. S. Lewis Institute, April 2015 (the video is cued to the relevant portion):
²Quoted statement by John Piper on prayer given at the cued up portion of desiringGod.org Q&A.