I’m doing an elective subject at college on the subject of the healing ministry in the church. While this may seem to be a strange subject to some for a seminary to offer; note that I do study at a Pentecostal Bible College in Sydney Australia and that the subject of healing is deeply connected to the Pentecostal ethos. While I don’t personally fellowship at a Pentecostal church, nor strictly adhere to any form of classical Pentecostal theology; at the core I perhaps am more closely aligned to or sympathise with the Pentecostal experience more than I do any other stream of Christian experience and existence. Part of our subject matter was to write a 500 word testimony of what we believe about healing and our personal experience of it in the church… and we had to respond to each others posts. I was asked, what is my own perception or belief about healing for today. And this is my reply.
Up until my time of trial and tribulation as I call it, I was more leaning towards the Hagin / Copland word of faith type theology of healing. Just believe. Have faith. Work up your faith… but what I found is this actually led to presumption and not faith. Their theology leads to a sense of personal power of self and what one believes leading to a lack of trust in God. In many ways the word of faith movement in recanting scriptures is akin to witchcraft.. repeat this mantra, speak this scripture / spell and all will be ok.
Healing comes in many varied ways in which we don’t at first recognise as being God’s hand of healing. Take Jacob’s story for instance. He wrestled with God and in the process God hurt his hip and he forever walked with a limp. There is no record of God healing Jacobs hip – but how that experience with God brought about much healing in Jacobs life and his family. Sometimes we need to recognise the difference between a wound and a scar. A sickness and a scar from sickness. Jesus still has the nail holes in his hands, but God has healed him of the pain of death.
My experience has led me to believe that we compartmentalise God way too much. We forget that the act of forgiveness of sins comes with the promise that God is with us. We kinda of think that God has abandoned us (at least I did) when crap hits the fan. (I’m an ex dairy farmer, and been covered in cow poop from head to tail – and so I love the word “crap”) But the reality is, God doesn’t promise us Christians that nothing bad will ever happen to us; instead he promises to be with us right in the midst of our trials and good times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So getting back to the question – God can and wants to heal our presumptive ways through challenges of life.
In the final analysis I used to think that “Faith” was the most important thing in the life of a Christian. But, I now know why Paul says that these 3 things remain, “Faith, hope and love…but it is love that is the greatest” You see – our normal Christian response to someone in crisis is to have faith.. and so we work our faith up in us, try and believe, clench our teeth and instead of faith, we start to loose hope and the more we try to work up faith, the more hopeless things get. Finally when we analyse the situation, we find that the actual loss of faith, and hope stems in a lack of love..we don’t love ourselves, don’t believe God loves us, and we have a lack of loving support networks around us.. .But, when we have love, know that God loves us, we love ourselves, and allow others to love us – Hope springs to life, a hope that doesn’t disappoint us, for it leads to increased faith.
So, now it seems that I have avoided your question. I believe that God heals today. Absolutely 100%. But, I also recognise that we live in the tension of the now, the yet and not yet. We are not immune to the brokenness of sin around us, and like Hosea who said though the tree may no longer blossom and bear fruit, and the rains never come… and like Daniel who faced the fire and the loins den and said “Our God may or may not rescue us, but, in him I will totally trust!” For myself, I am totally satisfied that God is for me and not against me, and that God is walking through this same journey with me and promises never to leave me nor forsake me.