Hope for Life Blog

The Healing

by on Apr.07, 2008, under Hope

It was Sunday, March 9, 2008. Steve Ridgell and I had traveled with Herald of Truth Ministries to the island of Cuba. We were speaking at a church service in the town of Matanzas. I used the text that I had chosen beforehand, Mark 2:1-12. The first part of the text seemed very appropriate. Verse 2 says, “So many gathered that there was no room left.” We were speaking to a group of well over 400 people when there were only seats for about 300. However, I was a bit uncomfortable with other parts of the text. As I read about Jesus healing this paralyzed man, I was acutely aware of the people in wheelchairs at the back of the audience. I couldn’t help but wonder how they felt. Like other times when I’ve spoken on this passage, I talked about how Jesus put more emphasis on forgiving the man’s sins than He did on healing his handicap. I explained that our physical needs can’t begin to compare with our spiritual needs. As I preached, I couldn’t help but wonder how my words were being received by these people whose physical needs were obviously great.

After the sermon, one of the local members invited any who needed to respond to the message to do so. Nine people came forward to be baptized into Christ. One especially caught my eye. She was one of the people in wheelchairs being wheeled forward by one of her friends, much like the paralyzed man in the story had been helped by his friends. This woman was connected to an IV bag. She was in the wheelchair because she only had one leg. It was obvious that she had major physical needs.

She was the first to be baptized. I stood in the water, and someone handed her to me. She professed her faith in Jesus, then I immersed her. When she came out of the water, no one looked at her leg. Instead, all eyes were drawn to her face. Seldom had any of us seen such joy, such pure and unrestrained joy. She was still unable to walk. She was still a sick woman. But her sins had been forgiven. My sermon about the importance of the forgiveness of sins versus physical healing was probably soon forgotten. But her sermon will long be remembered, even though it was preached without words. She knew. She understood. Her physical infirmities remained, but she had been healed in the way that mattered.

We all need spiritual healing, healing of the heart and soul. Let us know in what ways you need God’s healing.

Grace and peace,
Tim Archer

6 comments for this entry:

  1. Keith

    Spiritual healing leads to physical healing. Presumably Jesus can deliver us from physical ailment instantly should that be part of His plan for our lives. Just as presumably, giving us the strength to endure our ailments as a testimony of His power in our lives could be the stronger witness.
    I was saved in 1996 at the age of 35. I saw the miracle of physical healing performed on my youngest son. Witnessing that miracle before my eyes led me to give my life to Christ. I saw first hand the power of a loving God. Two years later I was diagnosed with HIV. The doctors have ways of tracking the date of approximate exposure. Twelve years prior in their estimation. 1983, military service, I took a blood bath saving a young mans life. Not important in the how…much more important is the knowledge that twelve years had passed with the birth of three children within that time frame. Neither they nor my wife tested positive. 25 years later I am healthy in all aspects save that one and only my doctors would know. God has given me the inner strength, as well as the provision through so many others helping, to wrest from this situation a powerful testimony of hope and mercy rather than hopelessness and despair. It is through spiritual healing that I KNOW that no matter what happens to this body, for it will surely pass to dust one day one way or another, my spirit will live for ever with Him.
    If you can praise God in whatever situation you are in, He will surely see you through it.

    May God be glorified and you be blessed…

  2. Tim Archer

    Keith,

    That’s a beautiful testimony. Thanks for sharing it.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  3. Gunner

    I’m not sure I follow the explanation of Jesus putting more emphasis on forgiveness than healing to mean that He does not give any attention to meeting physical needs for healing (no matter how extreme). Physical healing is just as much a part of our redemption as forgiveness of sins according to the definition of the words, “salvation” and “saved.” We should dare to believe that He can do through us what He did and even greater things because He went to the Father and established a better covenant on better promises; rather than neglecting and not regarding fully such a great salvation and all it provides. That mindset would be the same as saying a person bound by spiritual bondage could be forgiven but not receive the free gift of deliverance through salvation. There is no reference in Scripture to Jesus saying, “Your sin’s are forgiven, go your way sick, lame, deaf, blind and unhealed physically. As long as we continue to not expect physical healing and explain why people are not made whole, they will never be.

    I appreciate your obedience in going to preach the Gospel to these precious people, brother; but let’s give them the full Gospel by daring to pray and believe for the miraculous power of a mighty God to do what we can not.

    In Christ,

    Gunner

  4. Gunner

    Tim,

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I would agree; we obviously share differing views on the God Who is the same yesterday, today and forever and what His priorities still are. It is not my desire to enter a theological debate to explain away the power of God manifesting or prove my limited perspective; but to know the reality of God’s Truth. Part of my concern is that our opinions broadcast through today’s medium can often do two things: It can discourage countless multitudes from thinking they can receive physical healing from God; and could convince them that God’s will is an arbitrary and subjective mystery they can’t know or experience in their lives.

    We all die at some point but Epaphras did not die from illness in that account you refer to… so obviously he recovered. His healing not being instantaneous was no less legitimate. As I understand it, Trophimus being left behind by Paul was because he was not healthy enough at the time Paul was to leave, to be able to go with him; but I don’t find any references that he was never restored to health again. Timothy had stomach problems and frequent feebleness (of body or mind); by implication malady; moral frailty :- disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness. Paul had a messenger from satan against his flesh (which may or may not have been his physical body or the word may also mean human nature). It’s true we can take any Scripture(s) out of context to make them say whatever we want but it requires ignoring what God clearly says His will is; irregardless of who walks in the fullness of it or doesn’t.

    I would also clarify that I did not claim that the miraculous is always instantaneous but that should not cause us to not pray for that either.

    If you can share with me any Scriptures showing that the healings done by Jesus Christ’s example are not expected by Him to be continuing today through His church, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you again and God bless you richly,

    Gunner

  5. Tim Archer

    Gunner,

    I appreciate your concern. We hold different views of God’s working in today’s world.

    I would point out that I did not say that Jesus gives no attention to physical problems. We are frequently told to pray for those that are ill; God cares about our physical problems, but the world’s priorities are not His.

    Might I remind you of Paul’s physical infirmities, of Timothy’s health problems, of Epaphras almost dying of illness, of Trophimus being left ill by Paul… the New Testament is full of reminders that miraculous healings were not a constant part of the believers’ lives. Healings were practiced by the apostles (Acts 5:12-16), but were not expected to be a continuing part of the church’s experience.

    Thanks for the comment. God bless.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  6. Tim Archer

    Gunner,

    To fully respond to your concerns is beyond the scope of this blog. Feel free to write me at tim@hopeforlife.org if you want to discuss this in depth.

    I’ll leave the discussion with a few points:

    (1) I believe that my message was faithful to the text in Mark 2. The healing was undeniably a secondary issue in what happened there. And it occurred for a specific purpose (Mark 2:10), just as other miracles occurred for the specific purpose of confirming the message being presented (Mark 16:20; Hebrews2:4).

    (2) I feel that it would have been unfair to tell this woman that unless her leg miraculously grows back she will not have received God’s full blessing. God has the power to restore her lost limb, but I can’t tell Him when He has to do it. But I can assure someone of the forgiveness of their sins, something that is much more important from an eternal perspective.

    Thanks for visiting our blog. Write me if you’d like to study more.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

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