Have you ever received prayer for healing and had faith that God would heal you—yet you walked away unhealed? Have you stood in the prayer lines, excited and hopeful, believing this was your night—only to return home unchanged?
In fact, I have struggled with chronic and undiagnosed pain in my neck, shoulders, and arms for more than six years. I’ve received prayer for healing more times than I can count—even from people known for seeing God supernaturally heal many people. I’ve regularly prayed and declared healing over myself, and I’ve been careful to speak faith-filled words. Yet, I am still waiting for my miracle.
At Lifeway, we recently finished a sermon series titled, “The God Who Heals,” in which we saw that not only can God heal, but it is His will to heal. Healing is part of His benefits package for all believers within the new covenant. Jesus healed every person who came to Him. Clearly, the Scripture witnesses to God’s will to heal all of our diseases and pain.
So what do we do when we don’t get healed? How do we process it when our experiences don’t align with God’s promises in His Word?
This is important. Too many people have created theologies based on their experience (or lack of experience) rather than on what God says. We don’t want to do that. But how do we steward our hearts when life doesn’t make sense—when it seems like God has let us down?
On my healing journey, I have found how wearying it can be to live in pain. Perseverance isn’t easy. Caring for my heart in the middle of the mystery isn’t easy. Stoking the flame of faith yet again isn’t easy. But—our God is the God of the impossible, and He has helped me. He has equipped me to do hard things. He has stirred my heart to trust and believe—again and again and again. I know He will do the same for you.
If you want to be healed, but you haven’t yet experienced healing, you are not alone. Here are a few truths that have held me steady on my journey:
Disappointment is a killer.
Refuse to listen to it. When life doesn’t go our way, disappointment whispers in our ears, wanting us to question God’s goodness toward us. Proverbs 13:12 tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (NASB). This verse is not prescriptive (telling us what must be), but descriptive (telling us what often is). In other words, disappointment is a likely result of unfulfilled hope in our lives—but it doesn’t have to be. Romans 5:5 says, “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (NASB). Through the strengthening power of the Holy Spirit, we can hold on to hope and faith despite disappointing circumstances. Don’t let disappointment have a voice in your life.
Life is made of mysteries.
Our human nature craves control, so we want to eliminate mystery. We want to know why a thing did or did not happen. But why usually isn’t a helpful question. Why haven’t I been healed yet? Why did this other person get healed, but I didn’t? Instead of demanding answers, we must embrace mystery—embrace the fact that we don’t always know why things happen, but those circumstances don’t change who God is. And they don’t have to change our faith in Him and His promises. Healing is always God’s will. If we don’t experience healing, it is not because He is withholding it from us. Jesus’ sacrifice was more than enough. Some teachers like to make a formula out of healing. They say if you haven’t been healed it’s for this reason or that reason. The truth is, none of us knows why not everyone is instantly healed. God didn’t answer that question in the Bible. Instead, He told us that He wants to heal us all. That’s where our focus must be. Instead of demanding answers, we must choose trust.
What we say is what we believe.
The life of faith is all about renewing our minds to think like Jesus does (see Rom. 12:2). In her book, Switch On Your Brain, neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf says our brains will believe whatever we tell them. In large part, our reality, or what we believe to be true and how we see life, is determined by what we say and who we listen to. If we are not intentional about what we say, we will simply mirror what we hear from the world around us, and that is what we will believe. To live a life of faith, we must purposely shape our words around the truth of the Bible. Declare the truth of who God is and what He does. Do it relentlessly. Do it when you feel afraid or discouraged or angry. Do it when you feel like you have nothing left. Use your words to win the battle in your mind.
Living in the in-between—in the mystery—can feel terribly hard. I know. In those moments, we always have a choice. We can choose to question. We can allow disappointment and offense to enter our hearts. Or we can choose to believe that God is good, and He is not the problem. We can trust Him. And if we persevere in faith, I promise you this—we will see His goodness manifest in our lives.