Jehovah Rapha, God Our Healer, always heals. It’s who he is, and what he does. Problem is, he doesn’t always heal like we expect him to (or like we think he should).
We’ve all experienced it.
Blind eyes stay shut.
Deaf ears stay stopped.
When lame people stay bound and the speechless stay silent, we can be tempted to wonder, God, where were you on that one?
God is always healing, always moving, always working for our good and his glory. We know it, even if we don’t always believe it. The truth is, sometimes God has something even better in mind than the kind of healing we’d prefer to see.
When Jesus walked the earth, healing was a high priority for him. He rarely showed up as expected, which baffled even his followers. Because Jesus never assumed that a one-size-fits-all approach to healing would work for everyone.
Let’s focus in on one of his favorite types of healing—blind eyes.
“So Jesus asked them, ‘Do you believe that I have the power to restore sight to your eyes?’ They replied, ‘Yes Lord, we believe!’ Then Jesus put his hands over their eyes and said, ‘You will have what your faith expects!'”Matthew 9:28–29 TPT
Now that’s the kind of healing we like to see! Clean and simple, one-and-done. It’s the sweet stuff worship song lyrics are made of. And if we’re honest, we might admit it’s the only kind of healing we go after.
Beautiful, elegant, and above all, church-appropriate! When can we schedule the next healing, Jesus?
“Then Jesus spat on the ground and made some clay with his saliva. Then he anointed the blind man’s eyes with the clay. And he said to the blind man, ‘Now go and wash the clay from your eyes in the ritual pool of Siloam.’ So he went and washed his face and as he came back, he could see for the first time in his life!”John 9:6-7 TPT
This kind of healing is probably a little messier than most of us would like, including that blind man. Can you imagine a healing like that happening in a modern-day church? The poor pastor’s email inbox would be filled to overflowing with complaints.
We appreciate the miracle, Jesus. But seriously, who’s going to clean that up?
“So Jesus led him, as his sighted guide, outside the village. He placed his saliva on the man’s eyes and covered them with his hands. Then he asked him, ‘Now do you see anything?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘My sight is coming back! I’m beginning to see people, but they look like trees—walking trees.’ Jesus put his hands over the man’s eyes a second time and made him look up. The man opened his eyes wide and he could see everything perfectly. His eyesight was completely restored!”Mark 8:23–25 TPT
It’s no wonder Jesus decided to personally escort that blind man outside the city of Bethsaida for this unorthodox approach. Saliva in the eyes? Second chances at healing? It would be more than some churchgoing folk could handle.
Okay, Jesus. That was just weird. Let’s be professional, OK? We are in church, after all.
Jesus’ wild variety of healing styles demonstrate that God’s grace doesn’t always look like we think it should—and that progressive healing is not only a possibility, but a promise.
Apply this truth to other types of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing, and you’ll realize it’s high time we diversified our approach to healing in Jesus’ name.
Whether the healing we receive is instantaneous and beautiful, messy and progressive, or something we won’t experience in fullness until we’re in Glory, God is our Healer and he always heals.
Now, I certainly believe God can and does heal instantaneously and miraculously. Scripture proves it. I’ve seen and personally experienced it. You’d better believe I’m believing for it.
Case in point, the woman whose story is told in Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, and Luke 8:43–48 who had been bleeding out for twelve long, painful years. Doctors and rabbis had done their best, but she remained inexplicably “unclean.”
This woman was desperate to get to Jesus. She was convinced that just touching his clothes would heal her, but it had little to do with his garment.
“When she heard about Jesus’ healing power, she pushed through the crowd and came up from behind him and touched his prayer shawl. For she kept saying to herself, ‘If I could touch even his clothes, I know I will be healed.’ As soon as her hand touched him, her bleeding immediately stopped! She knew it, for she could feel her body instantly being healed of her disease!“Mark 5:27-29 TPT
The best part about this story is that Jesus was actually en route to another miracle—a child’s resurrection, to boot! Lucky for this woman, Jesus wasn’t in a hurry.
“Then Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, because you dared to believe, your faith has healed you. Go with peace in your heart, and be free from your suffering!'”Mark 5:34 TPT
She wasn’t healed because she touched him.
She wasn’t healed because his garment had supernatural powers.
She was healed because of her faith—and her willingness to take a great risk to walk it out.
We Christians love trial-by-fire testimonies, so long as they have a neat and tidy happy ending. You’ve probably heard stories from people who were practically zapped from bondage straight into a promised-land life.
Healing. The doctors couldn’t find my tumor on the scan!
Deliverance. I met Jesus and I never touched the stuff again!
Restoration. We went to counseling and our marriage was saved!
We sit on the edge of our seats, soaking up these powerful proofs and declaring God’s goodness with passion and fire. And then we drive home silently, wondering why this kind of healing is the exception instead of the rule for us.
So we try praying earnestly for the healing we want to see, just like those people said they did. We check the boxes, pray the prayers, and wait for it. But when God doesn’t show up like he did in the past, we’re tempted to question his character and our identity.
When a loved one loses a years-long battle with cancer.
When a friend relapses into old ways of thinking and behaving.
When a marriage ends in divorce because it was “too far gone.”
Where was healing? Where was deliverance? Where was restoration? What did we miss, God?
If we were once sinners in need of a Savior, we’re now Saints learning what it means to walk out a truly healed existence that we may not fully agree with yet.
God Our Healer is for our healing, and we must go after it boldly in faith. But not at the expense of the abundant life journey Jesus went to the cross for us to have.
What if the loss of a loved one brings about full, sweet surrender?
What if continued relapse offers insight that leads to a transformed life?
What if a failed marriage can provide wisdom and grace to a new covenant?
When God doesn’t heal like we think he should, we must shift our response from “Why, God?” to “What now?”
What new prayer would you like me to pray, God?
What insight or wisdom do you want me to gain?
What’s working, what’s not working, and what more would you have me do?
The answers he gives may shock you.
Our willingness to embrace healing as a journey—in God’s perfect timing—positions us for the kinds of encounters that birth an unshakeable faith.
Are you willing to pray boldly, believing God’s answer will be better than you could have imagined?
Are you willing to step out and take action—with great risk, at great cost, and with no guarantees?
Are you willing to love, lead, and even lose people if it might help bring true healing to a world God so desperately loves? Friend, be willing. I beg you, be willing. There’s always more healing to be found.
Brit Eaton and co-author George A Wood are on a mission to help the church—and the world—see recovery through a grace- laced, gospel lens in their new book, The Uncovery. Learn more about the authors at www.TheUncoveryBook.com.
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Brit Eaton is a writer, speaker, discipler, and all-around pursuer of the Kingdom of God. She helps corporate, nonprofit, and ministry leaders find the words to say to move people to action. An eager apostle, recovery activist, and advocate for women in ministry, Brit ministers in diverse, spirit-filled environments committed to unity in the Body of Christ. Brit is the co-author of The Uncovery, a book developed with recovery leader George A. Wood, and of Reckless Grace, a book developed with pastor Bill Vanderbush. She lives in a log home on ten wooded acres in Mount Vernon, Ohio with her husband, Mike and daughter, Bella. briteaton.com