I am aware of the fact that many people including many influential people have written numerous books about this subject. I would also like to write about it, and trust that maybe you would find something different and new.
I want to start with what the LORD proclaims on healing. The first scripture comes from Exodus 15 25-26 : “there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
The second scripture comes from Deut 7:12 – 15 “Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: 13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.”
Both scriptures declare that we have to obey the LORD before we can lay claim to any healing. What do both declare? To be exact, both scriptures declare that if we will listen to and obey the LORD, no sicknesses will be put on us. The LORD will not allow any sickness if you do as He commands, that is the message of the Bible.
Two other scriptures that confirm this come from Proverbs 4 verses 20 to 22, and Psalms 41 verses 1 to 3. : “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Psalms 41 : “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. 2 The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. 3 The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.”
We can see from these scriptures that the LORD does not want us to be sick. No, He wants us to be completely free from sickness, but then we have to act within His will. Then we have to do what He requires.
There are however certain exceptions to the rule. We find one of these exceptions in the book of Daniel. Chapter eight and verse 27 : “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” It is actually quite surprising to find that Daniel says that he was sick. The reason for this is that he was tired and actually fainted from the vision. From this scripture we find that his body was run down and he had no power to fight any sickness. Another example we find comes from the gospel of John. John 11:1 “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Fortunately for us, Jesus gave us the reason he was sick. It was for the glory of God. Why? Jesus wanted to show everyone that He had the power over death and sickness, in order for them to turn to the LORD.
Philippians have an all-together different story. “25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful”. Why was he sick? The Bible does not give us any reason for it. A question that I immediately asked was why did Paul not pray for him, as people used cloths that Paul laid hands on to heal the sick. The Bible does not tell us if Paul prayed for him or not. If Paul did and healed him, I am convinced that it would have been documented.
This brings me to the second set of scriptures on healing, and that is the Holy Spirit gift of healing.
Where do we find it described? 1 Cor 12 verses 8 and 9: “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;” Other references to this comes from Matthew 10 verse 1, and Mark 16 verse 18: “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Both these scriptures have a common thread running through them, and that is to go to people. In the case of Matthew, they had to go to unbelieving Jews, and in the case of Mark, unbelievers. Why? To show in both cases the power of Jesus in healing people in order for them to believe in Jesus Christ. In both instances it is accompanied by another commandment, and that is to preach the gospel. This unlocks a very important truth. The gift of healing is given to us in order to heal the heathens and lead them to Christ.
But what about us that already believe in Jesus Christ? James 5 verse 14 gives us the answer: “14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
This is what we as believers should do. We have to follow the example of the Bible. We have to anoint the sick with oil and pray for them, but it has to go hand in hand with confessing of sins. But we have to believe that it is the will of the LORD to heal us. This is the way the Jews were healed by Jesus. Some asked that He would only speak a word; other just wanted to touch Him. If we look at the example of Israel in the dessert, we find that the LORD sent snakes in amongst them to kill them for being disobedient. Israel called out to the LORD and confessed that they had sinned. Moses then gets told to make a snake and to put it on a pole. Whenever a snake bit someone, all they had to do was look up at the snake and they would be healed.
This also points the way to Jesus, who would be hung on a cross and whoever looks up at Him after confessing his sin, would be healed. Let us remember this part of scripture and practise it in our daily lives. Remember one point, it needs faith from your side.
Do I have any proof of this? Yes, I think my own life bears witness to it. On 31 August 1994 I woke up with a severe pain somewhere close to where I thought one’s appendix is situated. Why I knew it was my appendix, was that my one daughter had her appendix removed about four months prior to this. I still mocked everyone and said that seeing that I forgot to get appendicitis as a teenager, I had to get rid of mine now.
Eventually at five in the afternoon I went to see the doctor, as I could not bear the pain anymore. Once there the doctor decided that I had to report at the hospital immediately, and that the specialist would examine me in between operations, and if necessary remove the appendix still that night. I was pushed into the operating theatre at eight, and what I heard later on was going to change my life. Once the doctor made his original cut to remove the appendix, he found that he could not reach it as it was turned towards the back and that he needed more space to manoeuvre the appendix. He enlarged the cut, and started reeling the small intestine out to make room for him to work. He and the doctor administering the narcotics were talking when he suddenly found something else in his hand. What he found was a tumour of about 15 centimetres long. The moment he looked at it, he knew what it was. It was a malignant tumour better known as carcinoid syndrome, a very rare type of cancer. In fact it is so rare that a normal general practitioner is supposed to treat only one such case in his life.
When the doctor told me afterward how it happened, we both agreed that it was the will of the LORD that this whole episode happened. If they did not find the tumour, I would have probably had another twelve months to live. To me it was the start of a very long lonesome road I had to face for the next couple of years. Two months after this incident I was readmitted for a follow up operation and a further 24 tumours were found, all malignant. I also received some damning words from the doctor that he did everything he could, but he had to leave some malignant tissue inside, as I would bleed to death if he had to remove this tissue.
The next step was chemotherapy. Unfortunately for me the oncologist did not check with my medical aid if they would pay for his services. By the time I found out that they were not willing to pay, I had an account of thousands of rands, which I had to pay personally. Needless to say I stopped this, as I could not afford to continue. At that time I also remembered what the doctor told me the last time I saw him when he removed the stitches. He told me that he did everything he could to remove all the tumours, but that the God he and I both know, can heal me completely.
The next Sunday evening we went to a church service where a fairly popular person was leading the service. When he called on people to come forward for ministry, I approached four elders that were standing in a group, and asked them to pray for me, using the scripture of James 5 as an example. James 5 from verse 14 “14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” They were totally baffled, as this was the first time anyone asked for such a prayer. They were used to giving advice on family and other matters, but never have they experienced this. I told them to do as James said; they can do the praying and anointing, while I will do the believing. That was more than eight years ago, and there has never been a recurrence of cancer.
That is my story on my own healing. But what now when you do everything and you are still not healed? Jesus also had a case like this. Mark 8:22 “22 ¶ And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. 25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” Normally we are told to believe that we have been healed after someone prayed for you. Even if nothing happened, you are told that it can take a while to manifest. No, Jesus laid hands on him again and he saw. So if you are not heeled the first time, don’t accept it, ask to be prayed for until your healing manifests, or until you get a word from the LORD that there is sin in your life that you have to repent of. But this requires faith.
Why does it require faith? The Bible declares that it is impossible to please God without faith. When we look to the example of John and Peter at the temple, the lame person must have believed John and Peter when they told him to stand up and walk. The same applies to the lepers that had to go and show them to the priests. In both instances they had to have faith, but also, they were healed immediately, as they believed that they would be healed instantly.
So, next time you need healing, do as the Israelites and look to Jesus on the cross and ask Him to heal you. If there is sin in your life, repent and ask for forgiveness before you ask for healing. This follows the sequence that James gave us in the Bible.
But what about medicine then, can we still use it? If it is necessary to use medicine, do it. Isaiah used it to heal Hiskia. He made some cakes from figs and placed them on Hiskia’s sores, and when the cakes were removed, the sores were gone too. Immediately. If the LORD wants you to use medicine, use it. We know that the LORD even used medical doctors in the form of Luke.
We have to remember another scripture also. This is the one that I always keep to the end, as we have to first examine our own lives before we can look at this scripture. It comes from Job 33:14-30: For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
In closing I have only one question to ask you. When you are sick, first ask the LORD for healing. If he doesn’t heal you, go to a doctor and get medical advice and help. Don’t wait until it is too late. He used doctors to save my life: He can do it in yours.