I have laid a foundation for Faith in divine healing and health in my first article on this subject. I want us to examine the reasons closely.
I believe the first is nothing but Unbelief. Many believers mentally assent to the fact that healing is included in the redemptive work of Christ but lack strong conviction which is what Faith is. True faith is only validated in the face of trials.
Peter described our faith as being tested by fire much more precious than gold. Gold is taken through a burning process that separates it from the dirt. Paul also admonished us to Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). In the challenging days of pain and sickness, if the believers faith wavers between assurance and doubt, healing and death, confessions of faith and of distress, then except for a sovereign move of God, let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7). It is easy to declare healing when all is well, but when affliction comes, the true state of our hearts are revealed.
Descending with Peter, James and John from the mount of transfiguration, the Lord Jesus was confronted with the plight of a father whose son, under the influence of a demonic force, would uncontrollably throw himself into fits and into fire. The disciples of Jesus had laboured hard to cast the devil out to no avail. In the Matthew 17 and Mark 9 accounts, we realize lack of faith on the part of the disciples was the reason why they could not cast the devil out. Yet, if only the father of the boy would believe, the Lord would heal the boy (Mark 9:23). The father cried out ‘Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief’. Faith can grow from little to great, from weak to strong. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from ‘Faith to Faith’ (Romans 1:17). Through the physical and spiritual hearing(understanding) of the Word of God, Faith comes to the heart(Romans 10.17). That which comes through the Word will definitely be challenged as according to the parable of the sower, tribulation and persecution does arise for the sake of the Word (Mark 4:17). This is the fight of Faith and many believers lose the battle when it is fierce. The sorrows of pain, the agony ravaging disease and the doggedness of cancers and incurable illnesses assault the convictions of heart and pull at the anchor of the human soul. This is not the time to give up but to nurture the soul evermore with truth, holding up the integrity of the Word in the valley of the shadow of death, for as long as we believe, nothing shall be impossible for us (Mark 9:23).
It will be uncharitable for me to condemn all who have lost the fight of faith to the throes of death as wanting in faith, however, there were many that were only presumptuous. As a minister of the gospel for over 36 years, I have heard many testify and confess that they stayed away from the hospital out of fear that a terrible malady might be diagnosed. They do this in the hopes that the symptoms might somehow vanish. Again, others are presumptuous that an abstinence from doctors and devotion to Bible reading and religious activities would automatically lead to divine intervention. The presumptuous faith of such is however made manifest by their running helter skelter for help and seeking prayers, ministrations and even divinations from pillar to post. The efforts are equated to Faith in their hearts and that is nothing but self deception. True faith in God is rooted in the truth of His Word in spite of contrary symptoms. It is not about religion. True faith is a strong conviction and confidence that the word of God is so true that it leads to an oral confession of the same and actions that correspond with the same from persuasion of the heart.
Another presumption is that God is against modern or herbal medicine. Devoid of demonic incantations and occult practices like vodoo, God is not against other forms of medicine. While it was true on an occasion that Asa, a king in Israel provoked God’s anger by seeking after doctors and not after God, the circumstance was extraordinary as this was a supernaturally anointed king who had access to God’s power and guidance (2 Chronicles 16:12). Of course, I believe that even at this dispensation of Grace that it honours the Lord more that we seek Him for our healing and acknowledge Him for the direction of our paths. Taking a pain reliever for some relief, bringing down the blood pressure temporarily through drugs while believing God for healing and allowing for myriads of helpful therapies are not sinful as they are all manifestations of the knowledge Christ who fills all in all, even through physicians weather saved or unsaved. We must remember in Him all humanity move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Many Christian women have died in the hands of ill equipped midwives in maternity homes that lack qualified medical personal and life support systems. Many Christian’s have also died in their homes while stubbornly rejecting medical assistance and yet lacking the firm root in the Word that is indispensable for true faith. Faith has levels, we must realize. Truly, some have stood firm against all odds and without any medical or natural interferences and were healed, yet, there was a Timothy who needed some wine for the sake of his stomach because of his frequent sicknesses (1 Timothy 5:23). It is important that we all operate at the level of our faith. Other peoples testimonies are not enough for us to base our faith upon. We must be persuaded in our hearts.
Many believers assume that ‘Faith extenders’ are powerful in and of themselves. The Anointing oil, communion, Blessed cloth(popularly called Mantle) carry healing power in themselves, whereas the ‘Prayer of Faith’ is what saves the sick (James 5:14-15). Whichever one God permits for use, we just realize there are no symbols in the new covenant and they are just mere ‘Faith boosters’ to help the faith of those among us who are yet to master believing in the unseen and relating with the invisible. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen (2 Corinthians 4:18). The application of the natural helps the faith of the weak, besides they do not have their spiritual senses exercised enough. If however, Faith is boosted by scripturally permitted physical substances, more people tend to receive from God. To apply them apart from faith, however, is an exercise in futility.