Healing Delay

Straight Talk

The Question

What are some of the reasons why it takes so long for someone to be healed when you have prayed for years? For example I am a follower of Christ and so is my daughter. She needs a physical miracle in her body and we both believe that God is still in the healing business even though we have believed for this since 1993. We both love Jesus very much. I know he will not do anything if we are willingly in sin.

– PL from Deer Lodge, Montana

The Answer
Part 1: Good Company
Part 2: Hindrances
Part 3: While you wait

Good Company (Part 1)

I can think of many in scripture that probably were asking themselves the same thing so you are in good company. I’ll mention two of them. Jesus was once in Jerusalem for a Jewish feast day and visited the famous pool of Bethesda. It was a place of healing but it only operated when an angel supposedly came down to stir the waters.

“And a certain man was there, who had been thirty-eight years in his sickness.” (John 5:5) Here he lay day after day and year after year. He believed in the healing power of God yet he waited. Of course Jesus finally showed up and his wait was over. “Jesus said to him, ‘Arise,’ take up your pallet, and walk.’” (Verse 8)

Remember too the “woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse.” (Mark 5:25-26) In her case and the previous one there was not a problem with faith. Both believed that God was a healer yet much time passed before healing actually occurred.

Why? We don’t know and the scripture does not answer it. We do know that in the end it was the presence of the Divine Healer that finally secured the longed for healing. You have been waiting a long time too – since 1993. But if God somehow revealed to you the reason behind the wait, I’m not sure that would do you any good. Would that information necessarily activate the healing?

Rather, as you are in the company of those who waited before you, you can follow their example in a way that might do you and your daughter some good. I see a common denominator in the two examples I cited. In both cases they DID NOT GIVE UP. After thirty-eight years the man still came to the pool every day. Today might be MY day he probably thought time after time. And the woman with the hemorrhage would not give up trying no matter what she had already been through.

God repeatedly tells us in his Word that he honors faith and many healings (though not all) were tied to the faith of the recipient. “’Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.’” (Mark 5:34) A faith that survived twelve long years of waiting was truly a refined and tested faith. Keep your faith strong realizing that the very act of waiting may be your greatest act of faith.

Don’t give up!

Hindrances (Part 2)

Your real reason for wondering what is taking so long is something different I think. You are wondering if there is some hindrance to the healing that you can remove so the healing can come. Have you not exhibited enough faith? Is unforgiveness lurking somewhere gumming up the healing works? Is there some undiscovered sin putting a stop on it? When healing does not come quickly these are the typical rounds of discussions we have with ourselves.

There is much preaching out there on all these subjects that we also latch onto trying to discover WHAT IS WRONG. We hear someone preach about forgiveness and we wrack our brain to see if there is a case somewhere at some time when we failed to forgive. We kneel down and throw up blanket “I forgive anyone who ever offended me” prayers hoping to eliminate that barrier if it exists.

Yes, there are times when prayer is hindered and when healings are clogged up. Scriptures gives us some principles with which to examine ourselves and we do need to honestly do so. There are two important ways to get at this root in case it plays any part in a delayed healing.

One is to seek the Holy Spirit to specifically reveal any hindrance to healing. This might be accompanied by fasting in order to clear the spiritual air so to speak. (Please see Fasting: Clearing the Fog for more information on this.) Once you genuinely seek revelation from the Holy Spirit it is not necessary to agonize over it or second-guess the answer. Trust that if there is something you need to know, he will make it known plainly. He is not into confusing us or withholding vital information from us.

Secondly, lay your case before someone spiritually mature who has spiritual authority over your life and who is honest and straightforward. Be ready and willing to have any blind spots revealed and dealt with. Ask if they see anything that might be contributing to this long delay. Submit that information back to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and then act on whatever may be a genuine cause.

What if all this comes up clear? Now you are back to waiting once again. What next?

While you wait (Part 3)

You may benefit from approaching waiting from a different angle. I’ve had it happen to me more than once. From a distance we see value in the process itself yet while in the midst of waiting we see only frustration and disappointment.

I think that in general God is usually working on issues in our life on a higher and deeper plane than what we think. Trials and struggles from the other side often elicit appreciation from us because the truth is that we could not have gained so much character and maturity in any other way. God does not will us to have pain, disease or affliction yet he is certainly not above using it to our good.

Romans 8:28 tells us “that God causes all thing to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We throw that scripture around a lot but we don’t desire to embrace it when the going gets really rough or the waiting gets very long. It’s really true though.

So, how can you refocus? Try sitting down and meditating on all the good that has happened in the midst of this long wait for healing. What blessings have occurred? What relationships have been made to the good? What provision and miracles have come along while waiting for the big miracle? Are you closer to your Savior?

One thing I know for sure is that your faith has been strengthened because you have not given up. You still expect God to come through for you and that faith is not in vain. On the other side of this trial you may discover much more to be thankful for than you can possibly imagine now. Certainly you will see much more clearly God’s faithfulness. You may then encourage others starting the path you have finally finished.

I cannot tell you why God has waited so long to heal your daughter and I can’t even promise that you will ever know why. There is a more important question however. Like the man by the pool and the woman with the hemorrhage: will you trust him for as long as it takes?