Friday, October 05, 2007

Healing (again)

I've blogged about healing before, but it came up again in our housegroup last night...

Its a new housegroup, and I don't know the folk in it that well, so I didn't throw all my doubts about healing into the discussion, but I did observe that I have never actually seen anyone healed of anything more serious than a headache or a sore back (Yes David, I know that certain sore backs are a major thing, but bear with me).

Several of the others in the group claimed healing and recounted their stories. And before you make assumptions about me here, let me state that I totally believed all their stories.

But while one of the stories related to a potentially life-threatening condition being healed, in every case the illnesses or conditions that were healed were all completely unverifiable by medical science. In the serious case, the doctors weren't really sure what was wrong and thus were surprised when things improved rapidly, but still didn't know what was wrong. In all of the other stories the healing involved things that are known to just clear up by themselves, although it has to be said that major coincidences were going on there if God wasn't involved.

But I still came away from the meeting with no greater faith in healing than before. Apparently God heals sometimes and sometimes does not. But some conditions clear up spontaneously even when nobody is praying. The skeptical side of my brain says 'what if its mostly psychological?' - perhaps the benefit of 'praying' for healing has no supernatural effect but does have some physical or psychological effect which simply works.

Perhaps this is why we see frequent healing of aches and headaches, etc. but not frequent healing of cancer or broken bones or (as the atheist website has it) amputated limbs.

But you see, the problem I face here is major. For I believe that it is God who heals the minor things, the tennis elbow, the headaches, the back aches, the intestinal difficulties. But when I don't see the serious illnesses being healed, the question I find myself asking is not 'Why doesn't God heal these?' but rather 'What if God is unable to heal these?'

As doubts go, that one is pretty major.


Marcus Green said...

Ricky, I get your point. But I'd want to add that if in our culture an increasing degree of illness is in the mind (and unidentifiable by doctors as a result), then a psychological healing is the very healing required. If it works, take it.

And then I need to add this.

In the seven years I have been at my church, I have lost count of the church members who have suffered cancer.

We are only a small church. 100-120 members. And from that number we have easily had 15 people with cancer in that time.

Some rate, hey?

We have prayed for all. All have received medical treatment too. One has died.

Take that how you will. It's not "scientific", but it is true.
Afer all, all will die - but I hope most will last many years yet, and that it will not be as a result of cancer when they do go! We've had throat cancer, bowel cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer - you name it. We don't hold major healing meetings. But we do seriously and quietly pray. And trust in the Lord who loves us.

Is it the prayer or really good medicine in South Wales?

A community with a 15% cancer rate. But (so far) a better than 90% survival rate for our sufferers. You tell me if that adds up to national statistics. Either way, I'm just glad for the people who still come and worship here or who I visit regularly, who are happy to have been prayed with, and thankful for the answers they have seen.

I see more cancer healings than almost anything else. Including bad backs. So I'm happy (and I really mean that word!) to say I think God is able to do this.

Ricky Carvel said...

Thank you Marcus.

Anonymous said...

The average rate for the uk is coming up to 50%, so that is a massive difference. I too am a little concerned at the lack of serious healings, but perhaps it is because people lack the faith to ask for external healing? Cancer is serious but internal. Perhaps it is a case of "What do you want me to do for you?", and we just don't pray enough for external things. But more than for faith reasons, we have access to the most uniquely amazing source of power, and it concerns me to see it underused.