To Heal or Not to Heal (#622)

When God does a miracle for one person and then doesn't for another, it can present a major stumbling block to those learning to live in the Father's affection. Many come to doubt his existence or his love because the doesn't resolve situations in the way they think love would compel him to. Wayne and Brad wade into this quagmire of the seeming capriciousness of God and talk about how we can keep trust alive even when our hopes in him are disappointed. If we don't see miracles and healing as something we can contrive, then we're free to walk alongside Jesus through the pain of this world in growing trust that things are going to be fine, because he is with us. And he understands how difficult it is to learn to trust him when the world we're in is so broken.

Podcast Notes:
The poetry of Jenny Rowbury
Order Wayne's newest book: Beyond Sundays
Wayne's Travel Schedule in early 2018
The latest news from our project in Kenya
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"


  1. Wayne and Brad, great discussion.

    In reference to faith being something that people “have to work up to believe something they don’t believe”, don’t you think most that pray for healing DO BELIEVE that it will happen?

    Surely that’s what Jesus meant when he made the comment about asking for something and believing it your heart that it will happen…. right?

    • Not exactly. I think most people are trying to believe for that when they pray, but for many people that’s just to try to convince themselves they believe it, rather than being knowing what Father is doing in a given situation and praying inside a growing trust in who he is and what he’s revealing.

  2. Love grows in the manure of my life… That has been my experience. After experiencing that Love in it’s full beauty in my life and in the potholes of this journey… I don’t want a painfree life!!! If all of creation isn’t going to be painfree, then I have no desire to wish for it or pray for it for myself. As I have said.. Love grows in the manure of my life.

  3. The idea that God sits in heaven allocating miraculous healing to one person and the continuity of disease – even to death of another is nauseating to me. We being evil know how to do good and would never withhold healing from any person were it in our power to grant it so why assume God does so? A surgeon told me of what he called ‘spontaneous recovery’ when a dying person for no measurable reason becomes completely healed. This was independent of any beliefs or non-beliefs the person or those around them had. What we find as Christians so difficult to accept is the powerlessness of God who has given us the earth and the freedom to do what we like without divine interference beyond the guidance for Christian humanitarian living. So we live because we are created naturally in the image of God, we die because various factors have removed our capacity for living. We are not ‘taken’ as though God reached out and took us from the earth.

    • (This is Wayne:) I’m not sure I’m tracking with what you’re saying. I don’t think God is powerless in his own creation, but he doesn’t often do what we think love would compel him to do. At the end of it all we’ll see clearly that God was acting in his broken creation, consistent with himself and his purpose in absolute love and compassion for people. But we can’t always explain that here, nor do we need to do so.

      • i don’t want to speak for john, but i might be able to shed light on why some of us have trouble believing that god is physically active within our universe. the main issue would be complicity. whether we like it or not, if god determines to act in certain situations, then he is deciding not to act in others…if he is sovereign, he is absolutely sovereign…there is no such thing as partial sovereignty. so, if he physically acts within this universe, he is complicit in all events (good and evil) either by causing them or allowing them to happen. some of us have come to the conclusion that god has laid down his power to act physically (doctrine of kenosis), otherwise we have a god of love who is complicit with evil. those who take this position believe that god was active in creation of the universe and it’s physical laws, but his nature of love precludes him from altering outcomes. kenosis doesn’t disqualify him from working within this universe spiritually as love (his activity is not coercive). Kenosis allows bad things to happen without god being complicit due to his inactivity.
        the next problem kenosis resolves is the problem of his plan overriding his desire to act. personally, i have trouble believing that god is handcuffed to act from his nature of love by some predetermined plan (in other words, if he chooses not to act because it doesn’t fit into his plan).
        these don’t exhaust the reasons some of us reject god’s physical activity within this current universe, but should show that it is not illogical to believe he can still be active (spiritually) without having to be active physically.

  4. Brad and Wayne:
    I wonder if we define miracles to narrowly. Albert Einstein, hardly a theologian said, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
    When we live a if everything is a miracle with regard to healing, then doctors, hospitals, medication, etc all qualify.
    I think one of the things Jesus is saying when he talks about God causing the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust is that he loves us all equally.
    Does he give special “piggy back rides” at times to some when they ask for healing? Perhaps, but I think rarely.

  5. One area of healing which I feel has not yet been explored in sufficient detail is the overlap between mind, body and spirit.

    As an example I have recently been diagnosed with mild arthritis in my toe. At the podiatry clinic they saw this was linked to poor gait stemming from my shoulder. About 25 years ago I had a whiplash injury following a car crash which has left this as a weak spot in my body. I have become aware that when I am stressed or feeling guilty I tense the muscles in my shoulder and hold the emotion there.

    So for me healing will have an emotional component releasing the emotion, a physical element relaxing the muscles, improving my gait and wearing insoles to correct the position of my toes as well as a spiritual element knowing myself forgiven to be free of guilt and loved to release stress

  6. I really like Ruby’s thought.

    We tend to give credit for the bad things in life to either satan himself, or just the broken world we live in. Then, we give credit for the good things to God. The struggle really begins when we realize that God could do something but doesn’t… at least most of the time. It seems unfair.

    Is it possible that Satan is also in the business of doing things that we would call good? Just so that we would distrust God. Isn’t that what he did with Adam and Eve. “I don’t think you can trust him…” I use the term “We” as all humans. In Job, we find that God gives satan freedom to do anything with few limitations. God didn’t say that he couldn’t give him something “good”.

    Some of us like Ruby’s comment above, realize that this mess we are in is a bit of a compost pile. We see that God is making something good out of something bad. We love that he is in this with us. With a change of view and attitude, we can live loved in “the pile”.

    Others can only hold God responsible for either doing something wrong (in their opinion) or NOT doing something to make things good. That gives them the “right” to hold him responsible… and therefore distrust him. We have all heard the bit, “How can a loving god allow…”, Right? Wouldn’t this attitude make satan happy?

    For me, prayer growing up was taught as a big lever to get God to do what we wanted. Prayer chains were a way to “make quorum”. Or we did 24 hour vigils… like a little kid that knew if we ask mom for candy enough times, she will eventually relent, and we treat God the same.

    I personally don’t see how we can pray for much other than that God would teach us to trust that the manure pile we are a part of will become rich soil eventually.

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