When Faith Healing Fails.
What do you do, when God doesn’t? When you pray for something good, and believe with all your heart that it is going to happen, and then……. nothing; what do you do? Most believers go through something like this in their spiritual journey. How you handle that experience can make you or break you! Most people I have talked to broke when it happened to them. Consequently, they stopped believing and settled in for a mediocre faith in God, or gave up on God all-together. I am going to share with you my journey of faith. Eventually it increased my faith and brought me closer to God, hopefully it will do the same for you.
New believers honeymoon period.
It doesn’t always happen, but it is very common for new believers to get almost everything they pray for. We had a couple in our church that had recently dedicated their lives to Christ. Virtually everything they prayed for happened, it was disgusting, it made us older Christians look bad. I’ll give you an example. They began to pray for some home decorations; the very next day, at a local store, they found a framed picture they really liked. Unfortunately, it was kind of expensive, more than they could afford, so they left the store without the picture. On their way home, they saw something on the side of the road that had evidently blown out of someone’s pickup. They stopped to see what it was. It turned out to be the identical picture in a frame, undamaged. All that to say this, that kind of immediate answer to prayer doesn’t usually last. Kris Vallotton, a favorite speaker of mine, calls that beginner’s luck. I think it is just God confirming his love for new believers, but eventually they need to mature a little… Here’s how it happened to me.
New believers, Disney Land experience with faith healing, eventually comes to an end.
When Shary and I started attending the Philadelphia Church of Hammond, Oregon, we saw some amazing miracles. I talked a little about it in last week’s blog “Faith Healing Part 1”. We saw many healings and miraculous answers to prayer. About this same time, Shary approached me about wanting to attend a wedding in Sacramento and then fly from there to Disneyland with the kids and I. We were literally living from paycheck to paycheck at the time and my first reaction was no way, we don’t have that kind of money. Shary was not giving up that easily, she asked me to figure out how much it would cost, then she told me she and the kids were going to pray for the money; if that amount of unexpected money came in, could we do it? I said sure, but it won’t. just to prove it to her, I sat down and crunched the numbers. Shary told me what the new clothes would run us, I added in the cost of gas for the trip, I even added in wear and tear on the car. I figured out what I would lose in wages. I got paid by the hour and had no sick leave or vacation pay. Then I added the airfare and Disney tickets. Needless to say, the grand total was impressive. Shary began to pray anyway, and to my total amazement, money started to come in, little by little from many unexpected places. When we got closer to the grand total she started giving me that look. She didn’t say it out loud, but you know that look. It’s that look, the one with the little sparkle in the eyes, that says, “see I told you God would do this”. So, being the big-hearted guy that I am, when we got within ten dollars of the grand total, I gave in and said she could buy the tickets. The story doesn’t end there however, the night before we left, someone left a plate of cookies wrapped on our front porch. We found them the next morning and inside, with the cookies, was a ten dollar bill. God had answered her prayers to the penny!
I learned three major lessons from that experience: 1) God loves us enough to let us enjoy life. 2) He sometimes does it in such a way as to make sure we know he did it. And Finally, 3) I learned that God had no problem helping my wife to prove I was wrong and she was right. (If you ask me the two against one seemed a little unfair though, just sayin’.)
OK, so because of all these things, Shary and I really started embracing this new area of faith. At our former church we had received faith concerning salvation and Biblical advice about marriage and family. But, at our new church, we were adding onto that faith for everyday miracles and healing.
We were so excited about God that we began praying in earnest for our families to get saved. We had been praying for some of Shary’s family and wanted to see them come to the Lord, and our trip to Sacramento was going to give us some opportunities to talk to them about Jesus. But when we got there our witnessing seemed to be falling on deaf ears. The day before the wedding we were hanging out playing basketball when Shary’s brother had sprained his ankle quite badly. We felt that this was an opportunity to show him the reality of God and his love, through faith healing. We asked him if we could lay our hands on his ankle, because we believed God would heal it. He said we were nuts. He said faith healing wasn’t real. But he was stuck in a chair with his leg up and finally agreed to let us try it. In faith, we laid hands on his ankle and asked God to heal him in Jesus’ name. We had no doubt that God was going to do this, but… nothing happened; at least nothing that her brother (or we) saw. He openly ridiculed us. An opportunity we felt would bring him closer to God had seemingly ended up moving him further away. We went home feeling discouraged and let down by God.
So what do you do when God doesn’t? When faith healing doesn’t work, or anytime God doesn’t answer your prayers, then what do you do?
In Hebrews Chapter eleven, we are told, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
Our ultimate goal was for Shary’s brother to make peace with God. But what ended up happening was I became less zealous for God. Like so many Christians who have had similar experiences, my desire to pray and witness dropped off dramatically. Have you ever experienced anything like this?
Shortly after that experience I was reading the story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Something they said went deep into my heart. I believe it is the secret to consistent faith and pleasing God. It is found in chapter three of the book of Daniel. In that chapter, King Nebuchadnezzar orders everyone small and great to bow down before to an idol of his own creation or be thrown into a fiery furnace. These three young men told Nebuchadnezzar that their God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, and that he would save them, but even if he did not save them from the fire, they still would not bow to any so called God but Jehovah. Ultimately, they were thrown into the furnace, and God showed up and was in it with them. As the story goes they came out of the experience without even the smell of smoke on them. Even though God didn’t stop them from being punished, he was with them in the punishment and turned defeat into victory.
In a nutshell, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said…
- “The God we serve is able to save us” (They possessed faith in God’s ability)
- “and he will rescue us” (They possessed faith in God’s willingness.)
- “But even if he does not” (They were more concerned with pleasing God than pleasing the king or saving themselves)
Once I got a hold of that concept, and shared it with others, there was no stopping us. We determined that when we prayed we would confess that the God we serve is able to answer our prayer, that he will answer our prayer, but even if he doesn’t do it immediately we will continue to act in faith, if for no other reason then to simply please him. I believe there are three basic levels of faith.
Level one is to believe that God is able. This is a huge step for many people in our society. Our schools and society in general have been teaching us that the only world that exists is the physical world.
Level two is to believe that he will answer our prayers. A lot of Christians believe that God is able to heal and do miracles, they just don’t believe that he will. For them the next step is to believe that he wants to and that he will. One man, speaking to Jesus, put it this way, “I believe, I believe, help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24
Level three is to continue to act in faith, even if God chooses not to answer your prayer in the way you want. Many people, like me, got to level two because it was easy to believe. But when it got difficult we stopped believing and, more importantly, stopped praying for miracles.
The real key to all of this was in Hebrews chapter eleven. Paul states that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently (working persistently to) seek him.”
There apostle Paul also states that many of the great people of faith did not receive in this life, all the things God had promised.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Paul then goes on to give many examples of people who got what they prayed for. Then, in verse thirty-five, he starts sharing about people who didn’t get what they prayed for, people who were tortured, sawed in two, people who lived in caves and holes in the ground. Paul said that the people who prayed and believed God, but didn’t immediately get what they asked for, would get it in heaven and get more. Paul says they were going to get a better resurrection.
So my conclusion was this: If we share Jesus with people, regardless of how they respond, and if we pray for people, regardless of the immediate outcome, it pleases God. If we get what we prayed for then we have our immediate reward. If we don’t get what we pray for God is still pleased with us and will do something to reward our faith, either in this life or the one to come. Armed with this new insight, we can’t lose.
So what has become of our faith healing?
Now we pray for almost everyone who will let us. We realize it is not our responsibility to heal them. We know that God is able to heal them, and we know that, ultimately, he wants to heal them. We now understand though that if this isn’t his time we are not going to just stop the process simply because we can’t see the immediate results.
Since adopting this three-point approach to faith, which focuses more on pleasing God, (without faith it is impossible to please him) we are seeing blind eyes opened, the lame walk, captives to sin set free and people receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior more and more each year.
I recently went to Thailand with Craig Demo and Ambassador Ministries. One day we prayed for tribal people who lived way up in the jungle, virtually every person we prayed for got healed. They lined up for hours to be prayed for. One man was blind in one eye, his brother had thrown a knife at him and hit is eye. He had been blind in that eye ever since. After we prayed for him, with his good eye covered, he read the letters on a pickup truck across the street.
The final outcome to all of this is that we are not discouraged when our faith seems to fail. Oh, about Shary’s brother; he eventually received Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and soon afterward he quit a very high paying job and went to work, for a very low wage, as a full-time children’s church director at his church. We feel that our prayers for him were ultimately answered and in a way that was beyond anything we could have asked or imagined.
Jesus said, “As you go, preach, saying,’ the kingdom of heaven is near. ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. . Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7&8)
Jesus also said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” ”And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
Jesus shed his own blood so we could be healed!
“But he (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 KJV
When the Roman soldiers were whipping Jesus and cutting great bloody stripes across his back, he could have said “that is enough” he could have stopped the whole thing. Instead, he took it so that we, and the ones we love, could be healed. It is a tragedy of the highest form not to receive this love gift from him. Faith healing is one of the ways that we are to honor him among unbelievers. Listen to the apostle Peter.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” Acts 4:8-10
Faith healing concepts!
YOU CAN DO THE WORKS OF JESUS, YOU CAN DO GREATER WORKS THAN JESUS, IF YOU SIMPLY BELIEVE JESUS!
If you would like to see people receive Christ, if you would like to see God do miracles, you should join me this March on a trip to Thailand, with Craig Demo and Ambassador Ministries. Openings for this trip are limited, so don’t wait. Contact me by leaving a comment in our comment section and I will get back to you. Just include the word Thailand.
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:18-19
Our purpose for writing each week is to obey Matthew 5:19, providing you with biblical advice on the care and feeding of your body. We do it because this advice is so rare. We also do it, because we see thousands of good Christians, whose lives have been cut short, simply because they were never taught what the Word of God and the Law of God had to say about health and wellness.
If you believe God knows best, join us and the Wellness Gospel team; register for our weekly newsletter, then spread the word by sharing this with your friends on social media and may God bless you richly.
If you want to keep improving your health, and enjoy this kind of biblical scientific information, then I would like to recommend three must-read books.
- “None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, M.D. and David E. Stern, D http://tinyurl.com/hh7ezs2
- “Let’s Play Doctor” by Dr. Joel Wallac
- “God’s Guide To Biblical Health and Healing” by Rev. Chris & Shary Schauermann http://tinyurl.com/zvkbfau
You can get all these books at Amazon.com or simply click on the URL under each book title.