Four Types of Divine Healing
Type #1: A virus enters my body, and my white blood cells are launched into action like a rabid dog, hunting down the perpetrator to kill it. I cut my hand, and immediately a combination of clotting blood cells and replacement skin cells begin the patch-up job. Every second, as my heart beats, tiny bits of mineral and organic material are sent to parts of the body that need it, performing ongoing repairs that will never finish, as if painting the Forth bridge. My body is being healed all the time, and it’s a result of the grace of the God who created me, searches me, knows me and loves me that he has designed a body that functions that way. I never want to forget – although I often do – the daily wonder of living in a self-repairing physical body.
Type #2: A young man attending a training event with me, who was born deaf, is immediately healed when someone prays for him in Jesus’ name, and promptly calls his fiancée with his (until now deaf) ear to the phone, and has a (very excitable) conversation with her. A woman who has been wheelchair-bound for years is prayed for in Jesus’ name, is immediately healed and gets out of her wheelchair, and months later phones the benefits office to stop her disability benefits, whereupon she is told that the system does not allow for miracles, so she will have to keep receiving them (which leads the Daily Mail and the BBC to run an outraged story about it). A young woman whose protein allergy immediately disappears, in response to healing prayer, now has the words “miracle cure” in her official NHS file. A Jewish prophet lays his hands on blind eyes and deaf ears, with or without mud and spit, and causes them instantly to see and hear. “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
Type #3: I cycle into the middle of a main road aged eleven, and collide with a VW beetle, with the result that my tibia and fibula are smashed between the car and the bike, and the windscreen wiper makes a four inch deep stab wound in my side, between my liver and my spleen, right before I land on the tarmac headfirst. An ambulance appears within minutes, and a splint is put on my leg. A surgeon removes the glass from inside my torso and then repairs it, leaving only a scar (which looks like a shark-bite and is good for parties). My leg is reset under general anaesthetic, which kicks in within seconds of being injected into my arm, and after sixteen weeks I am running around again like a normal eleven-year old. The materials to build the hospital, the oil that fuels the ambulance and enables me to get there before I die from blood loss, the image of God in the paramedics that makes them give themselves to rescuing people they’ve never met, the wisdom of the surgeon, the intelligence and skill of the thousands of individuals whose discoveries have made operating theatres and anaesthesia possible – all of these are gracious gifts of a loving God, whose mercy enables healings to take place across the world that would, in any other generation, be considered quite miraculous. No wonder they call him Yahweh-who-heals-you (Ex 15:26).
Type #4: A trumpet sounds, and the dead are raised in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, never to perish again. Physical bodies become incorruptible, spiritual, glorious, powerful; no sickness or affliction will ever befall them again. Cholera and cancer are consigned to the cosmic skip for all eternity. Operating theatres, doctors, ambulances and health secretaries become a thing of the past. Nobody cries, except with joy. Nobody grieves. The sterile smell of the Emergency Department corridor is no more. The octogenarians who sit, walnut-faced, under blankets in wheelchairs in hospital reception areas are given a new life and a new youth that will never again be stolen by the long march of time. Every deaf ear is unblocked, every damaged limb is made whole, every blind eye sees. Autism and Down’s syndrome and schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s are swallowed up in victory. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Cor 15:26).
I want us to see as much of type #2 as possible. As a local church, we are in a season of seeing a fair bit more of it than we have been used to. Yet for those of us who may not be seeing so much, let’s continue to pursue more in prayer, but without forgetting the glorious existence of types #1, #3 and #4. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases (Ps 103:2-3).