When God heals crutches can be superfluous!
A. Miracles in the Bible
Let us begin with the Bible. Already in the Old Testament we read about miracles. The Syrian general Naaman was leprous. There were more than one disorders which were indicated by leprosy. Anyway leprosy has also several forms. There is a variant which is a little contagious, and there is a variant which is very contagious
Naaman got the advice of a Jewish female slave to go to the prophet in Israel. In that time Elisha was that. It is anyway remarkable, that this female slave gave that advice to the one who kept her in slavery. She could also have said: "Die now!" Apparently the girl had learned by the Spirit of the God of Israel to love also her enemies. Naaman followed the advice and went to Israel. After some commotion (the king of Israel did not trust it and thought that the general looked for a reason to start a war) the general arrived at the house of Elisha and got the advice to immerse himself seven times in the Jordan River. Firstly he did not want that and had despising thoughts about that river. But on the advice of his servants he did it eventually and to his gladness he was healed! Then he acknowledged that the God of Israel is the real God!
By Elisha still much more miracles were done. Or better said: "By God". Elisha was only a tool in God's hand to give certain signs. God can do that also without mediation of people. But sometimes God chooses to involve people. Therefore we must be aimed not too much on the healer, but rather on God Himself, Who is the true cause of the miracles.
In that time there was for example someone who was chopping with an axe. But the iron flew from the helve and arrived in the water, where it sunk immediately to the bottom. Then Elisha took a piece of wood and threw it in the water. Then God turned the laws of the nature for a moment. The wood sunk to the bottom and the iron of the axe came floating and could be fetched.
In the New Testament it is mainly the Lord Jesus Who does miracles. Blind received sight. Lame could walk suddenly. Deaf suddenly heard the sounds around them. Dumb began to speak. Even dead were resurrected. Lazarus for example died. The Lord Jesus was very friendly with him and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. But while he was dying He was elsewhere in the country. Only four days after He came to visit the bereaved women. He asked where the grave was and the tears ran down his face of emotion. Then the Lord Jesus came at the grave and thanked God the Father, because He knew already in advance what would happen. Then He called with a loud voice: "Lazarus, come out!" (Apparently Lazarus was buried in a sort of cave, which happened more at that time). And indeed Lazarus came out, while his hands, feet and face were still wrapped in clothes. Probably Lazarus had been embalmed before his funeral yet or something like that. By order of the Lord Jesus the gravecloths were removed and Mary and Martha had received back their brother. Moreover the people witnessed this miracle and many came to faith.
The resurrection of Lazarus from the dead.
Another time the Lord Jesus met a woman with a curved back, who could not raise herself. It was not just a temporary disorder. No, already eighteen years she suffered under it. Her back was probably completely deformed. But on the word of power of the Saviour (one of the names of the Lord Jesus) her back became straight again!
When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, the big curtain in the temple (between the holy and the holy of holies) tore suddenly in two. There came an earthquake and rocks rent. Graves were opened and people rose from the dead. They walked to Jerusalem and appeared to many.
After the death, the resurrection and the ascension of the Lord Jesus (how were that resurrection and that ascension also great miracles!) the miracles did not stop. Also by Paul and the other apostles miracles were done. On the day of Pentecost the apostles suddenly spoke in languages, which they never learned, so that all foreigners, who resided temporarily in Jerusalem because of the Jewish Feast of Weeks, could hear about God's wonderful works and about the gospel. And during the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul it happened, that sick were already cured when one laid a garment of Paul on them.
The apostle John, who was exiled for his faith to the island of Patmos, had a special experience. The Lord Jesus appeared to him in heavenly glory. John received then the order to write letters to 7 congregations in Asia Minor (now Turkey) to reprimand or just encourage these congregations. The Lord Jesus radiated a heavenly light. He was clothed with a long garment down to the feet, had a golden belt, His head and hair were white as snow, and His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like glowing brass and His voice was like the sound of a waterfall. Out of His mouth went a sharp sword and His face was like the sun, when it shines with power. The impression of this appearance had so much effect on John, that he fell like dead at the feet of the Lord Jesus.
Daniel had at the time of the Old Testament already a similar experience. We read that in Daniel 10. Daniel sees there an angel or the Lord Jesus Himself (as the Saviour was there before the creation days of Genesis 1). The description of the person, who is seen by Daniel, matches in many respects the description of the Lord Jesus, as mentioned above. And also Daniel collapses at the sight of so much heavenly glory and falls forward on the ground. But Daniel must rise again and receives new powers.
One can dismiss all these stories as fairy tales. But are they really fairy tales? Miracles still happen today!!
B. Miracles in our time
1. Sri Lanka
The young Nita Edwards from the Asian Sri Lanka was a sporty athletic woman. It was around the year 1976. She had just won the day before with her team many matches and gained all but one the trophies for women. But suddenly she slid down the stairs of the student home and could not rise up anymore at the bottom of the stairs. Her legs refused. People rushed to and helped her up. And then she could still in pain and effort drag herself to her room. She forced herself to laugh at the incident. For her study she went all the way from Sri Lanka to North India and the final examination was already over two weeks. So she could not afford to pay much attention to her painful body, she thought. But on the way to the toilet she noticed that she had lost her balance. Every 3 or 4 steps she was in danger to fall. And it got still worse. In the evening she fell already every turn. The next day she went around with a walking stick. What an embarrassment for this athletic woman! She said mockingly to the people: "I exercise myself in high jump". But in the course of the days the pain intensified. A deathly insensibility came upwards in her legs. At the urging of a girlfriend she let bring herself to a doctor. He noted that 2 intervertebral discs were completely shattered.
The doctor also said, that Nita had to be hospitalized immediately. For financial reasons she refused, but she let herself be taken back by plane to Sri Lanka to be hospitalized there. Her family could then help her. In the hospital she was wrapped in plaster and put to bed with her legs hoisted. A weight of 7 kilos on it had to straighten again her damaged spine. There came however no improvement in her situation. From her bed she still studied and read in the Bible, including Psalm 46: 1: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." But what did she perceive of that? A kidney infection came also and she got one ailment after another. Also her body began to grow crooked slowly. Her toes began to be bent and her legs began to be twisted. Her digestive system was the next problem. She got constipation and sharp cramps. Only soup, juice and porridge she could somewhat bear. On one day however she got terrible suffocating cramps and lost her consciousness. The head nurse thought she would die. But Nita came back. The destruction however continued. Her speech ability fell almost and sometimes completely out and she could see almost nothing anymore. And sometimes she was also a guinea pig for the medical people, who often thought more of their own interest than of her welfare.
Because Nita could not expect much of the hospital anymore she chose to live in an apartment with personal care. It seemed rather absurd, but it was nevertheless accomplished with the help of family and friends.
On one day, when she was alone, she suddenly heard a voice. She startled, because she thought that she was alone in the room. There was indeed no other man in the room. The Lord Himself spoke to her and said: "I am going to establish you to bring the gospel to Asia." There was still added: "I shall heal you on Friday February 11." With difficulty she stretched herself out to the bell and let come her nurse. But she found no one else in the room. And there was also no radio or tape recorder on. Yet Nita still doubted. Did God really spoke to her? Or maybe the devil? Therefore she still asked God an affirmative sign. She wanted to hear the message again, but then in public, with other people there.
In the following time a new church was consecrated. Nita's friends wanted that Nita would also go to the dedication service, in a wheelchair. With great reluctance she agreed with that. In that church someone spoke out a message. These were precisely the words, that the voice had spoken in her room. Her heart jumped for delight! Subsequently the next day she asked God to disclose her also what time she would be healed. A soft inner voice spoke deep in her heart: "Half past three in the afternoon." At first she told nothing to her nurse, because she was not a Christian. But not long after that Nita got however the feeling, that she had to involve her nurse in the case. With the help of that nurse she wrote on a piece of paper: "Friday, February 11, 1977, 3:30 p.m." The nurse had to keep this.
Only to a few Christian friends Nita told what she expected exactly. A number of people had to be present at the appointed day and time. Also medical experts to confirm the authenticity of the healing. Meanwhile she looked forward with great longing to the mentioned day and time. Finally it was so far. At exactly 3:30 the Lord Jesus came in a blinding glory into the room. Nita was overflowing filled with longing for Him and with His unlimited love. And then He stretched out a pierced hand to her and touched her. Instantly she was healed!
A moment later the Buddhist nurse came in and could not believe her eyes, because she saw Nita rising up and running. Nita hit her arms around her. Then the nurse fetched the paper with the date and the time and wept of emotion. Nita was indeed completely healed and devoted her life to God. God had confirmed what it written in Hebrews 13: 8: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."
2. South Africa
Passenger transport in some countries
In the year 1966 there rose a great revival among the Zulus in South Africa. A revival means that God's Spirit works with power and massive among the people. By this revival people begin to pray intense, they get a clear conviction of own sins, and they focus with their heart and soul on God and the things that have to do with Him. Revivals are often also accompanied by miracles. In this way God shows that He really exists and calls people to faith and repentance, so that His Kingdom on earth is built up, and that the true believers will inherit the eternal life.
Also in South Africa happened in that time and also long after many miracles. Lame were healed and could walk again, blind got the sight, deaf began to hear, etc. But the people who wanted to be healed had to confess their sins previously. It was certainly not the intention that they would continue with pagan idolatry and other sins with a healed body.
The revival began already very impressive. God's Spirit was working suddenly so powerful in the pagan witch doctors and other Zulus, that they came massive to the missionary post because they felt that they needed salvation. People came in hundreds and again hundreds. Eventually they were thousands. Then demons were cast out and the Gospel was proclaimed to the people. The number of new believers grew steadily. The co-workers of the missionary post, who dedicated themselves to take care of the people, worked almost day and night!
If the missionaries and evangelists, who were used by God in this revival, held a meeting elsewhere in the country, the people came from near and far to the meeting place. The trucks or bus that were used to transport the people were packed! On one day the driver of such a car wanted to pass a blind black woman with a little girl on the hand. But the blind woman wanted to stop the car, because she wanted to go with. She wanted to be cured of her blindness! However the car was already so full that she was refused. Bitter weeping she remained behind. It was a Friday. On Saturday the meeting was held. There were ten blind, who all got the light in their eyes! On Sunday the car went back to bring the people home. Again the black woman stood on the side of the road. But now she was happy and exulted. "I can see!" she cried, "now I am also a disciple of Jesus Christ!" They asked about the time of the healing. That was exactly the time when the other blind people were healed during the meeting! God had not forgotten her and had given her grace, although she could not come to the meeting!
Sentenced to death, praying for God's grace.... Would God still look after him?
The English girl Glady Aylward grew up in the time of the First World War (1914-1918). At first she wanted nothing have to do with the Christian faith, but through the words of a preacher however she came to believe. The preacher had spoken about 2 Corinthians 5: 10: "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." This message made her restless and finally she surrendered herself completely to the Lord. After a certain time she even got the conviction, that she had to go to China to bring the Gospel there. After an attempt to follow a missionary course and a time of saving money she went on the journey and arrived in China. It was 1932. There she became the help of a missionary, who already resided in the country. But after a certain time the older woman died and Glady stood alone. With God's help however she could do blessed work. It was however not always easy. Far from it! When the Japanese attacked China also her home was hit by a bomb. The devastation was great and she had to rebuild everything. Moreover once she made a serious mistake. Because she took initially a neutral position she could bring the gospel both among the Chinese and the Japanese soldiers. But one time she let tempted herself to bring over information about the Japanese army to a Chinese officer. Then a prize was awarded by the Japanese for anyone, who would deliver Glady into their hands. Glady was forced to flee and took a multitude of children with her, who were cared for by her. These children were designated on her help, because many girls were abused by the Japanese and also the boys had reason to fear them.
But God also uses people in His service, who make mistakes! (Otherwise God could use nobody, because everyone makes mistakes!). Glady was however allowed to be a blessing for many Chinese. Sometimes they came massively to believe! From the Chinese government she got permission to go regularly to jail to make known God's Word also there. One of the prisoners however mocked her and imitated her in a comical way, while going to stand on a chair. One day however, when he wanted to imitate Glady again, he noticed that a heavy pressure was exerted on his arms. He could not lift them anymore like else. He began to stutter and then it seemed as if his tongue was locked up. After a walk he tried again, but again it failed. After the third failure, when the other men laughed at him, he became furious. He got involved in a fight with another man and tried to murder him. The other men called the guards and they brought the mocker to a cell for the most severely punished. His hands and feet were riveted in iron fetters. The next day the death sentence was pronounced upon him again. Free roaming in the courtyard was not allowed anymore.
In his death cell the fright hit his heart. The earthly death penalty was only one thing. But in this way he would go to hell. Great was his fear. How did he like to listen again to the Gospel of the missionary. But it was excluded. He could still in no way come into contact with her. The missionary however also heard about him and his desire to meet her still once. At her authority he still was allowed to attend the Word-preaching one time, but fettered. With tears he moaned: "I need Jesus". Glady prayed with the others for him and then he was brought to his cell again. In death agony he lay there on his knees praying. For days he was tormented by fear of hell.
Then the Lord Jesus came into his cell in a bright shining light. It was so intensely bright, that it did shake the prisoner. But then he saw the figure of a Person in that light. In his heart he got the conviction that he was the Lord Jesus and he said: "O Lord Jesus, Thou art." And the Lord answered: "Yes, I am." The prisoner looked at the Saviour and saw His beauty. Later he told: "Oh, he was so inexpressively clean... so dear... so precious... so pure... so holy. Then he said to me: 'Arise and follow me!" The chains fell off him and the cell was filled with an unspeakable delicious fragrance.
Later also the guard and the governor noticed, that a miracle had happened. For the prisoner was no longer fettered, while the key of the fetters was still hanging in the office of the governor on the wall. Also the inexpressively delicious fragrance, which still hung in the cell, was a proof that indeed a great miracle had happened! Eventually the prisoner was pardoned. No longer he had to undergo the death penalty. The Lord Jesus had really said: "Follow me." And when the Son of God says something like that, then He always takes care, that it is really possible in practice. For He can tend the hearts of the people as He wants!
Before Betsie died God gave her visions of a future relief centre for war victims. After the war her sister Corrie came at that house. The description of Betsy proved to be exactly right! (The picture on the photo is another house and serves only as an example).
As the Dutch Corrie ten Boom (from Haarlem) with her family had provided shelter to the Jews in World War II, she and her sister Betsie were brought to the German concentration camp Ravensbrück. There the deprivations were great. They got very few food and had to do heavy forced labor. In their beds the fleas were crawling around. In this Corrie saw still even a benefit. The wardresses anxiously avoided the bedroom, so that they could tell there freely about the Bible to the other prisoners. Betsy particularly was a example of charity and faith, that is: Faith in God's goodness. But for Betsy the life was too heavy there. She succumbed from the afflictions. Before she died however she received visions from God about a relief centre, that after the war would be used for people, who needed recovery from the horrors of a concentration camp. The dying Betsy said: "It is a beautiful house, Corrie! Everywhere parquet floors and statues along the walls, and a wide spiral staircase. And great gardens! At all sides gardens, with flowers in it. This will do them well, Corrie; flower care!"
When the war was over Corrie came at a large house, which she did not know. The woman owner told, that the house would be used for people who had suffered under their captivity. This made Corrie think again of the vision of her deceased sister. She asked: "Are there... parquet floors inside, and a wide gallery around a hall, and... eh... sculptures along the walls?" The owner looked surprised at Corrie. "You have been there before?! I do not remember...". "No," said Corrie, "but I have heard it from...". The owner added: "From someone who has been here." "Yes," said Corrie, "from someone who has been here." But Betsy had never been there! By God's providence He showed it to Betsy, when she was dying in the concentration camp! Corrie did not know however what she had to say, when the owner asked her later for an explanation. It was too wonderful for her.
Besides we could say also, that Betsie has been there (so to speak!) in her mind. In such a way also the Biblical prophet Elisha spoke, when he said to his servant Gehazi: "Did my heart not go with you?" The servant had to wit done something that Elisha did not find good, and he thought that his master did not know it. But God had made that Elisha experienced all things with him in his mind, as if he were there himself!
5. The Netherlands
With God's help over the fence!
Someone in the Netherlands experienced something very special in a perilous situation. As he himself wrote down his story, we shall let him speak for himself:
Often I was in my life the victim of vandalism, harassment and destructive mania. Some years ago however that destructiveness got a very special tail for me. I was almost perished. At that time once again things of mine had been destroyed, simply because they liked that. Luckily I work in a factory where iron is worked. So sometimes I can repair something of myself in my spare time at the factory or make something new.
One evening there would be worked overtime by some colleagues. I was allowed then to be also in the factory to repair the damage for myself. Around 18:00 o'clock I decided to go to a nearby filling station to buy some bread rolls. The gate of the fence of the factory site was still open, because also the director was still within the company. However: Just when I was gone, he went home and closed the gate behind him. He had not thought of me.
So when I returned I stood before a closed gate. A very unfortunate situation. What should I begin now? My colleagues inside had a key, but they were in a factory part which was far removed from that fence. Would I go back home? But then I had to travel in my dirty overall by public transport. And that was repugnant to me. I could also walk home two and a half hours. But well considered that all was pointless. For I did not have even my house keys with me! What should I do?
As a child I liked to climb the highest tree. Would I try to climb over the high fence? At the top of the fence were furthermore three lines with barbed wire. Nevertheless I ventured a try. In retrospect I was far too reckless. It would have been better to wait outside until the end of the evening, when my colleagues would go home. Then they would have given me the opportunity to take my bag and my coat (with travel subscription card and keys). But that did not come in my mind then.
The climb upward was quite easy. At one place the fence was bordering the factory building. This enabled me to put my feet in a window frame while climbing. Soon I stood up on the fence, while I was holding the building for not losing my balance. The barbed wire was against my lower legs, but that did not bother me.
Suddenly I was shocked very much. The fence was found at the top very slippery, probably because it had just rained. This was not included in my calculation! I realized at that moment immediately very clear: One wrong move and I slip out, with disastrous consequences! Because I was accustomed to need and to call upon the Lord with all kinds of things, also then I called upon Him: "Lord, help me! Help me!" What would the Lord do? What do we expect from Him and His omnipotence?
All of a sudden the fence started to fall in under my weight. (Under normal circumstances, such a fence is much too strong for that!). At first I thought: "An extra disaster!" But soon I realized, that the Lord was working for me to save me from this perilous situation. Essentially I just got a lift down! The fence did not collapse immediately, no, it was very nice and gradual. I did not even lose my balance though I could not hold on something while descending. It was as if He Himself was holding me! When I came to a safe altitude, the fence did not sink down further. But then I could jump down without danger on the other side of the fence. What a deliverance!
Later I was reminded of Psalm 91 verse 11 and 12: "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." Now I was allowed to experience this personally! If I had perished I had not been able to retell. Or I had been disabled in my further life. But not a hair of my head was mortified! God's governance is really about everything with perfect precision. And if God however allows suffering in our lives (frequently be the victim of vandalism is also a form of suffering) than we may know that not everything will remain so. God is going to give an eternal unspeakably glorious future to those who love Him! And as of now His signs and wonders precede already His coming, so that we know we do not believe in fairy tales. To Him comes that heaven and earth praise and glorify Him! As the poet of Psalm 108: 3, 4 and 5 sings so beautiful:
3. I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.
4. For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.
5. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth;
C. Are all miracles coming from God?
The answer to this question should be: No! Also the devil, the great adversary of God with his billions of demons (= evil spirits), can work miracles! This is among other things evident from the following story.
Pseudo-gold .... is only cold.
Are we surrendered to karma, fate and lot?....
Or do we lean and rely on the love of a merciful God?
Rabi Maharaj grew up in Trinidad as a Hindu. According to the teachings of his faith the divine was in himself. He had only to realize this divine and then he would be God! For this he did his utmost best by living according to the principles that were taught him. Nonviolence was such a principle. But at the Ram-leela-party he and hundreds of other vegetarians cheered about the heroic deeds of Hanuman and Rama on the battlefield, and how more violent the participants played it the nicer they found it. Further he did not understand it well too. He had learned that everything was ONE and that Brahman was the only Reality. Everything else was only illusion. Why there had still to be fought? His health was besides also not good at that time. So the divinity was still far away... And for his mother he tried to conceal that he was at an early age already addicted to smoking. The cigarettes he acquired by theft and that tormented his conscience terribly. When he brought a purification offering and bowed for a cow, a sacred animal for the Hindus, the animal attacked him with the head down. Rabi ran away. His god was chasing him! Why did his god that? This question followed him the next days. Even an authoritative person could not answer this question. On one day he grabbed an old leather belt and thrashed a couple of young nieces of him. After that he retired, full of shame and startled about himself. To forget these events he put his whole heart on the religious ceremonies. When he was in deep meditation his gods were often visible and talked with him. But what gods were they in fact? For what spirits he had opened himself? What influences and forces had come in his life?
On one day he and his father were offended by his aunt. Partly she had reason for that probably. But Rabi could not bear that. He suddenly saw a set of heavy barbells which were used by someone who practiced lifting weights. Blind of rage he grabbed a bar and lifted it at one side as if it was a light stick. He swayed it in its entirety over his shoulder and directed it at the head of his aunt. But someone in the neighborhood did a desperate sally and grabbed the other end. The barbell fell with a terrible thud on the ground, by which the thick concrete was crushed. When he somewhat understood what had happened he ran heartbreaking sobbing upstairs. How could he as a preacher of nonviolence do such a thing? And where did that supernatural power come from suddenly? He locked himself in his room, threw himself on his bed and stayed laying there for hours for his feeling, crying softly, unable to believe what had happened. His world had collapsed. How could he ever still meet his aunt and others face to face? It was even his habit to watch where he walked, lest he would not step accidentally on an ant or beetle. How could he have raised then his hand against the sister of his mother?
After midnight, when everyone was asleep, he went to investigate, because he wanted to know how heavy the bar actually was. The thing was still on the place where it had fallen. He grabbed the bar with both hands, now in the middle, and pulled with all his might. But he could not get the barbell a centimetre from the ground. Now he knew for sure. But where had that enormous strength come from? Had he been possessed by one of the spirits he had met in a trance?, he asked himself. He was in any case certain, that the cause was something evil. And how could he avoid, that that evil power would dominate him again at some moment? And then perhaps with more serious consequences? That question tormented him. And how could he convince himself, that he was divine and had to develop himself to God?
Finally Rabi came to faith in the Lord Jesus. Then he understood much better yet where that rage and that strength came from. From God's adversary, the devil, and his followers: the evil spirits. As a Christian he had lost that enormous power, but he got something much better in its place: Peace with God! He then also learned what true forgiveness meant. As a Hindu he believed in karma. What a man sows he will reap in the next life. Mistakes are only to make good by suffering for it during a long time. But with Christ it was so different. Through faith in His sacrifice all his sins were forgiven and so really gone! Thus the way was open to God's joy in his heart! Tears of happiness and delight filled his eyes. He felt the love of the Lord Jesus flow into his soul. His secret store of cigarettes he threw away. He even did not need it anymore. His life had become new!
D. Considerations after all
How marvellous is it, that God does such great miracles! With that He often shows not only, that He really exists, but also that His Word, that people have in the Bible, is reliable! Also in this way God reveals His love, power and glory!
However also a danger threatens here. In some Christian companies almost everything revolves around miracles. When someone is ill there and experiences no miracle of healing, they often state that it is his or her own fault. The person in question would have a lack of faith in that case. In this way they make people depressed or desperate, if they are not healed from a certain disease. Such disappointed people often leave disillusioned the Christian community, that they had joined delighted at first. How sad is that! Such people simply did not receive the correct spiritual food from the part of that community. Through that they become malnourished and tune out.
What about the miracles? Why the one is cured and the other not? And if someone is not healed, is it then always due to him or her? To begin with the last question: We can not simply state, that it is always his or her own fault, if someone does not heal. It is even cruel to make still even accusations to someone, who is not healed, because the healing does not come! It is not always due to the patient! On the other hand it is a good thing, if we use the means which God has given us in the Bible. Thus speaks the apostle James about the anointing of the sick in James 5: 14 and 15. Let the churches do not neglect that, but apply that! With that God can give to the patient or an intercessor a strong conviction, that healing will come. And if God Himself has worked that conviction, then one will not be disappointed with that.
And concerning the other questions:
In the first place God is sovereign, that is: He decides Himself whether He is going to heal someone or not. And He is accountable to no one, for He is the Creator of everything and everyone. Also Job had to learn this. Job lived so holy and righteous, that he was an example for many. However God allowed that Job became ill, because the devil had said, that Job would say goodbye to God, if He would seriously affect his health. But Job remained faithful to God (although he wanted to summon God to appear in court, because he did not understand anything of it; but no one can start a lawsuit against the eternal almighty God!). Job was eventually healed by God again and then he received still more blessings and prosperity than at first.
Job in his misery. Also people who live according to God's will, become sometimes heavily ill.
Further we read in 2 Timothy 4: 20: "Trophimus I have left at Miletum sick." This is said by Paul, who was allowed to do so many miracles by the power of God! But in this case he could not! So God Himself decides ultimately, because He is sovereign.
In the second place we must ask ourselves why God does miracles. Generally He does not do that in the first place to make someone happy, but primarily to give a sign of His presence, power, kingdom and truth. God wishes for everyone the utmost best, but He works according to His own order. What is most important, that is for Him indeed the most important. That is for example why God does especially miracles in mission areas. To the natives, who often have a primitive pagan religion, is thus proved that the true God is not to find in idols, but that He is the Creator of heaven an earth, and that He has revealed Himself in the Bible.
In the third place: If God would heal a Christian always, then he would live forever. No one however will always live in this mortal body. Also the people who are healed by God, die yet later (unless they witness the Second Coming of Christ, but that is something else). Also the so-called faith healers, who encourage people to open themselves for healing, are not still healed themselves, when the end of their lives has come. Yes, even among them are people who are hit by a myocardial infarction
or a terrible accident.
In the fourth place people in those circles, in which almost everything revolves around miracles, forget very often that the devil and his followers (the evil spirits) also do miracles. Therefore the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24: 24 and 25:
"24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25. Behold, I have told you before."
That false element is seen especially in the speaking in tongues. This means that people start speaking in languages they never learned, by the Spirit of God. Indeed this exists. The apostles had this also on the day of Pentecost, so that they could tell to all gathered foreigners about the Gospel and about God's great deeds. Since God is the Same as in former times, we may assume that speaking in tongues, as a gift from God, still occurs. But the devil, God's great adversary, can give it also! And that happens more than many would want to believe. Researchers have clearly detected this, among other things by translating the contents of some tongues (if it concerned a known language). Often it appeared to be terrible profanity! Therefore there should be much more testing. Paul spoke in 1 Corinthians 14: 28, that speaking in tongues only may occur in a congregation if there is an interpreter. But in many extreme Christian groups they do not keep this, with all the attendant risks.
In the fifth place people often also forget in those circles, that also suggestion can play a role in certain situations. Here the so-called tongues can be an example too. There people very often assume, that tongues is of fundamental importance for every Christian. Paul warns very clearly in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 for such imbalances. For God gives a variety of different gifts to His different children. In this way they can complement each other! Tongan language is not the most important for Paul. A message from God in an understandable language is more important for him. And the most important of all, he finds the LOVE! But then the highest form of love, namely the love coming from God. Through that we are going to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves.
But in those circles they often follow their own patterns of thinking and they do as if the speaking in tongues is the only gateway to receive God's Spirit richly. People are strongly urged to start speaking in tongues and who does not do it is quickly seen as stubborn and arrogant (as if a man has free disposition of God's supernatural gifts). If someone then, to get rid of the harping, emits some strange sounds, they say: "He has received the gift of tongues!" The testing is lacking entirely. The leaders do not ask themselves then where those sounds came from. Of God? Of the devil? Or just the person in question? People can imagine by suggestion, that they have received the tongues from God. In that case they had listened only to the sounds, which they themselves had invented.
Further it must be clearly said once again, that God heals by no means all the present people, when a so called faith healer makes a tour and attracts full rooms in different places. Research has demonstrated this afterwards. But on the other hand miracles do happen, also at such meetings! If we would deny that, we would wrong God very much! But let us not become disillusioned, when we are ill and God does not heal us. In this respect the before mentioned Betsie (see at 4. Germany) can be our example. She collapsed and died under the evils of the concentration camp. But continuously she was a example of faith, hope and love! She remained cheerful!
Another example is the American Joni Eareckson. She was paralyzed by a dive in shallow water. This made her back and/or cervical spine irreparably damaged. How much Joni sought healing from God! In a certain period she even trusted completely, that God would heal her. She even started calling people to tell, that she would be healed by God. (Who can therefore blame her for a lack of faith?). But God however did not do it. He had other plans for her. Through her God shows the whole world, that even severely disabled people can be glad and happy by the power of His Holy Spirit! Joni learned for example to paint with a paint brush between her teeth, and thus she makes detailed paintings that are famous and highly sought after. Her name went all over the world, also by her own books. There was also a film made about her life, that was translated into 15 languages. And later, in the eternal glory, Joni will be allowed to give her Lord forever honor, glory and greatness with a new and healthy body, with a joy that transcends all earthly notions!
Joni Eareckson is drawing with her mouth. Second picture: Her drawing from nearby.
And who can still say, after God did so many miracles, that that eternal glory is only a fairy tale? The Lord Jesus came in His heavenly glory to John on the island of Patmos, to Nita in Sri Lanka and to that prisoner in China. God healed the lame, the blind and the deaf in South Africa. He pulled Rabi Maharaj from the darkness of Hinduism. And he gave in Germany to Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie, and in America to Joni Eareckson, the courage to continue to joyfully bear witness to their Lord, although their conditions were horrible. How great and glorious is this God! Wouldn't we be set ablaze and in fire of love for Him?