Why did Hezekiah put a poultice of figs on his boils? (Isiah 38: 21-22)
When Hezekiah became ill, God sent prophet Isaiah to him to remind him that he was going to die. But when Hezekiah wept and prayed God heard his prayer and added fifteen years to his life. God also gave him a sign. Once God commanded healing, it will definitely happen. Yet Isaiah asked him to put a poultice of fig on his boil. A poultice of figs does not have the healing power. It must have been put for relief from pain or for a cooling effect. We can think that God asked him to do this as an act of obedience. Will anybody put a fruit on a raw boil? I doubt it. Similarly Elisha asked Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the river Jordan. The water of Jordan does not have any healing power. Then why did Elisha command that? He asked him to do it which appears to be a very small thing as an act of obedience. Naaman did it though he was very reluctant. And he received his healing. We can see this also as a similar incident.
Didn’t Paul leave Trophimus sick in Miletus? (2. Timothy 4:20)
There are some people who take this scripture and argue that healing is not God’s will. We have to remember one thing. The gift of healing is not a skill that a man of God carries with him all the time. The faith of the sick person plays a great role here. The faith of the person who is being prayed for is more relevant than the faith of the person who prays. So we can presume that there could be two possible reasons due to which Trophimus was not healed. The first is that we do not know the level of Trophimus’s faith. The second is that miracles and healing are two different topics. A miraculous healing is a miracle that happens in an instant. There is also another kind of healing that happens gradually. That is also God’s healing. From experience we can see that in such cases, along with the healing the person’s faith also increases. In John 4, we read about how Jesus healed the royal official’s son. John 4.52 says “ the hour when he began to amend”(KJV). We understand that healing began from the moment Jesus commanded healing. So we can assume that Trophimus started getting healed when Paul left him.
C. Didn’t Paul have a thorn in the flesh? (2 Corinthians 12:7)
In 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, Paul talks about a thorn he had in the flesh. Some people interpret this as a disease and try to prove that healing is ‘god’s will. This kind of thought process will only serve to deny and even to delay the deliverance God has provided for us.
There are some people who say that Paul’s eyesight was not good. “..............Lord has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit” said Ananias whom the Lord sent to Saul. God’s work is always complete. Look at Acts. 9: 12-17. It is a fact beyond doubt that Paul received complete eyesight.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says that he was given a thorn in the flesh, “lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations”(KJV). Those who claim to have a thorn in the flesh like Paul need to examine themselves to see if they have an abundance of revelations like Paul.
The expression “thorn in the flesh” is used seven times in the context of the nation of Israel. The Lord repeatedly warns the people of Israel that if they do not drive out the inhabitants of Canaan, according to Lord’s commandment they will become thorns in their sides.(Numbers 33:55) In none of these references, does the thorn mean a disease. It refers to a circumstance which pricks and pains like a thorn. Wherever Paul went, there was a demonic activity which would cause quarrel and strife and tried to hinder his work. Paul asked for deliverance from this. Look at this scripture carefully. When Paul asked for deliverance, the Lord answered him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” We should not start off by asking grace to face the devil’s attack in the beginning of a problem itself! God has given us the privilege to ask deliverance. It was the Lord’s answer that “MY grace is sufficient for you”. I would like to remind you that if you ask only for grace in your sickness instead of asking for healing, you will have to go through life bearing your sickness with grace! If you ask for healing and also for grace to face the disease, you may have to bear your sickness with grace for days altogether.
The best evidence for the fact that Paul’s thorn was not a disease is seen in 2 Corinthians 11: 23-28. Here Paul gives a long list of the hardships he hadto face while serving the Lord. Let us count the hardships which are elaborated here.
2 Corinthians 11: 23-28
I have worked much harder.
Been in prison more frequently.
Been flogged more severely.
Been exposed to death again and again.
To (9) Received from Jews five times- forty lashes minus one
(10) To (12) Beaten with rods three times.
(14) To (16) Shipwrecked three times
(17) Spent a day and night in the open sea
(18) Been constantly on the move
(19) Been in danger from the rivers
(20) I n danger from bandits
(21) In danger from own countrymen
(22) In danger from gentiles
(23) In danger in the city
(24) In danger in the country
(25) In danger in the sea
(26) In danger from false brothers
(29) Gone without sleep
(30) Hunger and thirst
(31) Often gone without food
(34) Concerned for all churches
Here we see a list of thirty four things. Is any of these a disease? Think about it. All who follow Christ Jesus have suffering. All who wish to live a godly life will have persecution. But remember that it is not blood pressure, diabetis or heart disease. So if you are suffering from a disease instead of consoling yourself that you have a thorn like Paul, remember that healing is your right as a child of God.
God allowed Paul to have a problem so that he would always trust in God’s presence without being conceited. Whenever the problem became more acute, the Lord’s presence and the Lord’s grace consoled him. When he was put in prison at Philippi, God miraculously sent deliverance. (Acts 16) When he was put in the prison in Jerusalem, the Lord came to him and encouraged him. (Acts: 23: 11) Why did not the Lord open the doors of the prison this time and take him out? That was the Lord’s will about Paul at that time.
D. What about Job?
The Lord himself said about Job that he is blameless and upright and that there is no one on earth like him and that he is a man who fears God and shuns evil.(Job 1:8) In the midst of disasters, not knowing what to do, Job first fell down and worshipped God(Job 1:20). After some days, he started weeping. In between from time to time, it is found that he strengthened himself in the Lord. “Even now my witness is in heaven and my advocate is on high.”(John 16:9) “Though he slay me yet will I hope in Him”. (Job 13: 15) “.......yet in my flesh will I see God” (Job 19:26)
Though he says all this, the accusation of his close friends, loneliness and pain of suffering push him to self pity and depression at times. But God Almighty who understood him in his situation, appeared to him. We see that the Lord asks him ninety questions in chapters 38, 39, 40 and 41. God could have explained everything to him. He could have explained all that happened to him. But he did not. Neither did he console him saying “It is OK”. He said only one thing. “Have you completely understood who God is?” God asked him many questions about His glory, greatness of His power, the variety of His creation and the depth of His wisdom. Job had one weakness. He looked only at the magnitude of His suffering. That took him to self pity and fear. When God asked him questions, one by one, we can assume that Job forgot himself and meditated on the glory of God. When Job heard, saw, understood and meditated on the glory of God he forgot his suffering. And his situation changed. Even today this is the path that is set before us. When we meditate on God’s Word, His promises and His glory and go ahead with His praise, we will not have time to listen to the opinions, experiences and discouraging words from those around us. Then the Word of God on which we meditate will give us healing. The Lord who sends His Word and will heal us (Psalms 107:20) and will perform a miracle through His Word.
Let us look at Proverbs 4:20-22. We see a good advice here. “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” (NIV) God’s Word has power to give healing to a man’s whole body. But we need to pay attention to it, listen closely and keep them in our sight and within our heart. Then we will receive our healing.
E. That man was such a great man of God. Still he suffered so much. That sister was so faithful. Still it happened to her. Didn’t Brother Dhinakaran’s daughter die? Didn’t Brother Job’s son die at young age?
I have seen many people who ask such questions and push themselves out of their faith. Let me say one thing. I do not know why it happened to Brother Dhinakaran and other people of God. God has not sent me to judge and make judgments. I am in my current state because of God’s grace alone. I have nothing to be proud of. There are many mysteries in the world which God alone knows. Let us look at Deuteronomy 29:29. ”The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may follow all the words of this law”(NIV). The secret and hidden things are for God alone. God has not permitted us to peep into these and try to find out about those. We should not base our faith on anybody’s experience. We will progress in our life of faith only if we base our faith on the Word of God which is settled for ever in heaven. God has commanded us to live not by sight but by faith. So prepare yourself to meditate on God’s glory and promises without looking at others’ experiences, no matter how great they are. You will definitely experience God’s glory.
F. Am I not suffering for God’s glory?
There are some people who think that they are suffering for God’s glory. They refer to John 9:3 to support this thinking. Jesus talks about the man who was blind from birth. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but this happened so that the work of God may be displayed in his life.” (NIV) When was the work of God displayed in his life? It was only when Lord Jesus healed him.
Similarly we read in John 11:4 what Jesus says about sickness of Lazurus. “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it”.(NIV) When was the Son glorified? Not when Lazurus died, but when he was raised from the dead. It is not through sickness and suffering that God’s name is glorified. But it is through deliverance and healing.
The context in which God gives the promise, “I am the Lord that healeth thee” is given in Exodus 15:26. It was when the people came to the waters of Marah and were weary and exhausted. Let us look at the plan God made to remove the bitterness of the water. The Lord showed them a young and strong tree. He commanded them to cut it and put it into the water. We can compare the cutting of the good tree to the body of Lord Jesus who was broken in his youth. His life was broken for many. Such a tree was God’s plan. It was not an idea that came up in Moses’ or anybody else’s mind. When that unknown tree was broken and put in water, not only did it take out all bitterness out of water it also poured out its sweetness to the water. The well known bible teacher Derek Prince says that the same word is used for that tree and for the cross in original language in which Bible was written. Do you think that this is quite accidental?
I have written down everything I have learnt and meditated on the topic “The Lord who heals”, when I faced my urgent need for healing. I would like to make it clear that I am not against treatment or doctors or medicine.
I hope I have succeeded in introducing the Lord who heals through the preceding pages to my reader. If your situation is the most discouraging – if everyone has judged that there is no hope for you – I would like to encourage you. God has prepared a miracle for you. Meditate on God’s Word. Praise the Lord who gives healing. Take up your healing in faith. God has already healed you. God worked in my life in this way. I enjoy full healing today. I submit all these thoughts to you in this confidence for your blessing.