With the subject of faith healing a hot topic today many are examining the topic of Faith or Divine Healing.
It certainly makes the news when a family relies on faith instead of modern clinical treatments for terminal conditions for their children.
I’ll cover the overall philosophy of divine or faith healing with a common sense approach on my Examiner page. Here though, as always, I’d like to relate some stories. I believe that God can heal. I have seen it happen.
I believe also that more than not God decides not to heal.
In all my years of praying with the terminally ill, or people with serious medical conditions, I found it is not a question of faith. I have seen people of mighty faith wither and pass, even with the an army of people praying and seeking the best medical treatment.
But I have also witnessed some incredible things.
Beth was born with a birth defect. She had one leg shorter than the other and from the time of her first step she had walked with a hobble. It had other physical as well as emotional effects on her. Although attractive, she never felt accepted or normal. She felt like a freak, and although she had shoes that helped fill the gap for her short leg, she already had a curvature of the spine that still made her limp.
We went to school together at
I smiled and wished her the best, but deep inside I felt very sad. I knew that this was an old trick that many phony faith healers used to show off to an audience. They have planted assistants with fake illnesses in the audience and perform ‘miracles’. The leg extension was a common sham. But that night as she was at the service I prayed along with her friends for a real miracle to happen.
That night about she came to my dorm. She was not limping. She was barefoot.
Not only were her legs the same length, her spine was straight.
I had not been there to witness what happened, but I was stunned by the evidence before me. I really never thought it would happen. I did not have the faith. But Beth did, and God blessed her. She told me the minister put his hand on her and she felt a burning all over her body. It was so intense that she screamed and fell down. The ushers had to escort her to the back of the stage and they told her later they feared she was going into a seizure. The heat subsided into a soothing warmth and when she got up, she was healed.
Madeline was your average 10 year old girl, she loved her Brats dolls and was active in many after school activities. She was always a talkative girl and her mother would often tell her to catch a breath between words because it seemed her mouth could never catch up to her mind. Then something changed that made her mother take notice. Her speech started to slur a bit. Not a lot, but noticeable. Her mother and her school were going to enroll her in speech therapy classes.
Then she started having the seizures.
At first she would just be sitting in front of the TV with a blank stare on her face. Her mother would have to shake her to have her come to. Then they would happen at any time and no matter how loud you screamed or tried to jostle her awake, she would remain in a frozen glare until she slowly came out of it. These episodes frightened Madeline as much as her mother, for to her it felt like she died. She just was not ‘there’ and everything would fade to black.
Their doctor thought it could be a host of problems so he ordered a CAT scan.
They found a golf ball sized tumor between her Medulla and Cerebellum.
They did a biopsy which in itself was a very painful and traumatic event for the 10 year old since she had to shave her head. But luckily it was benign. So weighing the options they decided to wait and see before having to commit to a major and dangerous surgical procedure to remove the tumor.
But within the two months from their initial discovery of the tumor it had grown to the size of a baseball. Something had to be done. Madeline’s seizures were now becoming violent and more often. They had to operate, but the doctors were blunt. There was a major chance she would not make it out of the surgery with her full mental capabilities. She could be disabled or in a vegetative state for the rest of her life.
Of course Madeline was devastated and frightened beyond belief. She prayed for some other option.
I knew her mother and I offered to come over and anoint her with oil. It is a common Biblical practice to anoint the sick with oil and ask for healing. Now I do not advertise to be a faith healer. I was trained in a Denomination that does believe in divine healing, and have met people who have a gift of healing. I was never one of those. I did have a sense when praying with others for healing whether or not God would heal though. I don’t know what kind of gift that is and needless to say I felt that He would not heal more often than not, and of course I would never let on to the sick one what my impression was.
So it was with major reservations that I came to Madeline’s house with my little bottle of oil and my Bible. I had a few people pray for her at the time I was to anoint her, and she had been put on many prayer lists. Her family and I gathered around her in a circle, and after a brief prayer I anointed her head with oil while all put there hands on her and prayed.
She too felt a strange warmth go from her head to the ends of her extremities, she told us afterwards. But there was no wiz bang moment. We all went home hoping and waiting as her next hospital visit approached in a few days.
A few weeks passed and she received another CAT scan in preparation for the physicians suggested operation. The tumor had shrunk to the size of a marble. The operation was postponed in order to see what was happening in her little body.
It has been three years. The tumor has even shrunk to even a smaller size. And Madeline has not had a seizure since she was anointed and prayed over.
Now I know I do not have a gift of healing. And neither I nor anyone present had an incredible gift of faith. Except one. Madeline trusted. And God healed.
It is a rarity, which is why some doubt; but when it does happen it is amazing.
Sometimes healings from God are not as dramatic or as full. David was 46 years old when he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer. Through chemotherapy he made it through a tough fight. After a remission period of 9 years it came back. But David could not seek treatment because he had severe heart disease and an enlarged heart. His liver was failing as well as his kidneys. He also had diabetes. The doctors gave him six months to live. David was raised a Catholic and like many had a deep childhood faith, but he had abandoned it when he became a teenager. It was not until this crisis that he trusted God for healing. He was put on many prayer lists and anointed as well.
Again there was no wiz bang moment.
In fact nothing changed. But that was over two years ago. The cancer did not go away. Nor did the cardiac, diabetes, liver and kidney problems. It seems time slowed the processes that would try so hard to steal away his life. He has had a year and a half more than the doctors had thought, and he is still alive and vibrant. He has his good days and bad, he has his days of doubt and his days of faith. But he has been miraculously sustained and given the gift of time when doctors had given him no hope.
Can we experience miraculous healings as in Biblical times today? Many people assume this just ignorant superstition. But I have experienced it first hand. Sometimes it happens not as we wish or desire, and sometimes not at all.
Even though we pray with ferverent and sincere prayers of selfless love.
It is not in our hands.
But that should not stop us from asking and praying with a sincere heart. Because like anything else in our world…
You will never know until you try.
Until Next Time,
My Examiner article: The Truth About Faith Healing