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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Does God Want to Heal Everyone?

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Don Stewart

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Is it Gods desire that everyone who is sick be healed? If so, is there something spiritually wrong with an individual who prays for healing but remains ill?

Not Gods Will

Contrary to what some people believe and teach, the Bible clearly shows that it is not Gods will to heal everybody. Scripture offers no promise that the Christian will be free from sickness in this life. The New Testament includes many such examples.

The Apostle Paul describes a "thorn in the flesh" which needed healing.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me . . . Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christs sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Note that Paul did not assume God would heal him. He asked for healing, but was refused. God told Paul that His grace was enough. This caused the apostle to be strong in his weakness.

In another episode involving Paul, we see a similar illustration.

Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick (2 Timothy 4:20).

Why Not Exercise?

We know the Apostle Paul exercised the gift of healing. Why didnt he exercise it for Trophimus if it is Gods will for everyone to be healed?

Paul told Timothy:

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomachs sake and your frequent infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23).

Timothy certainly was a man of faith, but Paul nevertheless told him to drink wine for his infirmities. The Bible says nothing of a divine right to be healed. In fact, this Scripture passage indicates that Timothy would continue at times to be sick.

Epaphroditus Was Healed

Epaphroditus, on the other hand, was mercifully healed by God. Paul wrote:

Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus . . . since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him (Philippians 2:25-27).

Paul says that Epaphroditus was healed due to Gods mercy. Epaphroditus did not invoke a certain claim to be healed. Although God does not promise to supernaturally heal everyone, it is perfectly proper to pray that he will. The Bible says, "You do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2).

Not The Norm

Nowhere in the New Testament is perfect health throughout life considered the norm. Scripture never indicates that the people remained sick because they lacked faith to be healed. Neither does the Bible indicate that God heals those who "claim" or demand it. In fact, people were healed according to Gods mercy. People have the right to ask God for healing, but the result is left up to Him.

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