Faith Healing

“Lord, I believe: help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24

Can faith really heal? Can wholly trusting the Lord, having absolute faith that He will heal, or produce a miracle, really yield that positive result?

My minister husband and I were just discussing this, and by the end of the conversation, it sure did seem like 100% faith is the source of miracles.

We all have issues – some are major, some minor, but we’ve all got ’em – and, being religious folk (by definition, since we’re reading this blog), we probably all pray about them at some time or other. If our prayers don’t yield the result we want, is it because we didn’t pray hard enough? Is it because not enough people prayed for this particular cause? Is it a critical mass thing, where if you have 9 people praying for you, ah, shucks, sorry, no luck, but if you’ve got that 10th, well, there you go, that’s your ticket! I highly doubt it; I can’t believe that could possibly be so,… but I am pausing to wonder. Maybe I’m wrong? (No, surely not! The Lord is more merciful than that! ….Right??)

The Writings might lead us to believe that miracles are not actually happening, these days:

The question is asked today why miracles are not wrought as in times past, for it is believed that if they were to be performed everyone would be fully convinced. Miracles, however, are not wrought at this day as formerly, for they have a compelling influence, and destroy free will in spiritual things, and cause a man from being spiritual to become natural. (True Christian Religion 501)

(-Or, perhaps, weren’t happening at the time that the Writings were written, in the 18th century.)

But then, there is a compelling statement that they are happening, but not overtly:

The Divine miracles which take place today are not manifest, but hidden. (Miracles and Signs 18)

– So it allows that miracles not only can but do occur, just not blatantly obvious ones, like maybe the turning of water into wine kind. But maybe healing a body of cancer, maybe that does happen? (Some would say it most certainly does – just Google it, you’ll see.)

(For more passages in the Heavenly Doctrines concerning miracles, see: Spiritual Experiences 2434, Invitation to the New Church 46, Miracles and Signs 4, among others.)

So, if we proceed in agreement that mircales do occur: is it because the people praying for those miracles really do believe with every fibre of their being that the Lord WILL produce this miracle? – Do we have to go into it with the assumption that it WILL occur? That feels backwards to me, but that may be because I really don’t have the faith I need to see these things in my own life. I feel like a pretty good person, like I live a good life and am relatively highly evolved on the goodness scale – I try to will good for everyone, to do things for other people’s benefit just because it will benefit them,….. and it jars me to think that I’m not good enough. That’s entirely my ego speaking, I realise; and it was my ego I was protecting, I guess, when I prayed for more babies but was too afraid to really trust all the way that it WOULD happen? (Darned ego!!) Coincidentally (not!), I just heard a commentary on my Christian radio station about ‘not feeling worthy’, and that immediately reminded me that we are foolish to think that we aren’t worthy, that we aren’t good enough! We are God’s creations – He certainly didn’t make any of us sub-par! We’re doubting Him if we think we aren’t worthy. There’s still room for improvement on our part, there always is, but it seems to me that since He made us, we ARE worthy.

We know lots of good, God-fearing people who live really good lives, who are struggling with MAJOR health issues. I am going to go out on a limb and say that they’re probably sending up lots of prayers to the Lord to help them through their respective processes. If they don’t make it through, if they don’t get better, is that because they didn’t believe that they actually would, in the first place? Did they not have enough people praying for them? –’Cause I’ve seen it on Facebook, these people have a LOT of people praying for them! What if some of those people have the faith that they will be healed, but others don’t; is there a critical mass necessary, for that, too?…

The question also arises, for me, about this ‘Thy will be done’ business. I’ve sometimes felt that I shouldn’t pray for more babies because that’s just selfish, and because, if the Lord wills it, it will happen, and that my prayers won’t affect the outcome. That’s probably one of the glitches, right there: I was too lackadaisical about it, too blasé? I did pray for His will to be done, kind of along the lines of “Please, Lord, give me another baby, if it be Thy will” or “Please, Lord, help me to be happy with the outcome, whatever it may be.” Maybe I wasn’t specific enough?….

When it comes down to it, I can – with great sadness – acknowledge and admit that I did not pray with the pure faith that the Lord would give me more babies. …Maybe that’s why I didn’t get them? Biology aside – because it’s all about the spirit, in the end, after all – if I had possessed the trust that He WOULD provide, perhaps I’d be living a different life, right now. Huh; it’s something to think about. – But then, I feel that I can confidently say that I didn’t, I don’t doubt that He CAN do these things! I doubt whether these things will take place, but I don’t doubt that He CAN do them. ….So does that mean that I’m questioning whether He wants to do them? He wants the best for all of us, He doesn’t want us to be hurt or sad at all! So He wants us to have these things, doesn’t He? And, taking it a step further, thinking about the term “will”: earlier I used it, saying ‘Can having absolute faith that He will produce a miracle really yield that positive result?’, to mean the certainty that something would happen – but if we look back at the origin of the word, it really refers to volition: so is the point really to have absolute faith that He wants to produce a miracle?

…Boy, I’m really gaining a much clearer understanding, and deeper appreciation, for what it means to have a ‘crisis of faith’ and to ‘take a leap of faith’. This is heavy stuff!

What do you think?

About Jenn Beiswenger

I'm generally a pretty content person, always growing and loving the journey most of the time. My passion was babies for so long, now I'm recalibrating to figure out what else I want to do with my life. I enjoy preparing healthy food for my family, creating Zentangle-inspired artwork, traveling, learning about the Lord's amazing kingdom, connecting with & helping others. My husband, 10-year-old son and I live in Sydney, Australia, where we happily serve the Hurstville New Church congregation. I'm really grateful for the modern technology which helps me stay connected with family & friends overseas!

6 thoughts on “Faith Healing

  1. Awesome post. This reminds me so much of a struggle I have had. How do you really trust the Lord if you can’t know whether He is going to do what you want (and what you want is something good, of course)? For instance, how could I trust Him on the marriage front when I didn’t actually know that He had the same time agenda on it that I did – what if I had to wait till heaven to be married, how was I going to trust Him if that happened? My way out of the puzzle has involved me realizing that His view of my life is so much more farseeing and kinder than mine. He loves me more and better than I love myself even (I know that sounds weird, but I hope you know what I mean.) So His guidance for my life is a lot higher quality than my guidance of it. I have prayed hard for things that, years later, I was so glad He didn’t give me. Turns out He had a much better plan that I couldn’t have imagined at the time. I was sure I knew what I wanted and I knew that it was something good, not bad, so why wouldn’t He give it to me? And if He didn’t, how could I trust Him? I guess what I’ve been realizing is that I don’t actually want my trust to hinge on whether He does what I want. I want it to depend on my realization that He loves me and is constantly doing awesomely kind things for me, even when I don’t know or care, bless Him. In other words, I want to trust His character instead of making my trust depend on whether He does particular things I want. Of course, there is the fact that He can’t give us blessings we aren’t willing to receive, so praying and asking for good things is very useful, it opens us up so we can take in His gifts. So I guess maybe the thing to do is pray for the things that really matter eternally, and then ask that His will be done, which is sort of like saying, Here is what I want but I trust your care of me if You have a better plan. That’s as far as my journey has come to this point. It will be interesting to hear other peoples’ comments. Thanks for writing!

    1. Thanks so much for your respond, Kim! “…realizing that His view of my life is so much more farseeing and kinder than mine” — BINGO. I thought about that (as my mind continued to mill over these thoughts!), after I’d submitted my article, about how the Lord sometimes says “No” to our prayers, and you’re so right that He knows soooooo much more about our puny selves than we do! 😀 …My goodness, thinking about my prayers for more babies — that’s so introverted, so selfish! *SO* short-sighted. As I was reading your response, too, I felt like I could perceive how the prayers you were talking about were selfish, too (-please don’t be offended! I don’t mean it that way; we’re human, our minds think about ourselves and what we want, we are inherently selfish!). The Lord has such a bigger picture in mind…….

      Y’know, when I was not having my prayers for more babies answered, sometimes I consoled myself with, “Wow! Just imagine – if babies aren’t what the Lord has in mind for me – what bigger & better things He *does* have lined up for me?!” -And then my dear husband reminded me that, well, maybe my lesson is that I need to learn to be happy with what I have, right here, right now. (It was a bit of a buzz-kill, to be sure, but I get his point!)

      “I don’t actually want my trust to hinge on whether He does what I want. I want it to depend on my realization that He loves me and is constantly doing awesomely kind things for me, even when I don’t know or care, bless Him.” Yup; amen to that. We are so narrow-minded, we human beings – we’re so shallow if/when we think that He doesn’t know what’s best for us?! 😀 I agree that praying for things that really matter eternally is probably where it’s at — perhaps we can’t even effectively pray for specific things, because we’re so clueless, but at least trying to pray for the right things is a start; then, asking for His will to be done is definitely what seals the deal. …Even as I write this, I’m feeling like it’s all a matter of just giving ourselves over to Him – not asking for anything {although when in strife it’s probably really good to ask for His help with working through things} but just acknowledging His awesomeness and thanking him. Y’know? 🙂

      1. Right. Yes. Much head nodding. 😉 I do think that our asking for things opens us to being able to receive them. I’m not very good at it, but I do see that. And I would think that the Lord would probably rather have us just talk naturally to Him about whatever is going on without worrying too much about self-editing our prayers as we go. But I guess maybe I want to have some sort of internal check that begins by thinking about what I really want to pray for in the first place, or open myself to receiving.

  2. In answer to your question, what do I think? My answer is, I don’t know either. What I do believe is that prayer is talking with God and I can pray with all my heart for what I believe is good and God will listen to my prayers. And what the outcome is, is in his providence. Thanks for posting these questions Jen?

    1. “And what the outcome is, is in his providence.” Yes! I’m coming to realise that, too, Kaye — I mean, I’ve *known* this, intellectually, but I guess I weave in and out of really KNOWING (believing) this — and I’m starting to spend more time in the ‘in’ of knowing it. 🙂 And yep, He’ll listen, whatever we have to say to Him; that’s certainly a comfort. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kaye! xx

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