When God Doesn’t Heal

Even if I don’t understand what God is doing, I choose to trust He is in control.

Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve seen God work miracles. You believe with your whole heart that He can and does. You’ve prayed, fasted, hoped, and believed for your own.

And it hasn’t happened. 

Where does that leave you and your faith? If you believe God heals, why didn’t He heal you or your family member? These are questions I have gone back to and wrestled with God over again and again. Being at Bethlehem, I’ve heard countless stories of people being healed, from addiction to cancer to infertility to mental illness.  

But that wasn’t my story. In the middle of hearing how God showed up and healed family after family, addiction took my dad in 2021. I truly believed he knew the Lord and had people praying for him, with him, and over him. I believed God could heal him. I could see what a powerful testimony we would be one day, imagining myself telling everyone how good God was by healing him of his lifelong battle. I thought that was going to be the story we got to tell. God didn’t heal Him on this side of eternity, though. Whenever I hear a story of someone being healed, a little broken voice in my head says, “Why their family and not mine, God?” Maybe for you, it isn’t a family member but your own mental or physical ailment. Maybe it’s infertility or a child’s disability. Maybe you’re broken overseeing a family member in pain, knowing that God could fix everything in the snap of His fingers—and He isn’t. You’re asking yourself, “Why, God?” just like I was. 

I wish I could explain the “why” to you, but I’m not going to pretend to know the “whys” of God’s plans. The truth is, God is sovereign, and I am not. Even if I don’t understand what God is doing, I choose to trust He is in control. That He loves me and is for me; when He heals, hallelujah, it’s for His glory. When He doesn’t, hallelujah, it’s for His glory. 

Instead of arguing over the “why,” I want to give you five things you can do to hold on to hope: 

  1. Remember, you’re in good company.
    Do you know who else God didn’t heal? A bunch of those famous bible characters, these “heroes of the faith” that we tend to idolize. In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about having a “thorn in the flesh" he repeatedly begs God to take away. We don’t know why, but God doesn’t, and we can learn so much from his response:

    2 Corinthians 12:8-10
    Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    God works in our weakness, pain, and hardships. After Jacob wrestled with God, he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. It wasn’t a lack of faith, prayer, or perseverance that caused these men to have lifelong issues. They loved the Lord and followed His will. If God doesn't heal, it's not a lack of faith or favor on your part. 

  2. Fight insecurity with the truth.
    We might not know all the “whys,” but we know some truths we can return to when insecurities plague our minds. We know God loves us. We know He is good. We know He has a plan for us. We know He has not abandoned us. We know he will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). We know He works all things for good according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

    When questions creep into my mind, I remind myself of these things. I may not understand what God is doing, but I know his character. I know He loves me and is with me. Even if I don't understand how circumstances line up with that, I know for a fact it is true. My feelings, frustrations, and understandings don't change the truth. 

  3. Be honest with God about your feelings.
    God created everything from the cosmos to each hair on your head. He even made emotions. He knows your feelings better than you ever could. And they don't scare him. By putting on a happy face when you are devastated, you only lie to yourself and God. Be honest with Him.

    Tell him you are hurt. Confused. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Angry.

    In Psalm 13, we see King David model this:
    O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
     How long will you look the other way?

    How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

    Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.

    Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

    But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

    I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.

    In the midst of pain, David is honest with God. He feels forgotten. He feels abandoned. Yet, he ends the chapter by reminding himself that He trusts God and praises Him. He is completely honest with God about his frustrations and feelings and then reminds himself of the truth he knows about God.

    God isn’t expecting you not to have emotions. But the best way to fight frustration and fear is to bring them to the Father and remind your feelings of the truth of the gospel. 

  4. Ask God to use your current situation.
    We know God has the power to heal. We also know He loves us more than we can ask or imagine. Since both of those things are true, it would lead us to believe that God doesn’t have you in this season and situation by accident.

    Paul was shipwrecked on his way to preach the gospel not once, not twice, but three times. I don’t know about you, but I probably would have given up by the second time. I would have been discouraged, thinking this meant God had abandoned me. But no matter where Paul ended up, even shipwrecked and snake-bitten on an island, people came to know Jesus. People heard about God’s love that they never would have if Paul hadn’t had such a traumatic experience. Revival broke out, lives were changed, and this island - and generations- were changed forever by the Gospel.

    Maybe in your life, a chemo nurse needs to hear your testimony. You may lose your job and move to a cheaper house where your neighbor will see how you live for Christ.

    You may never know why God has you in the season he does. But because we know God’s character, we know He doesn’t do anything to be mean. He cares for us, for you, more than you could ever imagine. You can trust Him.

    What good things could God cause from your pain? Who could God touch through you? Who could God use your faith to encourage?

  5. Know healing IS coming.
    On the morning that my dad died, Pastor Matt Piland said in his sermon, “Sometimes God saves from death, and sometimes God saves through death.” I’ve gone back to this over and over. The reality is that God may not heal you or your loved one on this side of eternity, but if they know Christ, they will be healed. In the scheme of all eternity, our suffering here on earth is a snap of the fingers. God IS good and faithful to heal His people. There will be a day with no more pain or suffering.

    Keep searching after God, keep crying out to Him, and keep being honest with Him. He loves you, is with you, and has a good plan for you. 

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