A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. And wherever he went–into villages, towns or countryside–they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Mark 1:40-42; 6:56
When we are faced with a life-threatening illness like cancer, we may find ourselves asking many questions about God. Why did God let this happen? Does God care about what is happening? Can I ask God to heal me? Does God want to heal me?
Physical healing is something we all long for and ask for. Yet our prayers are not answered in the same way. Some people who have cancer are dramatically healed . Others are healed after months of difficult treatment. Others battle cancer for the rest of their lives.
What are we to believe about healing? Is healing a stamp of approval on our faith? Do those people with plenty of faith receive healing and those with little faith get no healing?
The Bible shows us clearly a God who heals. Jesus came to reveal God to us. He came healing the sick. He touched people and physically healed them. And his disciples did the same.
But the Bible presents life in all its complexity. There are few simple answers about any of the real questions in life. God is a healing God. Yet Paul, a man of great faith and obedience to God was not healed of a physical ailment in spite of his repeated prayers for healing. Life is full of mystery.
Scripture teaches us to ask for healing. It teaches us that God is the author of good and not of evil. And it reminds us that God as a healing God. We are invited to ask for our heart’s desires. And then we are asked to trust God with the outcome.
If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Questions for Discussion – Session 1
1. What fears or difficulties do you have as you think about praying for healing for yourself or someone you love?
2. What experience have you had with God’s healing in your life?
3. What are your feelings about Jesus’ response to the man with leprosy in the story from Mark’s gospel?
Questions for Discussion – Session 2
1. What encourages you to pray for healing?
2. What feelings do you have in response to the image of God presented in Hebrews 4:16?
3 What emotional, spiritual or physical healing would you like to ask God for today?