God Our Healer Follow Up

Q. It certainly makes sense what you said about Isaiah 53:4-5 (in God our Healer). I have never seen anyone get healed although I do believe that all healing is Spiritual and is from God.

If he heals like you say, then why did He not heal the Apostle Paul, and why does He not heal (a well known Christian author). Why does He just heal certain people? I know He does not have favorites. I wish I knew the answer. I know you are a man of God because you have answered so many of my questions.

A. I don’t have first hand knowledge of (the author’s) circumstances, but I do know about Paul’s. God healed him several times and at least once raised him from the dead. The interpretation of 2 Cor. 12:7-9 that God refused to heal Paul is patently incorrect, as even a casual study, when combined with simple logic, will attest. Here are a couple of examples to support this conclusion.

In 2 Cor. 11:23-25 Paul listed some of his major physical attacks. Among them are receiving 39 lashes on 5 separate occasions. This is like the punishment Jesus received that was demonstrated so graphically in the movie Passion of the Christ. Since it tore all the skin and muscle from the victim’s back, many men didn’t survive this whipping, but Paul survived it 5 times.

After one of them Paul and Silas were immediately thrown into prison. At midnight, as they were praying and singing hymns, the doors broke open, and the jailer took them to his house so he could get his family saved. In the morning they were escorted out of town and walked 25 miles to the next town. The only mention of treatment was when the jailer washed their wounds. They had no time to heal from the whipping or even get a decent night’s sleep. (Acts 16:22-39) How does one explain this other than to conclude that God must have healed them?

In 2 Cor. 11:23-25 Paul also said that he’d been stoned. That happened in Acts 14:19-20. Stoning was the Jewish method of execution. It consisted of immobilizing a person and then having a group of men hurl rocks at him until he was dead. Having done this to Paul, the men dragged him out of the city and left his body along the road for the wild animals to eat. But after a group of disciples “gathered around him” Paul got up and went back into the city. The next morning he began a 60 mile walk to the next town.

Is there any medical treatment they could have given him that would have allowed him, even if he wasn’t totally dead, to immediately get up and walk home and then begin a strenuous journey without any time to recuperate? Or did they pray over his body asking God to raise him up and heal him?

The idea put forth by some that Paul had an eye disease called opthamalia (an affliction that caused copious amounts of pus to run out of the victim’s eyes and down his face and was second only to leprosy in its repulsiveness) and then had to stand up in front of crowds teaching them about God’s grace and miraculous power while admitting that this same God had refused to heal him of this disease is so ludicrous as to defy reason. This doesn’t even consider the fact that the disease would have made Paul ceremonially unclean and required his isolation from Jewish society.

The “thorn” in Paul’s flesh that God refused to remove, saying that His grace was sufficient, was the constant threat of beatings like the ones he described. The Greek word translated thorn means “to buffet or hit with fists; to punish”. God was telling Paul that the beatings would continue, but that He would heal him each time as a demonstration of His power.

Some use God’s word to nurture and strengthen their faith. Others misuse it to justify their lack of faith. If even one person is healed through prayer then God’s word in places like James 5:14-16 is reliable. Our prayer should be like the man with with the epileptic son. “Lord I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

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