Why Won't God Heal Me?
By Ryan Mincer
This was a question I found myself asking during my junior year of college at UC San Diego. Me and a group of my friends from the college Christian group (Intervarsity Christian Fellowship) went down to Tijuana, Mexico for a prayer revival (…picture a lot of very charismatic Christians in one spot praying for God to do miracles in Tijuana) in partnership with a local church. I was still relatively new at believing in God. I had grown up with God my entire life in a very non-charismatic, Presbyterian church in Los Angeles (Bel Air Presbyterian; now called “Bel Air Church”), but in my freshman year of college, I strangely heard a subtle tug on my heart – I was certain that God was asking me to join the local Christian group. So I relented and joined a Bible Study that met weekly near the dorms. Eventually, I found myself integrated into the larger group of nearly 300 fellow Christians that met on a weekly basis in a lecture hall on campus (it was a large group!).
Fast forward to Mexico. We were praying for God to do good things amongst the people in Tijuana, where lots of bad things can and do happen because it is a border town. Well, these two Christians, who I had never met before, walked up to me and asked if they could pray for me. They immediately started praying and they felt that God was telling them that I needed to be healed of a physical disease (they didn’t know I had CF). At this point, I told them about CF, and they started praying for immediate supernatural healing. You have to understand, this was all a little bit crazy to me. Coming from a stuffy Presbyterian church with lots of old white people (not that I have anything against old white people mind you), where we sang hymns during worship and everyone stayed quietly in their seats during the sermon, this was not normal! After they finished praying, they asked me how I felt physically – assuming I had been healed. I had not been healed; I knew this was the case because I could still feel the thick, sticky mucus gurgling in my lungs with each breath. They then proceeded to tell me that if I “had enough faith,” that God would heal me right then and there on the spot (wow!) – and then they prayed for me again. However, healing did not come and at the conclusion of the event, I still had cystic fibrosis.
It took many years for me to work through what had happened that night. Why had they asked for God to heal me on the spot? Why had God not answered their prayer? Was my faith too weak to be healed? Was I too broken, too sinful, too far beyond help to receive healing?
It took many years for me to work through what had happened that night. Why had they asked for God to heal me on the spot? Why had God not answered their prayer? Was my faith too weak to be healed? Was I too broken, too sinful, too far beyond help to receive healing? Now I look back on that day with fondness -- not because it was traumatic (which it certainly was), but because it helped me work through and reconcile my faith with my suffering. Wasn’t God good? That’s what the Bible told me with the story of Jesus on the Cross. Wasn’t God omnipotent? Of course, God parted the Red Sea for Moses. Wasn’t God omniscient? Most definitely; He verbalized events before they even happened. Well, then why would He leave me in this fallen state of physical decay? Doesn’t he have all the tools to pull me out of it? To this day, I still have Cystic Fibrosis. When I think back to that day when some well-meaning Christians prayed over me – I realize that while it took a lot of faith for those individuals to pray such bold things – it was clearly not God’s timing to heal me. I also realize now that just because God had the tools to heal me in that very moment, it didn’t necessarily mean that it would have been in my best interest to have been healed in that moment (for any number of reasons).
My answer today about why God has chosen not to heal me is simple: God allows me to be afflicted with this awful disease (which happened as a result of the events in Genesis Chapter 3) not because He is a cosmic sadist, but because He is using it as an instrument for me to better visualize and focus on the things that are eternal, rather than the things that are temporary. Someday we’re all going to die, whether we have CF or not. And once we reach Heaven, I am certain that we will look back on this life and realize that this was only the beginning – that we were getting prepared for something so much bigger: spending eternity with a loving God. If it were not for this disease, I would not have had the benefit of viewing the fleeting nature of this life nor would I have been able to truly value the deeply beautiful moments that God shows us in order to offer just a momentary glimpse into heaven. Furthermore, the physical and mental suffering associated with Cystic Fibrosis has allowed me to grow closer to God, realize my dependence on Him, and see more clearly the depravity of my heart and mind that I might more readily accept God’s costly, yet free, gift of forgiveness.
Do I believe that God performs miracles? Absolutely. Do I believe that he still performs them today? Without a doubt. Do I believe that He could still choose to heal me before I die? Most certainly, yes -- with a doctor, without a doctor, or some combination of the two. But is it everyone’s journey to be healed of their disease before they die? No.
In my experience, Americans tend to hold the perspective that “all suffering is bad.” However, it seems God’s perspective is at odds with the American perspective because He willingly chooses not to alleviate the suffering of many people. I would submit that sometimes suffering can be character-building, endurance-teaching, perspective-honing, and even truth-revealing. After all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that people seem to have the most amazing and inspiring testimonies of character growth during those times of most intense suffering. And I believe the reason for this is that pain brings us closer to the things that really matter. In the words of the great Oxford Don C.S. Lewis, “…pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.... No doubt pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. it removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of the rebel soul.” [excerpt from The Problem of Pain]
God has a remarkable way of bringing beauty out of ashes in the darkest corners of the earth. If you are looking to read a good book on faith in the midst of mental and physical suffering, I recommend that you read the book titled The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It recounts a Dutch family’s journey of faith in and amongst the very Jews that would be sent to the gas chambers in the last days of Hitler’s reign in Germany. It is a beautiful story documenting what it means to love, have faith, and persevere in the midst of extreme suffering.
If you are in the midst of suffering, and in need of healing, take heart! God is still good. He grieves with you in your suffering, He knows what you are going through, and He will be there with you every step of the way.
If you are in the midst of suffering, and in need of healing, take heart! God is still good. He grieves with you in your suffering, He knows what you are going through, and He will be there with you every step of the way. You will never be alone. And even when death comes knocking on the door, God promises to heal you and give you a perfect body with no more pain and no more suffering when you get to heaven, if you will only put your trust in Him.
About the Author: Ryan Mincer is a 33-year-old Cystic Fibrosis patient who lives in Azusa, CA. He is currently being seen at the UCLA Adult CF Clinic in Santa Monica. He is happily married (for 6 years) to his wife Mary (no kids...but he has two cats). Favorite pastimes include reading, writing, and playing golf. He recently wrote a book on the topic of Faith and Disabilities (from a Christian perspective) and is in the final stages of editing. His Instagram handle is @hanginontograce.