When Divine Healing Isn’t God’s Answer : 4 Focus Points in Ministry

The following is an article by guest contributor (and my sister), Amy Harris. Thanks for sharing, Amy!

 

divine healingIn a recent discussion while working toward ordination, a question was posed to me about what to tell parents whose children die or do not receive Divine Healing. Questions such as these are difficult to address, because they are often coming out of such heartbreak and disappointment. I think the unfortunately reality, though, is that each of us will be faced with such circumstances and will need to be prepared to answer those questions and minister to those individuals to the best of our abilities. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with compassion, our minds with adequate scriptural references, and our mouths with words of comfort.

This topic becomes increasingly difficult when someone (such as a child) dies from a disease or has a life-altering disability. Why didn’t God heal these kids? Why do some people get to be healed and others don’t? How would you help a nonbeliever, whose child was just diagnosed with cancer and will die in 6 months, understand that God only chooses to heal some people, and their child is not one of them? It is so hard to express to people what we know of God when they have never experienced Him.

Much of my response is based on a personal experience. In 2010, my sister found out that she was having twins. At about 16 weeks into her pregnancy, it was discovered that her daughter was anencephalic and would not survive long (if at all) after birth. I can tell you that we all prayed a lot for divine healing. We prayed for a miracle right up to the delivery room doors. I want to share my sister’s words with you:
“From the time Carys was diagnosed, many people prayed for a miracle for her. They openly prayed for her healing; that she would be made whole. As it turned out, Carys was our miracle. She was perfectly made. God intentionally and lovingly created her. Those precious hours we spent with Carys after she was born gave us a glimpse into Heaven. Though I didn’t see it with my physical eyes, the peace and love we felt and knew while she was in our arms were unmistakable. Heaven felt so real and so close, it was as if we could reach out and touch it. Even when Carys left this earth, she didn’t feel very far away.” (Kitchen)
While a degree of peace would later come, the day that Carys was born is still one of the most painful days of my life. I imagine that it always will be. What stands out to me the most… is something that my dad did in those first hours after her birth. We were in the waiting room, hearts broken, and my dad began to quote scripture:
“Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIrV)
He then reminded us how much God loved us, and how much he loved Carys. He said that he was confident that we were only seeing that “dim likeness” of things, and that there was an entire world unfolding on the other side of the glass. He was sure that a loving God had something better planned than the miserable part of the picture that we were seeing. He assured us that one day the entire scene would be revealed, and only then could it all make sense. Knowing that didn’t take the pain away, but it did help. It gave me hope to be reminded that there was more to the story. I think that if we were dealing with a believer, our jobs would be slightly easier, as we could rely more on the type of comfort that can only come through the Holy Spirit.

Honestly, I don’t see how a non-believer manages without the promise of Heaven. I don’t think that anything we could possibly say will answer their questions or even begin to take away their pain. I would make it my goal to share some assurances with them. I will say that from all that I have heard, telling anyone that their loss is part of God’s plan will probably only bring them more pain (at least in the initial stages)
4 Focus Points in Ministering when Divine Healing isn’t God’s Answer:

1. Encourage them to talk to God, and then tell them that it ok to ask God why, and even to question his plan
“When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIrV)
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIrV)
2. Remind the parents of how God knows their thoughts and their hurts, and how He wants to draw them close to Him.
“Godly people cry out, and the Lord hears them. He saves them from all of their troubles. The Lord is close to those whose hearts have been broken. He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.” (Psalms 34:17-18 NIrV)
3. Remind them that even those things that we don’t understand now, we can understand some day.
“Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIrV)
4. Let them know that God has given us a promise of Heaven, and that we can have peace in knowing that we can be reunited for Eternity.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust in me also. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4 NIrV)
I do want to take this opportunity to introduce you all to the Carys Rainn Foundation. My sister and her husband have done marvelous work that may be helpful to someone that you would be in contact with. I encourage you to read her blog and to see the amazing way that God revealed himself to them through the brief life and death of my niece. You can check out their story at http://ourstory.aftertherainn.com/
Works Cited
Kitchen, Keri. “Our Story” Web blog post. Aftertherainn. (Original Post Date unknown). 10 Oct 2014 http://ourstory.aftertherainn.com/
New International Readers Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 11 Oct. 2014
Amy Harris is a Children’s Pastor from Eastern Kentucky. She obtained an AA in Religion from Kentucky Christian University in 1992, a BS in Biology and Chemistry from Excelsior of New York in 1997, and is current studying in the Ministerial Prep Program at Nazarene Bible College. Amy accepted Christ at the age of 8 during a Vacation Bible School and has been involved in children’s ministry in some capacity since she was 12 years old. When she’s not teaching children about Jesus or spoiling her nephews, she can be found at a local faith based hospital where she works as a Decision Support Analyst.

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