Contrary to what proponents of faith healing will tell you, God does not heal everyone of their maladies and earthly pains.
Jesus didn’t when He walked the earth, either. He did perform a good many miracles – many, Scripture implies, that we aren’t even aware of – but even then, He didn’t heal everyone. Some blind gained their sight, but others remained blind. Some beggars got up to walk, but other surely did not.
To acknowledge this is not to disparage the Lord.
Rather, it is to realize that those miracles – while amazing – were not the point. Jesus frequently expresses His frustration in Scriptures for those who demanded signs and wonders, and it’s easy to see why: He was the miracle everyone should have been clamoring to see. God made flesh walked among His very people, ate and talked and laughed with them, and they focused on what He might do for them.
Healing spiritual illness, rather than temporal physical pains, was God’s main goal. He came to breathe life into everything that should have died and been eternally tarnished, at infinite cost to Himself. That’s the miracle. That’s the grace. From an eternal perspective, giving sight to the blind is small potatoes by comparison.
And I write all this thinking of my aunt, who passed away last week.
I want to tell you about her. She was a blunt truth-teller whose compliments meant everything because she didn’t give them freely. She loved Mountain Dew and smoking and going on fabulous cruises. She, with her husband, drove up from South Carolina to attend my high school graduation and my bridal shower and my wedding. They dropped everything to visit when my mother had a bad accident during my high school years. They loved us and were there for us in the way that family is meant to be.
For a long time, she didn’t seem much interested in or affected by Christianity. But a few years ago, something changed. She, along with my uncle, had a serious encounter with Christ: they both fell head-long in love with Him, and they never looked back.
They devoted themselves to ministries, to small groups, to helping others. My aunt devotedly and enthusiastically began leading a Bible study despite having never done so before. They called to share the joys of God’s word with us: new verses they had uncovered, encouragement, joys. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she confidently assured her doctor that her God would take care of her no matter what.
“I’m victorious,” she would announce to anyone who would listen. “I am victorious in Jesus.” She came to my parents’ church, hours from hers in South Carolina, and hugged everyone there who had prayed for her – a modern-day apostle visiting her fellow brothers and sisters, united in spirit. She testified about God’s love to anyone who would listen. She exchanged praise songs with my mother. And when it became clear that the cancer was worsening, she announced to our entire family that she was not afraid to die.
Once, upon receiving some bad news about the progression of her cancer, I texted my uncle to check on how they were doing. The news was depressing; my mom was sad, I was sad. I could only imagine how they must feel. But to my surprise, my uncle texted back this:
“Blessed beyond measure.”
And honestly? I was a little disconcerted by the sentiment. I wasn’t sure I would be able to express it in that situation, as much as I might want to. But as my aunt’s health continued to wane and her confidence increased, I finally understood. She got it in a way that few of us have, the lesson Jesus was trying to teach when He presented Himself to the crowd and all they wanted was what He could do for them:
Healing of the body is easily done. But healing of the soul, resurrection and redemption of the soul, requires a willing human heart to accept what God is offering. To reach out for that and have it granted in grace: that’s the miracle. The healing, the being made whole: all that will come. God promises all of that. But the first, biggest, and best glory was, is, and will always be Christ Himself.
That was what my aunt wanted, and that is what she now has in full, having stepped into His glorious presence. And on the days when I experience frustration with what is imperfect here – what isn’t going right, what is wrong or broken, what needs to be mended – I hope I will remember her and remember what I learned from watching her:
Everything that matters has already been accomplished.
We already have all the healing we require.