Sooner or later, every Christian will have to decide what he or she thinks about the possibility of physical healing in this life. The topic is especially pressing for me. I pastor a large, charismatic church that sees dozens of people healed bodily every year, I speak at charismatic conferences regularly, and I’ve argued publicly that Christ’s gift of healing continues today.
I also have two children with regressive autism. Both children have slowly lost the ability to sing, clap, paint, and hold spoons (although my son has regained some of these skills). So far, they haven’t been healed. For me, talk of healing is not theoretical.
Polarized views on the topic abound. On one end are preachers who promise health and wealth for everyone who follows Jesus. On the other are skeptics who think most people claiming to have experienced physical healing are either lying or delusional. Even Christians who agree God heals sometimes, but not always, face confusion. Does God heal if we simply have enough faith? Should we assume sickness is a gift from God, designed to teach us about suffering, perseverance, and God’s mysterious sovereignty amid evil?
Before we can answer these types of questions, we first need to recognize healing for what it is. As I’ve studied these issues—and worked through them in my family life and church life—I’ve learned that there is more than one type of divine healing.
Type one: A virus attacks my body, and my white blood cells move into action, hunting down the perpetrator to kill it. Every second, tiny bits of mineral and organic material are sent to the parts of my body that need them, performing ongoing repairs, hour after hour, year after year. ...1