If you pay close attention to the world around you, especially the people, then you will notice that there is a lot of suffering. In fact, one of the most frequent questions addressed to me as a pastor is, “if God is a good God, then why does He allow people to suffer?” That is a very good question and the beauty of the Word of God is that in It, we find the answer. Today’s Name (character trait) of God will be “Jehovah-Rapha” which translates, “The Lord who heals”. We have seen the Name “Jehovah” and what it means as well as the implications of knowing God as Jehovah. Now we want to focus on the name “rapha” and its explanation, which will give us insight into why God allows suffering, being a good God and all.
If we were to read Psalm 22 (which I encourage) then we would see that sin is the reason why people suffer. Sin causes terrible wounds (spiritually as well as physically). Many of the problems that we face on a daily basis can be traced back to the source, sin. Broken hearts, broken relationships, and other person sufferings can be traced back to sin (if we will be honest with ourselves and evaluate the situation unbiasedly). The problem with most people is, they have never been comforted in their misery so they do not know how to comfort others who are suffering as well. In fact, because we are egotistical by nature, we look at the sufferings of others and think, “At least I do not have it as bad as that person”. In a way, we almost rejoice over the suffering of others because it makes us feel better about our own situation. That is terrible and we would probably never put it in those words but deep down, it is the truth with many people. Others want to see people suffer so that they can profit off of their suffering. When people suffer they are more vulnerable. Prosperity Gospel preachers flourish where people are suffering. They manipulate and play on the sufferings of others for their own personal gain. So first of all, suffering is not to be blamed on God because we are the root cause of our own suffering because we are sinners. God allows suffering for a reason, so that we will become desperate and turn to Him for help. When He helps us by easing our suffering, then we become more sensitive to the sufferings of others and are able to help them in their time of pain because we know and have experienced the source of healing, Jehovah-Rapha. This article will explain what God heals, how He does it, as well as who needs healing.
I. What exactly does God heal and who needs to be healed?
God is interested in both the physical and spiritual realms of human life. Many times, we as people, are very interested in the physical aspects of life yet we tend to forget the spiritual because we cannot see it. We experience the spiritual even if we cannot put our finger on it. When we try everything this life has to offer and still cannot fill the unnamed void in our lives then we are experiencing the spiritual void that only God can fill. God wants to heal us in both areas, the physical and the spiritual because they are both connected. Because we are sinners, our spiritual life is in shambles and needs to be repaired. When our spiritual life is in shambles then that bleeds over into our physical lives. Remember, God is El Roi, so He sees what is happening in your spiritual life as well as your physical. He is interested in you and wants to help but He will not force Himself upon you. He is a gentleman and waits for your invitation. If you know anything about medicine then you know that there are 2 types of care; 1) preventative measures 2) treatment of the problem. The best form of care is the first one; preventative measures. God wants us to avoid sickness, pain, and suffering in this life and He can make that happen but there is a condition; our obedience to Him. In the book of Exodus, when God delivers the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery, He tells them how to avoid sickness and disease. This can be applied to us as well.
26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians ; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” (Exodus 15)
The steps to success are very clear and very simple;
- Listen to the Word of God (study the Bible to know what He wants)
- Do what God says to do in His Word (personal application)
- Receive God’s protection (this does not mean that every time that you get sick it is because you have sinned, sometimes God allows sickness as a trial to test and build your faith)
We see from this passage that the spiritual and physical realms are connected. Obedience in the spiritual realm leads to wellness in the physical. Although these are preventative measures, they can also be applied as treatment in the midst of illness. If you find yourself suffering from illness, then you need to evaluate your life and see if sin is not the root cause and if it is, then you need to repent and return to God, choosing to be obedient to Him and allow Him to heal you.
The question is, who needs spiritual healing?
That is an easy answer, every single person who has ever existed on planet earth. The Bible teaches that we are born sinners, separated from God and we need to be restored to a right relationship with Him. Until this happens, our spiritual lives are in shambles. Here is how the Apostle Paul describes the lifestyle of a sinner who has not been healed by God. Maybe you can relate.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh ; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7)
A simple list of the lifestyle of a sinner who has not been born again.
- You realize that you cannot be obedient to God (you have tried and tried but you end up doing the very disgusting things that you have sworn time and time again that you would not do)
- You want to be obedient to God but find yourself drawn to what you know is wrong (you know that looking at internet porn is wrong and you swear never to do it again yet you find yourself doing it over and over again)
Does any of this describe you? If so, then you need spiritual healing and God is the only One who can offer it to you. He will help but you have to come to Him, humble yourself, and ask for His help. What keeps you from doing that? Okay, so you have seen that you need healing and that God is the One who offers it, now the question is, how does God heal? What is my part in the process?
II. God has done everything possible to take care of your spiritual healing which will have a direct impact on your physical healing
Before the foundation of the world was set, God had already chosen Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins and offer spiritual healing for us. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming of Jesus Christ and what He would do, almost 600 years before His actual birth. Here is what Isaiah has to say about the work of Jesus Christ and how His sacrifice would open the door up for spiritual healing in our lives.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities ; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way ; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53)
The Apostle Peter gives commentary on this prophecy when he writes:
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness ; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (I Peter 2)
A person who has been healed spiritually, has died to sin and now lives to righteousness (being right with God according to His standards). This is talking about spiritual healing. Before being healed in a spiritual sense, we were continually straying like sheep (disobeying God and following the crowd) but when we are healed spiritually, we return to God and obey Him. Has this happened to you? Have you allowed God to heal you spiritually by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sins? Has your lifestyle been transformed from one of disobedience to obedience?
What is my part in the process?
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (II Chronicles 7)
It is very simple. If you want to experience spiritual healing from God then you need to:
- turn from sin
- seek after God
If you will do this then God promises to heal you. In order to turn from your sin you must first agree with God’s definition of sin and admit that you have sinned. You must be ready to accept the consequences of your sin and make restitution for what you have done. You must make a commitment to pursue God will all that you are by studying His Word and applying what you learn. God must be the Lord (boss, leader, master) of your life. Have you ever come to this point in your life? Who is the leader of your life, you or God? Who gives the marching orders and makes the major decisions, you or God?
If you will allow God to heal you spiritually, then He will also take care of the physical as well. God allows sickness so that you will come to your senses and see your need for spiritual healing. Once you have been healed spiritually and your life has been transformed, then you will be ready and willing to reach out to others with the good news of the Gospel when they are in need of healing. May God help us turn to Him for spiritual healing as well as physical healing.