On: January 27, 2015 | By: admin | Under: Blog | Comments: Comments are off
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well. [Luke 7:9-10]
Today is a hard one. I’ve spent several days pondering what to write and have crossed out and started over again more than once! On the surface, it appears that Jesus’ ability to heal here is released by the strength of the centurion’s faith. Nothing that the sick and helpless servant did. Not the words spoken, nor the persistence and passion of the believers. Jesus recognised the humble belief of the centurion and acted – with immediate effect. What happened seems to chime nicely with Jesus’ words in Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
But the process here seems to run counter to Jesus’ words elsewhere where, for example, we are told that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20), and we are urged to persist in the face of apparently unanswered prayer (Luke 18:7).
And the outcome, I would venture to suggest, is not what most believers experience … including the apostle Paul: “In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
The thorn (whatever it was, we are not told) remained in Paul’s flesh. Similarly, most of us do not see relief from symptoms. What are we to do and say? He clearly has the power to heal, so we can’t say He’s inadequate to the task. We can turn our back on God and say he doesn’t care.
Or we can accept that we don’t understand why and where God heals andchoose to believe that He has a reason. Finishing off Paul’s comments about his thorn in the flesh: … ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
There is no one size fits all rule for praying for healing. All we can do is present our requests to Jesus and trust that He hears and responds. There is always a temptation to treat Him like the genie of the lamp (“Your wish is my command”) or a cash dispenser (insert card, tap in PIN and out pops the cash – assuming you’re in credit). But this is phoney faith putting ourselves at the centre. If we have a secure relationship with our Saviour we will not just accept, but want His will for our lives to be allowed to play out, however much we may not want or understand it at the time.