Why Doesn't God Heal Us?

By Mariane Holbrook

I stood in the doorway of Mother's nursing home room and wept quietly. She couldn't see me. She sat in the chair beside her bed with her head on her knees, a few small pillows wedged behind her back and a pink shawl pulled across her frail and bony shoulders. She was moaning softly, "Dear God, help me. Please, God, help me."

Tears ran in rivulets down my face as I asked God again, "Why? Why is this dear saint of God suffering so? She's 96 years old. She's suffered with unrelenting pain all her life. And if that wasn't enough, why did she have to break her leg walking down the hall and lie in agony for many weeks in a cast with the leg never properly healing? Please help me understand the problem of pain. Please."

One very early morning before sunrise, God in His mercy took Mother Home to be with Him. Her two daughters who lived near the nursing center watched as she was placed in a body bag and carried out. From their exhaustion in overseeing her care for several years, they cried in their grief but thankful that her long battle with unending pain was finally over.

That was nine years ago. I am just now beginning to understand the problem of pain because I live with it. I wish I had understood it while Mother was still living. I could have empathized more and ministered to her better. Before, I was an observer of pain. Now I am a participant, however reluctantly.

I have watched televangelists declare healing to precious believers who are brought en masse to their meetings. I have seen crutches being tossed carelessly aside, wheel chairs pushed against the walls as invalids were encouraged to walk or run across the platform to the applause and shouting of thousands in the audience. I pray many were healed instantly but what of those who were not? Did they return home in abject, total disappointment with God, still not understanding the reason for their pain? Did they continue to declare healing when none was forthcoming? Worst of all, did they begin to lose their faith in the One who had saved them?

As evangelical Christians, we are taught early that there is healing in the atonement. "By his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:3) And "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:17) We reason, "If we can trust Christ for our salvation, can we not also trust Him for our healing? God never turns away one soul who confesses his sin and asks for forgiveness through the atoning blood of Jesus. Why does He seem to be capricious and selective in choosing those who will be healed from their sickness and those who will not?"

Theologians have battled this discussion for centuries and have yet to come up with compelling reasons for pain that fully satisfy those who are hurting.

But for me, it has been reduced to one simple explanation: healing is temporal but grace is eternal. Given a choice, I will take grace every time.

Grace has been defined as "the free and unmerited favor or beneficence of God" or "God