The Trial Of Faith In Divine Healing
A believer told me of how he had been healed from a terrible illness which had brought him to the edge of the grave. There was no chance of healing from human help, and it was made plain to him that through "holding-on faith" he could get the help he needed. What success had he?
He rested on the Scripture, "Through His bleeding wounds we are healed" (Isa. 53:5, translation). But the healing was not manifested, and symptoms being still present, he felt drawn to take each symptom to God in prayer and put it to death according to Romans 8:13: "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." In a wonderful way health was restored, and it became known that the Lord had done the work.
Why the Delay?
Why does God sometimes delay the manifestations of healing? The answer is that faith must be perfected, and in order to be perfected, faith must have a chance to grow. Concerning this matter, the Bible is full of teaching, for example, the taking of Jericho by Joshua.
Israel had come near to Jericho. God said, "See I have given Jericho into your hands" (Josh. 6:2). Then they began according to God's direction to march around the city seven days. Six days they went around carrying the ark as a sign of Christ and blowing trumpets which meant they expected victory. On the seventh day they went around the city seven times, the seventh time shouting victory, and the walls fell down flat.
Our Jericho may be a besetting sin or a certain incurable illness that resists all that man can do. These symptoms lift themselves up before our eyes like walls of Jericho. The Lord says, "See, I have given Jericho into your hands" – through His wounds we are healed. We receive our healing by faith on this promise. We reckon it is done through faith in the finished work of Jesus. But symptoms still remain. Before mind and eyes there is no change, suffering is strong.
Now we begin to exercise faith. We march one day, two days in the Name of Jesus. We carry the ark and the trumpets, symbols of the presence and power of God. Still there is no change at all. Nevertheless we go forward, and praise God for victory. We march three or four days and no change comes. We are so sure of the promises that we go forward again five or six days. Still the walls are not broken through.
Illness seems never so hard to put aside as now; symptoms seem greater and pains are harder to bear. The enemy presses near, but faith shrinks not, for hath not God said, "I have given Jericho into your hands?" "By His stripes ye are healed" (Isa. 53:5). Our faith rests only upon His faithfulness who says, "I will not leave you till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of" (Gen. 28:15).
The number seven has a particular meaning. It is the expression of holding-on faith which reaches the highest point in the cry of triumph of the victor when there is nothing to see. The walls remain untouched. We have praised, believing it is done. We cry victory and walls fall at last, the symptoms of disease disappear and healing is manifest.
The proving of our faith has been long and hard, but faith has grown and we have come to know God better. We are drawn closer to Him. We were sure of victory the day we began to march. The march was the proving of our faith.
Faith Is the Hand that Takes
Faith is our spiritual hand. Holiness or healing become ours like any material thing we hold in our hands. God has done the work. It is a spiritual work whose fulfillment is not dependent on what we can see. God works in answer to our faith.
Do you believe that God has given Jericho into your hand? You are not yet healed, and you say, "What can be the reason? Is it the will of God to heal me?" God is as willing to heal today as ever He has been, but He delays in order that we may learn new lessons of faith. He demands that for days we walk in darkness while we look at what is not as if it were. We are to look at His finished work and count the thing done. Resting on His Word, we praise Him for victory which has been won even when we are yet in our pain and weakness.
God waits till we take the last step of faith. We must believe where we do not see or feel. He says, "It is finished." He gives us the right to say, "It is finished" when we take the finished work for ourselves. When God says, "By His stripes ye are healed," we need not hesitate to say the same words. Shall we not follow on and let the measure of our faith be fulfilled?
We know so little the full meaning of victorious faith. Our faith should be such that we trust the Word alone and not our feelings or what we see. Faith needs no feelings to rest upon. The faithfulness of our God is enough, so we rest upon what His written Word declares until victory comes.
Faith is something opposite to our natural lives which expect everything from what one sees and feels. Therefore Paul says, "Faith is the confident certainty of things man is expecting, and the strong conviction in that which is not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Such a faith is able to conquer. Faith is to believe what we do not feel or see, and the reward of faith is to see and feel what we believe.