This is a tough one, but as always, we look to the Bible as our answer. How many times have you heard a person say, “I know this person believed. You can’t tell me they didn’t have faith. They were full of faith, but God didn’t heal them”? There are several factors involved here. First, only God knows a person’s heart. Just because you feel that someone had faith doesn’t mean the person did. You weren’t around this person 24 hours a day to hear his or her words. I remember a man who was dying of cancer. He had wasted away to nothing by the time I reached him. He hadn’t eaten or drunk in several days, and they were waiting on him to die. I spent an hour in the Bible with Him teaching him about healing, and then I laid hands on him. He got full of faith and began to receive healing. In fact, he asked to sit up in bed and be brought something to eat. He kept eating and eating for days. The problem was that one person in his life kept talking doubt and unbelief to him all day long. I only got an hour with him; this other person was with him for 23 hours that day and for 24 hours a day for the next six days. He was supposed to be dead within a few hours–a day at most–when I visited him. He was still alive a week later, but he had lain back in bed and stopped eating again. I asked if it was okay if I shared with him again. He said yes and was excited. After thirty minutes of teaching on healing, he sat up and asked for food again. He praised God and confessed he was healed in Jesus’s name. He kept eating and was full of faith and joy again. He even worshipped God. He kept eating and getting better for many days after this experience. Unfortunately, once again, someone else was in his life speaking doubt and unbelief all the time. This beautiful man started saying “I don’t want to be a burden to you. I can just go home.” He began to be snared by the words of his own mouth and the unbelief of the person closest to him that surrounded him daily. Within another week, he succumbed to the sickness and died. All I had done was buy him three weeks. I had only been with him twice, and just the little bit of word on healing that he got in that short time lifted his spirit and caused him to get better, but I couldn’t stay with him 24 hours a day to keep him confessing God’s word over himself and staying in faith. I wish I could have. Even Jesus couldn’t do any miracles in his hometown around people who were familiar with him because of the unbelief of those who were around the sick people.
What does the Word of God say about having faith yet it not benefiting you? It can be found in James 2:17: “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds (works), it is dead and useless,” and again in verse 26: “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” You can have enough faith to move a mountain, but it won’t help you if you do not add works to your faith. Speaking the Word of God is a way to act on faith. Getting up and doing what you were unable to do is an action you can do, but faith has to be put into action. Having faith doesn’t always equate to receiving from God. You must add actions to your faith, and sometimes, those actions have to do with persevering over time.
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.”
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
“And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’”
Matthew 7:7 is another verse that goes along with this: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
Sometimes it is a matter of refusing to quit. The Bible says, “We will reap if we don’t give up.” I wonder how many miracles were lost just before they were to manifest simply because someone gave up. Satan wants you to give up on your miracle, but God wants you to persevere. Some people have faith, but they don’t have works; others have great faith, but they give up just before they reap what they have sown.
I am convinced that the number one reason people who have great faith often do not have faith to receive is that they waver in the words of their mouth. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” the Scripture says.
James says that a person who doubts is like a person being tossed about in the sea. He goes on to say that a person who wavers should not expect anything from the Lord.
When I pastored in Alabama, there was a family who believed in healing, but had wrong ideas about it. Someone had prophesied that in the future, the woman would receive a dramatic and sudden healing from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I talked to them all the time about what the Bible says about healing, but they kept saying, “God’s going to heal her. It’s coming in the future. God promised it from a prophet.” I said to them, “You don’t need some word from a prophet to receive healing. The Bible says that Jesus already bore your sickness, and he already took your pain. Faith is not in the future; faith is right now!” They would argue with me and say, “But we know she will get healed in the future. It’s coming.” I would say, “Stop saying that it’s coming and start saying, ‘It’s mine. I have it now. Jesus paid for me to get it. I am healed by His stripes.’” It was too late. Their minds were convinced. She died in less than a year. Her husband got angry at God and said, “The prophet promised she would get her healing.” Once again, faith is now; it is not in the future. He was still talking about how they were looking for healing to come in the future. They weren’t in faith. They were in hope. His anger caused him to backslide, leave church, curse God, and a year later, he died a horrible death from a malfunction of a piece of lifesaving equipment he had. His anger towards God kept him from receiving his own healing as well. Faith works by love. He didn’t have love in his heart anymore. He was angry at God, and he opened the door for Satan to steal from him.
So is it possible for someone with great faith to fail to receive healing? Most definitely. Faith without works is dead. Wavering in your words and actions can kill your faith. Giving up before the time can steal the healing as well. Stay strong. Keep on knocking. God is not a man that He should lie. He will do what He said, and healing is something He promised all of us.
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President, Agape International
Until Every Tribe Has Heard