For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
– Hebrews 4:12
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
– Revelation 1:12-16
“If we fall into that trap [of thinking our faith causes a miracle], we become convinced that if our prayer is not answered as we would like it to be answered, it’s because we aren’t praying hard enough or long enough, or because our faith is simply weak. This puts far too much emphasis on our own role in whatever is happening or not happening. It will also inevitably lead to people saying that if you are sick and didn’t get healed, it’s because your faith wasn’t strong enough. To blame the victim or the sufferer for his or her illness, and to suggest that if that person only had more faith and prayed harder, healing would follow is simply wrong. When I was in high school, I had a classmate who suffered from multiple sclerosis and over time she grew frailer and frailer. After our senior year she died. I knew that she and many were praying for her healing. But I also knew that some Christians were saying she was not healed because she did not have enough faith. This is bad theology.”
– Eric Metaxas, Miracles
Are there such things as miracles today? Yes, of course. Are there such things as charlatans that pose as miracle workers, just to get money from desperate, ailing people? Yes, of course. But there are many more people that simply pray for healing, pray for relieve from worldly pressures, and pray for escape from other struggles, just to have their prayer unanswered or answered in a way that they did not ask for.
For one, Jesus promised us that we could move mountains with only a little faith, but does God have a reason for that mountain to be there? Maybe that mountain is something that we have to climb ourselves, to better learn how to rely on God. Having the mountain hop up and run into the sea would remove the resistance that causes our struggles to make us stronger.
Maybe that’s why you don’t hear about too many mountains running into the sea these days. It is not a lack of faith, but a need for the mountain to be there. But is there a lack of faith today? We have so many people try to explain everything. They insist that ‘blind faith’ is a bad thing. Yes, there are those that need to dissect each little notion until it becomes real to them, but faith still plays a role at some point.
Eric Metaxas’ friend in the quote above was finally able to go home, where there would never be any more pain. Some of her friends may have felt betrayed by her dying, but others learned in time that the period of time when they prayed in earnest while she was living drew them closer to God.
The first Scripture tells us that Scripture itself is a double-edged sword. It instructs in the law, which we cannot live up to. It also instructs in Grace, which leads to salvation through faith. And all of Scripture points to Jesus.
Jesus is seen in John’s vision carrying a double-edged sword. A sword with a double edge can be wielded in either direction to fell one’s enemies, slashing back and forth. There is no wasted motion in retracting the sword to slice again. There are a few Old Testament references to this type of sword. When Jesus returns to Earth, it will be for the final battle against Evil, and for judgment. Judgment again separates those who are saved and those who are not.
Yet, in the case of faith healing, we must focus on the source of the power to heal. God heals. We simply pray. Once we have prayed and someone was healed, we should never think that our prayer healed the person. At that moment, you are elevating yourself up to God. It becomes a double-edged sword. Forget poor faith as the reason for less faith healing. Could it be our own ego?
Do faith healers exist? Of course, they do. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks of Spiritual gifts. One of those gifts is healing, but the Holy Spirit bestows that gift upon certain people. We don’t simply decide to heal. Okay, there are those that do decide on their own, but for what source does their power come? In faith healing, it is God doing the healing and the Holy Spirit working within the people involved.
But the other edge of that sword can come down on that faith healer when they take credit for healing someone, if only in their own hubris. In history, faith healers have lost their abilities, and that might have happened due to their own ego. Remember that Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land for striking the rock at Meribah (Exodus 17)? He told the people that he was tired of doing everything for them. Yet, it was God that brought forth the water, not Moses.
So, when you have prayed and a miracle happened, thank God and take no notice of your involvement. If you pray with someone who accepts Jesus as His savior, remember that Jesus saved Him, you were simply there at the time. Remember Jesus’ words that when we are to be masters, we must be servants of all. Our reward comes later.
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God alone, in miracles and in life itself.