Pray for Healing but Focus on the Soul
Do you pray for the soul? Do you pray for healing? Believers and non-believers alike place limits on God because of our inability to conceptualize his capabilities. We originally discussed this in a prior article, and to no surprise, this same concept returns to center stage once again. God’s wisdom is supreme, his power is unquestionable, and his knowledge is endless. But this always seems to come into question when we call out his name and our prayers are not answered.
How many times has someone said, “if God is so good then why does he allow bad things to happen?” The answer is, we do not know. I can give you a dozen reasons why it could be, but his plan is greater than my reasoning. Surely a smoker with lung cancer cannot blame God, can they? They knew the risks and made a choice on their own free will. How many people find God only after they face crippling hardship or disease? In their case, even when facing something horrible, isn’t eternal life more important than the temporary suffering on this earth?
He Can Heal the Body
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he healed leprosy, made the lame walk again, the blind to see, and even healed the ear of a soldier as Christ was taken away for crucifixion. God is fully capable of healing anything that threatens our body, but we are also here for a reason. As Jesus walked the earth, someone’s healing meant thousands of followers seeing with their own eyes the power of God. It had a purpose, and sometimes, so does our suffering.
If I knew right now that a disability or even my death was the only thing that could guarantee salvation for my children, would I not gladly, do it? It may seem farfetched to think that a disability would be necessary for something like that to happen, but I have seen many people walk the aisle to salvation after hearing the testimony from someone who overcame diversity to find God. Their testimony would not be there without suffering. God did not bring on the suffering, but he can use earthly suffering for his greater purpose.
These are not necessarily God’s reasons, we will never know in this life what his thoughts and plan may be, but we can be guaranteed that it is perfect. God does not want to see anyone suffer unnecessarily; he is a loving Father who cares about each of us more deeply than the closest relationships we cherish. But this is the same God who sent his only Son to die on the Cross, but for the greatest of purposes. We ask why we must suffer when Jesus Christ suffered for us before we were ever conceived.
Imagine the decisions we would make differently if we could see the before, the during and the after. Even our own decisions would be much sounder if we knew the consequences for every action. To God, your eternal life with him outweighs your suffering on earth; in fact, Christ promised us that as Christians we will face suffering.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
As a father myself, I must do the same thing with my children, but in an earthly way. I have an absolute fear of needles, but I still take my two boys in for their vaccinations. Kathleen and I may have to hold them down to get their shot. But we know they must have it. A moment of pain is worth my child not having to suffer their entire lives with hepatitis or polio.
Compared to eternal life, our short lives on earth are like that moment we receive our shot. Yes, it is painful, and it’s painful for God to watch, but sometimes it is a necessary means to a positive end. In this example, my child didn’t deserve the pain from a shot, they didn’t ask for the shot, it’s not a repercussion of their actions or sins, but as parents we must make a tough call to ensure their wellbeing.
What is the Answer?
But all this does not mean we should only pray for the soul and not for healing. Christ himself prayed to God that the burden of the Cross is not his to bear, but he also submitted himself to God’s will. Jesus knew that if God was having him suffer, it was the only way to save mankind. Christ also knew what was waiting for him on the other side of this life and carried out God’s plan to perfection. So, pray to God for healing. And if he heals you, praise his name and give him the thanks he deserves. But if you are not healed, and as you continue to pray, also pray for God’s will to be done in your life and for him to use you as he deems necessary according to his plan and thank him even in the pain.
The Takeaway- Pray for the Soul
Suffering is inevitable for humans. We all have our trials and we all will suffer on earth. The difference between Christians and the rest of the world is that we have faith in God, and with that faith comes peace. We know that God has a greater plan that sees beyond the suffering of this world. We look to Jesus in our time of need and know that he knows our pain. He is the Comforter.
The thing to take away is we are too concerned with the body when our souls are a complete wreck. We should always take care of the temple God gave us, but it is our soul that continues after the body has worn away (James 1:12). Focus on the soul, read God’s word, develop a relationship with him so strong that only he lives inside of you. And when we stumble, pray for spiritual healing first even if you are suffering physically. Because eventually, this life will end and hopefully, if lived by Christ’s example, healing will never be an issue again. Pray for the soul.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
Photography by Jon Frederick