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The problem of the miracle hidden by miraculous healing

The problem of the miracle hidden by miraculous Healing. Say what? Being healed by God, through prayer, is a miracle. What else could there possibly be? What could be more important than still being alive when death was at the door?

Don’t get me wrong. Being healed is a great thing.

I know, since I was there. After a staph infection when my doctor told me I “beat the reaper”, I have first-hand experience with it.

But, the healing came the day after a “dream” of a conversation with God about whether or not this is the end for me.

So while getting healed after more than a month of meds, but the physical damage being reversed largely in a couple of days was amazing, there’s more to it.

You can read about it in God, is it time for me to go home?

And now I’m into my fourth year of dealing with prostate cancer. So far, healing has not taken place. Surgery failed to remove all of the cancer cells. Radiation treatment begins in a few days. Before that, I have a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer. We’ll see how that goes.

But, will healing be forthcoming? I pray it will. But whether it does or not, there’s a greater miracle. One that may get lost in the realities of having to do additional, and more disruptive, treatments. But also one that may get lost in the joy of healing, if it’s God’s will that the cancer is eradicated.

The entire series, Don’t waste your cancer, is about my journey through this process.

Now, with that backdrop, let’s look at a case from the Bible where the greater miracle, even the greatest miracle, was not seen because everyone was focused on the more obvious miracle. That’s what happened when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead.

This is the second segment of what was originally titled Healing (or not). The first segment in the series is now at The Problem Of Healing … Or Not Healing … And Being Loved.

Here’s the remainder of Healing (or not), from the original version of what is now a short series.

Miraculous healing – Lazarus raised from the dea

You may have noticed, if you read part 1 of the series, I haven’t talked about Lazarus yet.  Where Jesus raised him from the dead. We’re not going to go through the various passages in order. Instead, we look at some portions, then go back and fill in the background. So, let’s start at the end!

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

Jn 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Jn 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

Jn 11:43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

How amazing is that? Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. And Jesus “healed” him from being dead.

Before Lazarus was raised from the dead

But do you remember/know what came just before Lazarus was raised from the dead?

Jn 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

Jn 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. …

Ouch!! But then, how many times have we had similar feelings towards God and what we think He should have done? But God did His thing instead of our thing?

Think about it. This is one of the great stories that so many people know – Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But how many know/remember Martha telling Jesus that Lazarus wouldn’t have died if He (Jesus) had been there? She’s accusing God of something. Just like we do.

Now, does anyone remember/know why Jesus wasn’t there? Could it have been that He didn’t know that His friend Lazarus was about to die? Or maybe He did know, but had something more important to do than take care of His friend?

As I just mentioned, doing His thing and ignoring ours. Let’s see. We’ll back up even further.

The Death of Lazarus

Jn 11:1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Jn 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

Why did Jesus wait before going to Lazarus?

Nope.  Nothing special going on. But it does say that Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. However, for some reason, He just stayed there for two more days.

What was He thinking? Didn’t He know that waiting around until Lazarus died would cause great pain for the family and friends? Not to mention the fact that Lazarus died! Is Jesus so uncaring that He couldn’t have let these people avoid the pain and suffering?  Especially since Lazarus was going to be raised from the dead anyway? We get a clue from the verses below.

Jn 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jn 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.

Jn 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jn 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Again, people are mad at Jesus for not healing Lazarus before he died.

But, to answer the part about whether or not Jesus/God cares about when we feel pain, notice the little 2-word sentence in the middle. That’s John 11:35 – the shortest verse in the Bible. Jesus wept. He does care.  And cares deeply.

For a more in-depth look at “Jesus wept”, check out the inset article – Does God Cry? It’s another older one. You can tell by the format. But still – I hope it’s worth the time to read.

But, and this is one really big but, just like the earlier references to Isaiah (in part 1 of this series), there is a reason for what’s going on here. And it’s mentioned more than once when reading the entire text of the incident.

So here, finally, are all three passages, complete and in order.

The whole story of Lazarus

The Death of Lazarus

Jn 11:1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Jn 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Jn 11:7 Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
Jn 11:8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
Jn 11:9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. 10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
Jn 11:11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
Jn 11:12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
Jn 11:14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Jn 11:16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus Comforts the Sisters

Jn 11:17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

Jn 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jn 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Jn 11:24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jn 11:27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Jn 11:28 And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

Jn 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jn 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jn 11:35 Jesus wept.

Jn 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jn 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

Jn 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Jn 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

Jn 11:43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

What can we learn from Lazarus’ death and return to life?

And there we have it –

  • “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
  • “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
  • “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

First, what happened to them, and what happens to us, is for God’s glory.

Third, if we believe, we will see God’s glory.

And in between, if we believe, we will live, even though we die.

As humans, we have all been born and we all (will) die.

As Christians, what we believe about what happens after death is quite different from what everyone else believes. We are the only ones who have a guarantee of spending the rest of eternity with our living God.

As for what happens in between birth and death, that’s a very different story for each of us.

Christian prayer for miraculous healing

When a Christian gets very sick we pray to God.

We pray for wisdom for the doctors taking care of our loved ones. For those who think doctors aren’t something Christians need to concern ourselves with – consider that Luke – author of the third Gospel – called The man who wrote the most beautiful book in the world in All The Men of The Bible – was a physician. Jesus Himself said that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

We pray to God to heal the person. Note that when we pray – we should always pray as Jesus did below.

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives – Luke

22:40-46 pp — Mt 26:36-46; Mk 14:32-42

Lk 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Lk 22:45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

That’s how Jesus prayed as He was approaching the hour of His own death. And so we pray for healing, if it is God’s will.

And if healing is not in God’s will, we pray for strength and encouragement and peace for the ill person. And for their family, and their friends, and all those around them. No matter what else happens, He has promised to always be with us.

As I pointed out in part 1, this is my story now as well. It’s not just a study. Not just research. We really want to pray for healing. But we cannot forget about God’s will. And be prepared, through trusting Him, for whatever His will is.

In the event of miraculous healing, God’s greatness is obvious.  At least to those who are willing to give Him the credit He deserves for what He did. And, by the way, the knowledge for doctors and care teams to heal us is also a miracle from God. As Paul said in Romans – the passage is coming later – the evidence of God is there.

But when that miracle doesn’t happen as fast as we’d like, or if it doesn’t happen at all. is the glory of God still there? Is there still evidence that God is there? And that God cares? Does Jesus weep for us at these times?

I believe He does. As a man, Jesus went through these very things. Felt these very emotions. And Jesus wept. He knows how we feel. He also knows we can’t make it on our own. That’s why He promised to always be with us, to give us strength and peace.

And yes, like Lazarus’ family and friends, who also knew that Jesus could have healed him, and knew that, as Martha said:

Jn 11:21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

literally anything is possible. But they still were angry with Jesus. They still were sad over what happened. They experienced the emotions that we all have.

And for that reason, Jesus reminded them of what they already knew:

Jn 11:40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

that He is God.  That He was sent by the Father. And also those three things from above

  • “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
  • “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
  • “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

We, as Christians, we know these things. We don’t always “remember” them when things get difficult. But if we live in God’s Word, live in a community of His people, then we will be reminded. And we can have all those things that He promised.

And we know that, when it’s time, when it’s His will, we will go to be at home with Him.

So – where’s the glory of God in all of this? What’s so obvious for everyone to see? Where’s the miracle of God when there’s no miraculous healing?

It’s in how we react when the healing doesn’t come. And that’s from our reliance on God’s promise of eternal life with Him.

We have God’s comfort. God’s peace. God’s strength. God’s promise of an eternal life with Him. As Jesus said:

Salt and Light

Mt 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Let’s look now at the passage from Romans I referenced earlier.

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

hoRo 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Let’s compare what Paul wrote in the Romans passage with what Jesus said above.

Jesus, in Salt and Light:

…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Paul, in Romans:

… since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them

Yes, us being a light is part of how God makes things plain to others. Sometimes, what’s shown to others so that they may see the glory of God, is us. The miracle is that we have God to help us through the times when the miracle of healing doesn’t happen. But when healing doesn’t happen, the miracle of eternity in Heaven with our Creator does happen.  As does the miracle of the living on earth having the love and comfort and strength and peace of our Creator, even while we are still on this earth.

There’s this Tommy Walker song – Pass It On – we sang it in the church I was going to when I wrote the initial version of Healing (or not). The Chorus goes:

Giving you glory and honor
Blessing and praise
Together will pass it on,
the greatness of your ways

That’s what the Romans passage is about for us. Passing on the glory of God to others. We do it when the miracle of healing happens. We do it when the miracle of healing doesn’t happen, because other miracles do happen.

God deserves:

the glory
the honor
the blessing
the praise
the credit.

Conclusion – The problem of the miracle hidden by miraculous healing

After all that, did you find the miracle hidden by miraculous healing?

If you found “it”, you missed some of them. There are so many. And all we need to do is be willing to let God work through us.

Did you also realize that those same “hidden” miracles also happen when God doesn’t heal? Again, all we need to do is be willing to let God work through us.

But it’s so much harder when the healing doesn’t happen.

It’s hard to break through the joy of healing.
It’s harder to break through the grief and sorry that accompanies healing not happening.

We’re human. God knows about our emotions. After all, He gave them to us. But don’t we owe it to Him, at some point, after our initial emotions, to start to look to Him? And to let Him work those other miracles through us?

You know, I used to think that passage in Romans, part of which is above, is one of the really scary ones. But at the same time, I also thought it gave hope for us as well. By that, I mean for non-Christians. When God gives bad news, He always gives us a way to avoid being the recipient of the stuff that comes with that bad news.

However, even though I wrote the first version of this more than 13 years ago, I just now realized the significance of the comparison between what Jesus said in Salt and Light and what Paul wrote in Romans.

I write a lot about the Great Commission. And in classes I talk about how we live, with others seeing us, can also be part of performing the Great Commission.

On top of that, the first version was for someone who died of cancer, and was an excellent example of being the light on the hill with the way she lived, even after she knew her cancer was fatal.

And yes – I wrote all that. But now, today, this moment, it struck me in a way it never has before. It all seems so much more important than ever. And it was like the number one thing before. Writing and leading Bible study is the best thing I’ve ever done with my life. And now, the words, written or spoken, take on even more significance.

I have to pray and process that. It’s nothing short of mind-blowing.


Hope to see you in part 3 – I’ll link to it here when it’s done.


Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay


The post The problem of the miracle hidden by miraculous healing appeared first on God versus religion.


This post first appeared on God Versus Religion, please read the originial post: here

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