Topic 3. Who is God when performing modern healings and miracles?
There are many investigated miracles on reliable record, including x-rays before and after and other medical verifications, but beware, God not a slot machine God who automatically rewards an input of money, or faith, or praise, or anything — with an exchange for a healing. He makes up His own mind with spiritual development being of primary importance to Him, and the physical of least importance.
Greg Alvord – Florida USA
In my role as a Stephen Minister in August 2010, I was providing prayer and other support to a dying man whose father had died the month before. He had had challenges in his life including a stroke at age 43 and went from a job of $80,000.00 to full disability. He related to me that he was on life support and had a living will dictating not to keep him on life support.
A panel of four doctors discussed his condition and advised the family that, due to his liver and kidney failure, they planned to take him off life support the very next morning.
When the family came to the hospital, the next morning, they found the nurses removing the life support tubes because he had made a full recovery! The doctors were unable to explain this change medically.
I have witnessed accounts of miracle healing regularly at the men’s retreats. What an awesome all-loving God! I am always filled with wonder on hearing accounts like this. The flip side is that not all prayer for miraculous cures are answered and we have to deal with that by saying that the Lord answers prayer in different ways.
Greg’s testimony shows that:
- God has our times, whether we live or die, in His hands (Romans 14:8; Ps 139:16)
- God is capable of healing a medically “unhealable” situation, but does so only rarely.
- God answers prayer for healing in different ways. For example, Yes – No –Later – or ‘There are other things more important in your life to deal with first’ – or ‘It is time for you to come to Me’ etc.
Ivan Rudolph when in Salisbury Rhodesia (now Harare Zimbabwe)
Several doctors, in Rhodesia and in England, told me in the 1970s that the virus vesicles on the roof of my mouth, that I had suffered for a decade already, were incurable. The blisters were very annoying because my tongue kept going to them while they grew until they popped. They were only painful for a short while after they had popped, but soon new ones began growing, year in and year out.
As I drove home disconsolate after yet another discouraging medical diagnosis, I thought to myself: “I am a Christian now (recently converted) and God could heal the vesicles if He wanted to”.
Immediately I felt healing flowing into my body from my head downwards. My tongue went to the offending blisters – for the first time ever they felt flabby.
When I reached home, Brenda confirmed that the blisters had diminished. By the following morning they had disappeared completely without popping, and I have not had another since.
For some weeks I was overjoyed – not only had the annoying virus condition been healed, but God had confirmed that He loved me personally. I told a number of friends about the miracle.
Then one day I took my mind off myself and thought more deeply about God. With some shock I remembered I had not prayed to God, either aloud or in my head: God had nevertheless read my thoughts! This disturbed me – I asked myself, “if God read those thoughts, what about some other thoughts I have entertained? Bad thoughts. Had He read those too?”
Over the years, I have discovered that God not only reads all our thoughts, but also records them. I have had examples of this in my own life, in scripture (Ps 139:1,2 and Ps 94:11) and in interviews with NDErs about their afterlife experiences, especially during their “Life Review”. There is no doubt anymore that God reads every thought and also records all our thoughts. Amazing! But definitely true.
I have struggled with my thought life ever since. However, it is good to try to tidy up our “private” thoughts (Philippians 4:8). God can help us, and also forgive us whenever we fail, providing we ask Him to.
In my research into near death experiences (NDEs), during the Life Review process in particular, God shows not only what we were thinking at a given time past on earth, but on occasion what others around us were thinking! This can be very uncomfortable. It can be very comforting, for example when a mother has died in childbirth and her child can at last see his mother and know what she was thinking about him before she died.
Ivan’s testimony shows that
- God can heal apparently incurable conditions
- God is not someone “out there” to whom we have to send our prayers ‘off into space’ to communicate with, He is closer to us than we think – He is in us, with our spirit, even closer than our breath. (1John 4:12-16)
- God knows our thoughts.
- God records our thoughts.
- God holds us accountable for our thoughts.
- God can forgive our wrong thoughts and also help us to deal with them more appropriately.
- God can replay our thoughts to us during an afterlife experience.
Such healings are unusual because they are not knowingly prayed for, but simply happen.
David Craig was an alcoholic atheist who had tried to commit suicide at Flying Fish Point in Queensland, Australia, and to whom God spoke audibly. David converted to Christianity subsequently.
Ivan spent time with David in the late 1980s, recording his testimony and enjoying his company and deadpan humour. “I noticed he had a habit of nodding slightly, which he told me was as a symptom of the incurable Parkinson’s disease that plagued him.” I had taken the nodding to mean that he was agreeing with me!
A few years later, David visited Ivan unannounced. Ivan did not recognise him at first.
“David, what has happened to you since we last met? Your face and expressions have changed so much that I did not know for sure that it was you.”
David laughed. “That’s because the Lord has healed me of Parkinson’s disease. My face had much less expression when you interviewed me because its muscles were not all working fully. Now I’m back to what I was before the Parkinson’s. Have you not noticed I am not nodding all the time?”
“Yes, I have. Tell me about your healing.”
“No-one prayed for me. I didn’t even pray for myself. It was while I was on the ferry crossing from Townsville to Magnetic Island that the Lord touched me and healed me. I simply knew I had been healed by the time we docked.”
Mark Taylor was also healed without praying when walking towards the new buildings at Northside Community Church in Zimbabwe.
The background was that a twisted ankle had not healed well and Mark was due to be part of a church group making a one-month trip to Israel; he felt concerned that he would not be able to keep up with all the walking the trip would involve. Again, he did not pray, but as he crossed the church lawn, he felt the Lord talking to him, and he stopped in his tracks. “Stop, Mark. I am going to heal you now” were the words he heard, and before he could question or think further, Mark felt heat and healing move down his leg into his ankle, which was totally healed. The change was so thorough that in Israel he often could not remember which ankle had been the damaged one!
These two autonomous healing testimonies show that:
- God’s attention is always on His children; Christians are never alone regardless of what we might suppose.
- God is supreme and may heal His children in any way He chooses and at any time of His choosing, even without conscious prayer.
- God’s timing for healings can in retrospect be very practical, as in Mark’s need to guide a group around Israel. Of course, the timing for a healing may even be delayed until the afterlife, where complete autonomous healing awaits all Christians.
I have constantly prayed for wisdom over many years as I see that as the most necessary attribute of Jesus Christ after the fundamental attribute of humility. In looking back over life, I can see my life has been guided by the wisdom of God (James 1:5) I don’t claim great wisdom but am deeply thankful for the wisdom of God that surrounds me. My life has been kept from the fruit of evil and for that I am eternally thankful.
After a diagnosis of stage four abdominal cancer I was ready and willing to join Jesus in heaven. Realising that was somewhat selfish and escape focussed, I prayed, “Jesus if I can be useful to You, then let’s get on with the healing.” I immediately felt at perfect peace and remained calm and unworried from that time.
Medical intervention happened very quickly in the public system and after chemotherapy I had surgery which required 10 to 16 days recovery time in hospital. After only five days I was sent home.
Throughout the whole time I experienced no pain, sickness or discomfort despite losing 80% of my stomach.
After further chemotherapy my recovery was complete. The specialist said it is medically phenomenal that I am in such good shape.
Throughout this experience, now some four years past, I have felt the closeness of God with me and have never felt as secure as I do today. How big and good is my God? He will withhold no good thing from me. I am so thankful.
Ian’s testimony shows that:
- God’s responses to prayers for miracles and healings are answered in many different ways, depending on what He wants to work into who we are at that time.
- God’s progressive healings can teach us much about Him and much about ourselves. Slow progressive healings give time and space for God to work spiritual and character lessons into our lives.
- God chooses the pathways for healing depending on who we are and where we are at spiritually.
- God’s priority for healing is always to add value to who we are in His family.
Betty Corsane’s neck miracle in Salisbury Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe).
Betty had a damaged neck that continued to degenerate progressively. Her pain was so great at times that her husband, a gentle dentist, had to lift her in and out of the bath. She was advised by the orthopaedic surgeons Nangle and Standish-White to have an operation on her neck to repair the damage.
Betty, however, decided to have prayer instead. She was brimming over with personal faith that she would be healed, so much so that she announced this to Christian friends in advance of going to church to request prayer. Some friends were concerned that Betty’s faith could take a knock if she wasn’t healed.
Happily, Betty was healed instantly.
She had a second round of x-rays afterwards to confirm the healing and that no further medical intervention would be necessary.
When the radiologist handed Betty her two x-rays he asked, “Who did this operation? He is a master surgeon.”
“The very best,” Betty responded.
The unexpected feature of Betty’s healing was that relevant bone and tissue had NOT been replaced by God with new bone and tissue, as one might have expected God to have done. Instead, the relevant vertebrae had been ‘splinted’ individually with new bone splints on both sides, just as her surgeon had originally suggested should be done surgically! These new bone ‘splints’ gave her vertebrae great strength. She was also immediately set free from the intense pain she had been suffering.
(During an Open Day at Marlborough High School in Harare, Zimbabwe, the Scripture Union club produced an exhibit illustrating some of God’s miracles of healing that students had been investigating – photos, x-rays before and after the miracle, written statements from medicos that the healings were beyond scientific explanation and miraculous in that sense, statements from the person who had received the miracle and so on. Betty was one of the parents who gave a short talk on how she had been healed.)
Betty’s testimony shows that:
- God has the material universe and time itself under His control. He can complete instantaneously what we expect would take a skilled surgical team much longer from ‘Go to Whoa’ to achieve, not to mention that surgery would not be instant but instead would followed by a slow recovery.
- God is multi-dimensional and not constrained by our world’s time and consequence, nor by our pitiful attempts to apply logic to the supernatural.
- God likes our faith and sometimes rewards it as in Betty’s case, but there is no recipe here whereby God’s arm can be twisted. In fact, no such recipes exist in any aspect of spiritual life.
- God is the boss and decides creatively the nature and time taken for a healing. (Ivan remembers the case of a girl the one side of whose body was growing at a different rate to the other; a most distressing genetic abnormality. After prayer, the slower side grew more quickly until her symmetry was achieved, after which normal growth continued. This condition is incurable outside of a miracle.)