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Why Hasn’t God Healed Me?

So I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about a non-life-threatening, chronic medical condition I have and its impact on my spiritual journey. But I’ve been avoiding it for months, because I don’t want to publicly share the details of my medical history.

So I came up with a solution: let’s just pretend I’ve got a nail in my head, right under the surface – a nail doctors can’t remove without damaging my brain. Quite frankly, it’s been more annoying than anything – but, believe me, it has been really annoying.

Many believers have joined me in asking God to remove this nail from my head. The update: even though the symptoms have lessened, the nail itself is still there, and my doctor says there’s a 99.9% chance it always will be.

This brings me to the question I’ve been grappling with for months now: if God still heals (and I know He does), then why hasn’t He healed me?

In the year-and-a-half that I’ve been dealing with this rusty nail in my skull, my feelings have been hard to pin down. At times I’ve found it amusing that I somehow got a nail jammed into my head; at other times, I’ve felt angry – especially when the resulting symptoms interfered with normal life. Sometimes I’ve felt indifferent – but mostly, I’ve been hopeful that God will answer my prayers for healing.

As I continued to ask God for relief, many people encouraged me by reminding me that “the prayer of faith will heal the sick” (James 5:14-15), that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5), and if we agree on anything in prayer, “it will be done” (Matt. 18:19). But no matter how many times I prayed, the nail firmly remained in place, ultimately leading me to deep frustration.

My prayers eventually got raw and desperate. I began saying things like, “God, come on. I’ve seen You do miracles before. Can’t You just give me a break and get this nail out of my skull? The doctors can’t fix it, but I know You can, so please just do me this favor.”

After wrestling with my condition in prayer for a few months, God finally broke through – but it wasn’t through physical healing. Instead, He dropped some scriptural wisdom in my mind that changed my perspective, and it sounded something like this: “Joshua, sometimes I show My glory in this broken world through physical healing (John 9:1-7); sometimes I don’t (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

“Please don’t get discouraged – I allowed the same thing to happen to Jesus, My own Son. I let Him experience physical pain (Isaiah 53:4-5) – I even let Him die. But it was temporary, and I was doing something beautiful that even He wrestled with (Mark 14:32-38). Sure, I ‘was able to save Him from death . . . yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8).’

“‘Therefore, don’t lose heart. Even though your outward man is perishing, yet your inward man is being renewed day by day. For your light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. So do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.'” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

Let there be no doubt: I do not believe this illness is good, but I do believe God is using for my good. And in faith, I’m at peace with having a nail stuck in my head; because I’m starting to realize the biggest miracle of all: that God can take awful things like sickness and suffering and make something beautiful of them.

33 Comments
  1. Let's not forget that I have an affliction that has haunted, tormented, and disfigured me for 36 years….God chooses not to heal many people. Period. Liz, my sweet wonderful friend, is now battling stage 4 breast cancer for the THIRD time that has presented in her bones. Yesterday she also found out there is a tumor behind her eye. More than likely, the tumor is cancerous. She has endured chemo three times, and deep down in MY bones…I think enough is ENOUGH. I have cried out to God for her healing as well…but it does appear to fall on deaf ears. She has two young boys, 11 and 9…that need a mother. However, if God doesn't perform a miracle she will be taken away from us some day but I don't know when. Whenever or if ever that time comes, it will be way too soon.I'm reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp…a whole new way of looking at life and gifts that we have been given. The bible shows many examples of giving thanks and then miracles happen. Be thankful in the now, and miracles happen…big and small.Put on your big boy underwear and weather this storm….your "nail", as well as mine, is small in comparison to many others. God is good ALWAYS, his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts but He is worthy of our praise.LPW

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    July 19, 2011
  2. Those are good thoughts, Lawrie. Thank you for sharing them.

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    July 19, 2011
  3. Josh, although the page is slow i loading at the moment, I encourage you to read this, which is somewhat related, and came from my viewing of Cars 2. http://burnsidewriters.com/2011/07/11/them-dents-is-valuable/

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    July 20, 2011
  4. James, good job. I felt encouraged writing this piece and similarly encouraged reading yours.

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    July 21, 2011
  5. Telling someone to put on their big boy pants because someone else's trial is worse is not helpful. There are always worse things that could happen, and I don't think you or your friend would appreciate your trials being dismissed or minimized in comparison to things like concentration camps or torture victims. Can we simply recognize that we all go through trials, some worse than others, and what we all need is God's grace and each other's compassion?

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    July 22, 2011
  6. Anonymous, I agree that it's not a good idea to marginalize the problems of others by bringing up another problem that's much bigger. I thought about writing a response to that effect, but I know Lawrie, and I think she's just trying to be playful and funny while grappling with the awful circumstances of her friend Liz, so I just let it go.But now that we're talking about it, I do agree with Lawrie that we need to be thankful in the moment and give God the praise He deserves, despite the "nails" in our head. But when we top other people's stories with "well, it's not as bad as [fill in the blank]," it usually just makes people feel ashamed. It's like someone from Canada coming to Mississippi in the winter and telling everyone they're stupid for thinking that 38 degrees is cold. It IS cold to them, and the person from Canada would do better to help them find a coat.

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    July 22, 2011
  7. Thank you for sharing. I'm struggling with an illness and have been for several years now. Don't understand but I do daily tell myself to put on my big girl panties and enjoy what I can of each day. I LOVED that part and totally related to that statement. I wonder at times if people have a hard time with statements like that because they enjoy wallowing in self pity. Not saying things are not horrible or extremely difficult but there is always something to be grateful for. Thank you again for posting in humility and honesty.

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    July 26, 2011
  8. Joshua, I praise God that you have faith. I praise God that you access His Word, because, John 16:13 (NKJV) says, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." If you read slowly and meditate on Matthew 17:20 I hope that you will notice that the instructions of Jesus simply say to speak directly to the mountain. "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Matthew 17:20 King James Version (KJV) A klutzy paraphrase might be, "speak out loud and address the problem, tell it exactly where to go and maybe even how to get there. Even if your believing is a sub-atomic particle, your 'nail-in-the-head problem' must obey and go where you tell it to, maybe the far side of the universe. Follow this instruction of mixing Spirit faith with physical words and nothing will be impossible." The work on the cross described Isaiah 53:4-5 is finished! You have the baptism of water and Spirit, right? You know that faith is paramount, right? I hope that you won't miss healing on earth simply because you haven't told this illness to die, leave and jump into the sea or something equivalent. You probably recall that Jesus spoke directly to a fig tree! Tell this ailment to get out of town according to the power in you, because of who you are in Christ, because of the very name of Jesus Christ. His power, yes, that power that is in you. Does Romans 8:28 (And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.–NKJV) apply only to negative things that occur to those called with a mission? The verse says ALL things. Sounds to me like God works good things out of good things too!Gaining a better understanding of Matthew 17:20 has blessed me. If this point is new to you, I hope that it also blesses you more than it ever has before in your life. Glory to God. I thank God for salvation, for instruction, and for being the great I AM! Keep seeking God, Joshua.

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    July 30, 2011
  9. Enatural, I really appreciate your comment and the way you expressed it. However, it seems like what you're saying is: (1) Every right-thinking Christian should be healed of any illness they have; and (2) if they're not healed, it's because they haven't correctly addressed the illness in faith. With all respect, I don't agree with that. Jesus conquered death on the cross, yet death still gets all of us in the end. That doesn't mean that all the believers who are dead weren't believing with enough faith when they died. It means that, on this side of heaven, the kingdom hasn't yet come in all its fullness.When we take the whole counsel of scripture, we realize that God is sovereign, and sometimes He heals, sometimes He doesn't. Some children are born with Downs Syndrome, some precious saints die of heart attacks – and some of us believers get horrible colds each winter. It is not a lack of faith that causes these maladies or prevents them from going away when we ask for healing. No, the fact has been borne out for centuries that we serve a loving God who sometimes gives healing, and He also works through the suffering that is a consequence of living in a fallen world.

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    July 31, 2011
  10. This is a great article, and a great topic to explore. Thanks for sharing.

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    November 29, 2011
  11. I am reading a great book titled "When Heaven Invades Earth" by Bill Johnson. In this book Bill makes it a point to say that when we invite Heaven to earth we are asking God to superimpose the rules, order and BENEFITS of Heaven onto this earth until this earth looks like His kingdom, namely Heaven. Do we have nails in our head in Heaven? Of course not. I don't know if you fit into this category or not, but most Christians have a habit of being like a child. They ask daddy for something and dad puts them off for a few minutes. What happens? The child starts pitching a fit, begging,and eventually yelling and screaming for whatever they want. What happens then? If the request is something that the child can live without the parent tells the child no, this leads to more yelling and screaming. God, from my experience works much the same way (almost everything on earth is a type and shadow of Heaven). If and when we realize this (most Christians don't) then we try things differently and this is what I will challenge you to try. The Bible clearly teaches that everything that we need, be it healing, provision, relationship restoration, whatever, has already been given we just need to get ourselves in a place where we can receive. I will challenge you to do this with a new mind set, ask God 1 time and only 1 time for your healing, then spend the next however long it takes thanking God for the healing you have received and walk in your healing. I am not saying that you need to deny the existence of your nail, but when your Dr gives you the next negative report don't accept it as the final authority, he is walking in the natural and looking at things from a natural standpoint. Look at your situation from the supernatural standpoint. I am involved, right now, in a situation where a friend is pregnant, her membrane's ruptured at 18 weeks and the Dr's said the baby would not live. This friend is still pregnant and is now 26 weeks along. She is in the hospital and is being monitored 24/7 with the Doppler pregnancy monitors and the Dr's are amazed that the baby is still alive. Why? Because of prayer, effectively applied, and her faith in God's promise. The baby is now being compared to, on ultrasound and heart rhythm, a baby that is 32 weeks along. This baby will survive and be borne, maybe not at the medical definition of full term(34+weeks), as a full term baby.Most of the time our prayers for healing are not answered because there is a problem with our receiver, not with God's promise or because God doesn't want us healed. There are things we hold onto that can cause "static" in our receiver and block the signal. Unforgiveness, bitterness, strife with those around us, anger (both at God and those around us), and resentment can all get in the way of our healing. Examine yourself, do any of those things exist in your life? If they do get rid of them, the only person they hurt is you by blocking the promises of God. Trust me, I know, I had to deal with almost all of them.

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    July 30, 2012
  12. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And when he was walking on earth, He denied NO ONE healing, healing all who came to Him.So, to state your illness is what God wants for you is a lie. In no way, would He deny you, since He is the same today as yesterday.I have a handicap of 30+ years and know God is supposed to heal me. Not for me, but for His name's sake! Else, He'd make Himself out to be a liar, which is not the case.

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    July 31, 2012
  13. That's an awesome testimony about your friend's little one that is surviving against all odds. Thanks for sharing. I am concerned, however, that your comment suggests that anytime someone is not healed, it's because: (1) they don't have the right kind of faith; or (2) their heart isn't in the right place. Either way, it seems to put the burden on ourselves for healing, when God is the source of it. Not only that, He's a God who gladly answers the prayer, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). What you've said also sounds a lot like the wrong idea the disciples had when they asked, "'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'" (John 9:2-3).I wrote this article a few months ago, and quite honestly, I've come back around to hoping that God would "display His work in my life" and heal it. At the same time, I realize that Paul pleaded for deliverance three times from some unnamed malady (2 Cor. 12:9-10). "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

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    July 31, 2012
  14. Thanks for commenting. Please see my response to the previous commenter.

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    July 31, 2012
  15. I believe the "thorn" subject is widely misinterpreted. In the scripture, the "thorn in the side" does not in anyway mean illness or disease as many believe. It stands for satan's persecution, "a messenger of Satan, to torment me." (2 Corinthians 12:7) Also noted are (Numbers 33:55) and (Judges 2:3) which describe the thorn in the side as harassment by the enemy.We have been freed from all sins as well as diseases, sicknesses and handicaps. "He forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." (Psalm 103:3) Why should we have to live a life suffering when Jesus has already paid the price.

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    August 27, 2012
  16. "Why should we have to live a life suffering when Jesus has already paid the price?" Probably for the same reason we all eventually die – but the good news is that we get the last laugh when we're raised to new life.

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    August 28, 2012
  17. Your graciousness in your responses is a beautiful testimony of your Savior. So thankful for them and I was blessed by them as much as the original post.

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    October 9, 2012
  18. I don't know the balance with all this, and I'm carefully seeking an answer for my own situation. Scripturally, I can't come to any other conclusion except that God heals and wants to heal everyone. If anyone can show me an exception to that, please point it out. Death is a bit different, as the Bible says that death isn't yet under Christ's feet, and will be the last enemy to be defeated. My only wisdom so far is this: the Bible does not say we won't get sick or bad things won't happen to us. It DOES say God will heal/deliver us by grace through faith. Also, I am very aware that God doesn't respond to passion, desperation, tears, or sincerity. He responds to faith (which is all tied up in what Jesus did and the awful price that was paid), and it is *all* grace (even the faith). In a sense, I am removed from the equation – for my own good.How does that all resolve into an answer? It doesn't yet. Theologically it's there. Practically… yeah. Here we are.

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    November 21, 2012
  19. Oh, I wanted to add that the inevitable discussion on Paul's "thorn in the flesh" doesn't really apply. We are told Paul was given that to prevent him from becoming proud of the power of God that flowed through him, and the things God had done through him. I humbly submit, none of us qualify for such a test.Also, to my view an unbiased reading of the relevant passages can't really be taken any other way than that Paul was referring to a physical ailment. He says in Galatians that they did not despise him despite his condition, and "you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me". It seems clear from later letters that this ailment didn't endure anyway – that he was eventually healed. I believe that refers to the same ailment i.e. his eyes were troubling him. He also refers to dimming eyes later in his life while in prison.All that to say, I don't think we can take Paul's thorn in the flesh as a general example for the rest of us. I think that is a misreading. Not that the conclusion may not be correct (I don't believe it is, but I'm open to being shown otherwise). The methodology in this case is, however, wrong in my opinion.As I always say to the Lord, I don't mind if you say to deal with being infirmed in any way, and to grow through it etc. That is a reasonable thing to think and say, and sounds very "mature". But that is not what the Bible says – at every single point that I can find. It extravagantly confirms healing, and wholeness. All the promises of God in him (Jesus) were yeah, and amen. Against my own inclination to accept things, I can't see the Bible saying anything else.So… as someone struggling with sickness myself, I don't think God gives us that out.

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    November 22, 2012
  20. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

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    December 30, 2012
  21. Would you think your own dad loved you if someone said "oh, he's alive and wonderful, etc. Here's a book of stuff he did and said-there that should do it. Don't be discouraged because he doesn't come to see you in person-he does that in spirit. Oh, and if you're starving he won't give you food, and if you're sick he can heal you but most likely won't", etc. If you were g-d wouldn't you heal people-especially those who are so profoundly damaged that their faith is destroyed? Holy crap, he's the creator of the universe-what's the big effing deal? What's with the need for us to glorify him. He sounds totally mental and a bit psychotic. 'Love me or spend eternity in torment'. Sounds stark raving mad.

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    April 23, 2013
  22. Sorry about that post above. It's from me and my faith is being challenged completely. I get really mad and completely lose faith when I see all the continuous pain and suffering people experience, some for every moment of their lives-with no apparent relief at all. Suicides,addiction, indifferences, hatred, isolation, mental illness,child molestation, abortion, war, corruption, infidelity, etc. The list grows and grows. And yet, for some, God (people claim) heals in a dramatic way. Some he doesn't. Why some and not all? Is it part of his plan? What kind of plan is that? Hopefully, after we die, he provides us with a grace that lets us see our lives from His perspective and all the points where he touched us, guided us, put a roadblock up, etc. and when we get to the end, we'll say "It couldn't have been any other way." But still, even with that hope, we are still blind folded, feeling our way in unfamiliar territory and uncertain of his plan for us in particular. I always wonder, too, about people who lose their faith and why He doesn't provide something, someone, someway, for that to flourish, somehow. When these moments of anger and faithlessness arise, I can't help but think that it's either a universe from nothing or some plan by a g-d who prefers to live distantly from us. Not sure, but at the moment, I lean to the former.I apologize if I offened anyone with the last post.

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    April 23, 2013
  23. Don't apologize. I appreciate your honesty, and I'm certain God does too. I encourage you to pour this anger and frustration out to Him. He can take it, and as you release it to Him, inviting Him into the deepest places of your hurt, He will meet you there. Psalm 51:17: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."So many are too proud to offer this kind of sacrifice, to bless the Lord with their unvarnished honesty. Thanks for your comments.

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    April 23, 2013
  24. Hi, I'm just a stupid Irishwoman at least that's what they tell me here in Australia.I too have endured and only by the skin of my teeth at times body pain and together with broken everything including spirit and heart if there is one good thing I have recently learned it has to be the Mark 11;23 scripture. Oh I knew how to speak the Word but hey "I have whatever I say if I believe." I am learning to ask every day, "Lord what should I say right now, I get these words, mix them with my faith and when something evil is biting on you this can be difficult. However I'm improving every day. I have to be wise enough to ask which words He knows I need to say, in order to apply my mustard seed. This doesn't make me smart now, no, I am just wiser now, made so by using His Words. I praise Him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    May 22, 2013
  25. ive always been a close follower of christ but in this past year ive been injured stopping me from doing what i love and added to that my best friend has died ive beeen praying non stop for guidance and help but all i get is silence ive never felt so further away from god please help

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    May 28, 2013
  26. I pray that you will continue to hold onto Jesus for dear life, that you will unceasingly pray like a child.

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    May 28, 2013
  27. what would you say to someone who says that healing has to do with your faith

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    June 6, 2013
  28. I would say that is true; however, I would caution against believing that prayers will only be answered if we say the magic words, feel the magic feelings, and/or hold our mouths right when we pray.

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    June 6, 2013
  29. so if your faith is strong buut you still are not healed then what

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    June 13, 2013
  30. In my case, I'm just continuing to ask, kind of like my daughter does repeatedly when she wants something. I mean, He said we needed to be like children, so I'm just going with that and asking for healing when I think about it. When I get down about it, it's nice to remember that Jesus' prayers for deliverance in Gethsemane were denied by His Father.

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    June 13, 2013
  31. but i ask for him to show him self to me to comfort me through my pain not just healing but i still get no reply nothing, its like hes ignoring me for a whole year my lifes been a mess i just dont understand why he cant come to me in a vision or a prayer and talk me to and let me know hes with me

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    June 14, 2013
  32. I was just telling my wife the other day that I would find it very helpful with my prayer life if I could see Jesus and hear His voice, so I hear you. Even so, I'm convinced He's here, that's He's available in ways we rarely appreciate.

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    June 17, 2013
  33. so obvious from reading all these posts that none of you know anything or have any answers at all.

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    November 11, 2013

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