What can Christians expect from God in regard to healing?

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen on the walls of pastors’ studies or in Christian homes the little sign, Expect a Miracle. If a miracle is something we can expect, like we expect the postman every morning, it ceases to be miraculous—it’s no longer extraordinary, and it no longer does the job that miracles were designed to do, namely, to call attention in an astonishing way to the intervention of God. On the other hand, the New Testament tells us to bring our prayers before God, particularly for those who are sick. So I expect God to be merciful because he promises to be merciful, and I expect God to be present in times of trouble because he promises to be present in every time of trouble. I expect that God will take our prayers seriously when we pray on behalf of the sick. I do not expect that God is going to heal everybody we pray for because I don’t know that God has ever promised to do that. And I have no right to expect something from God that he has not categorically promised in every situation.

In the New Testament we see that Jesus, as far as we know, had a perfect healing record. When Jesus asked the Father to heal somebody, they were healed. But even the apostles were not that consistent. There were times when they prayed for the healing of people and those people were healed, and there were times when they prayed for people and they were not healed. I think that in those situations, practically speaking, what we should do is bring our requests before God in fear and trembling, in passionate intercession, and then let God be God. We do expect the presence of his Holy Spirit.

The Bible tells us that in the world we have tribulation, the world is full of suffering, we are going to suffer, and God promises to go with us: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” I have never ceased to be amazed at how some Christians I know have testified to the overwhelming sense of the presence of Christ that comes to them in those situations. That’s when we can most expect God to be with us.

©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.