Theologians John Piper and Al Mohler have weighed in on why God answers certain prayers for healing in this life, but not all, and the role faith plays in the outcome.
On an episode of his DesiringGod podcast, Piper responded to a reader who asked if greater faith would have saved his father from dying of a brain tumor.
“[My] answer is that I don’t know. I don’t know,” Piper said. “What I do know is that I would go insane if I had to figure that out every time I preached — that when I preach, I’ve got to know what would have happened if I’d done things differently. And when I preach, it’s not just what’s at stake here on Earth; it’s what’s at stake eternally. Eternal lives are at stake when I preach, not just my dad’s few years of life on the planet. I cannot bear the burden — I can’t bear it — of having to answer the question, What if? What if? What if?
“So it is with our prayers for those we love, whether physical healing or spiritual salvation. Would more faith heal? Would more faith save? Maybe, but maybe not,” he continued.
There are several instances in Scripture where Jesus healed when there was no faith, Piper contended.
“He healed in response to little faith; He healed in response to great faith; He withheld healing for lack of faith,” the pastor said. “I think the way forward is to seek to grow in faith and to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, according to 2 Peter 3:18. Never, never, never be content with what you already possess in faith. Always want more of all that God has to give. But realize that faith is a gift, and you can never presume that God owes it to you.”
Piper further explained that God decides who lives and who dies, and He decides when, adding: “Our main job is to trust His promise. And His promise is not to heal everyone we want healed. His promise is to do good to those who trust Him (Romans 8:28), and to conform us to Christ (Romans 8:29), and to give us the grace we need to persevere in love and holiness to the end (2 Corinthians 12:9).”
Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, also weighed in on the issue of healing on a recent episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast.
The theologian suggests that it is always right to pray for healing, adding that the entire biblical worldview is that we will be ultimately healed in eternity.
“It’s always right to pray, it’s the right thing for the Church to do,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with praying that God will heal me … the entire biblical worldview is that, by the power of the Gospel and the promise of Christ, we will be healed, we will be perfect.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett