How Does God Heal?

This article by Carrie Dameron appeared on the NCFI Cares blog on November 11, 2018.

As nurses, one of our favorite names of God is Yahweh Rapha—the God who heals. God used this name to describe himself to the Israelites in Exodus 15:26. As the Son of God, Jesus demonstrated the same healing characteristics through miraculous healings and resurrections. Jesus often emphasized the importance of faith in miraculous healings. In Luke 18:42, Jesus told a blind man, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you“ (NIV). Does this mean Yahweh Rapha heals when we have faith? Of course not; nonbelievers are healed all the time. Instead, the emphasis on faith points out our belief in God as Yahweh Rapha. 

For example, do we have confidence in the Lord to heal every disease, every illness, every deformity, every trauma, and every 'fill-in-the-blank'? Do we believe the same miracles that occurred in the Bible can happen today? Is our faith, which is probably smaller than a mustard seed, enough to confidently say that Jesus can raise the dead?

Other questions to reflect upon: Are we content with the healing God does provide? Do we get bitter when his sovereign wisdom chooses not to heal? Maybe an even more profound question is, in this day of surgeries, treatments, and cutting-edge technology, do we even need Yahweh Rapha for healing? 

Do we only run to him when the prognosis is bleak? Bible scholar Dr. J. Vernon McGee had a poignant reminder, “God answers every prayer. We just don’t like it when he says “no” or when he provides the answer we don’t want.” The same is true for healing. God does heal everyone, every time. We just may not see his miracle of healing until we come to our eternal dwelling.

As we consider how healing interfaces with our faith, God's name--Yahweh Rapha--includes the realization that God is sovereign in how his healing power is dispensed to our patients, our families, and ourselves. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Exodus 33:19, ESV), while trusting in his everlasting lovingkindness as described in Psalm 136.

Carrie M. Dameron, MSN, RNBC, CNE, is an assistant professor of nursing and program director at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. She is the author of CARES: Reflections for Nurses.

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