The popularity of the faith healing movement has always been a bit of a mystery to me. The Bible clearly says that signs and wonders are performed for the purpose of bringing unbelievers to a faith in God; why do so many believers chase after miracle signs and wonders?
A friend of mine recently invited me to a faith healing with her. She is a dear friend to me and my transport was her only hope of attendance. It seemed important to her and so I agreed. I think in her heart of hearts she was hoping that if I were to see miracles that I would be encouraged in my faith.
The miracle healer claimed to have a "special annointing" but that Jesus is the one who healed. If Jesus is the miracle healer why would an intermediary be needed? It almost suggests that the healer has already determined that my faith is not sufficient to approach the Father and ask for that which I need. It also suggests that if we have a thorn in our flesh it is not of God and that somehow Satan has some power in my life that God cannot thwart apart from an intervention by someone with a special annointing.
During the service he suggested that everyone would have an opportunity to be healed. It seemed to me that he was suggesting that everyone needed to be healed. Another person there at the healing had been to the revival services throughout the entire week Mr. Grant had been there and claimed to have received a healing himself. This person said that he had never heard of Mr. Grant and didn't know anything about him, but was convinced that he was the real deal. When I did a quick google search prior to the service, I found that Mr. Grant has been convicted of defrauding people in the past and falsefying miracles. Now that he is out of prison, these miracles that I am seeing now are legitimate because God saw fit to forgive him for the miracles he did fraudulently and now has given him "true" power?
In my studies of the Bible one of the greatest revelations I have had is that God is Holy and I along with all mankind are utterly sinful. Over my years of growing in grace, I have learned how pervasive my sin is. At first, I saw the sins that are offensive to all good church goers and recognized that I fell short of a churchy standard. The church's standard however is so much lower than God's standard of holiness. Jesus pointed that out to the Pharisees who prided themselves on their righteousness and exposed them for the vile sinners they were. God's holiness goes much deeper than external conduct - that is another blog perhaps.
My point is that God uses affliction to draw us in to repentence and into deeper dependence on him alone; sometimes affliction is just for the purpose of him growing his character in us and sometimes it is for his glory, but we don't see God's purpose. We are assured in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for those who are called according to God's purposes. Mr. Grant at no time in his presentation conveyed an exhortation to deeper fellowship with God, greater knowledge of scripture etc. He spoke out about the way that secular society lives and how it is an offense to God. Well Duh! There weren't a lot of secular society in the room only desperate Christians feeling defeated by affliction and longing for relief. His message could easily be confirmed by the people in the room and had no impact to change the lives that were there.
Faith healing seems to be a misnomer to me. Present are those whose faith is weak and they are longing for a confirmation that God cares and he is all powerful to handle their circumstances. God has shown over and over that he cares. The very fact that he adopted me as a Christian is evidence that he cares. I had no good in me that I should be selected by God. God is still all powerful and he is intimately aware of the afflictions I suffer. He is also able to remove them by a breath if it is his will. I can ask in faith and he has promised that if it is good for me, he will hear my prayer. If Faith healing involved special displays of God's power so that all can see, where is the faith? And where is our faith? Is it in God alone or in some man claiming to have a special prophesy or annointing?
Interesting to me that there were comments during the service about if you wanted your healing to be permanent, you should bring forth your best offering to this man. If it is a healing of God, wouldn't it be permanent? The Bible tells us that there will be false teachers and men claiming to have special power that will deceive even the elect if it were possible. Not all magic is of God and as Christians we need to be discerning in who we allow to influence our thinking.
The spectacle of the faith healing really isn't something that was promoted in the Bible. Jesus even chastised the people who just followed him for a special healing and were not interested in having their lives changed. Paul and the other apostles wrote extensively about the Christian life and it was a journey toward holy living and becoming a person of grace. As Christians we should leave the signs and wonders to the unbelievers. We have something much better; we have the Holy Spirit that lives in us and guides us in the development of the character of Jesus Christ in us. We become living sacrifices.
Following after miracle workers only leaves our faith defeated because we realize that we do not have that kind of power in our lives. If we did, there would be no sickness anywhere because out of love we would be healing them and saving tons of money on medical services. As soon as we have a need that God does not immediately resolve according to our word, we become discourage. What made us think that God is bound to do our bidding like that? I love the dear souls who were in attendance looking for some hope they could cling to in their lives and I have great news! Jesus alone is that hope and he can be found if we will look for him. His plan for our lives is well articulated in the Bible if we will study and his Spirit joins with ours in prayer interceding and convicting us of our sins. We have a great hope not only here but in the hereafter!