Does God answer prayer? Does He still heal today as He did when Jesus walked the roads of Galilee and Judea?
Together with others we asked the questions and pondered the conflicting answers. Between the extremes of those who claimed that God always, instantaneously and miraculously, healed all who came to him in faith, and those who didn’t believe in God at all, we found a great diversity of beliefs.
We heard many testimonies of apparently miraculous provision, protection and healing. We also heard the doubter’s explanations of how these testimonies were ill-conceived or exaggerated, and that the events had a natural, logical explanation.
Finally we came to the conclusion that the best way to discover the God of Scripture was to study the Scripture for ourselves.
At the start we floundered horribly. The unfamiliar King James English compounded our difficulties. We spoke of this to a mature Christian friend. In reply he gave us two wonderful gifts. From his bookshelf he gave us a Concordance, explaining how to use it. From his store of personal experience he gave us two words of advice: “Read alternately from the Old Testament and the New Testament. Keep a notebook handy, and whenever you come across anything that seems to have a bearing on your search, make a note of it, making sure to record the book, chapter and verse. That way you can refer back if you have a question later.”
Over time a picture emerged. We began discerning the testimonies we heard by the Scriptures with which we were becoming familiar, not by the speaker. We understood that the God of the Old Testament was working with men in the same way as the God of the New Testament, and that the God of today is the same God. He hasn’t changed. His mind and His will are not changed. He answered prayer when Abraham pleaded with Him for the protection of any righteous souls in Sodom, where his nephew Lot was living. God made sure that Lot and his family were safe before He poured out His wrath on the wicked city.
In the New Testament He protected the newly forming church when He felled Saul of Tarsus, converting him from persecutor to proclaimer.
In the Old Testament God said, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” In the New, when the leper came to Jesus he said, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus touched him, saying, “I will; be thou clean.” He was cleansed, healed, made whole.
The Bible abounds with answered prayer, divine guidance and protection, and with examples of the healing power of God. There can be no doubt that the God of today is well able to answer prayer, to provide and to heal, just as He did in the days of the Bible. It seemed to us that the answer to our questions lay with us. Were we ready to pray? Were we ready for God to answer our prayers?
Sometimes it is only in desperation that we will put aside our doubts.
Our son was born with pyloric stenosis. This is a condition in which the stomach muscle closes before the food reaches the stomach, resulting in projectile vomiting. As a result the baby receives no nourishment and will probably die of starvation. We lived on a farm an hour’s drive from doctor or hospital, but a telephone call to our doctor gave some relief. He advised only sips of water until we received prescribed medication which would relieve the condition until the child was old enough for an operation.
The tiny black bottle ran out of drops at a weekend. The projectile vomiting started again. While the baby slept, we prayed and read the Scriptures, despairing for the child. We read the story of the father who brought his son to Jesus. Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible.”
Were they? Could we?
We crept through to the bedroom and laid our hands gently on the sleeping child. We prayed. He woke, hungry. We gave him a bottle, and waited. There was no projectile vomiting. He slept again, and we thanked the Lord who had healed him. For he was healed. There was no further vomiting, no need for surgery.
The God of the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament, is the God of today. He is the Lord our healer.
References: Genesis 18; Acts 9; Exodus 15; Matthew 8; Mark 9.
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