Why are Some People NOT Healed?

Why do some people get healed immediately after prayer, but others never get healed, even after praying for a long time?

why not healed

The short answer is, we don’t know why God chooses to heal some, but not others—at least not for each individual case. Hence, I’m hesitant to ever answer the question beyond this.

While there are many possible answers, the most helpful answer I have found is that the kingdom of God has not fully come yet. On the one hand, the kingdom of God is coming and near.

Matthew 10:7-8~ “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick…”

But on the other hand, the kingdom is still something future (Matt 7:21) and, therefore, we continue to await the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23~ “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

We must remember that all of our bodies fail. Even those who are healed now eventually have their bodies fail when they die. But, all believers will eventually be healed at the resurrection with the “redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:23). This doesn’t explain why one specific person is healed now instead of another person, but it does temper the expectation that some people have that everyone should be healed today.

Please notice that I have not said anything about faith. God does respond to faith (Matt 9:22), but the amount of faith a person has does not have anything to do with whether or not the person is healed, as least not for Christians. No level of faith assures healing.

If a person is a Christian, they have faith, and that is enough (see my previous post, “Anxious about the need for GREAT FAITH?”). By contrast, if a person has no faith that seems to be an issue (see Matt 13:58, which the NIV translates poorly as “lack of faith,” rather than, more appropriately, “unbelief” [NASB] or “no faith”). But even then, one can still pray, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

Christians (and Pentecostals in particular) are sometimes too prone to look for God only in the victory of Christ’s resurrection, and by analogy in the victory of our present healings. However, we need to remember that God was also present in the suffering of the cross of Christ, and by analogy in our present sufferings.

In the midst of suffering, we can affirm with Paul that God’s “grace is sufficient” (2 Cor 12:9). Hence, just as we pray (and should pray!) for God to heal people, we can also pray for God’s grace to endure suffering, even though to some that mistakenly seems like a capitulation to our suffering.

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You might also be interested in my post, “What Jesus Says about GREAT FAITH.”

Andrew K. Gabriel, Ph.D., is the author of Touched by God: Experiencing the Holy Spirit (forthcoming) as well as three academic books, including The Lord is the Spirit. He is a theology professor at Horizon College and Seminary and serves on the Theological Study Commission for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. You can follow him on Facebook or on Twitter.

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6 thoughts on “Why are Some People NOT Healed?

  1. What about the gift of faith? What is its purpose? Does it have any relation to praying for one to be healed? James 5:15 states: “And the prayer offered in faith . . .” Why would faith be stressed in this verse then if faith given simply through the act of “being saved” is enough? Jesus did say of the centurion: Matthew 8:10–“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” The disciples also asked the Lord to increase their faith (Lk. 17:5). At the same time, I do understand where you are coming from. I’ve had people say to me, on a few occasions, “If ONLY you had more faith to be healed . . .” I really don’t appreciate such statements.

    • Great questions! I think I will need to address them in a future blog post, particularly the biblical texts that refer to “great faith.”

      At this point, I will say that the “prayer offered in faith” doesn’t specify a certain amount of faith. Also, I wasn’t saying “being saved” was enough, but rather that if you are a believer, then you necessarily have some faith in God already. Lastly (for now), its always better to have more faith than less faith–my point was more so that God is not required to heal us regardless of how much faith we have, therefore, we are not assured of healing regardless of how much faith we have.

      Thanks for your questions so that I could clarify these points.

    • If healing is not in the atonement, then how does Isaiah write “Surely He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains.” (Isa 53:4) I know most English translations water this down to something like “griefs” and “sorrows” but this is a poor translation and when this passage is quoted in Matthew’s gospel, in a passage about healing ministry, he quotes “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness.” (Matt 8:17) God’s forgiveness and healing are often linked. For example Ps 103:3 “Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” Surely God has redeemed the whole man.

  2. I work from the biblical template that it is God’s will to heal everyone, every time, all the time. Now that I have established that truth I can approach God with my sincere questions about why it is not happening for the person being prayed for? There are obvious reasons and there not so obvious reasons. But God’s will to heal is never in question. I have heard the Holy Spirit tell me He wanted to give Healing but the person was not receiving it because of unforgiveness, etc. Sometimes when Healing power is being released into the person’s body they can push it right back not knowing what is touching them.