By: Deji Yesufu
Testimonies on Healing
I find it distressing when teaching against faith healing and I get the response that I am saying these things because I have not experienced healing in my life. I have intentionally left this section to the end of this essay so that people would not put their hope and faith in my experiences but in God – who daily loads us with manifold benefits.
Sometime in 1994 I got the middle of my head injured. I was born with some birthmark in the middle of the head. This part of my body contains some raw flesh and hair does not grow on it. After the injury, the wound would not heal. And it remained like this for some 12 years. I kept trusting God for healing and would occasionally hit this part of my head and the wound would worsen. When I was concluding my final year work at the University in the year 2000, I suddenly noticed that I was beginning to experience dizzy spells. In 2004 I went to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to have the wound examined. The doctors said that I had osteomyelitis of the bone under the flesh. It was a situation in which the bone is infected and the flesh on top of the bone will not heal. To ensure that there was no tumor in my brain, the doctors performed a simple procedure: they chipped off that part of my skull that was infected and closed the flesh back. I was placed on antibiotics and discharged. After three weeks the surgery wound healed but the little wound on the raw flesh would still not go away. I became alarmed. But by that time I had left Lagos and returned to my parents’ home in Zaria. One day it just occurred to me to place an ordinary ten naira plaster on that wound. In one week, the 12-year-old wound was gone! And it remained gone till this day. God answered my prayers through a creative medical miracle – but it remains healing all the same.
A second experience: our second child began to experience fits of asthma as early as six months old. He had his first attack at that age and another attack when he was almost a year old. My wife and I took him to the hospital and they got him nebulized on the two occasions. But we kept on trusting God in the place of prayer. The doctors said that it was a case of childhood asthma and there was a likelihood of it correcting itself as the child grows up. I am thankful to God that after the last episode some five years ago, that boy has not had asthma attacks ever since. During his illness, I remember seeing Paul’s cry for mercy for Epaphroditus in Philippians 2 and so I also cried out to God to have mercy upon me and on the child. God did and our child is perfectly free of asthma today.
The last one: two years ago, I suddenly developed back pains. It started from the lower parts of my body and it gradually got worse and worse. I saw the doctors and they said it was old-age. “Old age at early forties!” I cried out. One day I came across a lady on the internet that makes videos on physiotherapy to exercise the back muscles and relieve back pains. I began the exercises and I was relieved of the pain. Two weeks later, the pain returned with greater intensity. At this point, as I have always been doing, I got on my knees and pleaded with God for healing. My prayers were premised wholly on God’s will. In fact I remember saying to God that I would be perfectly content if I lived the rest of my life with this pain in my back because I trusted his good purposes for my life. After that prayer on a Monday, the pain was so unbearable that I drove to the hospital hoping to see a doctor. At the hospital, the Coronavirus pandemic had disrupted so many things and I was unable to see the doctor. I got into my car and decided to see another doctor in a private clinic on the coming Wednesday. Strangely enough, I began to notice the back pain ebb. By Tuesday morning it was all gone. This is almost two weeks now that I have last experienced the pain. I am trusting God that the healing is permanent.
My argument in this essay is not that God does not heal anymore. I have not seen a Christian who holds to the historic Protestant positions that does not trust God for healing. The mere fact that we pray shows that we have faith in God to heal us. My argument is that there is a false theology out there, specifically by the name of Word of Faith doctrines, which has turned God to be an errand boy for man. It teaches a doctrine of a “force of faith” with which human beings can unilaterally command good things to come their way – if they can only exercise faith in God. A close examination of this practice reveals that it is actually unbiblical and cultic – it has no root in the New Testament.
True faith in God is one that has brought our justification before him and granted us peace through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). When this faith is established in our hearts, we can trust that he who gave his only Son to save us from our sins, will also give us every other good thing according to his purposes (Romans 8:32). One of such things is healing. Therefore if the Christian is sick, the Christian should trust God for healing. The Christian should pray to God asking to be healed of the disease. And the Christian must wait for God to answer those prayers. The same God who worked all things out in life and ensured that we received salvation can be trusted to deliver us from our illness.
The reality of life, however, is this: we are all living in mortal bodies and we are all dying every day. God will continue to graciously sustain us in health (and we ought to be thankful to him for this) and he would also continue to deliver us from our illnesses. BUT… for some people, there would come an illness by which they would die as it was for Elisha – in spite of all his anointing (2Kings 13:14). When the days of our final illness will come may God grant us the fortitude of heart to endure the discipline and to use the occasion to place our hearts on things above and not on things below. May such an illness occasion such sweet communion with the Holy Spirit that would prepare our souls for eternal fellowship with God in heaven. If God is pleased to give us such an occasion of passage out of this world, may we spend our final days putting our homes in order and preparing to die well. May we not be anxious but be gracefully rejoicing in the hope that is to be revealed in our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. May our final illness be a means to ride out of this world into eternal bliss.
Not every person would die through old age and illness. Some fine Christians will perish suddenly in accidents. Others will die in their sleep because of a heart attack. Some Christians will be murdered or martyred. But most Christians will come to their end on a death bed and via an illness. It is important that we recognize our last hours and not spend those gracious moments looking for some healing that God never willed to give us. May we spend those final hours trusting God, thanking him for a wonderful life we have lived and looking forward to the blessed hope promised us in God’s holy word – through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To download and read the text of the whole essay, you may download a PDF document from this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12bMaGffwIFSbVGd0aJdF6-y-k4bFei4A/view?usp=sharing