Life Challenges

What Does the Bible Say About Healing?

Healing can happen. God encourages us to ask him for healing! God delights to hear the cries of our hearts, and for us to believe that he's bigger than anything we face. He also delights to hold our hand while we wade through what his wisdom allows.

Short Content

What Does the Bible Say About Illness?

Human frailty, weakness, and physical pain—what we call illness is one of the hardest journeys to endure in this life. Seasonal or chronic, sudden or expected, we find pain and weakness in the body especially difficult. Illness impairs one’s mood, distracts the mind, limits activity, and often whispers hopeless thoughts to the soul. Well-aware of our limitations, we wonder about the One who is in control—does he know, does he understand, how involved is he in our suffering, and will he intervene?

The Bible speaks to those kinds of questions. We want to help you see who God is amidst your pain and suffering, for we believe that true comfort comes from seeing him as he is.

There are a few truths that are central to understanding who God is. First, God is a God of compassion (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 116:5). It may be hard to see when pain persists. Dark goes our thoughts of God when the light of health fails. Pain incites us to blame someone for what we perceive as cruelty from an unseen hand. But we are misled.

When God told us his name, he said that before anything else it means compassionate (Exodus 34:6), as if to say, don’t ever think I am indifferent to what hurts you. This word comes from a root word indicating tenderness.

I know it’s hard to believe, but please do believe—God’s concern for your distress surpasses the kindest nurse or friend you have encountered. The sort of God we find when we open the Bible is one who is tender, merciful, kind.

We can be sure of this truth because we know our God to be familiar with pain himself. God is the first person to ever grieve in the Bible (Genesis 6:6). He is not ignorant of human frailty. In fact, he left his throne, clothed himself in humanity (John 1:14) and endured the pain of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). God knows what it is to hurt in the body, and he is compassionate. So compassionate, that he did something about it.

The Bible tells us the story of how the Lord Jesus, God in the flesh, suffered excruciating physical pain and unfathomable spiritual pain to deliver us from the source of pain: sin. Suffering is not always the direct result of sin, but suffering would not exist if humanity had never sinned (Genesis 3).

Let’s not think that God fell victim to our wickedness or Satan’s craft, and that we wrecked his world and plan. All things happen according to the will of the Lord. Though he never authors sin (Psalm 92:15), he is its governor, allowing only what will serve the ultimate good of his children to take place (Isaiah 45:7; Romans 8:28). Sorrow and suffering must bow to King Jesus; they are his servants.

And often this is what stings for us. Why would he then cause me so much pain? Why me? Why this? Perhaps the great preacher Charles Spurgeon counsels us best when these questions surface. He reminds us that,

God is too good to be unkind and he is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace his hand, we must trust his heart.

We must trust God when we cannot understand. We are not promised healing from all physical ailments—some illness may stay for God’s good purposes to be accomplished in our lives (2 Corinthians 12:9). But we are encouraged to honestly, continually, and with faith ask the Lord for the healing we desire, knowing he has compassion for us (James 5:14-18).

So, when Sickness knocks, we are to flee to our loving Savior with all our fears (Psalm 34:4). He will take our hand and walk us to the door. He may lead Sickness out or invite him to stay. Though we do not understand our Savior’s ways, we can trust him.

We know he thought it better for us to be acquainted with pain than to be entirely innocent of it. And we know that for all the pain he allowed into the world, he has borne its worst:

[He] Planted the tree where He would die
Put thorns down the vine, and then He wore them,
Love is the blood red stain, the beauty that the pain exposes
Maybe that’s why God made roses.

(Andrew Ripp, Roses)

Would you believe God has compassion for you, that he understands the burden of your physical suffering, and that his plans for you are wise and good?

Finally, would you believe that God wants more for you than you may want for yourself?

No one likes to hurt. And I bet hurt is just too shallow a word for your experience. The term illness feels like a cheap label for countless priceless losses in your life on the road of suffering. But perhaps God loves us enough to not allow us to escape the pain that would heal us from our deeper wounds.

May I ask what has your illness done to your soul?

For all those who belong to God through Jesus, he gives us a precious promise to use all things in our lives to restore the health of our souls (Romans 8:28). Some taste sweet like nourishing food, others taste bitter like medicine, but we know that all his means work for our good.

For every day illness stays, for every day you entrust your life to Jesus, God will be working to conform you to the image of his Son, who endured the suffering of the cross for your sake, so that you might know his love, compassion, mercy, and kindness. Will you trust him and take his hand as you walk on this journey through pain and suffering?



Theme Verse

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.


What Does the Bible Say About Sickness?
Article: 8 Min

An Open Letter
to My Friend
in Pain

Video: 13 Min
by J.C. Ryle from his sermon, “Sickness,” Created by David RYU
Article: 10 Min

Waiting for Healing

by Betsy Childs Howard

Messages: 47 Min

and Faith

by Trip Lee


Why Do People Get Sick If God Is Good?

What answer shall we give to our inquiring children when they ask us, ‘Father why do people get ill and die?’ These are grave questions. Can we suppose for a moment God created sickness and disease at the beginning? Can we imagine that he who formed our world in such perfect order was the Former of needless suffering and pain? Can we think that he who made all things ‘very good,’ made Adam’s race to sicken and to die?

The idea is, to my mind, revolting. It introduces a grand imperfection into the midst of God’s perfect works… The only explanation that satisfies me is that which the Bible gives. Something has come into the world which has dethroned man from his original position, and stripped him of his original privileges… Sin is the cause of all the sickness, and disease, and pain, and suffering, which prevail on the earth. They are all part of that curse which came into the world when Adam and Even ate the forbidden fruit and fell. There would have been no sickness, if there had been no Fall. There would have been no disease, if there had been no sin.

from J.C. Ryle's Sermon "Sickness" | Source

While it is true that
disease can be a
result of divine discipline
and can indicate a
need for soul-searching
and repentance,
it is also true that
disease can be
unrelated to personal sin.
In fact, to say that
sickness is always a
result of personal sin
is actually an old heresy
that goes back to Job
and his counselors.

How to Pray for Healing?
Video: 3 Min
by Matt Chandler at
The Village Church Resources
Matthew 8:2-3 NIV

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.


“What do you want
me to do for you?”
He knew what he
wanted him to do
for him but
he wanted to hear him ask.
Jesus knows our needs.
Jesus know who
we are but
he wants to hear us
acknowledge our need.
And his ear is ever
open to our cry.


The Blessing of Sickness

Meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, faith, patience, are all mentioned in the Word of God as fruits of the Spirit… Never do these graces shine so brightly as they do in the sick room. They enable many a sick person to preach a silent sermon, which those around him never forget. Would you adorn the doctrine you profess? Would you make your Christianity beautiful in the eyes of others?

by J.C. Ryle | Source
Article: 7 Min

We Should Pray for Healing

by Jon Bloom at Desiring God

Matthew 15:29-31 NIV

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.


Heal me,
O Lord,
and I shall be healed;
save me,
and I shall be saved,
for you are
my praise.

Jeremiah 17:14 ESV
James 5:14-15 NIV

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

Video: 4 Min

Then Jesus
came to them
and said,
“All authority
in heaven
and on earth
has been given to me.”

Matthew 28:18 NIV

Is Sickness the Result of Sin?

Don’t make the mistake of saying every sickness is the work of the devil. To be sure, even when a “thorn in the flesh” is God’s design for our sanctification, it also may be the “messenger of Satan” (2 Corinthians 12:7). But there are other instances in which the disease is solely attributed to God’s design without reference to Satan: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). Jesus feels no need to bring Satan in as the culprit in his own merciful designs.

by John Piper, quoted from his article, "Satan's Ten Strategies Against You" | Source

To say I have faith
that God will heal
is presumptuous
since we do not
know the mind
of God, but to say
God is able to heal
is to exercise faith.

Deuteronomy 32:39 NLT

Look now; I myself am he!
There is no other god but me!
I am the one who kills and gives life;
I am the one who wounds and heals;
no one can be rescued from my powerful hand!

Job 5:17-18 ESV

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”

John 11:35-37 NIV

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”


Miracle or Not

by Alisa Turner


Even If

by MercyMe



by Laura Story


Waiting Room

by Jonny Diaz
Romans 8:37-39 NIV

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 11:25-26 ESV

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”