Most of the Christian friends I have had (and family) have all believed in healing. Especially my grandmother, before she passed away. Why is it that (if it does work that way) God sometimes heals certain people, but not others. I have talked to certain pastors that believe in it thoroughly. They say that they have had MANY situations where they have seen healing, or prayed for healing and have had it happen in front of them. Some of them I know personally, and the last thing I would consider them are liars. One of them told me his Daughter had a skin condition, and God healed it right in front of him. So I am wondering how all of this works.
There are many recorded instances in the Bible of healing, from Old Testament stories of Naaman having to dip seven times into the muddy Jordan river, to the New Testament story of the woman with an issue of blood who was healed only by reaching out her hand to touch Jesus's garment. In the book of Acts, the people are healed as they merely lay in the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15), or touched a garment of clothing taken from Paul's body (Acts 19:12). So healing is pervasive to both the Old and New Testament, and testimonies continue well into the ministries of such venerated saints as Columba, Patrick, Irenaeus, Martin of Tours, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and on to recent men of faith like Billy Sunday, Jack Coe and Oral Roberts.
So how does healing work, and how can we ratify not being healed in the face of such scriptures as:
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
John 5 records the story of Jesus healing a man at the pool of Bethesda, which is remarkable story of healing and mercy, but also raises some interesting questions, namely: why did Jesus not heal any the others who were waiting to step into the water as soon as it was stirred? Why was no one else healed?
To find an answer we turn to other places in scripture where healing could not occur. The first is in Matthew 17 as the disciples question why they could not cast out an evil spirit.
Matthew 17:19-20 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Again in Matthew 13 we find that in Jesus' home country, surrounded by those who had grown up with him and supposedly knew him the best, he found himself hindered by their unbelief.
Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
In F F Bosworth's book Christ the Healer, he notes that one of many obstacles that we must overcome to claim our healing is 'does Christ want me to be healed?'. Many times that is the greatest obstacle to our faith, and we can begin to believe that God somehow wants us to endure sickness to give him glory. What I find interesting is that not once in scripture do we have evidence of Christ ever turning someone away who came to him for healing. It was only in the face of unbelief that he could not work.
To receive healing:
This is an extremely broad topic, perhaps even too broad to discuss in less than several chapters of text, but hopefully this will be found helpful. There are many other points to consider in claiming healing, for example how confessing your faults to one another as James instructs plays a role.
I believe our unbelief is the chiefest obstacle to receiving healing, however I do not mean to imply in any sense that because someone does not receive their healing they are any less of a Christian. Sometimes, we are simply too close to our sickness to hold on in the way that we should, and in those most extreme cases that is why scripture implores us to pray for one another.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
This is what I heard from some pastors. Here are some reasons why some are healed but some are not.
The will of God: Sometimes, no matter how much you pray no healing will take place. On other occasions, even a simple and short prayer heals the person instantly. Though God is able to heal anyone at anytime, God works according to His own will and His plan.
Some need more prayers: Some sickness are more serious and it needs more faith, more prayer and sometimes even fasting. Jesus also once told to His disciples that prayer and fasting is required on some situations.
Hindrances: A pastor once told me that a woman was not healed for a long time because she could not forgive someone. Sin is sometimes a hindrance to healing.
Pastors are not Jesus: The last thing we should know is that pastors are not Jesus Christ. Who ever that Jesus touched were healed but since we are not Jesus, though Jesus works miracles through our prayers, we can't expect it to happen always.
I think you will find the answer to your question, in the calling forth of Lazarus from the dead, and especially in the following verse of that story:
All Scripture is quoted from the King James translation;
It should be noted that Lazarus did die a physical death:
John 11:14 and 15
Jesus was telling his disciples that what He was about to do was not only for the Glory of God, but that it was also intended give them belief in God.
As far as healings go today, it is my belief that they happen for that same reason.
As one who has experienced God's healing power, I can tell you that God does not make a spectacle of his healings, but twice in my life God has healed me, and each time it was his timing, and both times it has caused someone to believe that it could only have been God, who did it.
The time I am most proud of is when my Daughter, having seen God restore my sight long enough to Drive her to my home from Arizona when she was quite ill, accepted Christ. Even though he only temporarily gave me sight, I am eternally grateful that He got the glory, and my daughter met Christ as a result.