God’s story is a story of healings, both physical and spiritual. The healing of man’s body, soul, and spirit is one of the signs that “shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17-18).
And just as “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” all human beings have been physically sick. Both the sinner and the righteous have endured physical sickness. It seems that it is the red badge of being human. And especially when we are down physically, it is difficult to see the spiritual side of our malady. Yet, physical health is spiritual, insomuch as when illness strikes, it seems to force the mind to think mortal thoughts—sometimes literally.
I wrote in my journal on February 27, 2005, about a serious bout with the flu that I was experiencing:
“I have been sick for the last two weeks. Very sick. Unable to read or write sick. Unable to smile sick. I have forgotten what laughter is, what a baby’s smile can do for you. I have forgotten what joy is. I have begun to contemplate my own mortality. Days ago, accomplishments and interests that I have pursued in my life fell into a worthless pile of discarded actions—things like playing the guitar, singing, speaking Spanish, teaching literature, travel…
They all fell away into a pit of hopelessness. The pursuits of this world’s dimension suddenly seemed vain, a thing of no real profit, especially for all the energy we put into them. In the final scheme of things, my daily endeavors seemed trivial, of little consequence…The will is there, but the weak body prevents any movement toward activities.Momma just called and told me, ‘Always remember that I love you.'”
As you see here, it is difficult to think on the invisible Spirit/Creator when you are sick. Therefore, physical sickness is in the end a spiritual attack because it pulls our mind down from heavenly thoughts to the frailties of the earthly body. Physical sickness drains our mind of its will and capacity to elevate its thinking to rarified realms of unselfish love. When the body lies in weakness and in pain, it is difficult for our spirits to climb the ladder of perfection.
Sin and Sickness Linked
Physical sickness and the spiritual state of sin are inextricably linked in the mind of God. Christ taught that the healing of the body poured forth from the same fountain as the forgiveness of sin. He asked, “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (Matt. 9: 5-6).
The key word here is “to say.” To say, “I forgive you” is a powerful declaration by the divine nature in a regenerated individual. He gave us a New Commandment to forgive others. We have that power as God’s offspring. He wants us to exercise it. And He has given us power and authority to also say, “Rise and walk.” Christ said that both forgiveness and healing come from the same source—speaking the words of physical healing as well as the spiritual.
Healings originate out of God’s merciful heart of love. With great compassion He healed all those oppressed during His walk on earth. But He made it plain that at the root of this gift of healing lies a spiritual concern.
Christ’s major thrust was for the healing of man’s spiritual heart. His command for man to repent of his sins took center stage. When He came into a village and gathered the people together, He did not first say, “I am going to heal all your diseases. So bring those that are sick to Me.” No, He said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He dealt with the spiritual sickness first. What good is a healthy body that has just been healed, if the heart inside is still sinful? “But that you may know that the Son of man has power to forgive sins, I say unto the sick of palsy, Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” The physical healings took place as proof that the spiritual healing was indeed real. Did not Christ also say, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matt. 23:26). First get rid of the sinful nature inside of your body, and then the physical body will be healed as well. Death of the earthly body comes because of the sin within. “The wages of sin is death.”
We see this in Isaiah’s vision, where he showed Yahweh lamenting for His people. He called them a “sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity,” with their head “sick, and their whole heart faint” (Isa. 1:4-5). We see here in chapter one how Yahweh likens Israel’s sinful state to a physical sickness. Their sin to God seems as “wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores” that have not been treated (v. 6).
The evil state of the world is described in Isaiah 59:1-21. The answer to the desperate cry of the earth’s inhabitants who are trapped in the misery of sin is found in Isaiah 61. It is Yahweh’s promise of the healing that will take place upon His return to earth: “To give unto them beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning…” The kicker for us is that He will use the over comers during the “manifestation of the sons of God” to pour out all of His love to them. Kenneth Wayne Hancock