Won't God heal our bodies the way we repair His churches? (& personal crisis of faith)


#1

A few times in the Old Testament, 2 Kings 22 being one of them, repairing the Lord’s Temple is discussed. This maintenance is regarded as an obligation we have to be just before God.

In the New Testament I think it is St. Paul who declares that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, and hence we must eschew all sexual sin. Does it not follow that our bodies are just as valuable as the Temple of the Old Covenant? Are they not in fact more valuable? After all, it appears our bodies will be remade (glorified with a link to their earthly existence) for eternity, whereas that Temple has been torn down, and apparently Jerusalem itself (with all its contents) will be replaced with the Heavenly Jerusalem.

What hurts my feelings, then, is that my body is broken and mutilated, and despite my prayers, I have not yet been healed. Won’t God heal our bodies the way we repair His churches? I mean before we die, not at the general resurrection for the righteous: After all, the point here is that we must repair His churches now: We must not say, “It’s fine for the church to be in disrepair, because the Heavenly Jerusalem will be spotless.” Can you imagine someone saying, “Oh, it’s fine for that stained glass window to remain broken; after all, what matters is what we do with the church, not what it looks like,” or “It’s fine that we don’t have enough chairs or candles, or no place to put holy water; what matters is that we pray and be happy with what we have”? No, they always try to raise money and fix the problem.

You may respond, “God doesn’t owe us anything. That’s why it’s okay for God to not heal us.” Will you elaborate on how this is true? For example: If we own animals, we create a moral responsibility for ourselves to care for them. (Indeed, Pope Francis has clarified in his encyclical “Laudato Si”, based on our stewardship to till the soil in Genesis, that we have a responsibility to animals even without owning them!) This is especially true if we breed them, i.e. causing new animals to exist that would not have existed without our intervention. If we simply declare, “They wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for me, so I don’t have to do anything, and I can let them suffer and die,” others would charge us with cruelty and neglect. Yet this is precisely the argument I see apply to God: “Your very existence and everything you have is a blessing, so God doesn’t owe you anything.” I think I have shown why this statement is not in itself true – it requires some further argument to demonstrate or clarify it. Moreover, God’s moral responsibility to care for us is strengthened, increased when He reveals Himself to be our Father – it has been raised from the level of caring for a pet to the level of a caring for a son.


#2

So why haven’t I been healed yet? I have thought of four reasons. What do you think of them?

  1. On one hand it seems to me that certain body parts have not been healed because I keep sinning with them. (Matthew 5:27-30 comes to mind.) It seems to me I must stop sinning with them before God will heal me. On the other hand, I think many times I sin with them because I am stressed and upset about their condition, i.e. if I were healed then I would stop. This seems especially the case since the healed body parts would be a constant reminder of God’s reality. It also seems unreasonable or impossible for me to “simply stop sinning” – I mean, I don’t see how it is reasonable to expect me to be impeccable. 1 John 1:8 declares this is impossible in this life generally, so I am unsure how realistic it is to become impeccable regarding certain body parts.

  2. Another reason I come up with is that each “negative”, whiny post like this one offends God and consequently He delays my healing. Isn’t it the point of Numbers 21:4-9 that complaining about our lives is sinful? By complaining about our lives we are complaining about the divine providence therein, the conditions we find ourselves in: It seems this is a minor form of blasphemy, as the Book of Job teaches that even asking ‘Why am I suffering?’ misunderstands the nature of God. On the other hand, I make these posts not to complain per se, but rather to seek reassurance and comfort from my family in Christ while isolated in a foreign land. But is this not itself a demonstration of a lack of faith, to seek such comfort from men rather than from God? and yet when I go before God, before the Tabernacle at church, to sit or to read, my skepticism and sadness tends to increase as God remains silent, such that I wind up questioning whether my pastor has been validly ordained in an attempt to reconcile the experience with Church doctrine. … By “negative” I mean also the potential these posts have to scandalize others, especially those non-Christians here who may regard them as confirming their own positions.

  3. Doesn’t Jesus imply in John 20:29 that those believing without good evidence or certain knowledge (i.e. without having “seen”) will have greater heavenly reward than those who have? Then does it not follow that from God’s mercy He keeps us in agnosticism, rather than, say, give me personal assurance through physical healing – because He wants to give us something even greater? Of course he has different plans for different people, e.g. healing the deafness of the visionary of Our Lady of Akita after giving her private revelation from Mary through her guardian angel. (A related thought is how parents sometimes make the child wait until dinner time, because the satisfaction of eating when truly hungry is greater, but I don’t see how to apply this analogy to this situation…)

  4. I sometimes think that I must move from skepticism to conviction, from agnosticism to belief, before I will be healed. Doesn’t Jesus say that the person’s faith has saved and healed them? Yet this seems unfair, because it was actually my taking Jesus’ teachings about faith, healing, and miracles seriously that caused me to lose faith, through unmet expectation, “false hope”, expecting to experience (“encounter”) Jesus in the Eucharist if I believed the Eucharist was Jesus. And then, if the woman was healed by touching Jesus’ clothing, how much more would I be healed by not only touching Jesus’ Body, but receiving It into my own? Moreover, it is not clear to me what it means to ‘have faith’ – if I didn’t have faith, I would not live as a Christian; or, must I believe I will be healed at a specific moment, as the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak? (I’ve edited this paragraph a bit, confusing the flow – but as I’ve indicated, I actually did try believing I would be healed at a precise moment, and this was apparently not what God wanted. I’ve also tried hoping (believing?) I would be healed in the morning waking up, or on the way back from church … It seems assigning a moment to the miracle in your belief is not part of the faith that makes it happen that Jesus talks about. It seems entirely dependent on God, of course, but then I don’t understand why Jesus instead attributes it to the person’s faith.)


#3

I sympathize with your story. Perhaps the words of Jesus “seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matt 6:33) applies?


#4

God will heal any body if it is in his will.

If it is not in his will, game over


#5

Is there a medical solution for your problem?


#6

Our relationship to God is not quid pro quo, or “If we do something for You, You have to do something for us.” If this were the case, no one would be sick, and everyone would believe in God simply because they get something out of the relationship. You said your body is broken, is there a medical reason for this? Or is this something that can be fixed easily?

If you want to fix your body, why not trying exercise? I love exercise, because it really puts me in a prayerful state of mind. While I lift, I think about Jesus carrying His cross. While I run, I listen to and meditate on the rosary. I push myself to my limits and offer any and all suffering because of it for the souls in Purgatory. I also found that in my younger days, vigorous exercise helped me get rid of any extra energy, and therefore, not commit certain sins. As I once told a teenage boys’ retreat session, “It’s hard to masturbate if you can’t lift your arms.”

So my suggestion is if you want to “fix” your body, try getting out and doing something active. If you can’t bench press 300 lbs or run a marathon, no bigs, start by taking a walk or using small weights. I feel like our Lord gave us our bodies, and by using them to do things, it glorifies Him.


#7

Your faith has saved you, but rather a complete conversion is necessary.


#8

Have you ever heard of the sick healer? The one that can heal everyone else except himself?

God allows his people to suffer affliction in order for them to become one with God. If you pray to the Lord about your suffering then you will be condemned to this state, as someone who suffers. Prayer is to no avail because the Lord desires your participation in his suffering and death. It is his gift to you and your glorified body.


#9

Not every bodily ill and injury will be healed in this life.

I am a musician with a mangled left hand – an accident six years ago caused me to wonder if I would ever play the piano/organ or guitar ever again. I can, with some limitations. But I had to give up the flute and the clarinet, and my dreams of ever playing the fiddle like my grandfather.

I know miracles happen.
I know God could heal my hand – regrow the missing finger, repair the other three of their problems.
I know a Blessed could even be elevated to Saint if their intervention brought about this miracle.

But none of that matters!

My job isn’t to spend my life seeking healing for myself! :eek: I am to be Christ to the world. I am to serve Him and love Him and be Him to the world!

If all I ever did was run around saying, “Why hasn’t God healed me yet? What more do I need to do to be healed? How can I get God to heal me? Why did this have to happen to me?” – well then, I’d be completely useless, my one precious life would be wasted, and I would have a lot to answer for on judgment day.

To answer your question: No. There is no magical formula to make God do what we want.

The real answer to your problem is to stop thinking only of your own troubles. There are over 7 billion people on this beautiful planet. Time to start thinking about a few of the others and their suffering. I’ll bet you might be able to find a few others whose suffering is greater than yours. Maybe you could bring a carrier of God’s love to them.


#10

No. God is able to overcome or remove the causes, but otherwise, at present we lack the technology or physical know-how (i.e. of how to will our bodies to operate at a cellular level, e.g. to regrow stuff).

I’m not sure what you mean to ask. There are physical causes, and there is no known way to fix my problems.

Exercising does not fix my problems – and indeed, may worsen some of them, but I am indeed exercising, and it does help with mood and energy. Moreover, I have reduced my caloric intake while trying to increase aerobics and maintain weightlifting to reduce my overall body fat percentage. There is no known cure for my problems except surgery to alleviate one of them, but I can give God the best body I can (together with chastity) as a living prayer for Him to fix what I cannot or know not how.

I have only heard that St. Pio suffered the stigmata and healed people. Your statements that God will not heal those who ask Him to, and that God desires their suffering and death rather than health and life, strikes me as almost a diabolical twisting of the Scriptures. It’s a both/and situation, each in its own way, but you appear to be rejecting one in favor of the other.

Last but not least, thank you for the wisdom, Gertabelle, and I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I’m also a musician; together with my own mutilation, I can imagine some of your pain, although without the added dimension of irony (being physically unable to offer your talent in the liturgy in the same way as before). I agree with you. However, it seems acceptable to continue praying for healing, even as part of routine healthcare (although in our cases there is no routine healthcare), as a recent guest to “Catholic Answers Live” even advocated.

However, I cannot accept that “some things God won’t heal,” unless we mean this conditionally: the person isn’t ready to be healed, the person’s sin prevents it, etc. For God to want someone to live as a cripple until death strikes me as monstrous as Calvin’s idea of creating people expressly to send them to hell: Whereas hell is eternal, life on earth is singular. Moreover – and perhaps the main point – I do not see how this can be reconciled with Jesus’ revelation of God as Father, and things Jesus said. No father wants his son to be a cripple. To put it another way, it makes Jesus a liar, or the Gospel incoherent or incomprehensible, and surely the Christian must believe that Jesus is honest, and that the Gospel is coherent and comprehensible.

Consequently, it seems I can only be Christian if I can live with the hope of being healed as soon as the right conditions are met – God’s timing for whatever effect the miracle is to have on society; for me to stop sinning; for me to reach that point of ‘seeking the kingdom’ where my priorities are in order; etc. Otherwise faith becomes blind, not rational, and I do not see how it is just to expect blind faith. Finally, it seems to me the Bible encourages us to receive such miraculous healing, in passages I have enumerated elsewhere.


#11

I’m neither a theologian nor an apologist. I’ll do my best to address your ideas as your sister in Christ and a woman of faith.

Your idea that God promised to heal everyone in this life if they just had enough faith, or said the right prayers, or some other set of conditions is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Consider the suffering of so many of our Church’s greatest Saints!

St Therese of Lisieux suffered and died from tuberculosis. She experienced a death that felt like gradual and intensifying suffocation.

St Francis of Assisi lost his sight towards the end of his life.

St Clare of Assisi suffered illness for years and was often bed-ridden.

St Isaac Jogues lost several of his fingers when tortured for preaching the gospel in what is now northern New York and southern Canada. God did NOT restore his fingers, but the Pope did allow him to continue to say mass (he was a Jesuit priest) in spite of his missing fingers.

Good heavens, I could go on and on and on!

You keep pulling out scriptures as if you are a lawyer trying to prove to God that He is not fulfilling His part of the contract. This is not part of Catholic teaching.

God WILL heal of us of all our infirmities and pains in the Life to come.

In this life, His promise is to strengthen and support us – through His grace and through the consolation He offers through others.

We are to be that consolation to others in this life, to the extent that we are able by God’s grace.

For my part, I see that my mangled hand has taught my students about kindness and about differences. The year after I suffered my accident, I had no fewer than five students with hand and arm disabilities arrive at my school. I showed them that they didn’t have to hide their disabilities, that they could use whatever abilities they still have to play instruments (with minor or major adjustments), that they didn’t have to limit themselves just because their bodies weren’t “perfect.”

I bless God for how He’s used me to bring hope and courage to His precious wee ones! I show them through my own experience and actions that there is hope – and it comes not through self-pity and demanding a miracle, but through acceptance and courage and faith, all by God’s grace.

It is a most humbling experience to be used by God to serve others. Truly. Nothing shows up our unworthiness like service to those in true need.

I’ve gotta run for now. Still praying for you!


#12

Everyone eventually has to suffer. What matters is how we deal with it. Do we accept it as the will of God or do we start blaming others? Maybe instead of asking God to remove the thorn you could simply endure it and offer it for the sake of others,


#13

This is true. Redemptive suffering. We can “offer it up,” for the Body of Christ. We can do this for sins, and sinners and for others. We can “offer it up” for our own Purgatory here on Earth, as well. There is so much that we can do with suffering.

ETA: As already mentioned by Gertabelle, look at the lives of the saints.

So very many of them suffered too, many of them from either physical diseases or emotional distress, for which there were no treatments for them, at their time, or very little was known about how to treat those diseases or illnesses at those times.

There are such people as “Victim Souls,” too.

God does not heal everyone who suffers.

Everyone has some kind of Cross/more than one, that they are dealing with in life. If you talk to someone long enough, you’ll find this out. It’s just that not everyone will talk openly about it with someone else.


#14

It’s possible that the illnesses and sufferings listed of the saints they understood, accepted, and offered up as reasonable suffering in their lives. I’m not protesting or disputing that: We all have “reasonable suffering”, such as bad politics, financial problems, relationship problems, minor health problems, terminal illnesses (most of us will be “called home” prior to Jesus’ return), and this suffering can reasonably include crippling disability if one is in a state of understanding about it. It’s also possible some of these people embraced disability rather than ask to be healed of it so they could face other suffering.

The problem I have, though, is what Jesus actually revealed, taught, said, did. If Christianity is true, it must be coherent. Otherwise it’s no better than a ‘square circle’, which is neither true nor false – it would rather be “not even false”, an incoherent system that ultimately does not exist beyond a collection of words. I mean that we cannot say that God both will and will not heal. We cannot say that God will and will not give us good things.

If you propose that God won’t heal something, or someone, or that we should not expect Him to, then you must frame it within Jesus’ framework of God as a loving Father. If you are going to say that God will remain personally silent until death and then make everything right and relate to us as individuals and as His children, you must say so within the framework of God as Father and Jesus telling us to relate to Him as a Father in this life.

So I would ask how God relates to you personally as your Father if you believe He intends for you to remain crippled until death. You have said that you’ve been able to help others face their disabilities, but this is not clearly God relating to you – atheism appears rather to explain the situation better, since Jesus spoke of healing, not of remaining crippled. So you must have something more.


#15

Christianity is coherent, and quite logical, actually. We can, in fact, say God will and will not heal. How can we say that? Well, He will heal some, but not others. He has ordered the universe, and loves His creation, but just healing anyone of anything is not part of the plan. God gives us good things all the time, even the things we don’t realize we want and/or need. And there are some things we might want that we don’t get because God knows it wouldn’t be good for us.

I like to drive fast, so God hasn’t “given” me a Ferrari because he knows I would more than likely kill myself and others. But that’s what you seem to be saying here. I want a Ferrari, and I think it would be good to have one, but God isn’t going to magically change my Nissan into one as I sleep.

I think you’re equating “healing” with goodness, and that’s not even close to being true, because sometimes, lack of healing is good.

To me, it seems that you’ve run into some despair, and feel like God should save you from it, and if He doesn’t he’s not living up to His end of the bargain. Again, that’s not how it works. Have you considered some counseling, if this is the case? There’s nothing wrong with seeking help if you need it, and this forum can’t provide you with that. And I’m not saying just go talk to a priest or clergy member, I’m saying seek out professional counseling, if that’s the case.


#16

I am highlighting the top part of this post, because I feel that it brings up some good points.

Sometimes God will allow miraculous healings, where someone is healed spontaneously. We hear/read about these healings at the various shrines, and we also hear about them in causes for sainthood, too, when someone becomes a saint, and a miracle is ascribed to them.

Sometimes people are healed through routine care or treatment, too. We probably know of people who were healed from some type of illness in this way.

I do not personally think that we can limit God to just one way of doing things. He can work through other people, too, to accomplish whatever He needs done. We have examples of this in Scripture. :slight_smile:


#17

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