by Sandra Conner
(Radical About Jesus Ministries)
Looking At Symptoms Instead Of God’s Word
One of the most common hindrances to receiving healing from the Lord alone is our overwhelming human tendency to look at the physical symptoms rather than the Word of God. There are times, of course, when Christians pray for healing or are ministered to in a meeting of believers when the gifts of healings and miracles are in operation, and the manifestation of the healing comes instantly.
However, when we are not in the presence of those gifts, there is still healing promised to us by the Lord. This healing comes as a result of our believing His Word, praying the prayer of faith for our healing, and praising Him for watching over His Word to perform It in our bodies and minds.
In the time period between praying for our healing and actually seeing it manifested, we will be severely tempted to look at any symptoms that remain in our bodies and question the reality of our healing. This time is the hardest test for any believer. Don’t misunderstand; the idea is not to deny that symptoms exist or that a disease has developed in the body. Those things are real. The secret, however, lies in understanding that there is also a spiritual realm in which something else exists that’s very real: healing. We must realize that healing and all other things in the spiritual realm are actually more real than anything physical and can overcome and change anything in the natural, physical realm.
Some may ask, “Isn’t this just mind over matter or wishful thinking?” No indeed! We are talking about reality here. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Right away you can see that there are evidently some very real things in a realm where we cannot see them or perceive them with our five physical senses. We can add to this verse, 2 Corinthians 4:18, which says:
“ … while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal (subject to change), but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
So things in the natural realm are temporary and changeable, but things – real things – in the spiritual realm are unchangeable and everlasting. Which realm is more powerful, dear Christian?
If there are any skeptics left, let’s look at one more Scripture. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God…” There was nothing in the beginning except God – Who is a Spirit, according to the words of Jesus. “In the beginning God created…” When God decided to create the heavens and the earth, He had no raw materials to work with – only Himself, the Spirit God, and He created every single natural thing out of His own Spirit. Now, if spirit created matter, spirit has the power to change matter. That’s why Jesus could say that if we have the faith of God, we can speak to a physical mountain, and it will obey us. The material mountain will obey the spirit of its Creator, when evidenced through that Creator’s Word and faith.
So how do we develop faith in these unseen spiritual things and come into a place of receiving them manifested in the natural? By constantly looking at the one and only thing that shows us these spiritual realities: the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It is God’s Word that makes us believe there are real spiritual things that are greater than those we can see. Wasn’t it His Word that showed us there was a God in the first place and thereby created faith in us to believe in Him? Isn’t it the Word that convinced us of Heaven and Hell? Of course. And that same Word is the only thing that will tell us of all the other spiritual realities, including healing.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God …” That word inspired literally means “God-breathed”. That means that just as God breathed out the words, “Let there be light,” and they created light, so He has breathed out of Himself every word in the Bible, and these words created the very things He spoke. They still do creative work when we speak them in faith. As we devour that Word, It produces faith for those things that It shows us. That’s why when we pray for something we can’t see, we must make a decision to look only at the Word that verifies that thing we’ve asked for, and not give place to anything contrary shown us by our physical senses.
God, Who is Spirit, watches faithfully over His Word to perform It. He gives all spiritual things to us through our spirits. That’s why we believe we receive when we pray. We do receive, by our spirit first. Our spirit lays hold of the gifts of God, and then, as faith is exercised, those gifts are brought into the natural.
Now healing is actually a spiritual thing that needs to be brought into the natural by faith. Just as God created light when He spoke the Word and called it forth, so He created healing for all mankind when He spoke the Word, as in Isaiah 53: 4-5, saying, “… and by His scourging, we are healed.” We must recognize that the healing is a real thing, in the spirit realm, and that our faith applying the Word of God to our body, will draw that real healing into the natural and overpower the natural sickness, forcing it to change.
Sometimes this process takes a period of time. When Jesus cursed the fig tree in Mark, chapter 11, it did not manifest a change until the next day. However, I have no doubt that the curse went into effect on the roots of that tree immediately. It just took a while to show up on the branches. So with our bodies – the prayer of faith, and speaking the Word, puts God’s power to work at the root of our sickness, and as we remain open to the work of that power by continuing to speak the Word and praise the Lord, it perfects its work in us. Sometimes, this takes a few hours; sometimes it can take as long as a year or so.
We don’t always know why some work takes longer than others. Perhaps at times it’s because we need more time to grow in the Word and better resist the enemy’s temptation to give up and quit fighting the fight of faith. It is a fight sometimes, because the enemy wants us to believe that God doesn’t mean what He says. If he can keep our eyes on the symptoms long enough, we will doubt our Father’s Word. Perhaps there are also times when the Lord, as a loving parent, wants us to grow up spiritually. He wants us to learn how to apply His Word in faith to our bodies and to stand on the truth of It. Learning that lesson, like learning any natural skill, takes a while.
Regardless of why the work takes time, we must decide to look only at our Lord and His faithfulness. We don’t deny the symptoms. They are real. But they are real in the natural, remember, and the reality of healing from the spiritual realm is more real and more powerful. We just simply choose to lay hold of the healing and praise God for its reality until it does its work and overcomes the sickness.
The centurion in Matthew, chapter 8, told Jesus that all He had to do was speak the word, and his servant would be healed. We are told that when he returned home, he found that his servant had been healed in the same hour as Jesus had spoken. But the centurion had received the healing and started home without seeing the manifestation. The ten lepers in Luke 17 cried out to Jesus for healing. He told them to begin acting like they were healed and go to the priest, who was the one responsible for proclaiming them well according to their Jewish law. These ten men had no physical evidence of healing when they started off to find the priest. However, in the process of their acting on the Word of God, they received manifestation.
So we too must determine to obey the Word that says we are healed and act like it to the best of our ability. We must stand against fear when it comes; and it will surely come. For the enemy’s best tool in defeating healing is causing us to fear that, for some reason, we will not receive our healing from God. Refuse to fear. Trust your God. Say only what His Word says about healing. We must also determine to have patience. Hebrews 10:35-36 says:
“Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For you have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (KJV).
There have been many instances in my own life when these words have proven true. I can remember several times when I had prayed the prayer of faith for my own healing, or had asked other believers to lay hands on me and pray for me, and received the healing by faith without seeing any instant change in symptoms. But as I stayed in the Word of God and gave Him my attention and praise, the symptoms totally disappeared without my having to turn to man’s remedies.
Sometimes those battles of faith were mild, but a few times they were intense to the point of trying my faith to the limit. But thank God, when we come to the end of our faith, God meets us with His special gift of faith and carries us through. The great evangelist Smith Wigglesworth testified to this truth years ago: “Oh, this wonderful faith of Jesus Christ,” he related. “Your faith comes to an end. How many times I have been to the place where I have had to tell the Lord, ‘I have used all the faith I have’ and then He has placed His own faith within me.” (Ever Increasing Faith, Gospel Publishing House, p. 136). I experienced many nights of battle, sometimes devoting all night to listening to the Word on tape and speaking it to my situation. Sometimes I had to call on other believers to continue in prayer with me, holding onto God’s faithfulness when there was nothing in the natural to hold on to. But God always came through, beloved, when I had made total commitment of myself to Him in every area.
You may have experienced the fact yourself that one of the most intense times of battle for spiritual things comes in the night or the wee hours of the morning. The enemy is a master at taking advantage of the darkness and the aloneness of the night hours to harass us unmercifully. But, beloved, the Word says that light and darkness are both alike to God, and He never leaves us nor forsakes us, so we will win, if we determine to remain faithful. And don’t hesitate to call on other believers, if you are blessed with believing friends, because we are all in need of the strength of each other.
Some scoffers have made the point that they would not want to have to believe God for healing if it took that long and required that much work. Yet, they are willing to undergo medical treatment by human physicians that is painful, even agonizing, to their body. They will return time and time again for months, or even years, with only a hope that such treatment will stay the course of their disease. How much more do I prefer applying God’s Word and prayer faithfully, even for months or years, having the certainty that His medicine will give me an absolute and complete cure every time.
I have had a couple of experiences in which I have prayed for healing but knew in my spirit that I did not have the peace that I had received it. I knew immediately what I had to do. I realized that I had not been faithfully in the Word for a period of time prior to the physical attack and that I had to shut out everything else for a day or two and devour the Word, especially the healing Scriptures. By the time I had fed on the Word for that length of time, looking only at It, my faith was ignited, and I knew without a doubt that I had the healing, even though symptoms hadn’t changed yet. They did change, though; they had to! Yours will too!