Back in the 1970s, Andrew Wommack prayed for a four year old boy who was sick. The boy died. At the funeral, Wommack was tempted to comfort the parents with religious clichés like, “God allowed this,” “He works in mysterious ways,” and “God needed your son in heaven.” But he couldn’t do it. He didn’t think that was being honest with the Bible. Instead, he said this:
“The Lord did not kill your son. He didn’t allow this to happen. Satan was the one who snuffed his life out. Even though the devil may have won this battle, he didn’t win the war.” (p.45)
Wommack walked away from that experience motivated to learn. Evidently he’s learned much because he’s spent the past four decades healing the sick and even raising a few dead. I imagine that thousands of people have received physical healing as a result of his ministry. In his recent book, God Wants You Well, Wommack distills some of the lessons he’s learned about healing the sick. Here’s lesson number one:
“It’s God’s will to heal every single person every single time.” (p.89)
Healing is a done deal. It’s part of the salvation package. Look at the meaning and use of the word “saved” (sozo) in the Bible and you will find that it covers forgiveness, healing, and deliverance. It means to be “made whole” in every aspect of life. In Psalms 103:3 and 1 Peter 2:24, the benefits of salvation are described as the forgiveness of sins and physical healing. You cannot separate one from the other. It is offensive to Jesus and His finished work to treat healing as merely a fringe benefit. There are at least 17 occasions in the Gospels, where Jesus healed everyone who came to Him sick. It was His habit to heal everyone!
“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 Jn 5:19)
Sickness is part of sin’s curse. You could say it was Satan’s ministry, his evil gift to the world. Jesus said the devil is a thief (Jn 10:10) and he’ll try and rob your health. Yet many believe that sickness is from God. They think that God makes us sick to us to teach us humility. According to Wommack this makes about as much sense as thinking that God would cause us to get drunk and murder people to teach us character. He no more leads us into sickness than He leads us into sin. So here’s the next lesson:
“In the same way that I should resist sin, I should resist sickness.” (p.36)
Nobody ever wonders, “Lord, is it your will for me to sin?” Neither should we wonder whether it’s His will for us to be sick. It isn’t! But if you are uncertain about this – if you think sickness is all part of His mysterious plan – it’ll make you passive. You won’t resist the devil and he won’t flee from you (Jas 4:7). Your neighbors will come to you sick and you’ll send them to the doctor. (I’m not against doctors!) They’ll come battling mental illness and you’ll send them to the psychiatrist. But Jesus didn’t carry our griefs and infirmities to turn us into advice-givers. The Bible tells us that He…
“…gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Gal 1:4)
The Bible describes this age as evil and the whole world as being under the control of the evil one. This is why people get sick and die. God’s solution is found in the cross. Through His atoning sacrifice, Jesus provided us with everything we need to overcome sin and sickness. So why aren’t we seeing more people healed? Perhaps the number one reason is unbelief arising from ignorance. Many people – Christians included – aren’t fully aware of what Christ did on our behalf. Wommack is quick to admit his own failings in this area:
“I’ve failed. I don’t see healing come to pass. I’ve seen some people very close to me die, family and friends I’ve loved with all of my heart. I’ve had to accept partial responsibility. It’s a complex issue. I’m not saying that it was all my fault, all their fault, or anybody’s fault. We’re still learning… (On one occasion where a girl died) I believe I did fail… But am I condemned by that? No, I’m not condemned at all. I believe that God loves me.” (pp.87-88)
One of the things I admire about Wommack in this book is that he’s more interested in finding answers than in making excuses. How refreshing! He wants to know “what works?” while others are making theologies to explain “why doesn’t it work?” Those who refuse to believe that God is in the healing business often point to Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7) or Timothy’s tummy troubles (1 Ti 5:23). Wommack deals with these and other chestnuts (e.g., Trophimus, Paul’s eyes) thoroughly. A “thorn in the flesh” is an Old Testament idiom (Num 33:55, Jud 2:3) that refers to persecution, not sickness, while Paul told Timothy to drink fortified wine and avoid the local water so he wouldn’t get “Delhi Belly” when he travelled.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Wommack’s book is his discussion of the laws of the kingdom that govern healing. These laws, like the laws of physics, are consistent and universal. They describe the way that God releases His power. For instance, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Rm 10:17). If you haven’t heard that Christ has carried your infirmities, then you’re going to have troubling believing that He did.
“This is one of God’s laws that many people violate. They want to receive from the Lord, but they don’t spend any time in His Word. They may say, ‘Well I believe that the Bible says somewhere that by His stripes we’re healed, but I’m not sure if that’s an exact quote or not.’” (pp.145-146)
Jesus said you need to exercise your God-given authority and speak to your mountain (Mk 11:23). In a manner of speaking, this is His law for dealing with mountains. You don’t have to understand how that works anymore than you need to understand how electricity works in order to benefit from it. Another law connects faith with action – you need to act on your faith. If you believe that you’re healed, but “continue to think sick, talk sick, and act sick,” then you won’t see the manifestation of your healing.
The laws of the kingdom, like the laws of electricity, have always been there. It’s just that we’re still learning how to apply them. God is not capricious and He loves us just the same whether we get it right or die trying. But His plan has always been for the Church to reveal His “complicated, many-sided wisdom” in accordance with the work He accomplished in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:10-11, AMP). This book makes the wisdom of God plain and easy to understand. When I finished reading I felt like a New Guinean tribesman that had just encountered electricity for the first time. I may not understand everything about healing the sick, but I am definitely inspired to step out in faith and heal the sick. Read this book and you will be inspired too.
One of the greatest tragedies of the modern church is that we’re ignorant of God’s will and His ways. Ignorance is deadly, and that’s why God Wants You Well is such a good book. It illuminates. It provides clear answers to everyday questions. It’s also waffle-free. You can read the entire book in one sitting and you’ll learn plenty. Even if you don’t agree with everything Wommack says, you’ll come away marveling at the potential for life and wholeness that was made available to us through the cross. Jesus didn’t give Himself merely to rescue us from hell in the next life. He also came to rescue us from the evils of the present one.
– “Bodily Healing and the Atonement” by TJ McCrossan
– “Grace – The Power of the Gospel” by Andrew Wommack
– see all of E2R’s book reviews here