is anyone among you sick? let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. [james 5:14-15]


miracle or means?


do you believe in miracles? merriam-webster gives the definition of miracle as: “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs”–but as believers in a risen, sovereign Savior, Jesus Christ, we recognize that all events are extraordinary.  all events in our lives are directed, intervened, willed by the sovereign hand of God:


all things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made [john 1:3]


nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything [acts 17:25]


he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. for by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [colossians 1:15-17]


if all things hold together through him, it includes our bodies!


in the apostolic age, the designated apostles of Christ were healing miraculously, even raising people from the dead [acts 9:36-42; acts 20:7-12] and these were to show the power of Jesus Christ and to cause many to believe and be saved. the gift of healing by prayer is not just a ‘miracle’ for the apostolic age. james the brother of Jesus indicates that believers should be prayed over by the leaders of the church, and in instructing believers to do so, he is saying that praying–and any subsequent healing from the Lord  is ‘normal, ordinary’ behavior we should engage in as Christians. 


so many believers that have gone before us have cried out to God in a time of distress, including sickness, and God in his mercy uses the prayers of saints time and time again. when God does heal (from covid, a concussion, or from cancer) he does it through the means of the prayers of believers: those crying out on behalf of the sick. we get to be used by God, and the result is rejoicing in our King! is this miraculous? i suppose you could say so–but you could also say that this is ordinary obedience to Christ’s commands! from the outside it might look miraculous, but from the inside it is simply walking by the Holy Spirit in the will of God.


we all know many incidents in which believers cried out to God, but the one who was being prayed for did not recover, or suffered from a lifelong, chronic condition. is God not working? by no means! when God chooses not to heal, he doing something else, he is drawing, sanctifying, growing our character and endurance. he is calling upon us to rejoice in and hope in his good, sovereign hand and plan, even when we don’t understand it. 


not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [romans 5:3-5]


let us pray for the sick and suffering expecting the Lord to work in his extraordinary, ordinary ways. Jesus has come, Jesus will come.  he has conquered sickness, sin and death and he will one day heal all who trust in him. he will remove our sicknesses and he will replace our corrupted bodies and for new ones that will never fail or die. let us rejoice in his presence!