Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

ProstheticI first came across this question on YouTube, in a video entitled “10 Questions Every Intelligent Christian Must Answer.”  The question was apparently asked by someone who is critical of Christianity – or at least of some claims made by Christians.  When I last viewed the video it had over 6 million hits.  Obviously, it has gained a lot of attention.

The video seems to ask a lot of serious questions for the Christian to consider.  The central question is: Why won’t God heal amputees?

From what I can gather, the author of the video (and its corresponding web site) are not petitioning on behalf of amputees, but are actually challenging the existence of God. In my own words, here is how I understand their argument:

Christians are always claiming to be healed by God.  From minor illnesses to cancer, Christians seem to be able to get healed.  But have you ever noticed that amputees never get healed?  No one who is missing an arm or leg ever goes up to the altar for prayer and comes back to their pew with a new one.  Why?  Does God hate amputees?  Or, are divine healings really just fake?  It’s easy for someone who has a back injury to suddenly claim that he or she is healed.  However, it’s not as easy for an amputee to fake a healing. Have you ever noticed that it is always the subjective illnesses that get healed-ones that are hard to disprove?  Can God not heal an amputee?  Or, does God not love them?  Or, perhaps there is no such thing as healing, or no such thing as God?

Anyway … that’s how I see their argument.  At first blush it seems to make a good challenge for the Christian.  But, I’m not really impressed.

Let me first say that I am suspect of the many “healings” that are claimed by Christians.  I have witnessed so-called healings of people’s physical problems during Christian meetings, only to later learn that the problem was still there.  It’s not easy to say why this happens.  I suspect that some people are caught up in the moment and really believe that they are healed, when they are in fact not.  Some people may be afraid to admit that they have not been healed as they believe it would evidence their lack of faith.  Others may be outright lying to gain attention.  Still, others may be plagued by demons, who leave for a time and then return.  And, of course, there are those cases which have been proven to be outright fraud.  Most of us have heard of “healers” who have conspired with others in order to gain money and fame.

I suspect that here in the West the list of healings which actually take place by the Hand of God may be smaller than we imagine.  However, there is some evidence that in other places (like Third World Countries and the near-middle East), where the Gospel is being proclaimed for the first time, true healings and miracles are occurring at an amazing rate.

The obvious problem with all of the alleged healings is that they have blackened the eye of the Church.  They have created opportunities for critics to point fingers, mock, and doubt.  They have paved the way for people to ask, “Why won’t God heal amputees?”

So, let’s get back to the question at hand: why won’t God heal amputees?  First – as if it were necessary – we actually have an example of Jesus healing an amputee.  It is recorded in Luke 22.  As Jesus was being arrested, Peter (see John 18) took his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s’ servant.  This is clearly an amputation.  Jesus was then recorded as healing the amputee (Luke 22:51).

Secondly, even if we didn’t have that example, I would be unmoved by the critics’ argument. There have been reports of miracles from the mission fields that far outweigh the healing of an amputee; such as the dead rising, or a believer walking through a line of enemies who collectively became blind.  In any event, the question posed of amputees begs a bigger question: must God satisfy our demands for certain types of miracles?

The existence – or non-existence – of God is not dependent upon whether He meets the criteria of any human.  In other words, there is no law saying that God must do what we want Him to do to prove that He is real.  If God exists, then He sets the standard, not us.

Jesus told a story once.  No one knows for sure whether it actually happened or if it was a parable.  Whatever the case it provides valuable insight.  In Luke 16, Jesus described a rich man and a poor beggar dying at about the same time.  The beggar goes to the bosom of Abraham (heaven), while the rich man suffers in torment.

Jesus said that the rich man asked if the beggar could return to earth to warn his brothers of their impending doom.  Father Abraham reminded the rich man that his brothers had the law and the prophets to warn them. The rich man pleaded that they would not listen to the law and the prophets, but that they would respond to someone coming back from the dead.  Father Abraham told him that if his brothers refused to believe after listening to Moses and the prophets, then someone rising from the dead would not impress them toward faith.

I think this story is quite telling of the human heart.  Some people (like the poor beggar) are open-minded to the possibilities of God, and are able to make a decision for faith.  Others (like the rich man and his brothers) won’t believe – even if they see a miracle like someone rising from the dead.

It’s my guess that even if the author of the YouTube video finds documenting evidence of an amputee being healed, he or she still won’t believe.  Why?  Well, because they have probably already resolved not to believe – just like the rich man and his brothers.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is sufficient reason to believe.  Why look for a lesser sign when the greater sign has already been given?

peace,

dane

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, Christian blogger, jail chaplain, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us.

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