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  • Sean Tobin

"O Faithless and Perverse Generation!"


Healing isn't just something God does, but flows from who He is and the original justice that He desires to renew in the world. Pioneers in healing ministry have developed excellent apologetics about the theology of healing, but nothing challenges people more than the mystery of when healing doesn't seem to manifest when we pray. There are many insightful and theologically attractive reasons, from unforgiveness and unrepented sin to various kinds of trauma, but it can be unsatisfying.

To preface, I have been on a journey recently, digging in more deeply to the principles of Transformation Prayer Ministry. I’ve been discovering how much my mind needs to be renewed and my faith refined. Too often I find that I divert discouragement by holding on to one of these insightful and intellectually attractive reasons for the lack of healing. In doing so, I place the blame and project the burden of responsibility on the person in need of the healing and heighten their disconnection from the Lord their Healer.

St. John Vianney once said that “God is always almighty. He can at all times work miracles and He would work them now as in the days of old were it not that faith is wanting.” Our tendency is to ask God for “more” faith, rather than to use the faith that we have in whatever size or measure (Mt 17:20). Through my unbelief being exposed in this season of transparency with the Lord, I'm learning that faith is not just a measure, but the substance of ALL that I believe in my heart. Healing ministry is not just for the other in need, but for me – an invitation into a transformative process of challenging opportunities for faith refinement and mind renewal (Rom 12:2).

“When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (Jas 1:6-8). This brings me back to the title of this blog, from Matthew 17:17. When I took my discouragement to Jesus, I heard Him speak those words to me – with which He rebuked His own disciples. Immediately, I knew that my biggest obstacle to healing was not in my lack of knowledge about a model of healing, or in diagnosing and conceptualization the infirmity accurately, but simply from an absence of the life of Jesus in me. Those two words, “faithless” and “perverse”, are guideposts to seeing healing breakthrough, and keep you accountable to ongoing faith refinement and mind renewal.

FAITHLESS [apistos], means to be unbelieving, without trust in God, and incredulous, doubtful, and skeptical of things. This is the turning away from faith, the willful refusal to believe that Thomas experienced, overcome by his grief in the death of Jesus. How I FEEL about an infirmity or healing reveals what I actually believe about it. When I am intimidated by the sickness, my lack of faith in God’s insurmountable power and ability is exposed. When I am hesitant to step out, fear reveals impure faith - and faith in the wrong kingdom. Rather than ask for more faith, the Holy Spirit is more than willing to reveal the truth He wants us to walk in, persuading our hearts in the specific place the unbelief dwells. Only then are the imperfections of our faith purified, like gold refined in the fire (1 Pet 1:7).

PERVERSE [diastrephō], means to distort, turn aside, or to oppose (with rationalizations) the saving purposes and plans of God. This word exposes the secret intentions of the heart, which often can be seemingly good. Such as: to “add” to God’s already full and complete glory, or another notch in the belt of confidence for successful healings, or to manipulate people’s belief and subtly coerce them into conversion - rather than simply bringing them into an encounter with God’s goodness (for their sake) to which they may freely respond. Or in my insecurity as an “unworthy” orphan transitioning into sonship, where I need to see miracles to affirm my identity, to be approved of or heard by God, or to validate His love for me – as if the Cross wasn’t enough. There are so many subtle ways in which our minds need to be renewed and our intentions exposed.

Holy Spirit, “See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps 139:24). Move me from striving to expectant faith, from contending to receptive trust. Expose the unbelief hiding in my creative prayers and theories, that I might walk more completely in the Finished Work of the Cross. Thank You Jesus, for it is always by Your stripes that we are healed.


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