With all the traveling I do these days with Impact Nations, I get asked a lot of questions about a lot of issues. However, there is one question that I am asked more often—by far—than any other. In fact, in the past two weeks, I have been asked it in England, New Jersey and Canada: “Why don’t we see the same kind of healing here (in England, the U.S., Canada) as you do in Africa and India?”
I usually respond to this in several ways. First of all, I do see God heal in the same way in the West as in the developing world. I have watched in North America, Europe and Australia as deaf ears were opened, cataracts dissolved, cancer instantly disappeared (verified by doctors), and paralysis and pain have gone. In my living room, the Lord healed a woman who had been totally blind in one eye for 20 years. He is the same God in Canada as Kenya, in the U.S. as Uganda, in England as India.
Although I have seen the Lord open the ears of nine deaf people—one after another—in North America, in fairness, I would say that although the quality of healing that I see is the same everywhere, the quantity seems higher in the developing world. However, I need to clarify this statement. It is not that I see more people not being healed when prayed for; it seems to me there are fewer people looking to be healed in the West. (To clarify once again, I am not saying the people on the streets of our cities do not want to be healed; it is just that they are not being asked and therefore do not think of healing as an option in their lives.)
This leads to what may be the biggest single issue: expectation. Jesus always looked for faith in people. This is why He sometimes asked, “Do you want to get well?” or “What do you want?” Jesus expected people to be healed, and they in turn expected the same thing.
When I am asked “the question,” I usually answer with a question of my own: “Do you expect people to be healed?” One of the ways we can discover how we really feel about this question is to examine how often we step out and ask others if we may pray for their healing.
After all, more people are healed if we pray for them than if we don’t. In many cases, we simply don’t have a real expectation that God will move, so we stay in the safe zone of keeping quiet when presented with the opportunity to pray for healing.
One of the reasons I take people from the Western world to the developing world to do the gospel is to change their expectations. Again and again I watch as they discover a whole new level of truth about the power and compassion of Jesus and of who they really are because they live in Christ. How can anyone experience being used by the Lord to heal the sick day after day on a Journey of Compassion and then go home unchanged? Back home, as these men and women continue to pray and expect, God continues to heal.
Recently, I was with a church in Patterson, N.J. After teaching them about the reality and immediacy of the kingdom, we went downtown to pray for the sick and hurting.
Understandably, they went out on this first experience with some nervousness, but even greater was their desire to see the kingdom tangibly come. In an hour, they prayed for more than 70 people. One of these was a woman who was hobbling on the sidewalk. I say hobbling because she really was hardly moving with almost all her weight on her cane.
It turns out that she had suffered two strokes in the past two years. She was in significant pain and was struggling with profound paralysis. After a short prayer, she remarked that she felt significantly better. Another short prayer and this woman stood up straight, picked up her cane and walked freely up the street.
He is the same God in Canada as Kenya, in the U.S. as Uganda, in England as India.
And so is His kingdom, where it seems that what you expect is what you will receive.
Steve Stewart is the founder of Impact Nations, a Christian organization that brings hope and restoration to the poor and vulnerable in the developing world through both supernatural and practical expressions of the kingdom of God. Since 2003, Impact Nations has not only touched the lives of the thousands of people living in volatile regions with clean water, education, schools, businesses and churches, but thousands more have had live-changing experiences traveling and ministering in these regions around the globe through Journeys of Compassion. Follow Steve on Twitter at @impactnations or learn more at impactnations.com.