Our Creator can and does heal people. But not always. Many times God deliberately chooses not to heal.
Why would God ever choose not to heal a person?
Isn’t health and wholeness in this life what He wants for us?
Does He withhold healing because we have sin we haven't repented of yet?
Or is it because we lack faith?
Or is it because we have simply not asked?
Any of these factors can, and often do, lead to a situation where healing is withheld. But what about situations where none of these is a factor? Consider Paul’s prayers for his own healing 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. God’s reasons for answering “no” were not because of sin in Paul’s life or some lack of faith. God said “no” because He had something much bigger and much better in mind for Paul that could only be achieved through perseverance in suffering.
For believers, that bigger and better goal God has in mind is to be transformed into a new type of person who thinks and acts like Jesus himself (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:12-15). That transformation is what makes us fit to receive God’s gift of eternal life. If we were to receive that gift of eternal life without having first undergone this transformation in the way we think and act, eternity could end up being a very unhappy place.
God’s purpose was that Paul be moved towards this goal through physical suffering. Even in this physical suffering, Paul was following the example set down before by Jesus Himself (Hebrews 2:10).
As with Paul’s life, our present lives with all their trials and suffering should be viewed as a training ground. Preparing us for a future that is bigger and brighter than anything we might enjoy in our present physical lives.
Why then does God choose to heal some people?
We cannot possibly know all the reasons why God chooses to heal or not to heal. However, two broad categories shine forth in the Scriptures:
1. God heals because He is compassionate. He desires to act with kindness and gentleness towards human beings. In the greater world around us human disobedience, indifference and disbelief often disrupt the flow of His compassion.
2. God heals to demonstrate His power to perform works in this world (John 9:2-3). He often heals for the purpose of building and strengthening newly forming belief in Himself, either in the person being healed or ones looking on.
By contrast, Paul’s strong faith was tested and strengthened when he was required to persevere through the trial of not being healed.
Only God, who knows the heart, can properly assess a person’s life. Only God can know whether to heal or not heal will best move the person forward toward His goal of building the mind of Christ in them. His deep desire is that we learn to trust Him in all things including matters of healing.
To more fully explore what God's Word has to say about the larger questions related to human suffering in this world, our free Bible study guide Why Does God Allow Suffering? is a good place to continue learning.