What Happens When You Don’t Get Healed?

Hello! My name is David. I love Jesus, am a full time husband, father, creative arts pastor, blogger, lover of life, and… have multiple chronic diseases.

I’m sure you weren’t expecting me to mention that last point. Trust me, I would have rather put my best foot forward.

We humans don’t typically start conversations with, “Hi, I have multiple incurable diseases that I deal with on a daily basis and I haven’t been healed! How are you?”

Of course, I’m not unique.

There are millions of people all over the world who are crippled, mentally challenged, racked with cancer, pained with arthritis, and covered head to toe with 3rd degree burns.

There are babies who are dying as you read this and starving children suffering under a blistering hot sun without a drop of water in sight.

I know, that was intense. And you probably won’t see this theme in Jim Gaffigan’s next comedy routine.

But it’s good for us to think about life in this way. We are surrounded by pain. Injustice. Suffering.

People every day stare at the heavens, asking, “Why not me, Lord? Why am I not healed?”

Awkward Conversations

It’s sort of an awkward conversation in many church circles.

I’ve been prayed for hundreds of times. I have faith. But I have not been healed.

I find it unfortunate that the church has not been a safe place for these kinds of questions. Too easily we offer quick, canned answers, scold those who suffer, or simply ignore them as we enjoy our comfortable lives.

Today, I want to propose a different conversation.

  • What if you have not been healed?
  • What comfort is there in your sickness?
  • What steps can you take in this season of your life?
  • How would you relate to God if you never got healed on this earth?

I don’t want to offer simple answers or a “10 Steps to Dealing with your Discomfort.” I want the conversation to take off. Let’s challenge one another in our pain.


I will say this…

What To Do If You’re Sick

Pray for healing. Yes.

But don’t let your suffering stop you from releasing amazing grace into your world today. I believe in the miraculous power of Jesus but I’m also not going to wait on the sidelines, pray for healing, and join the “inactive” roster.

I’m going to get up… even if I were to lose my legs…

And with my every breath…even if I lost it entirely…

Serve the purpose of God in my generation. No excuses.

Do you see it? There’s no setback for the man or woman of God…only stepping stones to greater things.

Matter of fact, oftentimes God uses your suffering to display His greatness more than your healing. Because your suffering shows His worth to the world. Your suffering shows that He is truly better than life.

No, I’m not one of those anti-healing people who delight in pain and suffering. That’s just gross.

All I know is that I live with it every day.

As I pray for healing, I still check my blood sugar every day.

As I pray for healing, I see large calcium deposits under my skin.

As I pray for healing, I realize I’m not as strong as I used to be.

I don’t tell you that so you can feel sorry for me. Honestly, most people don’t even know I struggle with this. It’s not what defines my life.

I know God is good, faithful, wise, and loves me with a relentless passion. I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough for me.

So what do you say? What happens when you don’t get healed?


David Santistevan is a worship leader, creative arts pastor, blogger, and lover of Mexican food. He recently released a free 20-part email course for worship leaders called Next Level Worship Leading. He also things you’re awesome.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I’m in the process of this now. I’ve been asked what I’m doing wrong, why I don’t have enough faith, and more. I still ask for healing, but am now choosing to live with the circumstances, not just suffer from them. Regardless God will get glory through it. Thanks for sharing.

    • David Santistevan

      Sundi, I love this. Whether through healing or through pain, God will get the glory. What an outlook!

  • hanloveyoon

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Sarah

    I love this. I’ve had a disability since birth & people have always come up to me (or my parents when I was younger) with ways to heal me, prayers, healers, treatments. I often pray that my life gets better when I’m going though a bad period but if people tell me they’re praying for my healing these days I ask them not to do so. I don’t do it to be mean but the majority of people who pray for my healing do so because they feel that God made a mistake. I have not been “healed” because this is who I’m meant to be.

    • David

      Sarah, you strength is inspiring. Praying God continues to use you!

  • DuckDuckGrayDuk

    Did you see what Gaffigan said about playing Frisbee? http://bit.ly/QjN2J4

  • http://www.lauranoelle.com Laura Noelle

    As a fellow invisible chronic-illness sufferer who has been prayed for many times and finds myself being asked if I have the faith, etc. this is right on target. Thanks for sharing hope and experience. It so helps to hear we’re not alone on this often lonely journey.

    • David Santistevan

      Absolutely, Laura. We are in the journey together.

  • Lisa Simonic

    I love you, David. I have been going through this season in my own life as some of my loved ones have passed away. Many people pray for healing for physical needs, when healing comes in many different ways and forms. How can one question another person’s healing if you believe that total healing comes from being one with God? It may not be a physical healing but a spiritual healing. For myself and my family, my prayer has always been for a sound body, mind, and spirit, as well as for God’s will to be done. And that is my prayer for you as well, my friend.

    • David Santistevan

      You’re right, Lisa. Healing can come in different forms. I’m reminded of the Scripture – “though our outward man is failing, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

  • http://twitter.com/hannahelisabeth hannahelisabeth

    I also have two incurable diseases and it was so refreshing to read this. it’s been a long journey at times, especially because like you mentioned, in most church circles we don’t ever get to address the ‘what if you don’t get healed?’ question… people are constantly telling me to have more faith & be prayed for, which i have had done many times, so to read this was hopeful and encouraging. Right there with you.

    • David Santistevan

      Thanks Hannah! I believe great things are in store for you!

  • http://www.tanyamarlow.com/ Tanya Marlow

    Hey there. Good to read this, and especially to have the perspective of someone who sees that God’s healing is to be asked for, but not expected or demanded, and that it is not the fault of the person if they have not been healed!

    I wasn’t so sure about the ‘don’t let that keep you on the sidelines’ rhetoric though. I think it really depends how ill you are… I have M.E. (sometimes known as chronic fatigue syndrome). From 2005-2007 it meant that I could only work part-time, but I embraced the change and rejoiced that God could still use me in ministry. In 2007 I had a big relapse and from then on I could only walk 200 metres per day. It raised a whole lot of obstacles, and my concentration times also diminished. Now I am housebound, bedbound much of the time, and can only blog every now and again. I pray for healing, I pray for grace and courage too accept suffering and limitations, and I really echo where you’re coming from on this. But as someone who spends at least 8-10 hours of their waking day in bed, let’s be honest here – some of us ARE on the sidelines! We’re not busy doing great things for God, getting on with everything without complaint. We’re sick, and we’re just hanging on. I guess I just want to say that there is grace in that too, that just hanging on is enough.

    Blessings! T x

    • David Santistevan

      Tanya, I’m glad you brought this up. You make a great point. There was a period of my life where I was on the sidelines for a year. I couldn’t “do” anything. But I also believe that there’s always something you can do, even if you’re bedridden. God can use you to reach others in every life circumstance. But I agree, there’s also grace to just hang on. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/philamina11 Philippa

    Thank you for this. I’ve been living with a chronic pain condition for nearly five years now, and in some ways one of the hardest things has been learning how to handle people who insist (well-meaningly, I’m sure) on laying on hands and praying ‘until you feel better’, or who ask you WHY you think God hasn’t healed you. It’s been tough, but I’m learning lots about waiting and trusting, which can only be valuable lessons even when I’d rather not be learning them! Some days it comes down to clinging onto God’s love, even when it’s hard to feel it. Thank you for that reminder.

  • Deb

    What if God gave me my affliction out of His great love for me— to draw me closer to Himself? Reading the book of Joel has me pondering this today.

    • Brother in Arms

      This is a statement in which I would disagree. “IF God gave this to me…” Hedges may be taken down, genes may in play, we inherited a broken world, it’s a trial, as well as many other possibilities, including a lack of faith. However God is not the “giver”! Read Job, we have an enemy.

      Yes, He allows and Yes he heals (and the timing is all His), and yes to draw you closer to Him. However, I will defend His goodness, righteousness, and believe He has the power to use all things for our good, including illness. Blame no! Grace yes! As the writer said “Yes, I continue pray”, but continue rowing towards heaven (emphases mine).