Nothing could be more difficult than being the parent of an extremely sick child. Whether its cancer, some other terminal disease, or any serious health situation, having your kid’s life threatened, watching him or her suffer can become unbearable. The Bible records multiple accounts of Jesus healing children, including two times when he brought children back to life. Reading and reflecting on these five Biblical accounts can provide hope and healing, and help us respond faithfully to our child’s sickness.
Jesus heals an official’s son at Capernaum (John 4:43-54)
The royal official’s son lay sick and close to death. Despite his high position and formalities, the father humbles himself, comes to Jesus, and begs for him to heal his son. When Jesus seems to question his faith, the father pleads again. “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” (John 4:50). The man took Jesus at his word and departed (51). On his way home, members from his household met him and reported joyfully that his son had been healed. It had happened at the exact moment Jesus said he would be.
When your child’s life is at risk, go to Jesus and ask for healing. Remember the song: “Ain’t too proud to beg.” The time has come to dispense with all vanity and arrogance. Real men love Jesus! And they know he alone can save!
Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17)
On his way into town, Jesus meets a funeral procession leaving town to go bury a young man. Jesus sees his grief-stricken mother. She had already lost her husband. Now, she had lost her son, the last person in her family. She was left utterly alone. Jesus’ heart went out to her. He stopped everyone, touched the funeral bier, and said, “Young man I say to you, get up.” The young man returned to life and sat up and started to talk! Jesus gave him back to his mother.
It is important to notice that she did not approach or ask Jesus to do anything. Maybe she lacked the strength. We do not know if she had any faith. Yet, Jesus saw her, and healed her son. Our healing, like our salvation, does not depend on us.
Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter back to life (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43)
Jairus is a religious leader in the local synagogue. His 12-year-old daughter, his one and only, is dying. Despite his position of authority, he falls at Jesus’ feet and earnestly pleads for him to heal her. Jesus agrees to go, but before they make it home, she passes. Jesus tells Jairus, ““Don't be afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). Moments later, in her room, Jesus took her hand, and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up” (41). Instantly, she stands up and begins to walk around!
Jairus does not only plead; he falls to his knees before Jesus. Kneel beside your bed or your child’s and pray. There will be ups and downs, breakthroughs, and disappointments. Whatever happens, continue to pray. Jesus can raise the dead to life. There is no limited to his healing power. “Don’t stop believing!”
Jesus heals a Gentile woman’s demon-possessed daughter
I tend to think “demon-possessed” in the Bible often refers to an unexplained illness causing physical suffering. The mother has followed Jesus asking him to heal her. He appears to ignore her. Then he suggests that because of her race, being a Canaanite (a people thought lowly of by many Jews), he will not heal her. She pushes back, both persistent and persuasive. Jesus responds, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted” (Matthew 15:28). Her daughter was healed at that moment.
Sometimes we may give up too soon. It is ok not to take “no” for an answer. If you have not received the healing your child needs, keep asking. It may be just a matter of timing. Or perhaps you need to try a different approach. You can have full confidence, Jesus never engages in racial discrimination, especially when it comes to healing.
Jesus heals a boy with an unclean spirit/epilepsy: (Mark 9:14-29)
The boy suffers greatly from seizures. His father brings him to Jesus for healing. The disciples had tried unsuccessfully. The father is increasingly desperate. He brings the child to Jesus and pleads, “…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (Mark 9:22). Jesus replies, “If you can?” Everything is possible if you can believe!
The father responds. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (24). We have probably all experienced this mixture of faith and doubt. Having a sick child can be excruciating. Fortunately, a little faith is more than enough. Jesus heals the boy.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, enormous crowds of people followed him. Among them were many sick people, including children, who came to Jesus to be healed. On one occasion, after Jesus finished teaching, many parents brought their children to Jesus to have him bless them. Some of these were surely children suffering from various illnesses and in need of healing. He encouraged the parents to come with their children to him. The invitation still stands!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
"Who You Are to Me" by Chris Tomlin features the musical group Lady Antebellum. One line of the song says, "I know that I'm stronger when I'm praying to you down on my knees." We see that earnest kind of prayer in these Scripture readings. Let's give it a try.