As a pastor, this has always baffled me. I have had my fair share of praying for the sick when the patient instantaneously recovered. One particular incident that stood out in my memory happened years ago when I visited a home in the interior part of Samar. A young boy got so sick that he has been refusing food for days. When I arrived at their home, it was like a cloud of death was hovering over the entire household. Without much words, I went under the mosquito net where the child was lying, took the child in my arms, put my palms on both sides of his head, prayed a prayer of supplication, and commanded the sickness to leave him in the name of Jesus. I could literally feel the boy’s temperature going down while I was praying. When we said our Amens, the child asked for food. He lived.

I wish all my prayers are like that. I wish I could say that every single one person I prayed for received instant healing. They didn’t. Some are healed gradually. Some don’t recover at all. 

In his book Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller mentioned that work is as basic as food, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality. When people don’t work, they feel less significant than others who do. This is especially true for those who used to be busy but are suddenly cutoff from work.

We know this is true. We’ve all heard of elderly or handicapped people who are depressed because they don’t feel very useful anymore. Meanwhile, we also automatically place high value on people who hold important jobs. Subconsciously, we recognize that work factors into our perception of importance. 

God uses three ways to change us and conform us to the image of Christ: people, circumstances, and spiritual disciplines. Of all three, only one is under our control: spiritual disciplines.

First, God uses people to change us. Proverbs 27:17 says is well: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ Our relationships with friends, family, spouse, coworkers, neighbors, pastors, teachers and all sorts of people all mixed together create ample opportunities for us to learn, be corrected, be rebuked, be changed, and become godly in the process, however we react to them.