Does God heal emotional problems? This is a really important question. Sometimes we become frustrated and disappointed because we feel God has not answered our prayer for our own emotional healing or the healing of someone we care about. We don’t understand why he hasn’t changed the person or helped our relationship with them.
The Way God Heals
We must face the truth that although there are times when God does miraculously and instantaneously heal a person, this isn’t the norm. Most of the time, if someone is sick they go to the doctor. We do pray and ask God to work through the doctor, to help our body respond to the treatment but we do still seek medical attention. When it comes to relationships we are often desperate. The person is not changing so we are praying that God will change the person or heal them immediately. Or we may be the one with the emotional problem and we are asking God to take this away from us. We want God to instantly take away this pain and the emotional hurts of our past. Unfortunately, it often does not work this way.
Emotional problems are very complicated. They have to do with past experiences, our habitual behaviors, our relationship dynamics, our inborn personalities, our conscious and unconscious drives and impulses, our brain neurochemistry, our perceptions, and memories. These are all intricate things that are part of who we are. Change must occur on multiple levels when looking at emotional problems. It involves our awareness, intentions, motivations, and changing of habits.
God Works in an Orderly Way
God works in his universe in an orderly way. Change has to happen because we choose it. God will not violate our free will. The person has to want to change. So when we are praying for this person who we desperately care about, and ask God to change them, this person has to want to change. They have to be involved in that decision to change.
We Live in a Fallen World
It is important to remember that we live in a world that is affected by sin, affected by problems, affected by pain and by hurt.
Roman 8:19-23 For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect his children. For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay—the things that overcame the world against its will at God’s command—will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event.And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us—bodies that will never be sick again and will never die.
This is telling us that us even though we are saved, we are still in a fallen world. We are affected by the sin and the decay and the problems that are in the world. One of these things is emotional problems. You need to be realistic in the way you respond to the problems in your relationships. It needs to be based on truth and not on false hope or false expectations. So if you have emotional problems, you need to take steps for healing. These steps may include counseling, lay training, reaching out to others, getting information through a program or becoming involved in a support group. You need to do that work. If it is the other person that you are in a relationship that has the emotional problem, you need to face the truth about the person’s willingness to change. You then need to choose to respond accordingly.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Do you think that God has the power to heal instantaneously? If so, then why do you think if does not happen more often?
- Has there been time when you have prayed for healing for yourself or someone you loved and did not feel like God answered in the way that you hoped? Explain
- In what ways are your past experiences affecting your emotional health today? How are the past experiences of those you care about impacting them today?
- Reflect on the statement that God will not violate our free will when you think about the person that you are praying will change. Share your thoughts.
- Read Romans 8:19-23. How does this give you hope?
- What steps do you think you need to take to become a more emotionally healthy person?
- Do you think you need to be more realistic about the willingness of others to change? How could you do that?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.