by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Summary: Divine healing is received by faith. But many of those seeking healing overlook another important way of access to God’s healing touch — that is, the mercy of God.
Psalm 6:2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
•• Divine healing is among the most blessed and greatly appreciated promises of God. The Old Testament records many occasions of healing by God’s power. While He was on earth, Jesus was an instrument of divine healing to all who looked to Him in faith. Miraculous healings continued to accompany the ministries of the New Testament apostles and other believers who walked in faith in the Lord’s promises to heal the sick.
•• But as central as faith is to experiencing the Lord’s healing touch, there is another biblical approach to receiving divine healing. It does not replace faith; rather, it seems to complement faith for healing by bringing another factor into the equation — that is, the MERCY of God.
•• “Be merciful to me, Lord ... heal me”, the Psalmist cried out to God. He understood that the mercy of God is a powerful factor that God is pleased to extend to His people. A brief look in the Gospels will show Jesus healing people often in response to appeals to Him for mercy.
Matthew 9:27-30a As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”  ...he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.  Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; [30a] and their sight was restored.
•• Two blind men came to Jesus and were healed. The Scripture record reveals two factors that were present in this healing scenario:
1) The blind men had faith in the Lord — “Do you believe? ... Yes, Lord.”
2) They also appealed for the mercy of God — “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
•• The evening before our wedding 35 years ago, my fiancée and I were at the hospital. Her mother had fallen seriously ill, and our pastor arrived and went in to pray for her. Finding her asleep, rather than awaken her, he prayed silently at her bedside. I’ll never forget my pastor’s words as he came out to us in the hospital lobby. He said, “She was asleep, so I wasn’t able to ascertain her level of faith. But I never hesitate to pray for divine healing based entirely on the mercy of God.”
Matthew 15:22, 26-28 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession” ...  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
•• As noted above, faith is vital in our seeking healing from the Lord. Jesus said to the woman, “You have great faith!”
•• But notice also how she approached Jesus for healing: “Lord ... have mercy on me!” It was her appeal to Jesus for mercy that put her in a position to receive healing for her daughter through her faith.
•• This Scripture shows us also that our faith-filled appeal to the mercy of God for healing can be made on behalf of another. Here the woman successfully interceded for her daughter’s healing.
Luke 1:7, 57-58 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years...  When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.  Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
•• The story in Luke 1 is touching. Elizabeth and her priest-husband were elderly and had no children (vs. 7). Verse 13 tells us that Zechariah had been praying to God that his wife would become pregnant, despite their advanced years. And God showed mercy! Elderly Elizabeth did conceive, and she bore the child who became the famous prophet, John the Baptist. Upon John’s birth, Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives rejoiced with her and declared that “the Lord had shown her great mercy” (vs. 58).
•• My wife and I have a similar testimony of the mercy of God upon us. For the first six years of our marriage, my wife was barren, due to a medically diagnosed infertility condition. Then one day a godly woman in our church told us that the Lord had spoken to her the previous night concerning us, and to tell my wife from the Lord, “Your barren days are over!” And — thanks be to our God of mercy, power, and love — one year later my wife bore to us the first of our four children, concluding seven years of infertility. We call our four, now all grown up, our “miracle children”. Four living illustrations of the mercy of God!
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
•• In our sinful humanity, we humans are beset with weaknesses of all sorts. Jesus Himself became man and (while remaining without sin) experienced the gamut of human weaknesses while on earth. Remember, the Bible records that Jesus wept in sorrow (John 11:35). He feared (Hebrews 5:7, KJV). He needed sleep (Matthew 8:4) and food (Mark 14:14). And in His humanity He was able to be killed on a cross.
•• In light of these experiences, Jesus is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). The biblical encouragement to us, then, is to approach His throne of grace with confidence, to receive His mercy in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Feeling weak? down? at wit’s end? Come to Jesus, expecting Him out of His mercy to respond graciously and powerfully to your need.
Mark 5:18-19 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
•• The mercy of God for healing should be part of our testimony. I have written about how God mercifully healed my wife’s infertility. We share that testimony everywhere we go. As a result, other barren couples have asked for prayer, and a significant number of those couples subsequently bore children as the Lord mercifully healed their infertility.
•• As my pastor told my wife and me over 30 years ago — Never underestimate the wonderful mercy of God! And you in turn share with others your experiences of that divine mercy. You will see that it will become a powerful part of your personal Christian testimony. Unbelievers need to hear that the God whom we serve is a God of mercy and love for the people of this world — including them.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
•• More than just telling people about the mercy of God, we need to be vessels expressing the mercy of God to others.
•• You have heard of Jesus telling about the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:29-37). That Samaritan man went to the aid of another man who had been robbed, stripped naked, beaten, and cast down by the roadside. In concluding the story, Jesus spoke highly of the Samaritan (vs. 37), because he was the only one “who had mercy on” the man who had been robbed and beaten. He was the only one who stopped to offer aid.
•• In the days ahead, I predict that you will find numerous opportunities to be a conduit for the mercy of God by extending mercy to someone around you.
• A friend or neighbor who suffers some tragic loss.
• A woman whose car is broken down by the roadside.
• An elderly man in a store or on the street looking confused and needing directions.
• An exhausted young mother needing a reliable, volunteer babysitter to give her a few hours' break from her stress.
• An ill friend in the hospital, needing an expression of mercy through a visit, as well as a prayer of faith for divine healing.
• The possibilities are nearly endless. Be prepared this week to be an “angel of mercy” to those in need. God promises that you, in turn, will receive mercy because you have been willing to extend mercy to others on His behalf.
Habakkuk 3:2 LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
•• In times of old, the Scriptures record many illustrations of God’s mighty deeds. In this brief message we have focused on examples of God’s mighty healings — both in the Old Testament and in the ministry of Jesus and His followers in the New Testament — as willing expressions of the boundless mercy of God for us.
•• My confident prayer, taken from Habakkuk, is that the Lord will “renew them in our day ... make them known ... remember mercy”. My prayerful appeal to the Lord goes like this:
• “Lord, show on earth the awesome mercy of God in the form of divine healings.”
• “Lord, healings are shown so often in the Bible as a result of appeals for your mercy. Renew those mercy healings in our day!”
• “And let us be your ambassadors on earth, bringing divine healing to others as gracious and powerful expressions of the magnificent mercy of God.”
©2008, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.