It was just a year ago that we prayed and believed for my mom to be healed of cancer. Every night my 5 year old and I would ask God to heal Gigi. She prayed with great faith because kids don’t always understand that sometimes he answers on this side of heaven and sometimes he does not. Now, my mother is completely healed and whole and with the Father. Her healing came through heavenly means and for that I am thankful, though I miss her terribly.
My mother isn’t the only grandma my kids have lost. My husband’s mother also passed a few years ago from ALS. Though my daughter was much younger at the time, we couldn’t shield her from the reality that her grandmother was ill and in need of healing. So we prayed and prayed. And likewise, her healing came, not on this earth, but in heaven with Jesus.
In between these losses, my girl broke her leg when she was only three. Though we knew with proper medical attention, her leg would heal just fine, we prayed for healing, that we wouldn’t need surgery or therapy. It’s amazing how quickly little bones heal. She did well and we gave God the glory.
So needless to say the idea of healing has come up a lot for our family over the past few years. The issue of healing is one of many layers and complex perspectives. It’s so hard to lay it all out there for kids. We often pray with them for scrapes and broken bones but sometimes, we may encounter times of praying fervently for serious illness and disease.
At times it can feel like praying for their little cut or scrape is trite. God created our bodies to heal themselves. But when we pray for a cut that as parents we know will heal, we are teaching our kids God’s character. He is good and therefore he created our bodies to heal from everyday things like cuts, scrapes, bone breaks…even colds and sniffles. As they begin to trust him in these little hurts, they will learn to trust him for bigger needs.
The Bible is full of stories of healing. It can be confusing to teach your children about miracle healing when we see lack of (earthly) healing all around us. We will never understand the mystery of why God sometimes heals and sometimes doesn’t heal in modern days when throughout the Bible we read of healing after healing. I believe, back then, God was establishing his authority and Jesus was establishing his deity. Healing was one way Jesus exemplified the power of God within him. Now, he is establishing the kingdom and I believe he wants us to focus on eternity. When we teach our children to have eternal perspective early on, they will learn to trust in God’s goodness even when he does not heal here on earth.
Three Bible Stories That Teach Kids About Healing
1. Healing the Royal Official’s Son
When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. John 4:47-53 ESV
Jesus healed this man’s son even without being in the boy’s presence. The man believed Jesus would heal his son at his word. Use this story to share with your children that Jesus has the power to heal. We can believe, without a doubt, that he will heal when we ask him. Sometimes that healing comes here on earth. Sometimes, when the illness or hurt is very serious, that healing comes in heaven. Encourage your child to trust God for healing, no matter what and furthermore to trust his ultimate will.
I have often said and as my children grow, I will teach them to confess, “Lord, I do not always understand your ways, but I trust your heart.”
Related Verse: For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37
2. Jesus Heals a Paralytic
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic— “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. Matthew 9:2-6, 8 ESV
Several times in the Bible Jesus talks about forgiveness of sins in the midst of healing. Jesus knew his purpose on this earth was to offer hope and healing, not just for physical needs but for our souls as well. Use this story to explain to your child that Jesus wants to heal us both physically and emotionally. He wants to heal our bodies but even more so, he wants to heal our hearts when they are hurt or broken. Talk with your child about ways their heart might sometimes need healing. When their feelings get hurt. Or when they have sin or ugly feelings in their heart. Jesus is always ready and willing to comfort them into his healing arms.
Related Verse: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
3. Raising Lazarus from the Dead
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha . . . So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
. . .Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” . . . Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days . . . Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again . . . I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” . . . Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
. . .Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb . . . And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:1-44 ESV
In this story, we see Jesus’ deep love for his friends. More important than the incredible miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead is the fact that Jesus cried over his death. Use this story to share with your child that Jesus hurts when we hurt. He does not want bad things to happen to us such as accidents and illnesses. But we live in a world where bad things happen. It is comforting to know that he sees us and cares for us. When we pray and ask him to help us, we can be sure he hears and he heals. That healing may not always come here on earth but it will come.
Related Verse: But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
How do you approach the subject of healing with your children? What stories or verses do you use to teach them about God’s power to heal?
Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica came home to be with her two small children. Although the transition from the corporate world to the playground has been an adjustment, she is learning every day to access the grace available to us through Christ as she navigates the full time job of motherhood. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey to Motherhood and The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey Through Baby’s First Year. Jessica lives in Nolensville, TN with her husband, Dave and two miracle babies, Hope and Joshua.