By Rick Renner
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil….
— Acts 10:38
During our early years in the former USSR, I preached a series of meetings in Riga, Latvia. Several thousand people showed up for these special services — many of whom were first exposed to our ministry through our TV program — and our team witnessed thousands of people come forward to surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It was absolutely thrilling to see people’s response to the Gospel message.
After all the meetings were concluded, the local church leader who organized the event came to me and asked me to pray for his disabled teenage son. His boy had suffered severe, permanent injuries after being physically beaten by a gang of hoodlums. In fact, they smashed his head into the concrete street so many times with such force that his brain had become dislodged from his skull. He was literally a boy with a battered brain. The father asked me if I would pay a visit to their home to pray for their son’s miraculous healing, so we went to their home to meet the young man.
When my eyes first fell upon that poor boy, I was utterly shocked to see what that gang of hoodlums had done to him. Severe tremors shook his entire body, and he seemed unaware of anything going on around him. He didn’t even know we were there. His battered brain caused him to exist in a coma-like state. He just lay in a chair in the corner of the house, where he quivered and shook uncontrollably. The doctors had already pronounced that there was no hope and that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life. According to medical science, this condition was irreversible.
However, during the previous week of meetings, we had experienced many miraculous healings and witnessed mighty, life-changing demonstrations of God’s power.
So with a whole week of miraculous events behind me, I looked at this young man with eyes full of faith. And his parents, who had witnessed the same miraculous events, were also full of expectation for God to do the impossible for their son.
I moved forward, laid my hands on the young man, and commanded him to be healed in the name of Jesus. I ordered his brain to correctly reattach to his skull and commanded the horrific trembling to stop. Yet regardless of how confidently or loudly I prayed or how much authority I felt I was exercising in Jesus’ name, absolutely nothing happened when we were done praying. The young man was still a sorry-looking heap of trembling, quivering flesh — shaking uncontrollably and still unaware that we were even there to pray for him.
As I told the father and mother farewell, I felt their great disappointment that nothing instantaneous had happened — and I was deeply dismayed as well. I was so full of expectation for God’s healing power to be imparted, but from what I saw with my eyes, nothing happened except that we had raised our voices in prayer and laid hands on him with no results.
The events of that day disappointed me deeply and threw me into a state of bewilderment, because I fully expected the young man to be healed and fully restored as a result of our visit. To be honest, I couldn’t shake the image of that young man shaking so uncontrollably and our seeming powerlessness to do anything about it — and that disappointment stayed with me in the months and years that followed.
Three years later, I returned to the same city to preach again, and the father who had organized our earlier meeting came to see me. I asked about his son’s condition, and he said, “Oh, we never told you, but the day you laid hands on him, his condition slowly began to change. It started the day you prayed over him — little by little, his violent shaking and uncontrollable quivering stopped. Today he is totally whole and back to living a normal life!”
The man continued: “Our son’s recovery started immediately after you left. It took a few months for it to be complete, but over that brief period of time, God completely restored him!”
I was stunned. For three years I carried sorrow in my heart about that young man, not realizing that when I prayed three years earlier, healing power went into him, and slowly — little by little, step by step — it began to completely restore his broken body and battered brain.
I asked the Lord for insight into how this happened, and I was led to Acts 10:38, where the Bible says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil.”
I had read this verse and quoted it on many occasions. But this time, my eyes were especially focused on the word “healing,” and I understood that the Holy Spirit wanted to show me something important that I needed to understand about the healing ministry. So I opened my Greek New Testament to Acts 10:38 to see what this word “healing” meant in the Greek. And to my surprise, it was the Greek word iaomai.
This word iaomai is a very ancient word for “healing” — so ancient that it was even used in Homer’s time. It mostly denoted healing that came to pass over a period of time. It is for this reason that the word iaomai is often translated throughout Greek history as a treatment or cure or remedy. Thus, it depicts a sickness that has been progressively healed rather than instantaneously healed.
When I saw this, I began to look for other examples of iaomai in the New Testament, and I discovered that this word is used 23 times in the Gospels and the book of Acts to denote miraculous acts of power that were progressive, rather than instantaneous. It unmistakably tells us that there are many people who, from the moment they are touched by God’s power, begin to amend or be cured. In other words, this means that all healings are not instantaneous; certain people are progressively restored to health over a period of time. They become better and better until ultimately they are completely cured. Although this type of healing is not instantaneous, it is nonetheless miraculous.
The picture of iaomai is similar to a physician who gives medicine to a sick patient and expects the medication to do its invisible, internal work to produce a remedy for a physical problem — but with supernatural results. When this type of healing power is at work, the person praying for the sick may not see immediate results. But that person can be confident that because he has prayed in faith, healing power has been imparted. The complete manifestation of healing may take time. But if God’s power has been imparted and received by the person’s faith, that healing power has started its invisible, internal work to reverse the sick person’s condition and bring him or her back to a healthy state of being.
When the Holy Spirit quickened this truth to my heart, I understood that this is precisely what happened to the boy with a battered brain! When I prayed for him, I did it in faith and sensed an impartation of the Spirit. However, I saw no immediate change — and therefore, I became discouraged. But as we have seen already, that boy progressively began to get better day by day after I prayed for him, until finally his brain returned to normalcy and he was completely cured.
Perhaps you’ve prayed for someone, fully expecting to see an immediate change, but like me, you walked away disappointed because you didn’t see immediate, miraculous results.
Now you have new insight from the Word to help you hold fast to your faith! Based on the usage of this Greek word iaomai in Scripture, you can know for certain that when you pray for a person in faith, a supernatural impartation of healing power does take place! Whether or not you see an immediate change, the divine “medicine” has been administered in faith, and that healing power will progressively work in that sick person to eventually reverse the individual’s condition and restore him or her to wholeness again.
So today I want to encourage you to lay your hands on the sick and release your faith that they will be healed. Don’t allow what your eyes see in the present moment to affect your faith. If you don’t see instant results, bolster the faith of those whom you’ve laid hands on. Let them know that they received a dose of healing power that works like divine medication! And if they will continue to stand strong in faith for the full manifestation of their healing, they will progressively see that healing manifested until they are fully well!
Praise God for those moments when we see instantaneous results! But let’s not forget that sometimes the Lord works through iaomai power. In those moments, the results may be delayed, but they will come nonetheless — and that manifestation of God’s healing power is just as miraculous as any other!
Rick Renner is a prolific author and a highly respected Bible teacher and leader in the international Christian community. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the bestsellers Dressed To Kill and Sparkling Gems From the Greek. In 1991, Rick and his family moved to what is now the former Soviet Union. Two years later, he and his wife Denise founded the Riga Good News Church in Latvia before moving on to Moscow in 2000 to found the Moscow Good News Church. In 2007, the Renners also launched the Kiev Good News Church in the capital of Ukraine. Both the Riga and Kiev churches continue to thrive and grow.
Today, Rick is the senior pastor of the Moscow Good News Church, as well as the founder and director of the Good News Association of Pastors and Churches with nearly 800 member churches. In addition, Rick is the founder of Media Mir, the first Christian television network established in the former USSR that today broadcasts the Gospel to a potential audience of 110 million people. Rick resides in Moscow with his wife Denise and their three sons and families. Visit: RENNER Ministries and watch on YouTube