I’ve written at some length of the uncertainty I feel about the topic of healing and how the scriptures are to be understood. I’ve told of my personal struggle with it and how I feel about my blindness. Something new happened today, and since it involves the same group of people I wrote of before, it seemed fitting to continue the story.
Since today was a fourth Sunday, The group from Summit church was back again. It was a little different today. First, we invited them to come earlier and have lunch as a show of appreciation. I’m glad we did that, though I must confess I have not been one of those who appreciated them. Each time they came I hoped for a reason not to go, yet I came because this was something that Pastor wanted, and I do my best to honor and respect my pastor. By the way, that’s not hard to do because he deserves every bit of it. My feelings toward the coming of Summit had more to do with me than with them. In fact, after today I think God may be planning to forge us together in a way neither of us would think possible.
The last few weeks have been particularly difficult for me, and I really didn’t want to go today. Before getting ready to go, I wrote a prayer in my journal. I asked that Yahweh would speak to me in a way that at least for the time would leave me with no doubt. I also made a promise that whatever it was He said I would do. I recognize that I have no standing from which to cut any kind of deal with the creator of the universe, but in my desperation I decided it was worth a try. I made no assumptions about how He should answer, and what He did I could not have foreseen.
Several times as the worship proceeded I was on the verge of tears. I have felt so far away. I read the Bible daily and pray, even if sometimes perfunctorily as we settle in for the night. I do what I think is right, yet I often feel that I don’t really know what is right. This confusion is especially acute in regard to how best to serve the Lord in the ministry He seems to have given us. People who actively believe and pray for healing make me face that confusion head on as well as the issue of my own blindness. I was brought up believing in healing, so being blind has always secretly felt like another failure. I am confronted daily with the unavoidable evidence that I am not all that I should be. What A hypocrite I am to tell others they can fulfill God’s purpose for their lives just as they are, when I secretly think I cannot unless I can obtain healing for myself!
The message consisted of a string of testimonies that the Summit people gave concerning how God had healed and saved those whom they had prayed for. The jaded skeptic in me wasn’t quite ready to believe them all, but I know god can do it, and I can’t imagine a situation where he would be more likely to do it than to bring someone to Him. Since I’m not prepared to believe they all got up there and lied, I must believe God did all of that. It was wonderful to hear. I really like redemption stories.
What happened next was something I always sort of dreaded. I’ve done it once or twice before, but I never felt right about it. How can I pray for someone else’s healing when I don’t have mine? The simple answer is that God is sovereign, and I cannot claim any more or less power based on something I would have no control over anyway. If God heals me, it will be no more because of my own power than if He does not. How many times have I said that we must get beyond ourselves if we hope to find fulfillment? This is no different. Though God in His mercy may choose to make exceptions, most of us are going to have to begin to give before we will receive. That is what was said today and I recognized the truth of it.
I thought I might be spared, since Linda immediately grabbed me and started praying for me. Maybe she would use up all the time. Then as we finished up a young friend of our came around in front of us obviously intending that we pray for her. All I could do was honestly talk to the Lord about how I felt and what I wanted. I pretty much gave up on mine years ago. I just told Him that I didn’t know how to pray for this but I really wanted to see this wonderful young woman so full of potential made well. The only faith I had was that He could do it if He chose. I don’t think she’s up running around without her wheelchair, but God immediately took away the pain she was in.
Then the tears did flow. God did not speak to me in any of the ways I thought He might. No one came up to me with prophetic words that only God would know. He did not condemn me for my many failures and shortcomings. He gave me no specific mission or confirmation of the one I have chosen. He didn’t even tell me how much He loves me. He simply did the one thing I would never have expected. He answered my prayer. Yes, that’s the sad truth. My faith has been that weak. I did not believe He would answer my prayer, even though it was completely unselfish. There are no mustard seeds here. It’s more like a mold spore, but god can use even that.
My questions are still unanswered. I don’t know how we teach people to serve God within the context of their disability while at the same time telling them they should be healed. I still think much of what goes on in church services is nothing more than emotionalism and that the Holy Spirit may be called present only because He dwells within the believers involved. I still think both of our groups have a lot to learn, but I am beginning to see that we might be able to learn from each other. I’m willing to put aside my angry response to a threat that isn’t there and ask forgiveness for it. I’m willing to hope that there is a way for everything I believe to be true to be reconciled into a ministry that meets the needs of a group of people who need to know that God loves them no less for their disabilities and intends that whole or not they should have a purpose in His kingdom. I am certainly encouraged that His purpose remains for me.