Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The reality of healing

Today, I was privileged to be a part of something miraculous. I was out with some students for Tuesday's ministry outreach team and we were visiting with a friend at her apartment. Toward the end of our time together, she rubbed her arm and commented on how sore it had been ever since it hadn't healed properly when she had broken it. She essentially had no mobility or range of motion with that arm. However, I sensed the Lord was wanting to do something big in this moment. I asked her if we could pray for her and she happily agreed.
As we prayed, I was expectant and thrilled at what God was going to do. I just knew in my spirit that something was going to change that afternoon. After we finished the prayer, our friend burst into a big smile, saying she had felt heat coming from our hands and that she knew that something had changed in her arm. She was full of joy and said she felt extremely light although she couldn't fully explain or describe it.

As we were getting ready to leave a few minutes later, our friend drew attention to her arm, which she was waving excitedly over her head. Just minutes before, she could lift it no more than a few inches. Now she was stretching it out, waving it around, and displaying one the broadest and most joy-filled smiles I've seen in a long, long time!
I just stood there, finding it quite difficult to comprehend that I was standing in the midst of a miracle. I remember while we were praying, thinking, "All glory to you, Jesus. All glory to you," and it was truly to his glory that we were witnessing this miracle. We do not know exactly where our friend stands with Jesus Christ, but we do know that the Holy Spirit tangibly invaded that room this afternoon with profound healing power because of his great compassion and love for this woman. As Psalm 145:8 says, "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."

As I reflect on this afternoon's events, it brings fresh insight to Psalm 103:2-5, which sums up our great joy best: "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all you diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Get out and do something"

It's amazing sometimes how caught up we get in our own story. No doubt our story is an amazing journey and a gift from God when we walk with Him, but is it possible that we sometimes take ourselves a bit too seriously? I know I can. The other day I found myself stewing over some "predicament" or another and I was seeking God for direction. Although I was seeking God, I was focusing on my circumstances more and more that pretty soon, all I was getting was more and more confused. I'm reminded now of how Proverbs 3:5-8 says to not rely on our own insight or understanding but to acknowledge the Lord in everything we do and he will makes our paths straight. So, as I was asking God what to do, I heard something inside quip, "Get out and do something." I was looking for some profound word from heaven, some fire to fall and consume the altar. I don't know. But as I started relfecting, it became clear that oftentimes I get really preoccupied in figuring out the answers when what I really need is an outlet. If we are getting poured into but we have no outlet, it doesn't matter how much fresh water is coming in; we will still become stagnant. An inlet as well as an outlet is required for a fresh body of water to stay fresh. It was interesting that God gave freedom of choice in this statement: "get out and do something." He trusts our judgement and oftentimes rather than giving us the answer in neon lights in the sky, he wants us to step out in faith as we are seeking his best. I've been struggling with this a lot lately in looking for a job. God has provided in supernatural ways that have blown me away this year at Bible College and I have been amazed at how, time after time he has provided for me through the body of Christ. Right now in my journey, I'm getting to the bottom of my barrel with my finances and I'm starting to talk to God a lot, if you know what I mean. "God, show me what to do; please guide me." I have been worried about having the strength to work should I get a job as I'm recovering with my health during this season. But now my perspective has shifted a bit. I've decided to step out in faith, believing that He will provide the strength I need in this season to do all I need to do and to do it well. Now, don't get me wrong--sometimes we need to take a step back and evaluate what's on our plate when we suddenly find items spilling off the edge. But I believe what we have here is something different. What I have experienced lately is simply desiring to act in faith rather than sitting and stagnating, pondering what I am to do. I believe God honors action and faith as we seek Him in wisdom.
Something else the Lord has shown me is that he shows favor to those who live with humility but that he also opposes the proud. When we try to figure out our problems without taking action in faith to change our circumstances, we are essentially feeding pride--pride in us thinking we can figure things out and at a certain point arrive at a conclusion. When we engage in faith through action, we are showing that we do not know it all but are willing to set our understanding aside in order to pursue the Kingdom first. In this, we are trusting God and we are humbling ourselves. And here's the amazing thing: When we do this, God's supernatural favor flows over us because we have humbled ourselves before him. Now that is a way to make decisions, in my mind! Easier said than done, and God will speak to us uniquely and individually in our own circumstances, but I know from my experience that God honors faith and that he honors humility.

For me, "Get out and do something" means that I must lose my life in order to find it. Getting outside of my circumstances means that I'm giving up control, and thus pride, and seeking to trust God rather than what I see or understand in my own ability. And I believe this can look like getting out to help someone, offering an encouraging word, a listening ear, a smile--being others focused. Believe me, I've got a long ways to go in this! The temptation is to pull into ourself and fix things on our own but the reality is that this is pride and exalting ourself and our own needs above God and his wisdom. However, "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be given to you as well." I've found that when I get outside myself and seek first the kingdom, my circumstances seem to solve themselves with more than a little divine help from above.