Monday, April 8, 2013

Healing in Obedience

Since Christ came to do the Father’s will, the fact that He healed them all is proof that it is God’s will that all be healed. ~T. L. Osborn, Healing The Sick

Some years ago when I was new to healing, a couple in our church were in car accident. I did not know the couple as they were quite new to our church and my husband and I were involved with ministries with youth and drama at the time, but I did know that they were raised in the Catholic church and were now in the Church of the Nazarene.

The man had given a testimony a few Sundays before the accident. He had been a construction worker some years before, but was disabled when he fell and broke his back in several places. He still had terrible back pain, but he was able to start his own construction company on the west coast of Florida, just before Hurricane Andrew hit the east coast. Since there was so much need for construction in the Miami area, he traveled there with his family to supervise the workers and would come home on the weekends when they could. It was a four to five hour drive one-way straight through without any traffic or problems, but not for him. He would have to stop every thirty minutes to get out of the vehicle to stretch and walk around for about ten to twenty minutes, so the drive took six to eight hours.

One of the last jobs he was contracted to do from the Andrew disaster was a church. He had prospered well from the work in the area and the church had little money to rebuild, so he decided to give something back to the Lord and promised to rebuild it at cost...but the pastor had two strange stipulations. You see, the entire church was in shambles with not but one wall standing. This wall had a huge framed picture of Jesus and all the people felt it was a miracle. In fact, it was a miracle because many people were healed when they touched the picture, even just the frame. The stipulations were that 1) the wall would not be torn down, and the new walls would be incorporated with it and 2) that they would build a cage so that people could still freely come and go to touch the picture while the church was being constructed. Both were quite problematic for the construction company, but the owner agreed to the terms.

For the months it took to build the new church, the man watched long lines of people come to pray and touch the picture...and be healed. Even as abandoned crutches, braces, and wheelchairs were lined up outside the wall of the church, the man was skeptical. When the church was finally completed, the pastor and he did a walk through as the pastor admired the work and thanked him. At the end of their conversation the pastor sat with the man in the new sanctuary looking at the picture on the wall and he said, "I know you want to touch it. The doors will lock automatically when you leave. Stay as long as you want." Then he left.

The owner of the construction company felt foolish, but also thought if there was just the smallest chance.... He walked up to the picture and placed his hands on it with tears freely falling from his eyes. Although profoundly moved, he was disappointed when he felt nothing physically and then he left, checking the door to be sure it locked behind him. On the drive from Miami to his west coast home, his family had fallen asleep. His wife awoke startled that they were just an hour from home because he had not stopped. Taking her advice, although not feeling the usual pain and tightness in his legs, he pulled over and got out to stretch as he had been doing for nearly two years on that trip, but this time he had absolutely no pain. He drove the rest of the way home also without having to stop. He had been healed.

Not long after joining our church in Florida, this same man and his wife had been in a car accident. He was in the hospital having seizures for reasons unknown. His wife had whiplash, but had been released.

Before this happened, our pastor had started opening the sanctuary early on Wednesday mornings for anyone who wanted to come and pray before going to work or just any time in the morning. Back then my fasting day had been on Monday, but I felt led to change it to Wednesday and pray at the church. It was on a Wednesday during that prayer time that I felt the Lord pressing me to go to the hospital and pray for the healing of this man and his wife. Now if you really knew me, particularly back then, you would also know how much aversion I have toward hospitals, but not necessarily for the typical reasons. I was well aware then of how empathic I was and being in a place were so many are ill at the same time also made me quite ill while I was there. Additionally, I was pretty new to the healing gift and not confident with it at all.

Needless to say, I was not eager to obey. So, I tried to bargain with my Lord. "I will go, but I ask that no else is there." I went. His entire family was there. His mother and father and sister and on and on. I did not think they allowed so many visitors in a hospital room! I wanted to run out of the room. I thought I could just say some pleasant words and escape or come back after everyone left, but no, I felt it was to be there and then. I was so unsure of myself and even scared, but if the Lord wanted me to pray for healing, then what else was I to do but obey Him.

His wife was there as well, still having neck pain. I asked if I could pray for her and, having said yes, I placed my hands on her neck and upper back. She was healed instantly. Some family members were crossing themselves in the Catholic fashion at that point and I am pretty sure they were not thinking I was a saint, probably quite the opposite. Then I asked the man if he would like me to pray for him and he said yes, even though he was heavily medicated. His wife thanked me and I said we should be thanking God. Then we hugged and I left.

A few days later the man was out of the hospital, much earlier than the doctors had predicted, and at the Sunday morning church service. He was much better, but still on medication and having small seizures. He had three during the service and after the service the pastor called us the few of us left back into the sanctuary asking "anyone who believes in healing prayer" to go to the alter and pray over the man. There were about twenty men and one woman praying for that man, I was that only woman. Immediately, afterward I had to sit down as I was very shaky and could barely stand or walk, which happens to me sometimes when the power of the Holy Spirit overwhelms me during a healing. The pastor eagerly pulled me aside to ask what I felt. We kept this quiet in the church, but the pastor and his wife at times did not contain their enthusiasm very well.

Although the man did not heal instantly, his seizures did diminish in frequency, duration, and strength quickly afterward.

I was reminded of this story, as I wrote Faith in Action, how I terribly uncomfortable I felt that day in the hospital room not sure that I should have even been there and praying for healing too, no less, in front of people who probably thought...well, I don't want to think about what they thought really. I realized later that my Lord had a purpose in it as his family would see the healing happen so that the man could witness to them and the immediate healing of the wife's whiplash was the confirmation that I had been obedient. But, even now, I still am concerned half of the time that I think I feel the Lord pressing me to do something, if I am not just making it up in my head...and sometimes I wish it was true so that I could just dismiss those thoughts, but that does not work when they really are not my thoughts, but His.

~ My Lord, may I hear You clearly, obey You blindly, and bear witness of You through healing and other wonders. ~

3 comments:

  1. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

    I do not understand most of what goes on but I do know obedience is central. We have a lady in our church who has been suffering for some time. The other week I told Dearest we were to pray for her ~ & we did. She was happy to receive & is a believing believer ~ but still nothing *appears* to have happened. Others are accusing her of hidden sin, lack of faith, unforgiveness, yadda~yadda ~ none of which I believe is true. Other things came out of our time together but she is still waiting on her healing to manifest. I don'y know. We are still learning too.

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    1. Well, I received a big nudge from watching the videos of Todd White, who says that receiving the healing is not reliant on the faith of the one needing healing and I see the truth in that, for there was at least one incident in the Bible where the disciples were not able to heal due to their lack of faith. I have prayed over unbelievers and seen them healed, but some can be a bit resistant and a few have had demonic involvement.

      However, I am not sure I am in complete agreement with Todd's philosophy in all cases either, particularly when it comes to believers. Being empathic, I can feel when a person is not accepting the healing. In the book I reviewed about a healing ministry, it was taught that there could be an unforgiveness or unrepentant sin issue, but I don't remember reading that Jesus required the repentance of any sin before the person could be healed....

      So, I am going back and forth on some issues about healing, but maybe it just comes down to doing it in obedience and compassion. Last night there was something that happened that I would like to talk over with you privately by Skype when you get the time.

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  2. Yes, I saw you were on~line this morning & knew you wanted to talk but it was really early here , I am going out [ & had to get ready] & I have 2 down with flu, so I left it. Perhaps latish my time this evening. I won't be home till after 8.30pm our time & that may be too late for you? Or tomorrow?

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.