We're learning a lot about healing. In the nitty gritty of ordinary life we are never short of opportunities if we are prepared to step out of our comfort zone & have a go.
Tonight we have a Healing Meeting. The specific naming of this gathering indicates what we hope the fruit will be - yet we remain locked in our experience (or lack of experience) when it comes to seeing the sick healed.
I've seen some incredible breakthroughs over the years, a terminal brain tumour disappearing, a 9lb growth in the womb shrinking to nothing in a week, a deaf ear opening to name a few. However, these high water mark moments of power breakthrough have been punctuated by far longer periods of powerlessness.
Much more frequent have been the times where I've prayed & nothing has happened. Or, if I'm being honest, I've even avoided praying at all. I really have been one of those wavering disciples of whom Jesus despaired, 'You have so little faith, how much longer must I be burdened with you!'
Not turning up tonight is not an option! So what do we do? Here are some thoughts that I may share this evening which help me & may even help you. I'm sure they're not all my own but have accumulated from my shameless devouring of other peoples wisdom on the subject. (And that is no bad thing)
I remain convinced that God wants to heal us. The only time someone doesn't get healed in the gospels is when the disciples are involved (Mark 9). Even here, Jesus comes down the hill to the rescue. If the scriptures show us a Saviour who always heals then we can't afford to lower the standard of the word to our level of inexperience, just because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We can't afford to create doctrines that simply aren't there in the life of Jesus - ideas that He may not want to heal, or that He doesn't really do this stuff today - it's not there in the bible stories I read, whereas the truth that He is ready to heal is staring us in the face!
Obviously, this raises far bigger questions, even if we are convinced that He wants to heal. What happens when it doesn't happen?
Well, it's not God's fault - there is no problem with God, He's not lacking in His power or compassion for the sick. Nor is it necessarily a problem with the sick person. Heaping the blame on them is never going to help, even though there are times when we do need to ask questions about lifestyle, forgiveness, repentance.
I've gone beyond taking it personally too. It's not down to me, dependent only on my great faith if someone is made well. No! We are bringing them to Jesus, He is the one who heals.
So, it looks like I'm saying that it's no-ones fault if no-one gets healed, that's a classic hedge your bets approach that should ensure no harm done & we all go home wishing we hadn't bothered! What I'm trying to say is that there are just bigger issues at stake than my faith, or even the faith of the sick person, this is only one element in the process. Bill Johnson puts it wisely when he says, 'Just learn to do your best, to be faithful to His gospel, & to honour Him for the results.'
We're learning to take some risks & we're taking on occasions like tonight because we want to evolve into the kind of ordinary people who live extraordinary lives at any time. So, we start at least from the firm foundation that God loves us & He does want to heal us. From thereonin, we're into the realms of uncharted territory!