Monday, June 09, 2008

Healing - an addendum

Sunday's message was, I hope, an opportunity for the people at New Hope to take a step back and look at just what they have included as part of what they believe God can do.

There's little doubt that the whole issue of healing provides illustration after illustration of how out of balance the Benny Hinn's and the like can bring believers to. But I wonder how far out of balance the rest of us are. How much have we given away to science and medicine of the work of God?

I keep reading passages like this one:

5 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. 6 Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. 7 Tell them that the kingdom is here. 8 Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
9 "Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. 10 You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light. Matt 10:5-10 (MSG)

And this one:

14 Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. 15 Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven— healed inside and out.
James 5:14-15 (MSG)

And I wonder - not about whether in every case God will heal as a result of our actions. It might not be his will to heal any - in a way we can see. But it is another way for us to trace for ourselves the steps of Jesus as we walk with Him. As we practice our faith.

I was reading years ago about the president of Columbia Bible College and his wife. His story was so inspiring, and yet his wife was never healed of her illness - in this life. And yet, seeing this man devote himself to her care - giving of himself sacrificially - fulfilling his calling as her husband and as a follower of Jesus was just awesome. What if our faith carried us into tough places like the one he found himself in? Is it strong enough to not just endure, but persevere to the end?

I don't think you get that kind of faith by reducing what you believe God can do to only what you have seen yourself. That kind of faith comes to life by believing that Romans 8:28 means what it says it means - that God is working all things together for good. God is working. Not us. God. Our part is to believe and live out our faith as God has given us insight and instruction to do it.

This whole idea of healing seems to be charged with emotion or tagged by the abuses to the point that we who believe the Bible decide to cut that part out because we don't want to get involved in something that we don't deep down believe will work.

Jesus said the church is to preach and teach and heal. I preach and I teach, but we have never specifically laid on hands or anointed anyone and prayed for healing. I don't have any excuses. But I do know how to repent and follow.

We need to pray and let God handle what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I have taken the approach of asking permission to pray for the person on the spot, ask permission to lay hands on them.

    We pray.

    Sometimes, God in his mercy chooses to heal, sometimes, for reasons we don't know, He doesn't.

    However, when a healing does happen, it certainly lights some evangelistic fires.

    I've simply learned to pray in faith anyway. Taking the risk.

    Pastor Chris