Yesterday I got my chance to talk to one of the men who helped start the Healing Prayer ministry at my church. For everyone else I’ve interviewed for this internship so far, the hour of time I allotted was more than enough.
Not so with Scott.
Beside sharing his own story about developing profound faith in Christ, he retold story after story of people who have been miraculously healed through prayer.
Listen, I know you all hear the occasional story about cancer that went away, perplexed doctors, aches and pains alleviated, but if you’re like me they haven’t done much for you. I don’t know how it’s even possible, but they somehow became mundane for me. I’d hear a big story like that every once in a while, but it was never detailed, and it was always during some conference where everyone’s already on a spiritual high, or tacked on to the end of a sermon just to punctuate the point.
I guess I got to thinking that God can heal in big situations, if He wants to, and for the benefit of people who hear about it so that they come to know Christ. But, after talking to Scott, I realized that I was so wrong in my thinking about it (the few times I actually thought about it).
It’s funny. I was just telling someone the night before I talked with Scott that my favorite story of healing in the Bible is the one found in Luke 5:12-13. Not a big story, but it’s my favorite because of the dialogue.
12. In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he fell to the ground, face down in the dust, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you want to, you can make me well again.”
13. Jesus reached out and touched the man. “I want to,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
It’s those three words of Jesus’, “I want to,” that have always made this story stick out to me. But even then, I didn’t get it until last night when Scott was talking about faith and wholeness and love.
Jesus came to take our sins away. But He also came to make us whole. He said, “I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) When He was on the cross, he took our sins from us and everything that entails. He died so we wouldn’t have loneliness, pain, sickness, a low sense of self-worth, etc. etc. etc.
We go through trials in life and say that God is teaching us something. He’s making us stronger. He’s perfecting us and sanctifying us. But His desire is that we wouldn’t have to, but that we would always know His love for us, always know who we are in Him, always be obedient for His glory and our good, always have joy and be well. Always have faith.
So He always wants to heal us. In every sense.
If you look at the stories of healing in the Bible (and Jesus did a lot of healing), you see that Jesus continually points out their faith. Never does the Bible say that a person was healed because they learned their lesson. It’s always by faith. And it wasn’t for the benefit of the people watching. It was personal. Being healed and experiencing wholeness are solely for the person being touched by Jesus.
And if any of you got to sit down with Scott and hear him talk about all his healing experiences, you would understand how this is perfectly true. Because while I was listening to him, I had three overwhelming senses.
The first was that I had never seen or felt anyone exude a sense of steady, unwavering faith like he did. Especially when he started saying, with complete confidence, that he was never worried, anxious, or fearful anymore. Another thing that surprised me was that Scott never claimed to have the spiritual gift of healing – just complete faith that God wants to heal His people.
The second feeling I got was that I was in a sacred place. My church is so big. It’s like a warehouse that was made to look homey. I love my church, and I’ve certainly felt the Holy Spirit there, but suddenly these stories of healing were not far away at a conference. I wasn’t hearing about them while sitting on bleachers with thousands of high school students. They were brought to life as I got to hear the details of how God spoke through people and used them to heal others. Weekly. In the same place I come to worship and work at least four days a week.
The third thought I had was, “I am going to sleep so good tonight.”
I haven’t been sleeping well recently. It makes sense. The first part of John 10:10 is, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” My enemy has been trying to rob me of abundant life by not letting me sleep. I lie awake in bed sometimes, fearful of something I know can’t hurt me. I feel like I’m being watched in the dark, and no matter what I do I haven’t been able to get that feeling to go away.
Yesterday I was fueled on only three hours of sleep from the night before. So I tried to take a nap. It was daytime, I was crashed on a couch in the church. So I felt completely safe. But twice I was woken up by some sense of fear while I was in such a deep sleep that my muscles were paralyzed. People don’t usually get jolted awake for no reason in the deepest part of REM. My mind was awake, but I couldn’t move. It was terrifying. When I could finally move, I was still mostly asleep, so I didn’t know what was happening. I was afraid to go back to sleep…
Then last night, after talking to Scott, I found this verse:
When you lie down, you will not be afraid
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Today I woke up at 10, and only because my brother started playing The Black Keys really loudly. I slept like a baby.