The Worland ministerial group that meets for breakfast every Wednesday has been an answer to prayer. Almost immediately they became a support group like I haven’t had for years. However, the Lord’s quirky sense of humor quickly demonstrated itself when I instantly felt a deep connection with the Charismatics in the group. These are people whose theology and faith experience are so separate from PC(USA) that I have to ask for translations for what they’re talking about – even when they aren’t speaking in tongues!
From day one these folks have been praying for my healing. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about it. Does God miraculously heal people? Yes. Absolutely. I do believe that, being an ordained Presbyterian pastor aside. I have never witnessed it first hand, and am cautious to pray for someone’s outright healing. But I acknowledge that God can, and does heal some people. What has challenged me though isn’t the intellectual questions about miraculous healing, but a personal question – do I believe that God would heal ME?
Do you see the tension there? How can I affirm an intellectual belief in God’s healing power, but be unwilling to believe that God would heal me? Why should I expect God to spare me? What makes me so special compared to all the people God doesn’t heal? Cancer miracles are common place now, but no one gets reprieved from A.L.S. Yes, my dying will put a hardship on my family, but everyday hundreds, thousands of families suffer the same tragedy and survive. I’m not important enough, worthy enough to expect such a powerful gift from God. The example of my life and faith through this process may be profoundly used by the Spirit to build The Kingdom.
Exactly. I am not worthy, important, nor do I have any reason why God should spare me, period. That’s the whole point of grace. I got to thinking about when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, then held a night long healing service for the entire village. Was it all merely a detached demonstration that God’s kingdom had arrived? Could Jesus have been detached from compassion, sorrow, and love for the individual people he listened to, touched and restored? How likely is it that when Peter came to him about his mother-in-law that Jesus first thought was “great, here’s wonderful chance to demonstrate the Father’s kingdom to these people”? No. Love had to be Jesus’ first motivation. Not just immeasurable love for the mass of humanity, or all the people of Israel, or the poor peasant people – what primarily sent him to Peter’s house was his love for Peter, and by extension, his love for Peter’s mother-in-law.
The old children’s song says that I know Jesus loves me because it says so in the Bible. Yet, the question, “do I believe Jesus would heal ME?” has led me to realize that isn’t enough. Do I know Jesus loves me because I recognize his love embracing me every day? Do I know experientially that Jesus loves ME, not just the faceless mass of humanity? If that is so, and he loved me enough to die for me, he certainly loves me enough to heal me, just because of me, not because of any benefit my continued earthly life might bring his greater purpose here.
I don’t bring this all up to open a can of worms about “healing”. I share this with you to open the can of worms about the love of Jesus. Do you really expect him to answer any prayer of yours? Really? Why is that? Because you certainly are not worthy of any answer to pray, let alone something big. But he does love you. Do you KNOW that? So of course Jesus answers prayer, the big and the small.