Our family went on a road trip last weekend. We drove up to Redding, CA with a small group of friends to visit Bethel Church and attend one of their weekly healing prayer services. This can lead to questions so if you’re interested in my thoughts on healing, here’s my attempt to explain…
One of the things I value most about my faith journey is the variety of church “homes” I’ve had in my lifetime. For example, I was born into the Reformed Church, accepted Christ and grew up in both American and Southern Baptist Churches; as a young adult, I worshipped at a Baptist church plant, a black gospel church, a home church in Tijuana, Mexico, a multi-ethnic inner city church and an Evangelical Free Church; Rolf and I attended a Vineyard Church when we were first married, Wilson and Max were baptized in a Presbyterian Church as a babies, Olivia was dedicated in a Foursquare Church and we currently go to a Nazarene Church. The Bible and my faith in Jesus have always been at the center of my spiritual experience but the traditions and liturgy have varied over the years and I love that.
I learned early on that no church or denomination is perfect so my approach to the churches I’ve attended was always to plant relational roots, participate in the traditions historically relevant to that denomination and, most importantly, glean what was life-giving & spiritually relevant. Scripture shapes my view of who God is and how He interacts with the world and being a part of so many different Christian traditions (at least in America) helped broaden my perspective of the church and how it interacts with the world.
Anyway, I share a little of my history because I think it helps to set the back drop for my thoughts on physical healing as it relates to church practice. Some of the churches I was a part of embraced the ministry of healing with a zeal and a passion that could blow the roof off a building. In others, the subject never came up…not in the pulpit or in practice. The subject of physical healing can get emotional and divisive real quick which often leads to confusion and discouragement. I think the heart of the problem is that it’s so easy for us to get hung up on the methods of physical healing and forget to focus on the One doing the healing. I FOR SURE don’t claim to be an expert or even a student of supernatural healing but I’ve been forced to face two non-curative, palliative care situations in recent years which leads me to examine my beliefs about healing and, therefore, is a significant part of the journey for me.
To be clear, I believe I am on a journey of healing. Although I’m asking God for the miracle of physical healing (as I did for Rudy too), I recognize it is just a temporary “fix” as I’m going to die someday and experience the ultimate healing of Heaven, equally miraculous, and there is great assurance & comfort in that for me.
But, as it relates to physical, emotional and mental healing this side of heaven, I believe God heals and because creativity is at the heart of who God is, He is creative in how healing is expressed. For example, in His infinite wisdom and power, He created the human body to heal itself, He has empowered human beings to assist in the healing process through the practice of medicine and He has the power to heal supernaturally. Based on the examples of healing in the Bible, it’s clear that one’s healing is NOT dependent on his or her faith but is the result of the bigger design and purposes of God…drawing people to Him and bringing Him glory. As much as I desire to have ALS lifted from me and my nervous system resurrected for personal reasons, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that if God does choose to heal me supernaturally, it’s part of a much bigger design and if God chooses to call me home to Heaven, that, too, is part of a much bigger design.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been doing my due diligence (or “appraisal of assets”) in the medical and therapeutic resources available to me (i.e. I finished my first 14 day cycle of Radicava infusions today) and I view my spiritual pursuits like the trip to Bethel as part of my appraisal of assets on the spiritual side…the pilgrimage provided us as a family an opportunity to concentrate on healing and seek God together specifically for healing. I walked away from the weekend feeling ministered to, confirmed in what I believe about God and healing, motivated to continue to pray for healing and challenged by God (even in the days leading up to our road trip) to “prepare for healing”…(I’m not quite sure what that means yet and am eager to understand it more as I continue to explore it).
Simply and selfishly, I want to live and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Rolf and I worked hard at raising our family and we love being with our kids. I want the joy of watching Wilson, Max and Olivia find their individual paths and the privilege of encouraging them along the way. I want the joy of pouring into the lives of my grandkids and sharing the ups and downs of growing old with Rolf. I want to grieve Rudy without grieving me too. I don’t want to slowly lose my ability to interact with the world and the people I love OR slowly lose my ability to do the things I love…to sing and lead worship or play guitar and make jewelry. I don’t have any option for physical healing other than a supernatural healing and my response to that is to recognize my utter dependence on God, boldly ask for my heart’s desires and trust God to show up like He did for Moses in Exodus 33:18ff. God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion and so I pray Psalm 86:3-4: “have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.” Ah, JOY! That’s a true gift. This is a painful process, for sure, sometimes it’s sharp, drop to your knees kind of emotional pain but mostly it’s a constant deep ache that is impossible to shake. Have mercy, Lord. Bring healing. Bring Joy. Touch and relieve the deep places of heartache and continue to reveal yourself in fresh, creative, life-giving ways…in Jesus’ name.