One of the lovely things about being home for a few days is that I get to catch up with friends, but also get to pray for people who are sick – some very – and meet others that friends put me in touch with, to pray for them.
An anomaly of praying for healing is that sometimes – as is often the case with my knees – the day/few days after, people often seem to get worse…. it gives me a lot of opportunities to explain to people the nature of faith, and its difference from unbelief. I’ve said many times here that, in China, in 1987, I met pastors to whom the whole concept of praying for people and them not being healed, was utterly impossible. With them, there is no vestige of unbelief – ‘if it’s in the Bible, it WILL happen – either because of you, or in spite of you’ – an attitude that changed my life irreversibly, for ever. So, when someone is prayed for, SOMETHING happens. It’s not possible for God not to answer prayer. Faith is believing for what you can’t see, for what you have not yet received. So, my whole ‘ethos’ is to thank God for what’s happened, seen or not, and whether there seems to even be a deterioration or not….
Of course, the enemy doesn’t want faith-filled people, does he? So, he sticks his oar in the moment faith begins to be generated, whispering and lying in your ear, that ‘nothing’s happened, it didn’t work’ – at which point, it’s OUR CHOICE as to whether we agree with him, or poke him in the eye and stand on his head… Faith isn’t an airy-fairy nothing: neither is unbelief. Faith believes, unbelief takes away. If faith is a ‘plus’, unbelief is very definitely a ‘minus’, and they cancel each other out. It’s encouraging to me that in Matthew 13:58, and Mark 6:5 that EVEN Jesus couldn’t do miracles because of the culture of unbelief in Nazareth.
If Jesus couldn’t do the ‘stuff’ because of unbelief, how the heck can we? It takes repenting of the unbelief that we, in the western world especially, have inherited in our culture from decades – no, centuries – of the Holy Spirit being ignored, denied, killed off at the end of the apostolic age… I’ve been with people who have received a miracle, only for people in the church to say unbelievable things like ‘you must have used towels wrapped around your knees to make them look swollen under your trousers’ or, almost as bad, ‘you obviously were never ill in the first place’. That’s ‘religious inbreeding’ from centuries of evangelical heresy that the Holy Spirit only exists today to ‘convict men of sin’? Why do people choose what the Holy Spirit can and can’t do? That’s unbelief, indoctrination of the worst sort… God wants us to repent of the unbelief that’s buried deep into our culture, and, individually, into our psyche, as it’s the killer to faith….
So, the week I’ve been back from France has been praying with people: some really lovely times. No outrageous miracles, but gentle transformation in some people. One lovely man who I was with is in hospital: he’s got cancer – stomach, bowel, liver – 83 years old: but in recent months, Gods healed him totally of major issues with his lungs, and despite what scans. xrays, etc., say, he’s looking better and better every time I see him. His faith is uncluttered by historic evangelly teaching, as, until last summer, he’d got no time for God, until he saw God do a miracle in his daughter. To look at him, he looks so well. And my gut feeling is that God’s in the process of healing him because of his faith, despite what ‘medics’ might say… more than that, his whole perspective on life has changed.
What it’s done for him and his family is give them HOPE. I have a few – some – people ‘have a go’ at me, as they say it’s wrong to give people hope. I have absolutely no understanding of that, as a Christian: and if I had what the docs said was a terminal disease, I’ll be honest, I’d rather spend my last months/years HOPING than hope-LESS.
In church on Sunday morning, I met for the first time the ex wife (Betty) of a lovely guy, David, whom I had the privilege of praying for about 16 months ago. Then, he had a 2-3 month ‘death sentence’ on him, massive brain tumour, inoperable, high doses of morphine every day just to bring the pain down 10 out of 10… the next morning, he stopped the morphine, a couple of days later saw the oncologist, then was scanned, and the tumour had ‘crumbled’ and only ‘ineffective’ bits were left.. David’s still doing great, and it was lovely to meet his daughter and grand-daughter with Betty, clearly over the moon that dad/granddad as well…
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be heading to Melbourne, Australia, to pray for and commiserate with my Aussie friends for their upcoming Ashes Test cricket defeat by us Poms 😉 – I’ll be there to do some meetings, and, more importantly, be with some friends who are having a particularly hard time. After that, all being well, on July 2, I head out again to Colombia for 3 weeks, with a couple of terrific young people – Peter, who was with me there last year, and his sister, Kerry. Praying about who I else I might take, as 3 have recently dropped out due to personal circumstances. It’d be good to have at least two more….
Then, maybe, after a very busy few months – Romania, Colombia, Romania, France, Australia, Colombia, Romania – taking some time out in August, maybe even take up one of a few offers I’ve had over the years to go to the ‘holiday’ homes of people I know… or, maybe, just get on with the exhilaration of seeing God do ‘God stuff’!!