A Testimony of Faith
*Originally published @ Citizen: Voices, Winter 2018, Mission Community Church
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
When I was a child, like many little ones born to parents who believe in Jesus, I learned how to pray. I could say grace, “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for this food!” I could say night time prayers, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide me through the starry night and wake me when the morning’s bright…God bless Mommy, Daddy, Grammie, Grandpa and the whole world, Amen.” While these prayers are well and good, the first prayers I prayed from my heart were prayers of petition for God to heal.
My mother, one of the most incredible women of God to ever walk the earth, was terminally ill before I was born. She had a rare form of spinal cancer and Multiple Sclerosis. The chances of an individual having the combination of what she had were astronomically small. Yet, despite her condition, she loved God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength better than anyone I knew. For sixteen years every birthday candle, coin in a fountain, and dandelion seed caught in the wind carried my petitions for her healing. I prayed every way I knew how. Yet, given the diseases in her body, she contracted pneumonia when I was a young lady and did not recover.
Ultimately I was faced with the questions: Does God heal and do prayers even matter?
After seeing my mother struggle and pass away I was left with a limited, wounded view of God. In fact, for quite some time after her passing I stopped praying for healing, for miracles. During this period my heart was jaded and hardened. Consequently, I began to experience my own health challenges. In fact, a few years after my mother passed I contracted pneumonia when I was a Senior in high school. It was such a severe case that I developed secondary infections which left me comatose in ICU for a week. The fascinating part is that I was given the very same room my mother passed away in… Since I am writing this article you’ll have gathered that I did recover from that particular illness; however, I was nowhere near out of the woods.
I didn’t give too much thought about healing and prayers after I graduated from high school. In fact, I went on to college to play Division I sports on a full-ride athletic scholarship. By all normal standards, I was in great health.
In my sophomore year of college I began to experience an unprecedented level of physical stress that was unfamiliar to me. I went to the Doctor and was quickly diagnosed with an electrical heart condition. The diagnosis led to a medically mandated forfeit of my scholarship. This medical development catapulted me into a wave of grief I was unequipped to handle since my prayer life had been on pause for years.
I returned home, got a job, applied to local universities, found a cardiologist to continue testing, and began to evaluate my life and health options. The result was to schedule surgery. A few days before the surgery my Dad and I decided to do something fun to take my mind of things. We spent a great day together, grabbed dinner, and started to head home. While at a stoplight, about to get on the freeway the light turned green but we didn’t go. Out of curiosity I looked over at my Dad to see if he was distracted. On the contrary, he was unconscious and convulsing. Immediately I jumped out of my seat, opened the driver-side door and put the car in park seconds before his body contracted and his leg slammed the gas pedal. I called 911 and they arrived within minutes; but it was too late. He had suffered a heart attack and died in my arms.
A couple days later I kept the surgery appointment for my heart condition. The result devastated me. The surgeon informed me that what the previous tests had confirmed did not show up in my physical heart but they could not explain the gap between the symptoms and the “missing cause.” I was given a cautionary advisory and sent on my way.
It would be another ten years before I began to pray for healing again. In the interim, my body began to experience extreme symptoms that never showed up in tests. For example, my blood pressure skyrocketed overnight. No tests yielded a cause. I experienced debilitating anxiety. No tests yielded a cause and no medications produced a cure. My liver function became impaired. Same story. I experienced loss of feeling and muscle control in the whole left side of my body. Tests showed my brain and neurological systems to be fully in tact. My other organs began to function suboptimally. Same story, again… In short, every major system in my body has experienced undiagnosable ravaging in the past twenty years.
And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them. Matthew 15:30
Along the way, God called me back to Him and back to prayer. As He matured me, I graduated from the prayers of my childhood and learned to listen to the voice of the Healer. God was even so kind to show me that my prayers for my mother’s healing did not go unanswered. He answered them when she outlived countless doctors’ prognoses over and over and over again. He also revealed that praying for healing is not just about a miracle in the moment; it’s so much more than that.
I realize that the topic of healing can be very tough because there is usually a large margin of pain and suffering involved (physical, emotional, and spiritual). For the sake of hearing the Healer’s voice, let’s explore just a bit…
God’s big-picture plan is the restoration of all things. This means healing everything on every level. As such, Jesus’ ministry was heavily focused on healing bodies, saving souls, and bringing spirits to life. The manifest voice of God the Father on earth in the person of Jesus Christ accomplished great healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. And…Jesus said His disciples would accomplish greater works than His (John 14:12).
Many believe Jesus never healed the same way twice. How then, are we to recognize the voice of the Healer, when He desires to heal, and how? Let’s look at a few examples of he voice of Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals) as recorded in scripture. In three different cases of healing, Jesus said to the woman with the issue of blood, “Your faith has made you well,” (Mark 5:34) to the demon-oppressed man, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit,” (Mark 5:8), and the synagogue ruler’s daughter, “‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise’” (Mark 5:41). In each instance the Healer’s voice communicates different words from the same source of power, the Holy Spirit.
Healing for us as modern-day believers is the same as it was for Jesus. It’s source is the Holy Spirit and it comes in many ways. There are nine I’d like to highlight here: truth, testing, tongues, praise, prayer, prophecy, laughter, lamentation, and love…
The Healer’s voice comes through Truth (the Word of God, the Bible).
My son, be attentive to my words; include your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22
Healing resounds in testing.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8.
Healing results from praying in Spirit and Truth (tongues).
For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing.” Isaiah 28:11-12
The Healer indwells our praise.
Yet you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3
The Healer moves on behalf of those who pray.
Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
The voice of the Healer speaks through the prophetic.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Revelation 12:11
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10
The sound of healing is laughter (joy).
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” Genesis 21:5-6
Healing springs forth from lamentation.
For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:31-33
The voice of the Healer is pure Love.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. Psalm 103:2-4
In my healing process, the Word of Truth has reminded me who I am and who God is. Testing has thrust me deeper and deeper into intimacy with God. Tongues have nurtured humility and hope in my prayers for healing. Praise has lifted me up in the dark moments. Prayer has nourished and sustained me when my body has been unable to access nutrients. Prophecy has inspired vision and passion for personal and global healing. Laughter has been critical medicine over the years. Lamentation has been sweet release in the midst of grief and pain. And love…true love…has been the point, purpose, passion, and pleasure of every day I have breath. My healing journey is far from complete and, at the same time, I’ve never trusted God so completely.
As you pursue the Kingdom, consider the glorious ways to hear the voice of the Healer as He whispers, speaks, and shouts! In your pursuit, I guarantee you will receive increasing revelation of Jehovah Rapha. You will discover that God, the Son, and Spirit are the perfect harmony of healing. You will believe and know that God heals and your prayers matter.
As you listen to and act according to the voice of the Healer, the Kingdom will manifest. God is faithful to give us vision and the provision to see it accomplished. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 Just like the voice of Christ created the universe, the Healer’s voice will see that all creation is healed once and for all.
Heal the sick in it and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”