In the previous article we looked at how Jesus healed a leper who said to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean!” We saw how Jesus responded by touching the ‘untouchable’ and saying, “I am willing, be clean!” The man was healed instantly. We also made the point that not all of Jesus’ healings were instantaneous. They also came gradually or in various stages. Others came after some delay. Still others came when the situation seemed to be impossible.
We also suggested that God was working through Jesus as His Perfect Instrument as the PERFECT MAN. This was evidenced in the way He described His ministry of teaching and healing in these words, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” John 14:10.
So if God was the originator of the miracles of Jesus as He did His work through Jesus as Perfect Man, could it be that He could be the originator of healings and miracles through imperfect humans in today’s world?
Many involved in ministry today believe it to be so. They look at some of the healings they have observed in their or others’ ministries and conclude that what they saw was a work of God. It was beyond human capabilities.
The following are some of the healings we observed in the Healing Ministry in St Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney during the time I was privileged to be its Leader, [1988-2006]. They are true stories but names have been changed to ensure privacy and confidentiality. They are a few healings among so many, but they help illustrate the different ways in which God brings healings in today’s world.
They follow the types of healings God worked through Jesus as we described them in the previous article, namely instantaneous, gradual or in stages, delayed and in seemingly impossible situations.
HEALINGS GOD CAN DO IN TODAY’S WORLD
I. INSTANT HEALINGS
God is able to bring instant healing to people today. Helen came to our Wednesday night service suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis. Her fingers kept dislocating and her toes were curled up as well. She found it difficult to turn her head. In the providence of God one of the people who prayed for her was Wanda. Wanda had herself come to the service many years before in a wheelchair, and had been crippled up with severe rheumatoid arthritis. After receiving prayer during the service Wanda was so healed that she went outside the Cathedral and freely and joyfully danced down George Street.
As Wanda prayed over Helen all these years later, Helen felt great heat flowing through her body and she felt her fingers and toes return to normal. Her neck became free. As she walked out of the Cathedral she wiggled her fingers before my face saying, “Look at what God has done!” My immediate reaction was to say, “Get those splints back on and see your doctor before you do that!” Fortunately I didn’t utter those words. She had really been wonderfully healed during the service. Like Wanda, she came to the service severely crippled up. She, like Wanda, left as a wonderfully healed woman touched by the love and power of God.
II. HEALING COMING IN VARIOUS STAGES OR GRADUALLY.
A woman came the service for the first time. I didn’t recognise her. She appeared to be of Eastern European appearance. She sat at the back of the Cathedral. During the prayer time, a lot of noise came from where she was sitting. I was told later that it had originated with her. The same thing happened over several weeks when she was prayed for. As the months wore on, the noises stopped as she received prayer quietly like most other people. Then came a night when she saw me after the service. She said sometime like this, “I want to thank you and the Healing Ministry for all you have done for me during these services. When I first came here I was stark raving mad. I couldn’t function properly. But now I am healed”. Her next words nearly floored me. She said, “I am a medical doctor with a medical practice in Western Sydney. Now that I am healed I am reopening my practice and so I won’t be able to come here again on Wednesday nights. But thank you all for all you have done for me.”
There was no counselling involved. Just a woman who knew she needed help coming and asking God to heal her. Which He did marvellously over a period of several months.
III. HEALINGS MAY BE DELAYED.
Ray, a farmer drove about 4 hours from the country to see me. For one hour! When he arrived he told me that he had tried to get his life right by forgiving all those who had hurt him and by asking forgiveness of those whom he knew he had hurt. He said, “Was that a good thing to do?” I told him that if everyone did that there would be whole lot more healing in the world.
He had been pretty much bed-ridden for several weeks with severe back pain. Then he told me that he really believed that if I laid hands on him and prayed for him, he would be healed. By then there was only about 10 minutes left before he had to leave to drive the 4 hours home! I prayed for him thinking “Doesn’t he realise that healing is more complicated than that!” I saw him off as darkness began to fall.
On the following Saturday I met his wife at a Seminar I was conducting in Sydney. I asked her how her husband was going. Her reply was unexpectedly enthusiastic, “Oh, he’s like an 18 year old. He got out of bed next morning after getting home so late and he had no pain at all. In fact he has been doing all the things that he hasn’t been able to do for months. He has been shifting furniture around the farm and even loaded a refrigerator onto his utility truck all by himself.” That sounded like a real healing!
Several weeks later he drove the 4 hours down to see me before the Wednesday night Healing Service. He wanted to come to the service to privately praise God for His healing. Then he would drive the 4 hours home again on the country roads arriving home after mid-night! He told me, “When you laid your hands on me on that day I felt power go through my body and I woke up healed next morning.” I didn’t like to tell him what I was experiencing as I prayed over him that afternoon. All I felt was a sense of panic that he was expecting so much and that he has given me virtually no time to pray over him. He was obviously given a gift of faith to believe something wonderful was going to happen. By contrast I was given a wake-up call not to limit the power of God to work in what appeared to be difficult situations!
IV. HEALING CAN HAPPEN IN SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS
Colleen was a young woman whom I first saw lying on the floor of our Auditorium as I was about to begin a day seminar for those with cancer and for their carers. She had been carried in and had been carefully placed horizontally on the floor because she was too weak to sit. I was told that she had only days or weeks at the most to live, so advanced was her cancer. She was almost like a grey corpse lying on the floor. I hoped she would survive the hour session. But as she lay there she heard the teaching on forgiveness, about the freedom that comes from being forgiven by God and the freedom then from being able to forgive others. She learned that day how to receive forgiveness from God. She also learned how to forgive. She survived the seminar. Within a matter of weeks she was perfectly healed.
Months later Colleen returned to her home country of Ireland and was able to restore strained and broken relationships. She returned to Australia absolutely glowing, a picture of health and an attractive bundle of infectious joy.
When I first saw her lying on the floor I thought it was too late. I saw her as a candidate for an early expected death. God saw her differently. He saw her as a candidate for an unexpected healing. He saw it correctly. I judged by outward appearance without appreciating the magnitude of God’s kingdom love and power.
One wonders how often in ministry we look at the magnitude of the problem and fail to appreciate the magnitude of the ability of God to do the impossible in so-called “impossible” situations.
God heals today. Healings may come in any of the above ways from instantaneous to prolonged or even when situations appear to be impossible. However who declares them to be impossible?
Jesus said something about impossibilities and about possibilities.
He was approached by the father of a boy who had a demon which had often tried to kill him. The father entreated Jesus, “ … it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Mark 9:22. Jesus’ response is challenging to all of us today, ‘Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”’ Mark 9:23. A very, very strong statement by Jesus! It appeared to be so in the ears of the father who immediately responded, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 9:24. He had shown faith in bringing his son to the disciples of Jesus to get help. When that failed he stayed on to seek help from Jesus Himself. The father was not deterred by such a statement from Jesus. He humbly affirmed his faith, “I do believe!” But he was humble enough to realise that there could be pockets of unbelief in his belief system. He wanted those pocket of unbelief removed so that he could believe for more … for the sake of his son! The father’s faith was rewarded. The boy was healed by Jesus.
God alone decides how healings come. Healings come to many folk as they continue stepping out by faith in obedience to Him so that He can always do in and through them what He wants to do.
He heals in His way, in His time, through whom He wishes. To His glory!
There is a saying we use in Australia [though of American origin] which says, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings!” God alone determines the end. It ain’t over until He says so!
It is true to say that as we walk in faith and obedience to God, your life, my life is not over until the Lord [not the doctor, brilliant and dedicated as he or she may be] says “It’s time to come home!”
Blog No.309 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Wednesday 23rd January 2019