Friday, August 10, 2012

It Stung! But I've Got a Little Salve.

"What would you do to be healed?"

So begins Matt at The Church of No People's post, "This Is Going to Sting a Little Bit." With characteristic wit and humor, Matt looks at "evangelist" Todd Bentley's very unorthodox  methods of procuring God's healing. While most Christians believe in laying on of hands, Bentley takes that to the extreme by laying on of fists.

When I first heard about the tatted up, former biker turned faith healer, I was shocked. That's saying a lot from a girl raised in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. I mean, I've seen some things. Folks laid out, running laps around the church, speaking in tongues, dancing, laughing, hugging and shouting. I saw all this stuff so many times during my formative years, it became par for the course.

But shoving? Punching? Kicking?!? If anyone had tried that stuff, they would have been rebuked right up out the service.

Yet Bentley has become a minor star of sorts, "healing" pain by... causing it.

What got me really thinking was some of the comments following this post. They run the gamut from those who felt offended by the post to others admitting they don't really believe in New Testament style healing for today. I wanted to comment but didn't even know where to start. So I figured, I'd begin by ripping his idea (hey, Matt, you admit you want to do this, too :-p), and flip it into a post of my own. After all, it's August, and outside of the Olympics & Politics, there's not too much going on, at least according to news outlets.


I was raised to believe the healing is for today. If God is the Alpha and Omega, and is the same yesterday and forever, why would he withhold His healing from His children today?

It made such perfect sense that as soon as I started feeling the sniffles coming on, I'd run to my mom and have her pray for me.

Please don't misunderstand, though, my parents were no extremists, and if those sniffles turned to a fever or more, I was taken to the doctor. I took vitamins and antibiotics. I knew God had no problem with us seeking medical help. Hey, even Paul advised taking a little wine for upset stomachs.

But what happens when God doesn't heal?

As I grew older, I repeatedly faced situations in which there was no healing, miraculous or ordinary. People I know and loved suffered with diabetes, MS, Lupus and various cancers. They lost their ability to care for themselves. Some died.

I turned this over in my mind. Where was God in those situations?

Since I've been sick, I've asked that question repeatedly. But I have also asked, where is science? Living with a chronic illness, I've come face to face that even modern medical advances haven't advanced to the point of a cure-all.

From Holy Rollers to the Frozen Chosen

For the last couple of years, I've attended services at an Episcopal church. It's quite a change from "letting the Spirit do His thing" to a quiet, well-structured liturgy. I think many of the members of my church would be quite uncomfortable with anything remotely charismatic.

I've seen both sides now. From those who expect (even demand!) God's healing on a regular basis to those who believe all that miraculous stuff closed with the Canon. As usual, I don't really fit on either ends of that spectrum.   

I do believe in miracles. I've learned firsthand, through and because of my illness, that the relationship I have with God is in itself a miracle. Stop and think on that for a moment. Please.

Moving on (but only if you did stop to think on that last statement), while I was in the hospital last December, I read  "The Story of A Soul" by St.Thérèse of Lisieux. What touched me is her "little way" of following God, which is very simple and pure, like a child. Reading this book reminded me of the miracles of every day, the sun, the sky, flowers. The essential act of breathing is magnificent (don't think so? Hold your breath. Wait for it, wait for it...). 

Now I'm sure there are some people thinking, "That's nice and all, but if you're sick, you want to be healed! Who gives a flying flip about the birds!" Very true. I can relate because I've thought that myself. But what God has shown me is that while I'm begging for physical healing, what he's giving me is spiritual building. 

Sometimes, as the old saying goes, God will calm the sea. Other times, He won't, but will calm your soul as you endure it.


Jesus-in-the-city said...


This was really well written, Li!

I am loving the posts these days, or I should say, the volume of them!

I heard a great sermon by Andy Stanley and he said that when bad things happen to people, he doesn't have answers, but we have to remember that we live in a falling, dying world and it was mankind's choice that lead to it, not God's. God does not desire for any of us to have pain or sickness or suffering, that is why when we get to heaven, there won't be any, but the pain, death and suffering there IS in the world will always be used for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It doesn't say that we will understand it at the time, just that He will use it for good and one day, it will be over :)

God bless!

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