Healings, and all the permutations of this very real miracle, are a touchy subject in Christian circles. I think we make two crucial mistakes with the subject of healing. The first mistake is to believe we are the ones in control of healing. God sent the plagues on Egypt to correspond to the Egyptian gods of nature and carved images of frogs and insects. God is saying, "You can choose to worship any of these things but they are not real and I am the God over all things." It has been a human desire for millenia to have control over God. Sacrifices to Baal were made to seek Baal's favor. Throughout history, in mythology and even in prayer we sometimes try to bargain our way to God's favor. Have you ever prayed the "if then" prayer? "God, if you get me outta this situation then I will do something for you?" You get the point ... we sometimes forget that God is God and we treat Him like some kind of holy vending machine in which we insert our wish list and God delivers. This manipulative attitude is the source of one distortion of the Gospel known as "The Prosperity Gospel." I have seen many people pulled down into the dangerous idea that God somehow wants us to magically be in the lap of luxury. It seems to me the greatest movements of God in the world today are not happening in places of affluence (this should be a red flag to us as we see the prosperity gospel preached). They are happening in places where people are willing to stop and listen to God. And if we look at the New Testament witness, we do not find many people in plush houses, palaces or the high-rent district. We find people in the midst of struggles and persecution. This continues into the early church and the church grows in influence during this time of persecution. I am sure lots of those people prayed for delivery from their persecution, but somehow God knew that when faith is strong, we can praise Him best in the storms of life.
The second mistake we make is to think that Scriptural healing and miraculous healing is somehow not real. We explain away the mysteries of Scripture. We say that healings only happened when Jesus was here and that they somehow have stopped in the modern age. Why, then, does Jesus tell his disciples "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have
been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I
am going to the Father (John 14:12)?" Jesus has left us the Holy Spirit to teach. lead, comfort, convict and to heal us. If Jesus has told us there are greater things to come, what right do we have to deny His words?
Our message, blogs and reflections (you can access them through the website abbevilleumc.net ) will be on the subject of how God heals us. It is interesting that He begins this process by reminding us what He wold Moses in Exodus ... "I am the God who exists." That will be our lesson on the 1st Sunday in January. I hope you will be there and we can share! Randy