A woman dying of emphysema taught me that God will not often physically heal just because we ask: rather healing is a miracle never to be reduced to an everyday occurrence. However, God always provides healing comfort if we are alert to recognize and accept what is offered.
“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in a prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate so he could beg from people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.” (Acts 3:1-3)
Joni Eareckson Tada’s struggle as a quadriplegic showed how God’s healing comfort became an opportunity for ministry. Joni eventually became a painter, author and founder of the Christian organization, “Joni and Friends” which allowed her the opportunity to be God’s witness worldwide.
“Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift. But Peter said, ‘I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!’” (4-6)
My personal encounter with divorce, taught me that God will allow us to go through pain, disappointment and heartbreak but in the midst of the crisis, God stands ready to offer healing comfort and then provides an opportunity for us to offer that same comfort to others.
“Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.” (7-8)
Over the years these three stories helped me understand and believe in the miracle of God’s healing and healing comfort. This revelation was a critical turning point in my life and ministry.
- Healing is… a loving act of God’s compassion and mercy not a performance or act.
- Healing involves… spiritual, emotional and physical wholeness more than physical deeds.
- Healing occurs… in God’s way and God’s time not simply because of what we say or do.
- Healing can include… responses such as nursing care, counseling and acts of friendship.
- Healing may… mean courage to endure suffering and hardship not an instant reprieve.
- Healing ultimately… trumpets our earthly death as victory ensuring eternal life in heaven.
“All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out to Solomon’s Colonnade, where he was holding tightly to Peter and John. Everyone stood there in awe of the wonderful thing that had happened.” (9-11)
During a recent worship service, I shared our intention as a church to expand our healing ministry in several spiritual and practical directions. That afternoon we offered our first healing service. After sharing Scripture and appropriate prayers our Parish Nurses and pastors stood at the altar and offered an opportunity for people in the congregation to receive prayers of healing.
For the longest moment, nothing happened: then the miracle of God’s healing began. First one woman needed help in dealing with a death. Right behind her was another suffering from chronic back problems. One man confessed an addiction and asked for help. While a musician quietly played in the background others patiently waited their turn as for over an hour we prayed for one person after another. I never before witnessed such a spiritual and emotional outpouring.
The Scripture above illustrates a chance encounter between Peter and a man born lame. One is looking for a handout while another plans to attend a prayer service. Yet, somehow God turns this ordinary event into a miracle of healing. What should be our response? We can only stand in awe.