The church we were part of explained why nothing supernatural ever happened and why the miracles that the Bible talked about weren’t really what they seemed to be, and how science explained them.
Many years later, after I came to a real and personal faith and began to pursue Jesus for myself, I discovered that the gifts of the Spirit were real and that there was actual power present in them. I’ve spent the last half century pursuing knowing my loving King and learning all I can about the tools that he’s given us to run this race well.
The son of a schoolteacher doesn’t have any trouble studying the Book, and the son of the engineer has got some natural advantages applying the wisdom of that Book to his life. But power? But the supernatural? Now wait just a doggone minute here. It’s harder to overcome the natural and logical mindset that I was raised with.
Fast forward a few decades. I’ve taught hundreds, maybe thousands of people about the love of God, the gifts of the Spirit, and even about how to heal the sick. I didn’t have much personal experience actually healing the sick, and the voices from my childhood kept explaining away any healings and miracles that I did see.
So one Friday night, I’m with a team of friends hosting a large meeting, when all of a sudden, one of the group gets up and announces to the auditorium that God wants to heal everyone tonight, “If you need healing, come forward.”
I was confronted with my unbelief. So I kicked into administration mode and connected people who needed prayer with people to pray for them (“Just like we’ve talked about,” I reminded a few of them), but there were so many of them!
Among the last to arrive was the chef in charge of the kitchen at that facility, and he was bearing down on me, and he was limping. We had talked a few times; maybe I wasn’t a complete stranger. I looked around for someone with a healing gift. Not a one!
So here I was, acknowledging that God heals, but full of unbelief, and I was expected needing to heal this guy’s torn ligaments. I was doomed.
So we found a place out on the edge of the crowd where he could sit down and where I could get my hands on his knee. He explained how he needs to be on his feet all day, every day, and the stress weakened his knee, and then he stepped wrong or fell or something (I wasn’t paying as much attention to his situation as I should have been, being much more attentive to my immanent unmasking as a healing fraud).
I laid hands on the knee, and quietly complained to Father that this wasn’t fair! He wasn’t impressed with my panic.
Eventually, my adrenaline levels dropped enough that I remembered to ask Father how to pray, and I had an impression, so I prayed in that direction. I prayed hard in that direction. I prayed every little detail I could think of in that direction, and in the direction next to it just to be safe.
Eventually I had to come up for air. “How does your knee feel? Stand up and test it.” I tried to sound confident.
He tested it, and sat back down with kind of a scowl on his face. “It feels warm inside, but I’m not sure it’s any better.”
My heart didn’t really have any further to fall, but I figured “warm” was a good sign. “OK, let’s pray some more.” It was clear he wasn’t in a hurry.
Over the course of the next hour or two, I threw every prayer I knew and six or ten that I didn’t know at his knee. I wasn’t going to fail because I’d given up: I was going to go down fighting. Every ten minutes or so, we’d check it again, and every time it was a little better. “Not a lot better, but yeah, it’s a little bit better.”
It must have been the nine thousand and twelfth time we stopped to check his progress that he bent and stretched and matter-of-factly announced, “Yeah, I think that did it!” I picked my jaw up off the floor and thanked him for his patience. We were nearly the last ones out of the room.
I had reason to return to that conference facility several times, for several different kinds of events, often including meals, and every time he saw me (he never once missed me!), he’d come out of the kitchen, wrap me in a bear hug, squat down and bounce back up and announce, “Yep! It’s still healed!” (You should have seen the looks on the faces of some of my business associates at the tech events there! I remember that feeling, when I first heard that healing really was for today.)
Healing is still not one of the primary tools that I use in the ministry Father has me involved in. And every time that I slap hands on someone for healing, hell rubs my nose in that fact. “You don’t have that gift!”
“No, but I know a Guy!” and I remind him of the chef’s knee. Shuts ‘em up every time.
It’s still a challenge, still a battle every time I go after healing, and I mean that literally: when we heal the sick, we’re conquering the works of hell (both in the natural and in the minds of those we’re healing): hell is fighting (unsuccessfully) for survival; of course there’s a battle.
And no, not everybody I pray for is healed, not by a mile or six. But I have a testimony to keep me going.