Strange dream in which I was involved with a house-based fellowship’s renewal gathering. It wasn’t a large house, but it was exciting and energized. The families decided to move to the house during the meeting, sleeping in sleeping bags on the basement floor. Acts Two describes a gathering in the Upper Room. The dream had that flavor.
That small fellowship was hounded by non-faith people and harassed by some churches, especially a church across the street. That group gathered on their front lawn to protest their neighbors—the fellowship with whom I was connected.
Given my recent study of secular worldviews and biblical worldviews, there is no mystery where that comes from. In the dream, I walked around the block and the properties to capture a sense of what was going on. The leader of the harassing church was sitting in a lawn chair on their church lawn. I sat on the grass and asked him what the hassle was about.
“You people are obsessed with healing. That stuff stopped with the Apostles. We have doctors and medicine these days….”
Of course! I thought. I remember staring at the grass in front of me and feeling badly that this man could miss the Kingdom message that far. I was celebrating doctors and medicine and all the skills the techs, nurses and doctors had learned and stewarded into growth. Several times surgeons and physicians have told me about studying to solve mysterious cases. Their late hour research saved their patient in what could have been the last hour. That kind of commitment is worthy of celebration and thankfulness for it is God’s gift of healing through skilled people.
“Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-2).
A nurse’s statement to me that day: “We can give all kinds of care and medicine, and we do, but healing comes through the patient’s eating and personal efforts.” (paraphrase) The “pro’s” job is to equip the “sick” with tools and the will to position self to receive God’s healing intervention. Russ Taff’s wife talks about her husband’s addiction being a family of origin problem. Then she says, “Nor was his healing alone!”
I still feel like I sit on the grass on that church lawn seeing a resistance to the supernatural or what is not “reasonable” by Western standards—anything we do not understand or can’t measure. I don’t want to waste my energy with wishing, denying or being possessed with naïve illusion. Jesus talked about His Kingdom that placed a lot of leverage on curiosity and creativity.
So where would be find some of that?
In the 1960s, there were revivalists and healing evangelists who prayed for legs to be lengthened. Later, a spread of specialists prayed for the filling of teeth. What seemed to me to be ridiculous, was a genuine experience for people I knew. There have always been “healing specialists” who were frontier people willing to risk to market answers and God’s redemptive power. For example:
Some of my friends and acquaintances have lost their taste and smell post-Covid. I am asking God to anoint a tribe of healing-gifted Jesus-Followers to speak His healing into those Covid-19 Long-haulers. I don’t visualize tent-meetings or a 4th window at McDonalds for drive-through praying. I am asking God to strategically place these pray-ers in churches, fellowships, coffee-gatherings—wherever there is a need and people risking to ask for healing and faith-ers who will speak to and on behalf of God.
In our rationalist age, that sounds silly or crazy. Jesus said, “Proclaim the good news of the Kingdom and heal the sick” (Luke 9:2).
Curiosity. Where are people hurting, stuck, oppressed or in bondage?
Creative. Listen when Holy Spirit says, “Let me tell you how.”
Courageous. It is not the “healer’s” boldness or faith. Courage is born of our empathy that grows into action—the sight and sound of those who are empty or hurt that motivates us to speak healing.
“Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send laborers…” (Jesus—Matthew 9:38).
LORD, SEND ME.
©2021 D. Dean Benton