I wrote this in February, the day before the first heart procedure I faced last winter/spring. In light of the ongoing discussions regarding the subject of healing, I thought it wise to resurrect this blog as it reflects the very depth of my heart as I dealt with my own mortality and what I was to face the next day. Obviously all worked out for I am still here, but the two months that followed the writing of this blog were difficult to say the least yet extremely humbling and allowed me to know and understand God's heart as never before.
In all my 56 years of life, very few things have left as deep an impression upon me as the love, support and friendship manifested here over the past few months. In what has seemed like an endless parade of one crisis after another, I have found indescribable comfort, encouragement and edification in the blogs, comments, prayers and messages of YOU-the Christianblog community. I honestly do not know how I would have been able to deal with all that has come my way without you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I wish I could say with complete and absolute assurance that the procedure I face on Wednesday will end up being a minor inconvenience and all will be perfectly well afterwards. I wish I had received personal revelation from the Master that there will be no complications and no problems down the road with the stents to be placed in blood vessels feeding my heart with blood. Unfortunately, I have received no such assurances or special revelations.
I have read, studied and taught the Bible for nearly 40 years. I know what the Word of God has to say about subjects such as healing. I know that Jesus suffered all the physical agony he was subjected to in order to purchase our physical healing. I know that every time I eat, I am to make the deliberate effort to remember the broken body of my Lord Jesus Christ and the healing that brokenness bought for me. I know that whenever I drink of the cup and eat of the bread, I am calling to remembrance the fullness of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
I know about prayer and the unbelievable power found in it. I know that the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous avail much. I know that hands can be laid on the sick and they can recover. I know that people were healed by merely touching the hem of Jesus' garment. There are many things I know, have taught and experienced countless times. Yet, there remains within me the realization that the most important thing to know is that "my times are in His hands."
I refuse to tell God what to do. I can pray and claim the promises of God and use the name of Jesus Christ as my power of attorney. But, I do not feel I have the right to approach the throne of God and demand that God do anything, let along anything for me. I have been prayed for by people who "demand" that I be healed, delivered or whatever. I always cringe when I hear this for I get uncomfortable hearing God be told that He MUST do something.
See, I firmly believe that as a believer you can demand a demon let go of and leave a person. Jesus conclusively proved this. I also believe you can speak to a disease or a sickness and demand it yield to the power of the blood and name of Jesus. But, I do not believe that when Hebrews tells us to come boldly before the throne of grace to find help in time of need that it means we are to walk up to God and demand He heal us, give us money or find us a wife, husband or child.
When I look at the Word of God and how great people such as Peter and Paul handled situations, I see a definite problem with the idea of "demanding" God heal, bless and prosper. There appears to be, as Peter addresses in his first epistle, a Godly reason for times of suffering. There appears to be, as Paul writes about in various epistles, times when there will be distress, affliction and tribulation. The Old Testament states that for everything there is a time and a season given under heaven.
I have laid hands on the sick, prayed and they were healed instantly. I have done the same thing and the healing took weeks to be manifested. I have done the same thing and people have died. If prayer were as simple as every single time simply saying a few words and miracles happened; then why did all the miracles of the early chapters of Acts not continue to the present?
I am in no way trying to deny the power of God in manifestation for I have seen such power time and again. I am in no way trying to plant doubts in my mind or anyone else's. I am simply trying to come to grips with one of the most difficult questions in all of God's Word: Why, at times, does it appear prayer does not work?
Have we not all encountered the time when we prayed to the best of our ability for something or someone only to see no results? Have we not all had occasions when we have faithfully prayed for a situation only to see it turn out totally opposite to what we were praying for? Truly the Word of God says that His ways are not our ways. This all comes back to the idea of demanding God do things vs. laying situations into His care and Providence.
Two years ago I knew a prominent Bible teacher who was dying of lung cancer. Numerous great and mighty men and women of God in the country came and prayed over and for this man. Some came and prayed for 24 straight hours at his bedside. Hands were laid upon him constantly and countless individual believers prayed night and day for his healing. You know what happened? He died. Yes, he passed away the same way most other patients with his type of cancer do.
This situation really impacted many strong believers for it contradicted all they taught and believed. These mighty leaders found out that they cannot demand God heal someone just because they say so. They found out that sometimes God has other ideas and there are reasons for why something is the way it is. They found out that just because they personally flew in to lay hands on and pray for someone there was no guarantee they would instantly get healed. Much humility was learned by this incident.
Why did God deliver Peter in the Book of Acts but not James? Why did Paul not die from the stoning he received, but Stephen died within minutes? Jesus did not go to the garden and demand God make the cup pass from him. To the contrary he prayed "if there be any way... nevertheless, Thy will be done".
I have full confidence and faith that the will of God shall be done tomorrow. I believe that any and all prayers being offered are first and foremost that the will of God be accomplished so that God receives the glory. My role is to manifest faith and obedience; God's role is to do as He wills. I claim the promises of God stating that healing is available. I can also be at peace if for some reason it is not available in my case.
See, to me that is what faith is all about. It is not demanding that God do things my way; but rather totally trusting that things are done His way. If God chooses to make my particular situation a time of testing or trial, then my faith has to be strong enough to not give up or give in to the temptation of getting mad at God or doubting His integrity. Faith demands total trust, which is what Abraham manifested time and time again.
I truly do thank you for the mutual faith manifested not only for my situation but many others on this site who are facing uphill battles physically, financially or emotionally. Thank you for your prayers and continual support during these trying times personally as well as collectively.
B2Y, I remember when a truly loved friend of mine was badly hurt in an accident. Ourchurch gathered together eery eving to pray for her recovery. At the leading of our Pastor we claimed every promise, banished every evil and demanded that the blood heal her from her severe injuries... Well you can guess what happened, despite the assurances of our pastor that God would do as we TOLD him. my friend died. As a church we were devestated.
Now I am a little older and a lot wiser, and I no longer am arrogant enough to demand God do anything for me. As this wonderful blog says,, not my will but his be done. All the best for tomorrow, I will truly be in prayer for, strength, comfort, and above all, his will.
I was thinking along similar lines early this morning.
You wrote: [quote]See, to me that is what faith is all about. It is not demanding that God do things my way; but rather totally trusting that things are done His way. If God chooses to make my particular situation a time of testing or trial, then my faith has to be strong enough to not give up or give in to the temptation of getting mad at God or doubting His integrity.[/quote]
This reminded me of last winter when I told God I didn't want to go down the dark path of cancer. I felt Him gently, ever so gently reply "I know." I cried as I felt like He was standing before with His hand outstretched palm up as if waiting for me to place my hand in His and follow Him down it anyway.
I remember thinking I really didn't have a choice as to whether I took this path or not but I could choose whether or not I would walk it with God. I remember unclenching my fist and opening my hand and stretching it out as an indication that I wanted to be where God was and I can truthfully say He has not left my side for a moment.
Looking back just over this past year has caused me to reflect on the things which have happened in my life since I made the decision to walk with God, as opposed to walking alone on this path called breast cancer. I can easily see things which would not have occurred if I wouldn't have been on this path. There are places I would not have gone, people I would not have met, transformations I would not have experienced and differences I would have made in the lives of others if this had not happened.
Yesterday, I was up in the media center at my school. I said hello to our media person and asked how she was doing. She said fine and then said quickly changed her reply to "No, I'm not and I think you're just the person I need to talk to."
I learned she needed to schedule a biopsy. She was completely shaken and terrified. So, I listened and then we talked.
Later, I saw her again. "I'm not afraid anymore." she said. "I mean I still realize I might have cancer but somehow you helped me to not feel afraid anymore." It is times like these that I have to say God's way is really the best and only way to live.
We can be confident that God will be with us...even on dark paths!
Be it even so to you according to your faith and God's will. Amen.
In San Francisco on November 22, 2008 I said goodbye to my ex-pastor who was to celebrate her 100th birthday on Dec 3. On Dec 11 she went to be with the Lord after stents had been installed in her which caused a massive heart attack several days after. Why did the Lord not heal her?
Because she was 100 years and 7 days old and had been faithful in her service to Him for over 70 years, her physical body was worn out and she was ready to meet her Saviour and her beloved husband in glory. Many of her spiritual children and grandchildren were sad but we celebrated more because her life was well spent to His glory. Her death challenged many of us who knew her to persevere in service to the Lord.
Last year in June 2008, I said goodbye to a wonderful lawyer and evangelist of God in the work-place. She was 54 at the peak of her career but had found the Lord just 7 years before. Since then she had been instrumental in setting up global prayer meetings in one of the largest petroleum companies and established Alpha Workplace groups where many came to the Lord. Four years after her own salvation she was diagnosed with cancer. She asked the Lord to save the rest of her family but it was not to be until the last few weeks before she was promoted to glory. Her testimony of God's grace and strength through chemotherapy and continuing heavy work prressure were acknowledged by all including her grieving oncologist. Why did the Lord not heal her despite our prayers? Her husband and family needed the Lord, and many colleagues needed the Lord and as her desires for them were fulfilled, the Lord saw it fit to promote her. Were we sad? Yes but we celebrated a life that was well spent for His glory. Her family lives to testify of the mercy of God displayed by her in their lives.
I have said goodbye to many other saints of God of different ages through the years because of sickness when their ends were marked by celebrations of lives well spent to the glory of God. In each case, the grace of God was given in suffering until their life's purpose had been fulfilled on this earth when it seemed that the Lord provided their escape as any more suffering would not have been to His glory. Then He turned our mourning to joy when His plan was acknowledged in their lives.
Praise the Lord, He knows exactly when to promote His own to glory.
What about those whose lives it seemed were cut short by sickness? Did the Lord really know it was the best for them? Yes, and yes again. I have learned that it is to our detriment when we cannot accept the will of God for them - then we grieve unwilling to let them go, fall into disillusionment and feel that the Lord had failed to hear and answer our prayers. Has the Lord not said in His word that He will provide a way of escape as He will not allow them to be tempted above that which they could bear? Has He not kept His word when in His infinite knowledge He knew they could bear it no longer? Yes we wish they could be with us much longer - but it would have been a sad ending for the disillusioned sick one who would have had to endure more than he/she could bear. Far better then for the loved one to be in glory than to remain in sickness beyond their tolerance limit. When we know that the Lord is our loving Father, we cannot doubt but celebrate in His will.
May the Lord give us wisdom always to pray in faith in the finished work of Christ and His victory over death and sickness. Let us learn to decipher what is best for the sick in the sight of the Lord and trust Him as long as it is well with their souls.
This blog you wrote back in February, the day before your first heart procedure, came back to me time and time again over the next two months as you battled for your life. God granted me the privilege to "sit in the front row" and watch some amazing things take place as you and your wife walked this dark path. Watching you and Blest clinging to God's hand no matter what has been a reminder to me that we are NOT victims of our circumstances, we are victors over them. God turns our darkness into light... even as we tread on "dark paths". God is bigger and we can trust Him... NO MATTER WHAT!
Sure glad you are around to resurrect your blog B2Y, for such a time as this.
[Faith] [quote]is not demanding that God do things my way; but rather totally trusting that things are done His way[/quote] B2Y my brother, how often I need to be reminded of this. Thank you for the nudge.
Amen Amen Amen....Great reminder B2Y.....LORD we for your will not our will....and really help us to exspect it to turn out the way you would have it...to bring you all Glory and honor.