In 1995 I visited Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship for two weeks and stood, sat and laid on the carpet, amazed at the presence of God.
I was overwhelmed by the sense of God’s presence, in fact if I didn’t know better, I would have assumed the Ark of the Covenant was in the building. God’s manifest presence was there in a way I have never experienced elsewhere since. On the last night that I was there, an elderly pastor came to me and asked permission to pray for me with the encouragement that he felt that God had told him to pray for me for an anointing to raise the dead.
As a young pastor I once prayed for a woman at an Elim Pentecostal conference with a broken leg. I duly laid hands on her leg and prayed, and as I prayed I felt a grating and suddenly the woman was up on her feet – healed! Another woman was healed of some kind of degenerative bone disease and left her wheel chair – healed!
Recently I have prayed for others to be healed to no avail, but I am not disheartened. Sometimes things happen and because of embarrassment people choose not to give glory to God, but keep it a secret. More goes on than we realise though. Jesus heals, and not only that, he told us to heal the sick. It is a formidable challenge, Jesus asking us to do something that He knows we can do. He is not teasing or taunting us. His mandate to us is particularly challenging because he never asked us to pray for the sick, but to imitate him. Heal the sick.
Personally, I have thought at times, “If I can’t heal the sick, how on earth am I going to raise the dead?”.
We have to face these awkward moments if we are going to make our way forwards. In the dark days of capital punishment in England, Robert Louis Stephenson said, “Nothing clears the mind like a public hanging”. The same happens when people like you and I who believe in healing, and the power of God, in humility and vulnerability open our hearts to ask hard questions. It clears the mind. But God is always faithful.
It is more than words. We want the real thing, we are stirred as we hear, see, read about the wonderful things God has done in the past, and what he reveals he is going to do in the future. Pentecost was not God’s greatest day and then after that it all went a bit downhill. Christ is coming back for a glorious bride, and how glorious she will be because of what Jesus is doing in and through her!
The answer to this brief moment of thought is a simple one. My conviction is that God’s word is true and that it is as in every area of my life, that I am to walk by faith, not by sight. Sometimes walking by sight causes us to stumble over the issues of faith.
When Jesus told his followers to, ‘heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Matt 10:8) he wasn’t trying to encourage them or build a sense of direction, vision and purpose into them, he was telling them simply to continue doing the things that he was doing – and doing well.
I appreciate my friend in Toronto praying for me, but I don’t need an anointing to raise the dead, I have already been tasked with it in the Scriptures. In the intimacy of all that Jesus calls me to, there is nothing that I can do, except that he helps me. I can’t raise the dead, but He can and when or if the appropriate moment comes, my hands for an instant in the whole tapestry of time, will be his hands.
I’m not going to explain away scripture because of a lack of faith, or rational logic, or peer pressure, instead I am standing on the promises, believing, trusting, contending for miracles, signs & wonders because that is what the one who I treasure and trust, said to me in His infallible, living and eternal Word.
The question is not why would we want to raise the dead or do any of the things listed in Matthew 10:38 but why wouldn’t we? If it brings glory to God and ails the condition of man and produces thanksgiving in the heart towards Him, then it is surely a good thing. Better still, the reason for attending to these challenges is that it is Jesus’ initiative. Jesus didn’t give us the option to do these things, he told us to do them.
It is the stirring of my heart, that we are about to see an unprecedented manifestation of God’s presence in healings and miracles, and that the Church is about to be vindicated in its stance of trusting God for the impossible in the 21st Century. It is time to heal the sick and raise the dead. And we do so because we care.