“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18 )
I had been at it all day. Moving about the hospital looking for divine appointments, exercising the “gift” within me. Praying under my breath in tongues and listening to the Holy Spirit guide me to individuals He would have me pray for. Sure, up to now I had some success releasing words of encouragement, edification and exhortation but I was looking to see the “healing” take place right then and there, on the spot before my very eyes. I was getting frustrated. Nothing. I had prayed for so many people and no healings. No miracles. No “oh that feels so much better” or even a “wow, what just happened?” In my soulish thinker defeat was milling around questioning the very purpose of the “gift” within me as if to say this was all just a big waste of time. Why wasn’t the miracle in the “moment?”
I was ready to call it a day when the Lord highlighted a man to me who was sitting in a wheelchair outside of the Emergency Room entrance at the new Alaska Native Medical Center. I studied him for a minute while listening to that familiar ‘voice’ prompting me to stick my neck out again. “Leave me alone Lord” I said quietly to myself. I heard the Lord say clearly, “go and lay hands on him and release My healing to Him. I am going to heal him.” “No!” I said inside my head. “Why?” the Lord said with amusement to which I replied “are You kidding me? You haven’t healed any of the people I have laid hands on today and frankly I have to tell You Father that I am done with the humiliation for the day, I have had enough!” Then here came His answer with authority and command, “Pray for him now!” It was a Holy Ghost tug of war in my spirit. I could not walk away from this one. Jesus wins again.
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)
I approached the man then asked him if I could pray for him. As I walked up to him, he grabbed the metal railing that separated the children’s play area from the walk way to pull himself up out of the wheelchair. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and was preparing to light up. “Oh boy,” I thought to myself sarcastically, “I get to pray for the guy who is in a wheelchair while he blows smoke in my face. What is wrong with this picture?” I asked him as nicely as I could if he would allow me to pray for him. His eyes lit up. He dropped his cigarette in the sand and thanked me for asking. “Yes” came his reply with urgency. I asked him how I could pray. He said “I am waiting to see the emergency room doctor for pain. I was in an accident and can barely stand up. I have to use this wheelchair to get around. My injuries are in my back and I’m bound to this wheelchair. I am in so much pain, please, please pray.” I was thinking to myself, “ok Lord, you brought me here and you demanded that I pray and I am expecting You to show up and show off!”
As I began to pray I could sense the deep love and compassion that the Lord has for him and I knew that the Lord was present to heal in the “moment.” I know that glorious presence of the Lord where the atmosphere shifts and the angels are at the ready to do His bidding. The Gift of Faith wrecks any and all scaffolds of doubt and casts down every vain imaginationthat sets itself up against the knowledge of God. The stage is set for the knowledge of His Glory that makes room for the gift. The mind of Christ flows freely from the throne and invades our divine imagination. The prayer is saturated in the knowing that nothing shall be impossible. Perfect peace rises up to do the bidding of the Healer as He is present to watch over His Word to perform it on behalf of Love. The power to heal is released as the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man goes forth that is dynamic in its working. Perfect agreement in the Spirit diminishes any and all carnality of mind. Any thought of leaning on one’s own understanding becomes completely nonexistent. It is here, where every thought is held captive. It is here that Heaven invades earth and the perfect will of God to save, heal, deliver and protect are enthroned in the “moment”. His Super invades our natural!
I watched to see the miracle as I prayed, looking for any signs of relief, any signs of the impending healing that I had just agreed with the Word for. I had done my part. I looked with anxious expectation for life because faith without works is dead. This is where my hope was anchored. My heart was that faith with works is alive. I had made my declaration and prayed the prayer of faith and now I did not want to miss the ‘super’ invading this man’s natural. The Father was not about to let me walk away disappointed after the conversation we just had! No! Not without witnessing the promise of the miracle.
“In the Mighty Name of Jesus, amen!” I finished the prayer. I stood there for a moment with anticipation. I asked him, “do you feel anything at all? Is there anything difference? How do you feel now?” He looked down at his cigarette, then at me, and sighed, “nope.” This was not the reaction I had hoped for. My thoughts instantly began warring against the Spirit and taking up a position of enmity. “Not again” I said to myself, “didn’t we just have a conversation about showing up and showing off Lord?” I tried not to show my dissatisfaction.
The man gave me the answer I did not want to hear. “Nothing” he said, “but thank you so much for praying for me.” Sitting down in his wheelchair he pulled out another cigarette, lit it and began to head back towards the building. In an effort to be reconciliatory I said to him “God doesn’t have me pray for anyone without Him doing something so just keep believing for the healing.” As I was left alone with my angst I said to the Lord with spite and some mild bitterness, “see, that’s why. You did it to me again.”
“Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly.” (2 Chronicles 29:36)
I was done with the ‘humiliation’ for the day and turned towards the parking lot to leave when my cell phone rang. It was my Pastor. He was all excited, “Stephen! The Lord just spoke to me to call you. What are you doing tomorrow for lunch?” My troubles evaporated for a moment while the possibility of baptizing shrimp in sweet and sour sauce began dancing in my head. “I don’t have any plans, why what’s up?” He began explaining, “Stephen, the Lord said that I am to take you to lunch tomorrow if you can be here at noon.” Naturally I replied with joy, “I’ll be there at noon, thanks, see you tomorrow!”
“Free food! Thank You Lord. You’re not so bad after all” I said with a grin as I continued walking. I know the Lord and He is not thin skinned nor is He easily offended as some would suppose. We talk like this even when I don’t get my way. My immaturity is no surprise to Him. We have our moments and I never stay offended or disgruntled when things don’t go the way I hoped and I soon get over it. Camping out on things I don’t understand can lead to doubt and unbelief that prepares a seed of thought that if allowed to remain will produce a root of bitterness in my heart. Accepting the things I cannot change, it pays to move on. I try never to look back and micro manage situations that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. It doesn’t pay to hold a grudge against the Creator of all things seen and unseen!
The next day I arrived for the impending smorgasbord right on time. The Pastor was just as eager to go. He was obviously excited. He knew the Lord was up to something. The first thing out of his mouth was “Stephen, the Lord says you are to choose wherever you want to go to eat in the city!” He continued, “and I am to spend whatever amount you choose for your meal even if it costs me a hundred bucks.” I looked at him and thought, “this guy really knows how to hear from the Lord, I like it! Now where do we go to eat this meal?” I saw in my divine imagination the Korean Buffet that was over by the old Anchorage City Church that used to be in the strip mall on International and Arctic Blvd. I loved the food there and I knew that the owners were believers. I hadn’t had a buffet style meal for a while and I was all too happy to indulge the Pastor. I wasn’t going to minimize the moment by exercising any guilt or shame concerning my waist size either. I felt like I was on a mission from God. I asked if he knew the place, then he gave me a puzzled look. He was probably thinking his offer was about to take us to the Crow’s Nest on the top floor of the opulent Captain Cook Hotel for lobster and steak. Nope, we were going to eat in a hole in the wall Korean buffet where would get more bang for the buck. Besides, far be it from me to take advantage in a situation like this. This could be a test after all. The Lord may be leading me into another trial. I thought I would just go low and lean towards humility and not take advantage of the offer but to enjoy fellowship and a good meal with a brother. “Ok Stephen, the Korean buffet it is” and off we went.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We walked into the restaurant and headed straight for the buffet. The Pastor went ahead as I followed his lead down the selection. I was curious. What was it that the Lord was up too? Why would the Lord have him call to take me to lunch? Was I about to be ‘ministered to”? Was this man who hears so well from God about to speak a ‘heavy revvy’ into my life? I was just finishing up at the line and he had already gone to sit down when behind me at the entrance I heard a big commotion. I turned to see what all the racket was about just in time to see a crowd of people piling through the door. There was at least ten or more that I remember. That’s when my jaw dropped to the floor. It couldn’t be! At the front of the pack was the man I had prayed for who was in the wheelchair. He was walking effortlessly. My mind was racing. I walked quickly over to our table and put my plate down then looked at the Pastor and said, “I’m sorry Pastor, I’ll be right back. I have to go and speak to these people!” The fact that I knew the Pastor was waiting for me so that he could pray and dig in was not going to keep me. My hunger pangs had flown out the window. I turned and made my way over to the table where the group of people who had just come in had sat down before he had a chance to answer.
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