Hope Deferred: Part Two

July 11, 2008

I closed Part One with Proverbs 13:12.  I think we have all had those moments in life where what we hope for is missing in our lives.  It does make the heart sick. 

Twenty years ago, someone at my church, not a leader, laid hands on me.  He had a “word” that I would be healed by my next doctor’s appointment.  That presented a bit of a quandry as I did not have a doctor’s appointment scheduled.  Hmm?  What to do?   Was there a special time to schedule?  Yes, I really did think about that, as naive as that sounds now. 

 Well, I made the appointment.  But, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew.  I just wanted to hope.

The day of the appointment, my blood sugar shot to 300.  Just in case I was wondering….

I cried all the way to the doctor’s office. 

Then, I made a decision about what to do with my “deferred hope” and heart sickness.  I think it was one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made.  I decided to stop putting my life on hold while I focused on healing.  I decided that I would serve God with or without a healing.  That what he had in my life was too important to focus on diabetes as the defining part of my life. 

I started a mini-prison ministry the next day in my local jail.  I haven’t looked back.  At least not until recently. 

I guess that I got tired.  Going to Lakeland is really out of character for me.  I don’t regret it.  It was the right thing to do.  It was focusing on healing that was wrong.  Fortunately, I had the good sense/inspiration to pray for spiritual renewal as well.  I have to tell you, the spiritual renewal I prayed for there is coming in a very different way than I expected.  VERY DIFFERENT!

So now what is left to me is to renew that twenty-year-old vow.  I will serve him healed or unhealed.  I’m there.  It’s easier the second time.  I understand more now and know that I can’t worship at the altar of healing.  It’s not wrong to want to be healed, but it takes my eyes off God to focus on it. 

We all worship at different altars at times.  Do you, like me, see an altar in your life?  One that doesn’t focus on Christ?

Daniel 3: 16-18

Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego answered and said unto the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us from thine hand, O king.  But, if not, be it known to thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

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Apparently just mentioning Todd Bentley or the Lakeland Revival is guaranteed to improve your blog readership.  Wow! I had no idea that sharing my personal experience would tap into the controversy.  Frankly, I believe that my post “Shredded Lives” was much better and more relevant to the church.  But really, my point wasn’t to comment on the Lakeland revival per se.  It was to share my heart about my experience and my hopes.  And one of those had been physical healing. 

I have never sought out or followed after healing.  At least not in the sense that I traveled places, became a revival groupie, or looked for the big names in healing.  But, I have always believed in healing.  I was just content to let it happen where I am. 

I always believed that it would happen but lately I find myself with a growing doubt.  Maybe it won’t is the quiet little refrain in my brain. 

It isn’t that I haven’t been healed before.  I have.  My most memorable moment in healing was when I was pregnant with my younger son.  At five months of gestation, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  I had to sleep propped up and didn’t have enough breath to sing in praise and worship.  When my endocrinologist told me what was going on, I freaked.  I was already dealing with a dangerous pregnancy and its complications due to my diabetes, and this was just one too many things for me.  So yeah, I freaked.  And was then sent straight to the cardiologist office who confirmed but said we would test to be sure.  Come back in four days, he said. 

I remember standing later in the hall of what is now our youth building.  Standing there with my husband and telling our pastor what was going on.  My upset was obvious.  So, he did the only thing he could when faced with a woman who just might go on a crying jag.  He prayed.  Laid hands on me and prayed right there.  We then proceeded into service.  Over the next three days, the symptoms began to disappear.  By the time I went to the cardiologist for the tests, he couldn’t figure out what had happened since he had last seen me.  He did the tests just to be sure, but there was nothing there.  He shook his head and said to cut back on sodium just to be sure.  I rejoiced.  It was obvious what God had done.  I was healed.

But now I live with an entrenched disease and its complications.  It has been twenty-five years since I started on insulin.  I have used an insulin pump for over twenty-one years.  I first received a word shortly after being diagnosed.  This was when I still lived in Kentucky.  I heard God speak to me about the fact that I would be healed.  Later that same night, in church, I was singled out with the same word from my pastor.  His words were exactly the same as what I had heard.  No variation.  I believed.

Through the years, many people have prayed for me.  Some have been sincere but weren’t hearing from God at the time.  Some prayed in complete faith.  All had compassion and great hopes. 

But the bottom line is that I still have diabetes.  I still wear an insulin pump.  I still have to struggle through each day dealing with my blood sugar.  And, I still look to God to be healed.  But, lately, I have to wonder.  I wonder if I will be.  And this wonder challenges me to examine what I believe, to struggle with what I have believed, and to wonder what to believe. 

Proverbs 13: 12

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Like a lot of people in the church world, I have been hearing about the revival in Lakeland, Florida.  For those of you who don’t know, there has been a strong move of God there for the last 90 days, with many stories of healing and salvation coming out of it.  People that I’m close to have urged me to go.  So, instead of heading home with the rest of our family after our trip to Universal Studios, my husband, younger daughter, and I booked another hotel and attended the Lakeland revival on Friday, July 4. 

I went expecting.  I’d heard of the strength of God’s presence.  The healing miracles.  The awesomeness of God in that place. 

I went expecting.  I expected to feel an incredible presence.  I fully expected to receive a healing from a condition I had recently been experiencing.  I went expecting.

When we arrived, I saw an above-ground pool that had been placed in the sanctuary.  I knew immediately that I would go forward to be baptized there.  We had arrived before the start of the televised portion of the service.  The front was full, but we easily found seats in the back.  We were encouraged by a man on the stage to pray.  His encouragement was quite fervent.  Almost like a pre-show warm up time.  It involved a lot of shouting and my younger daughter was quite distressed by it.  But, we settled in to pray and eventually the service began.

The praise and worship was great.  There was a freedom to worship there that I haven’t experienced in many years.  A freedom that I’ve really missed.  After a while, Todd Bentley came out and spoke.  He recounted stories of miracles.  Watching him, it was easy to see how sincere and open he was.  I don’t doubt that about him.  His enthusiasm was genuine.

I went forward to the baptism line.  I watched several people before me get baptised.  Some seemed profoundly affected.  I was ready.  As I stepped down into the pool, the first thing I realized was that the water was freezing.  I mean really freezing.  Todd Bentley asked me why I was there.  I told him for spiritual renewal and physical healing.  I went under. 

I got out and was helped down a slippery walkway where I was greeted at the end by a group of people praying.  The shaking and trembling I experienced was from the freezing water.  Other than that, I felt nothing profound. 

I did receive a word that was very much on target when I was prayed for in the back after the baptism.  It was about God helping me not to intellectualize or think so much.  Not to worry.  An appropriate scripture was given me about this. 

After I returned to my seat, we left.  Fortunately, I had towels in the car because it was an hour drive back to the motel.  I was cold and I was a little let down.  I knew that I had obeyed God by going forward, but I guess I expected a miracle.  Something immediate.  Dramatic would have been nice. 

It has been three days since I went.  A condition with my lymph nodes that had been bothering me has improved in a noticeable way.  A condition that was exacerbated by caffeine which I haven’t had for four days.  So, did the baptism heal me? 

No, I don’t think so.  But I did see into the past.  Remembered the freedom I’d experienced before.  The passion I felt in the past.  And, I began to pray for more of a revival in my heart.  Because ultimately, it isn’t about any particular evangelist, or any particular meeting, it is about the path I let my heart take.  It’s about expecting God to work in my life daily. 

So, I am expecting.  Expecting God to show up in my life.  To meet me wherever I am.  My own personal revival.

Isaiah 57:15

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 

 
 

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