Jesus spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
– John 9: 6,7
When many children are young, they believe in band-aid’s as the ultimate cure-all. We parents take advantage of that belief, administering them often and liberally, soothing our crying, hurting children with the application of a sticky strip of gauze. I think that we adults are often the same way – in fact, I know that we are (consider the “placebo effect.”) I believe that Jesus applied mud to the blind man’s eyes not because He needed to, but because the blind man needed Him to. I like to think that maybe Jesus knew that the blind man didn’t have the faith for a miracle, and whipped up some “special medicine” that the blind man could believe in. I love that image of Jesus: willing to look deep inside of us, and see that teeny, tiny, microscopic glimmer of faith and say “I can work with this. Where’s the mud?”
I believe that healing is a gift from God, and I also believe that we as believers are commissioned to heal the sick (Matthew 10:8, Mark 16:17-18, John 14:12, etc.) I have known of many, many believers who have successful healing ministries whose ability to heal began with their willingness to pray over people who were sick, no matter the outcomes. Todd Bentley, who led a healing revival out of Lakeland, Florida, once said “I purposed that if I prayed for a thousand and no one got healed, that I would pray for another thousand.” And that’s exactly what he did. He tells of a long period of time when no one he prayed over got healed. But then… someone did. And eventually, people from all over the world were being healed through Todd Bentley’s ministry. Bill Johnson, a pastor in Redding, California lost his own father to cancer, despite his prayers. But, in his words, “he pushed against the rock, and the rock didn’t move, but he became stronger.” Since the death of his father, his church has continued to pray over those with cancer and healings have multiplied. There are now reports of healings taking place before cancer victims even walk through the church doors. So a few years ago, I took these examples to heart and began to pray that God would teach me about healing.
Soon, all of my animals started getting sick. Which makes perfect sense, if you look at it from the perspective of Bentley’s quote – God was giving me patients to practice on! In fact, God was being incredibly gentle with me, my kids weren’t the ones getting sick, after all. But the intensity of it frightened me, and I eventually stopped asking God to teach me about healing.
Until recently. Not long after I started asking God to teach me about healing again, our alpaca almost died. After I prayed over her and we both stood up I thought to myself: “okay, this is good. Thank you, God, that you’re teaching me with animals again!” But then yesterday, a good friend asked Jon and I for prayer. It was the first time I’d ever felt commissioned to pray physical healing over someone. Not that we’ve never prayed about illness, nor that we’ve never been asked to pray for someone before, but it was the first time that someone felt led – through no effort on our parts – to come to us for healing prayer. Our friend has had tests run and those tests, along with other things, are showing markers for cancer.
And I couldn’t help but think to myself “really God? Cancer? We’re jumping from choking alpaca’s to cancer???”
I tried not to listen to all the voices in my head. The voice expressing doubt. The voices telling me I had to “do it right.” Should we anoint with oil? Should we pray in “Jesus Name?” Should we command the cancer to leave? Are there specific words we need to use, like some kind of Christian magic spell? In the end, I mostly ended up thanking God. Thanking Him that healing is taking place. It’s taking place through nuns in the catholic church. It’s taking place through protestant pastors. It’s taking place through ordinary people who believe in God’s power to heal and it’s taking place in churches and restaurants and in the middle of grocery stores.
We will continue to pray for our friend. And I will continue to pray for those around me, seeking out every opportunity I can to pray for healing. I’ll stop trying to figure out the right way to do it and just do it.
I’m praying that our friend will let us know soon that his additional tests came up negative for cancer. But if they don’t, we’ll be sending him information on places where healing is taking place, and we’ll pray over him again and again, as often as he’ll let us. We’ll keep applying mud to his wounds, and hopefully he’ll keep seeking out those who are having success all over the world, and eventually we’ll get the job done.
“On earth, as it is in heaven.”