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Monthly Archives: May 2008

To Heal or not to Heal Part I


I had a very brief conversation about healing the other night, with a lady I had never before talked to. Though it was short, it brought me back to all the times in my life I have had similar conversations. I think the subject of healing is one I am always going to struggle with in my life…and not because I have a disease that the Lord currently has not released me from…but because I worry that somehow if I don’t figure it out I will offend the heart of God.

I am far from understanding a lot of things in this life, especially this, but that doesn’t mean the Lord is silent on the issue when I seek him over this matter. I’m going to be brave and share some of the things I have learned/felt/thought/experienced, etc. where this is concerned.

When I was in Australia in 2004 the group of people our CTI team was working with were adamant that we should have one night where everyone gathered around me and prayed for my healing. I was fine with that…I’m always blessed when the Lord lays it on someone’s heart to pray for me. This prayer session was over 2 hours long….and I have to admit, it was one of the more uncomfortable for me.

One reason why it was uncomfortable was because people were speaking things that I do not necessarily agree with. They were telling me things like, “you need to believe that you are healed and walk in that…if you don’t walk in it then it can’t be true”. I have issues with that because that implies that I am in control of the situation and that I can earn a blessing by my works. I don’t think things work like that…even healings.

Another reason that I felt uncomfortable though, was more because I had to face some really serious verses in the Bible and ask God what they mean for me. In the sea of prayer that was spoken, the one that sticks out in my mind is, “God, your word says that by your stripes we are healed…and we just claim that over Gretchen tonight…right now Lord!”

Now, I really struggled with this because it’s true…the Word clearly says that He was bruised for our transgressions…and that we are healed by his wounds. The Word also says that if we ask for anything in Jesus’ name we will receive it. So if the Word says that I’ve already been healed because He’s already been broken, and I’m asking for it to be so in my life…why am I still sick? Where is the disconnect? What am I doing wrong?

These are things that I had already asked a million times in my life before but were weighing so heavily on me at that moment. In was then, in the noise of 20 different voices speaking out and dozens of hands holding me down in the middle of the prayer-circle…that the Lord spoke to me.
And this is something I will never, ever forget; He just began to show me that His wounds have accomplished a much greater feat than healing me of Cystic Fibrosis…they have saved me from the depths of eternal separation from my Creator. And that is the greatest healing. My soul is no longer broken or void…it has been made whole again through the blood of Christ. This is just a body that I walk around in. This is just flesh. It will always be broken and ruined in some way…even if I am healed from CF. This world is fallen, along with everything in it. I’m not meant to be flawless here. I never will be flawless here. If it’s not CF, it will surely be something else.

Please note that I am not saying that the Lord does not heal anymore; or that His desire is to have everyone keep praying and praying for healing only to ignore them. No. I believe God heals today…but I also believe that it doesn’t always look like what we expect it to.

After that experience, the Lord has so graciously brought me to such a different place. It might sound crazy but…I don’t care…the words of the Apostle Paul really resonate with me when he says, “I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong” because in weakness we see the Lord for how powerful He really is.

I do not know the reason for things like Cystic Fibrosis, or MS, or Down syndrome, or Cancer…or whatever it is. And I’m sure there are a hundred different reasons that we would not even think about them, but lately I’ve been thinking about this:

What if one of the reasons for this kind of suffering is for other people to see the Love of Christ in and around us?
Stay with me here…I’ll explain myself…

If I’m sick and need to be taken to the hospital and one of my co-workers drives me 2.5 hours and then stays with me so I’m not alone…that’s Love! That’s a Godly Love.

If someday I need a lung transplant and my sister gives me part of her lung so that I can live (which all of my sisters continually say that they are fully prepared to do so)…that’s Love!

If a woman has MS and her husband stands by her, taking care of her and cherishing her until the end of her days…That’s Love!

A mother who patiently takes care of her son or daughter with Down Syndrome…that’s Love!

All these acts are So loving….it’s the kind of love that the world sees and says, “Wow, I couldn’t do that…how do they do it day in and day out?” That’s Godly Love.

Jesus himself said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
What if suffering and disease and hardship is not to punish us for unbelief but to draw us into a practice of Love?

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

To Heal or not to Heal Part II

Here’s another thing I struggle with (and I think a lot of people have at one time or another). Why is it that in “under-developed countries we will see/hear of many miraculous healings, yet in this country they are few and far between?

I hope this does not offend anyone…I’m simply throwing ideas out there; trying to figure things out; spur conversation, but…
In the New Testament, Jesus came and healed and delivered and raised from the dead, to meet a need yes….but also to show people who He was/is! Everyone knew that these acts could only come from the power of God. No one is going to believe a guy walking around claiming to be the son of God but not doing anything. What if his main purpose was to prove his identity? Even the Pharisees knew that kind of power only came from God…they just weren’t willing to admit it.

So where am I going with this? Well…what if the Lord is doing the same thing in these other countries? I mean, a lot of these countries have never heard of Jesus or a creator God…they need that proof that their “unknown god” they’ve worshiped all their life is really Creator of the Universe, and Jesus is His son; He is a loving God; a powerful God…powerful enough to heal.

And what about us? We’re here in the US and we have heard who Jesus is over and over again; we’ve seen Him move in our lives; we have had the honor of hearing his Word (most of us)…do we need more proof?

Sometimes I ask for healing in my own life because it would be a much easier life if I were not bound by disease…that’s not a good reason.

Ok…last thought I’m going to share:
What about verses like Matthew 6:10 that says, “…Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? In heaven there’s no disease right? No suffering? No hardship? Therefore…this is what I’m starting to think:
That verse cannot mean, “make our life on earth like it will be in heaven”. Otherwise this would become heaven and we all know that heaven is our home but earth is not. So the point here, I think, is not to ask that earth become like heaven…but for whatever the Lord has laid out (whatever He has willed) in heaven be carried out in our lives on earth.
Do you see the difference? On other words, “God, whatever you have had laid out since the foundations of the earth…let it be so here. You’re will be done…not mine”.

I know this was an extremely long blog today, so I’m going to stop there. I commend anyone who made it to this point. And I want to invite you all to comment on here or email me with your objections or for further conversation.

Until next time…
May your moments bring Him glory!

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Watch out…it’s a novel.

I’ve been using one person to vent to in my conversations, and I have come to the realization that that probably isn’t the nicest thing I can do. So I’m going to vent here instead…plus, I figure the more people who read my venting the better chance I have at changing society for the better 😉

This blog is really intended to educate all the single men out there who have been labeled as a “player” (whether or not they agree with that label). And I suppose all of you boys who are trying to be men can read it too. Girls, you can just sit back and enjoy the fact that I’m sticking up for you by saying the things that you’re all thinking but are too nice to say. In advance I’d like to say, “You’re welcome”.

Let’s get started shall we:

I am just too warn out from guarding my heart, only to have to put the pieces back together when I fail at doing so. I’m also tired of seeing ladies I care for dearly, being hurt because some stupid guy is too oblivious (or self-centered) to notice what he’s doing to her.

Let me give you guys a few tips ok:
1: Don’t ever, Ever tell a girl how pretty you think another girl is. I don’t care what your relationship is with the girl you’re talking to, or how you are referring to the “pretty” one…this is never a good idea. The girl in conversation could be the most confident; most attractive; most solid girl in her faith, but a guy telling her how beautiful another girl is, is only going to throw her self-esteem into question. And she already has the whole world telling her that there’s a million other women prettier than she is…she doesn’t need you to join in on the chorus okay.

Number 2: If you’re just calling or texting, or facebooking, or myspacing…or whatever it is you do with girls these days, because you are bored…DON’T DO IT AT ALL! I mean, I can see friends catching up once in a while over facebook and maybe chatting online every now and then. But if you are just keeping contact with her because you need someone to talk to and share all your deep thoughts with…chances are, you’re not being fair to her. She probably thinks you’re confiding in her because you trust her with your emotions, and that trust can easily be misunderstood for you having intentions of a romantic relationship.
This is sounding a little harsh, I know…I’m not saying that guys can’t have a girl-friend that they confide in, (although personally I think that those kinds of friends should be of the same sex) I’m just saying…don’t use her because you have no one else to talk to.
Maybe this is a better way to say it: If you are conversing with someone as a substitute for who you really want to be talking with (or to keep your mind off of the girl you really want) just stop right there and spare your poor “friend” from heart-ache.

Ok-3: what is all this business about, “Oh, I can’t wait til I have a wife…I’m going to honor her, and cherish her, and treat her so wonderfully, and we’re going to be great together and blah, blah, blah….”. How bout you try honoring her now! Or at least prepare yourself to be an honorable husband.
Do you think that the things you do now are just going to turn off the minute you say, “I do”? If you have a tendency to check out every good-looking girl that walks down the street or into a room…ya think that habit’s gonna cease just because there’s a ring on your finger? Not gonna happen folks!
Do yourself a favor guys and think ahead a little bit farther than two seconds from now. If you really want to be a godly husband, deserving of a godly wife…train yourself up. Don’t just wait until the last minute and hope everything is going to turn out well. You want to give your wife an amazing gift? Show her that you care about her and that you cherish her by praying for (and practicing) the characteristics of a man of integrity before those characteristics are demanded of you. Marriage is supposed to be a picture to the world of how Christ loves His bride and gave/gives himself up for her; how is the world going to see that picture if we treat relationships just like the rest of the world does?

Finally #4: I don’t buy this whole bit of, “well, that’s just my personality. I don’t mean to lead girls on…they just misunderstand me”. I’m sorry…but if more than one girl has claimed that you have led her on, you need to reevaluate your actions and how they are affecting the people around you. And yes, girls can take things way out of context and assume things that are far from reality, (and some day I’ll write a blog on that topic) but knowing that…you could be a little more careful.

I don’t want it to seem like I think guys are solely responsible for what girls go through; please hear me say that. Girls do a lot that would confuse and complicate any situation. And I’m not even saying that you do what you do intentionally. I know that many of you love the Lord, and you honestly want to be a man of good character. My hope here is that guys would take a little bit more care of what they say and do to the girls in their life. I hope, more than anything, that you would hate the title of “player” and fight against it instead of embracing it. Just because someone has an expectation of you, doesn’t mean you have to live up to it.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Lakes and Laughter

The full-time teams are finally off the road now…so I get to see my lovely lady-friends in person and not on facebook 😀 it’s all very exciting!
To celebrate the wonderful occasion, I went to New London for a night and stayed with her at our host-parents’ from a couple years ago. You may remember them from my blogs: The Petermans.

Michelle and I had a great time on the lake and laughing at all of Dave Peterman’s really stupid jokes (typically his jokes are blond jokes…but he’s moved on to new subjects now: mainly bodily functions). We chatted on the lake in a canoe and then laughed the night away around the fire…and a viewing of Brian Regan.
We closed the celebration by meeting Brooke for coffee in the morning. So great!


Sometimes I just have to stop and think about all the wonderful gifts the Lord has given in this life. Many of those gifts are all the adventures He’s taken me on…and another is the chance to be reunited with people who shared in those adventures.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

New Host Home


I recently moved out of the ministry and into a host home across town. I really like it; the couple is very nice…the husband is a total replica of John Poust (my Fortuna-Father) so that makes it seem more like home 🙂
My room is in the upstairs bedroom in the corner of the house, so that too is reminiscent of my California living. This is the view from my window most mornings…yes, I actually do get up at sunrise 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2008 in Uncategorized