2nd July 2021

Healing is for Inside and Outside of Church

What do you do when you are desperate for healing help but the medical professionals have reached the end of their abilities to do so?

As a young Pastor, I well remember taking a phone call from a very desperate Grandmother, who’s very young Grandson had been offered little chance of surviving a very serious medical condition. In her desperation she had decided to ring every church leader in the community and ask if they would pray. In hearing just how desperate she was I suggested that maybe she would like to call in at the church and we could pray together. She was very taken aback by this and told me no one else had taken this approach as she wasn’t actually a church-goer herself. I suggested she must have some degree of faith as she had taken the trouble to make the call; all I was doing was suggesting she took that step of faith a little further.

When the lady arrived at the door of the church obviously feeling very nervous and uncomfortable, I soon realised that my expectation that God would actually answer her prayer was pitifully low. But I wanted to at least stand with her at this critical moment and try at least to show that I cared.

one of the most incredible prayer times I have ever experienced.

As it turned out this was one of the most incredible prayer times I have ever experienced. After first listening to her story of repeated medical interventions that had failed to turn her poor Grandson’s situation around, she felt there was nothing left but to seek ‘supernatural’ help which is why she called the local church leaders. I think what I remember most about that meeting was her shock that I would even meet with her and hear her heart when she wasn’t a member of our church congregation. I assured her that Jesus was constantly out in the community bringing healing to those who had often tried everything else to no avail.

That afternoon we shared and, honestly, we also wept together. I was so touched that she loved this much-wanted grandson so deeply and seemed likely to lose him far too soon. So, I prayed, crying out to God to hear our cries, hoping beyond hope that my words in Jesus’ name might somehow reach heaven and bring about a radical change in the anticipated outcome for this young boy’s life.

our prayers had been heard.

After she left that day, I had no feedback from the lady for some time. To be honest, I feared the worst. Then out of the blue came a call. The boy was healed. Incredibly, and against all odds, the medical interventions had suddenly begun to yield results and what had seemed a lost cause had been turned around. I was incredulous that our prayers had been heard. But what I found most surprising was that although the lady was profoundly grateful for our time together, she still seemed to attribute her grandson’s healing solely to the work of the medical experts. I wonder if the full ramifications of a God who intervened were a step too far. What she did say however, was that she was going to devote her time and energy to setting up a charity to support research into the rare condition that her grandson had been subject to.

For many people sickness is the ultimate enemy they confront and they will seek remedies in all sorts of means and methods. Sometimes, their need overrides their previous convictions and makes them open to Jesus in ways that their previous ‘healthy’ life wasn’t interested in. But, even when God does answer their prayers, their essential disinterest in God often resurfaces once the ‘megaphone’ of pain has been dialled down. The reality that our deepest need lies behind that presenting issue, a need to reconnect with the one who initially gave us life, is lost again when ‘things get better’.

When people come to Ellel Ministries seeking healing, it is often because all other routes to healing have been tried and found wanting. We are encouraged when this happens, for whatever reason, because ultimately that person is now looking for the answers in the right place.

However, over the years, we have learned that actually if full healing is to come, it will often come the other way round. It is through reconnecting with our Maker and finding our true identity and value in being sons or daughters of our Heavenly Father that outward healing can truly flow in such a way that not only the symptoms are healed but the deeper root cause is also addressed.

Healing was such a major aspect of Jesus’ ministry

Healing was such a major aspect of Jesus’ ministry both inside the synagogue and outside it. As he walked around, doing normal life as well as in ‘religious’ contexts, at home and other communities further afield, he brought love and hope and healing wherever he went. Even today, for us too, Jesus’ healing work continues both inside and outside the church. We can help people acknowledge their limitations and their need of more and bring them to Jesus in any context. We can pray, with and for them, without being afraid because it’s Jesus who brings the actual healing. Whatever our circumstances, the true healing that we all need may not be ‘merely’ physical but, rather, major heart surgery: that reconnection we all need to the heart of God for us!

John Sainsbury By John Sainsbury

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