23 August 2007

Wonderful News

Just a quick post to share some wonderful news.

Odin was in the hospital the other day where he took a swallow test to check the interior diameter of his throat. For anyone not in the know, he’s been going to the hospital about every three weeks since he was born to stretch that point in his throat where they had to sew everything back together. The procedure itself isn’t terribly tricky, it’s an outpatient thing for an adult, but every three weeks for a year has been incredibly taxing – particularly on Rebekah who is the person with him most of the time.

Anyway, that now appears to be behind us. Almost a year to the day and we have no more dilations scheduled and the doctors expect he’ll be just fine from here on out. There is still a minor chance that his throat will start to constrict again, and we’ll forever want to take extra caution about taking too big a bite of food, but aside from that – it’s over.

I can’t tell you how happy that makes me and how it feels like the sun finally breaking through the clouds. What a crazy, brilliant, tortuous twelve months we’ve lived through...and I have this beautiful, wonderful son to show for it. Without question it’s all been worth it.

05 August 2007

Oh my gosh...it's all real!

See: http://the-m-blog.blogspot.com/2007/07/denial.html

There’s an elderly woman at my church, let’s call her Tina.
Tina has a granddaughter who we will call Suzy.
Suzy is pregnant.
Two weeks ago, Suzy was told by her doctor that her 20 week old baby was dead in her womb.
Suzy scheduled an appointment for Thursday the 2nd to have the corpse removed.
One week ago today, Tina asked the TFC prayer warriors to pray for her understandably depressed granddaughter.
One such warrior had the audacity to ask not for God to comfort Suzy, but rather to resurrect the child.
Three days ago, at her scheduled appointment, Suzy was told that her baby was – unexplainably – alive and apparently in excellent health.
Today we (TFC) hear the news and celebrate.
God is good – all the time.

Now in the spirit of full disclosure, let me say plainly that I am not the prayer warrior mentioned in the story. Nor am I Tina or Suzy in case that wasn’t clear. In fact, I wasn’t part of this prayer and only heard the story today. However, I am part of the growing group of folks at TFC who have been pressing in to God in the last few months specifically asking for miraculous healing to be a functional part of the TFC ministry and for that I feel like I can at least share the news as a victory with some back story, and the result of sustained prayer – as opposed to one of those random things that happens without precedent or follow-up, and always ‘elsewhere.’ As a matter of fact, while the ‘Denial’ post mentioned above might suggest that the idea was new to me as of a month ago, that’s not really accurate. I think the bell really rang for the first time back in February at BCNW’s advanced camp where I received an addendum to my name – healer. But none of that is really the point.

Regardless of me or any of the other prayer monkeys at church, beside Suzy, or Tina, or even the second life of this tiny baby, the point and the person to notice is Jesus...hence the title. Not like I needed more evidence, but this is the kind of thing that makes all my doubt and reservation seem so patently ridiculous.

And for you who think to yourself, “That isn’t what happened. The doctors simply got it wrong the first time. The real miracle is that modern science was able to catch the oversight before something horrible was done.” For you I have pity. Jesus mentioned you when he said ‘For [some] not even a man raised from the dead will convince them.’ Your incredulity is no inoculation against superstition, it’s instead a prison that keeps from any truth larger than your own parochial experience. But for the simply, and understandably, skeptical, let me remind you that we’re not talking about the kind of thing a doctor would be at all careless about for the risk of a gigantic lawsuit. Suzy had the death or her child checked, double-checked, and triple checked by various methods. All of the medical documentation is there to see – two weeks ago that child was dead beyond a shadow of a doubt.

And today...
Do you have space in your mind, or in your theology, for an American baby in 2007 to be resurrected in her mother’s womb for all the medical establishment to see? Does the thought of that kind of reality excite hope or fear in your heart? Do you find yourself longing to believe or longing to rationalize? If 99 identical cases end with a routine D&C but this one ends in a miracle do you conclude that God heals, that even now He has and uses the power of life and death in His hand...or that He doesn’t?

Listen closely dear reader, do not think for one moment that I seek the healing more than the healer. Healing of anybody’s body is only a temporary thing. This miracle child, just like Lazarus, will one die die again (if the Lord tarries). So this is not an eternal work. In fact the scripture makes it clear that healing and working miracles is a lesser gift than teaching. But I am also painfully aware of how the Western church has so completely forsaken the power of the Holy Spirit that almost none of us can relate a truly unambiguous story of Heaven elbowing its rude way into the earthly. We don’t even look for such things.

We’ve been praying for the kind of healing that silences all doubt – this is that moment. We’ve seen several other healings and miracles that are great, and we believe in their reality, but they were also of the sort that any scoffer could easily brush away. A prayer for a woman’s barren womb to be opened – was it prayer or just good luck that brought that woman’s daughter to church last week? A long broken family suddenly and unexplainably restored within 48 hours of starting a special (and secret) fast for that purpose...coincidence? Paralysis from a stroke, 90% lifelong deafness, debilitating addiction to pornography – all of these things healed in direct juxtaposition with authoritative and focused prayer to say nothing for dozens of smaller cases. And yet, all of them also open to debate as to what really happened and what the effective agent was. The people who prayed saw with spiritual eyes and knew what had happened, but the world could easily brush these things away. Not this time. This indeed is a touchstone and worth making a big deal over.

Let’s be honest, we’re all human and subject to doubt and despair. We NEED these kids of events to shore up our faith and get us to  call on God for more of what he is already doing – in this case, raising the frakking dead! Maranatha baby! I want to remind you of Paul’s exceptionally eloquent defense of the gospel at Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:16-34) where the story concludes with ‘Now when they heard of the resurrection from the dead, some began to sneer...’ and Paul’s brilliant words were only able to reap a meager crop. But next he goes to Corinth. Imagine Paul disappointed in his own success in Athens, coming to Corinth to plant a new church and he says to them, ‘...when I came to you, brethren, I did not come to you with superiority of speech...my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.’ (1 Cor 2:1-5). I know that most of the folks who read this blog are the types who read more than we believe. We think about faith instead of acting on it. But my gut tells me that he time is rapidly passing for that mode of life, at least for myself.

In my heart of hearts I know that I will see the glory of God in the land of the living for one reason – because He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

I implore you – seek and seek big, big things. Ask for the keys to your Father’s car, His house, His very Kingdom...and keep on asking. May this report of a documentable miracle, no doubt the first among many, break every chain of apathy and doubt and I pray it gnaws your gut as profound hunger for more in your own life, your own church, your own family.