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.


Chris said...

I'll be the first reader to admit that my first reaction is skepticism. Oh - I'll tell you that I believe that God still heals and even raises the dead, maybe, sometimes. But for real?

So yeah, I'll be the first reader to admit - confess - that I have weak faith in our God.

But I'll also be the first one to say that I hear what you're saying. Of course I don't see miracles - I hardly believe in them, do I?

But I want to. So - just to let you know - I'm going to finish this comment and then talk to our Father and tell Him that my brother said something that stirred me and I want in.

Andy Bunch said...

I'm reminded of the story of Paul, landing on the isle of (patmos I think)he is bit by a snake. The natives tell him without a doubt that he will die. He decrees that he won't die. When he doesn't die they ask if he's a god. He uses the opportunity to tell about Christ.

To our western mindset the snake was probably old, or out of venom, or bit him but didn't inject him, or people thought they saw a poisonous snake but it was really non-venomous. To their minds Paul survived a snake bite and must then be a God.

There's two lessons. 1) sometimes bad things happen so we can have a miracle. 2) how many miracles a day do we walk past because there is another explanation. Maybe if we were a little less sophisticated we'd have a more vibrant walk with God.

Angeleen said...

Though I do believe in and have experienced miracles large and small, THIS one clearly takes the cake.

I want to know more! I want to know what kind of tests the doctors did to confirm this baby was dead. Not because I doubt, rather, because science is where we always turn to refute the miraculous. To be able to DOCUMENT a miracle using SCIENCE...? Is anyone else savoring the delicious irony as much as I am? How powerful! What an opportunity to *prove* that miracles, the BIGGEST KIND OF MIRACLES, DO happen outside the Bible! Today! Now! With and through US!

We are living in a very exciting and pivotal time and, once gain, God is using a tiny baby to let us know, without a doubt, that He's still holding the reigns. I think He and that sweet little baby just opened up a big ol' can o' whoopass on doubt, fear and lies!

(Sorry. The "big, wiggly puppy" escaped again.)

It's just so exciting! I can't wait to help celebrate that little girl's arrival. Do keep us posted!

And, Chris, thanks for the reminder and continuted support. I'm praying big, Big, BIG! :)

ornery's wife said...

I keep introducing myself to all of you wonderful people because I want to be in your family! Oh my gosh! I read this blog entry and am jumping up and down for joy!

If you go to my blog and read my entry "Ranting" you will learn a little about my early spiritual journey, but more recently we have been introduced to the ministry of Dr. James R Richards at Impact Ministries (.com) in Huntsville, AL. He will challenge your thinking in a wide variety of arenas, but none so much as in this area of miracles. We watched in amazement his DVD series on *Science, Miracles and the Bible*. We ( I think my hubby shares in this view) are fully convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God still performs miracles, but it depends on us believing, not convincing our Him to work. He has already done all the work in "the finished work of Christ" but we miss out on all He has for us because we simply don't believe.

Thank you for sharing about this wonderful testimony. It bears witness to what we know to be true! Hope you have a blessed, and miracle filled day!