Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How Jesus Rocked our World at a Healing Conference: Part 2


Corrie and I woke up the morning after our first night at the healing conference mentally and spiritually ready for day 2, whatever it may bring.  (If you missed what happened on day 1, you can catch it here.)  But physically, my body was in for the worst day it had had in a very long time.  No exagerrating, I hadn't felt this debilitated by pain for at least 2 years.   But on this day, 4 hours from home in a strange hotel room with no familiar friends around to support Corrie, my body tanked.

I couldn't get out of bed at all.  So I laid there for several hours wondering what in the world was going on while Corrie, being strong and a champion, took care of the girls.  She played with them, took them out on the town, fed them, smiled for them.  All while she was worried and afraid for me. 

Everything in us wanted to question, "Are we doing the right thing? Should we just go home? How are we gonna make it through the rest of this if my body won't even function?"  But we both had heard Jesus, and we just couldn't let go of that.

Four o'clock finally rolled around, and my body had garnered enough strength to be able to slowly get out of bed and shuffle around to get myself dressed.  Corrie had to do my socks and shoes for me, since it hurt to much to reach down that far.

Both of us feeling scared and disheartened, we ventured out again to get dinner and to head to night #2 of the conference.

Trying to Figure All This Out

As we waited in our seats for the session to begin, we were watching everyone, again.  The imagery from last night was still fresh in our minds and we couldn't help but wonder, "I wonder if THAT person was one of the people on the floor last night." Or, "Maybe THAT person got healed of something last night."

We just watched, wondered, and kept talking to Jesus the whole time.

At this point, we were still wary. And I had one key question.

What was the underlying motivation behind the events of last night?

To the observer, casual or otherwise, it really could have seemed like hype and sensationalism.  That's what stuck with me as I was wrestling through it all.  Were these people in it just for a fun, feel-good experience?

If so, we didn't want that.  We want Jesus, the authentic Jesus.  And we know that everything he did was motivated by love.  Yes, he had very real, feel-good, life changing encounters with people.  But it was never about the show or the experience itself.  It was always about love.  His eyes were first on the person.  His heart was moved by compassion.

Matthew 9:35-36  "And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd."
Matthew 14:14 "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick."
Luke 7:13 "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, 'Do not weep.'"
 No matter how weird--or normal--spiritual happenings feel, they should always...always...be fueled by love.  God is love.  He is not concerned with a show or a spiritual party just for the heck of it.  Love moves him.

So even though all of those Holy Spirit manifestations that we had seen raised other questions for us, those would be much easier to answer if we could answer this one: Is this moved by love and compassion? Or just excitement and "cool-ness"?

Questions Answered

The night started much the same as the first night, with a set of awesome worshipThen Bill Johnson gave one of the best sermons I've heard. Period.  It was on healing, yes, but also on the nature of the kingdom and Jesus' mission here on earth.  Absolutely world-rocking.

Actually, the sermon was one of the wrecking balls God used to help tear down our protective walls.  Not only was the message itself great, but Bill's spirit emanated love and humility the whole time.

At the end of his message, Bill lead the whole assembly in a couple voice-only impromptu worship songs.  And then, God began to show up.  But in a weird way.

At the end of the singing, everyone just started singing out notes, not with words or melodies, just notes.  Tones, almost.  And as these tones kept ringing out over the auditorium, a beautiful harmony started to form.  I don't know how to describe it in writing.  It sounded complex, like it was always moving and fluctuating, like there were dozens of harmonies all harmonizing with each other.

Granted, it could possibly have been the science of music and acoustics...maybe.  Or it could have been heaven's chorus breaking in to ours and the two blending together as God met his worshipers.

On the flip-side, though, the sermon was fairly long, which meant the girls were getting "restless" and we were going to have to leave before the actual healing prayer time.  So during this strange harmony...thing...we packed up and snuck out the back into the foyer.

And here, God sent another wrecking ball in the form of several students of Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry.  I'm sure that God must have used the words, "If Matt and Corrie want to see love, then, by jove, let's show them love."

He often says by jove.

As we were walking through the foyer, we were stopped by a group of three students who had seen my obviously poor health and wanted to pray for us.  At this point, I was thinking, "Wow!  In the midst of everything going on here, someone noticed us and has gone out of their way for us. BUT--they might just want to pray for us so they can see God do something cool and get another notch in their supernatural power belts.  Or...they might actually love us."

We quickly learned it was the latter.  They showered love on us so heavily, I could feel their compassion just washing over us.  And they prayed powerful, faith-filled prayers for healing.  Commanding the sickness to leave. Commanding health for my body.  Not taking no for an answer.  Prophetically declaring that this disease is not our destiny but that the tunnel is ending soon.

And they prayed to build up my spirit, that I was a son of God, strong, a warrior.

And here's how I really knew that love was at work.  A couple of them branched off to pray for Corrie.

YES!!

Some people see that I'm sick and pray for me and usually with wonderful intentions.  But they can often overlook Corrie.  That she needs prayer just as much as I do.  That this sickness is not just mine but hers too: we are one, after all.

When these strangers prayed not just for me, but for Corrie as well, Oh! I knew love was working.  They had eyes and hearts and prayers for my wife.  If they really love me, they'll love what I love, who I love.  And their hearts will break for her too.

And on top of that, one or two of them (I don't remember) spent the whole time not praying, which can be perceived as the more glorious role to play, but sitting and talking with Rebecca and holding Darcy.  They wanted Corrie and me to just be able to receive and to not have to worry about how the girls were doing for the moment.

Hello love.  Hello wrecking ball.  Goodbye walls of self-protection.

Now the weird didn't really matter.  One of the girls, while she was praying, would kind of twitch from her stomach as she was praying.  Sometimes she would yell out when it happened too.  The others would say things like, "Whoa!  Did you feel that?"  "Yeah, yeah!  God's presence is really all over him."  I didn't feel anything (other than the emotions), but it didn't matter.

The weird didn't matter so much anymore because the love of Jesus legitimized it.  His love for us, through these people, made uncomfortable things feel like the safest things in the world.  And we knew then, if this is the spirit here, who are we to say that the weird stuff is actually weird at all.  Maybe it's just God being himself.  And he's the standard for normal.

One More Prayer

So, feeling totally wrecked (in a good way), we eventually made our way out to the parking lot where one more man, totally moved by compassion, came chasing after us.  He said that his hands were burning while he watched the others pray for us.  And as soon as we left, they all told him to run after us and pray too.

So he did.  The same faith-filled, love-fueled, hell-shattering kind of prayer as the others.  And once again, we got the message from Jesus.  "I am here. I love you.  I see you.  Trust me."

We left that night incredibly thankful we had stayed.  Filled with hope and believing that, in the spiritual, the tides were turning on this disease.

And there was still more to come.  This was only night #2...

To read the other parts of our Healing Conference series:
Part One
Darcy's Interlude
Part Three (coming soon...)

1 comment:

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