Healing and Faded Bumper Stickers

HarvestfestGraphics_2Go! . . . Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Luke 10:3a, 9

While waiting for a stoplight on his way to the hospital to pray for a sick member of his church, Pastor Mark noticed a van in front of him with a faded bumper sticker. The words were barely readable, but as he squinted, the words came into focus: trust in jesus. The fact that the words were faded struck Mark as ironic, as he often wondered why prayers for healing often seem unanswered. Indeed, when it comes to many of our prayers for healing, our level of trust is about as apparent as that faded bumper sticker Pastor Mark encountered on the way to the hospital.

How do you react when you hear about people who claim to have “healing” ministries? Over the years there have been numerous journalistic exposés of so- called “faith healers” who turned out to be nothing but frauds. There are also plenty of people who mean well but who do damage by saying that if only you have enough faith, healing will come. This sets up the family dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or end-stage cancer or even diabetes for a possible faith crisis.

In the opening verses of Luke 10, Jesus sends 72 of his followers ahead of him. They were to go in pairs (vs. 1), knowing it would be dangerous (vs. 3); travel light (vs. 4); maintain a dependent and vulnerable posture (vs. 7); speak peace to those offering hospitality (vv. 5-6); and then serve, heal, and speak in the power of Jesus’ name (vs. 9).

Since the days of the early church, followers of Christ have been marked by a ministry of healing and proclaiming. One writer summarizes this work as a simple lifestyle of trusting God, traveling light, and healing the sick—which brings us back to the faded bumper sticker: Trust in Jesus. Why doesn’t God heal when thousands pray for healing in Jesus’ name? Are miraculous signs and miracles always associated with the manifestation of the kingdom? Trust in Jesus. These difficult questions deserve more than simplistic answers. Yet centuries of Christian witness demonstrate that Jesus’ followers are to be agents of healing in the power of God—even if our trust in Jesus at times feels faded, like the bumper sticker.

Tom Keppeler

PONDER: How can God use you—whether through your prayers, words, or actions, to be an agent of his healing power?

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• RUTH’S STORY •

Day10_RuthOn October 14, 2013, I went to the emergency room after having belly pain for a few days. Within days we discovered that I had Stage IV cancer. After numerous biopsies, scans, and tests, my doctors could not determine what type of cancer I had. The cells were dividing so rapidly and looked so bizarre that they defied classification. I will never forget the anguish I felt as I heard my oncologist say the words, “We don’t know if we can cure this.” As physicians ourselves, my husband Doug and I knew that if she could have offered
us more hopeful words, she would have gladly given them; but she could not. We moved forward with chemotherapy not knowing what tomorrow would bring.

There was so much that was unknown, and we were scared. But we held on to what we knew. We knew that God loves us and that he is good. He loves our two children more than we do. He could heal me with a word—the God who, in the beginning, made the heavens and the earth, who knit me together in my mother’s womb. So we prayed that God would heal me of this cancer. We asked friends, family, and supporters from our time in Nepal as Elmbrook missionaries to pray. Thousands of people, day and night, all over the globe were crying out to God on our behalf.

In early December, after two rounds of chemo, I had a CT scan. Every trace of cancer on my scan was gone. The masses in my abdomen and the enlarged lymph nodes scattered throughout my body had completely disappeared.

I cannot explain why God heals in some cases and not others. But I do know this, he is able. He is a God who heals.

Ruth Lindberg

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FAMILY TALK

At the end of time there will be no more sickness or pain (Rev. 21:4). Unfortunately, that is not our current reality. For now, we catch glimpses of the fullness of the kingdom when God provides healing.

Read Luke 10:3a, 9. Who was Jesus telling to go? How was the kingdom of God coming near the people? Who do you know who is sick? Take time to pray for these people. We can reveal the kingdom of God through our love for those who are sick and hurting. Find time this week to call or visit someone you know who is sick.

Krista Heinen

8 thoughts on “Healing and Faded Bumper Stickers”

  1. Thank you for this message it is directly sent to my by Jesus. My sister Sheila just sent me a text to say her husband Neville has to have his bladder removed in 1 or 2 weeks followed by chemotherapy. I am feeling encouraged to continue with my prayers. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

    1. Hazel, read Exodus 15:26: “…I am the LORD your healer…”, “…Yahweh-rapha…” Use your concordance to search for ‘Yahweh-rapha’ in other scripture references. As you search and read, continue to pray… that you will ‘know that he is LORD…’ We care for strangers. We share friends joys and sorrows. We weep for family. We care for you sister… We join you prayerfully. In it, together we seek to know Yahweh… God Bless you all…

  2. We do not understand God’s ways for they are higher than ours. God has His reasons for He sees the bigger picture. He loves us and will heal us if it is in His will for our life and we are doing our best to follow his will for us.
    Pray with faith always knowing God knows best and loves us.
    He gave Jesus(His son) to die for our sins so we could have eternal life through the grace of God..
    Give thanks and praise to God always.
    Prayers and Love

  3. As a nurse I see the sick and people who need Jesus all the time. Sometimes I pray with them before a surgery, sometimes I pray for them and they never know it. Either way it is comforting to know and feel God’s power and presence in the situation, and that I am not alone in treating a patient. Since God gave me skills to treat patient’s, why would I not want Him there to be with me each time I tend to someone?

  4. This message helps me to think about the healing powers of God and what he can do for us. We sometimes fail when we think that God is not there for us during illness but he is always there and he has a plan for us . Let us all continue to pray for all the people who are sick so they can be healed by the power of God.

  5. Thank you Ruth for sharing your incredible story! What a testimony that our God is able! I am so blessed every time I see you and your kids at Elmbrook. You are a living reminder that we have a powerful God!

  6. Hospitals. Sometimes I think they are places of prayer more than the church. This devotional immediately brought me back to the chapel at Childrens’s Hospital. I sat there numb, reading prayers in a journal that was there for parents to write in. Some pages were tear stained, others full of a faith that I felt empty of, a hope that I couldn’t bring myself to have at that moment. One page in particular caught my attention. It had been pleas for help. Those pleas had been crossed out in angry strokes and a new message placed at the bottom. “I refuse to believe in a God who does this to a child. Who does this to my family.” And I wept. Because I understood.

    I understood that if my 2 month old daughter did not survive, as the doctors thought, that it would be God’s choice. That he did have the power of healing, but also he had the power of declining to do so. And I feared if he chose a harder path for me, that I might not be able to withstand loosing a daughter that I’d known for such a short time.

    My heart prayed for healing during that time – with all that it had in it. But my mouth and head never could. The most I could manage to get out was an agonized, “God help us live with your choices.” In some ways that came from my heart just as much as the unspoken pleas for my daughters life.

    Some people around me felt that I lacked faith during that time, since I couldn’t voice a request for my daughter’s life. Those voices and ideas have haunted me. I’ve come to realize that they were well-intentioned, but that the words were not true. It’s taken time to realize that accepting that God chooses at times to withhold from us what we desire the most is not a lack of faith.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with sharing this. Except that if you are there, if you are loosing a loved one in some cold hospital out there, Please know that path has nothing to do with a lack of faith on your part.

    From one Faded Bumper Sticker to another. Know that in the process of having to look really hard at our lives to get the message, that it might have all the more impact for those who finally make out the words.

  7. Psalm 103
    Of David.

    1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

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