Dear friends, I found an old poem I wrote back in 2006. This marked 6 years of a decline in health, and everyone could see how ragged I was. Sores and bloodstains over my body was common place. Wherever I walked, I would leave a trail of dead skin. Yes. I did look like a walking curse, a walking piece of sickness. See the pics here.
Even in those circumstances, I would actually still pray with people for their healing. I would lay my hands on them in the name of Jesus. I would also pray for many for financial breakthroughs. That God would redeem their careers.
The irony. I was already long in the process of losing both health and career.
People thought I was crazy. Some Christian didn’t like the idea. If I was walking a ‘holy’ life, why didn’t God heal me? If God doesn’t heal you, what makes you think God will use you to heal me? The pastor no longer looked at me with pride. Other people were too polite to tell me otherwise, but I could see they would rather have other people pray for them.
After prayer, new people didn’t want to remain around me to chat. I had a lonely existence then.
Isn’t this sardonic satire? Imagine a guy reach his hand to put it on your shoulders. You see bloodstains on his shirt. You see his face haggard and shedding skin. You see both eyes are swollen with allergies. He smells questionable due to broken skin. HE is saying out, “Jesus, you love us, you died for us to reverse the curse. Be healed. Start your redemption now.”
Instead of them feeling confident or comforted, I’m sure some of them washed their shoulders after I touched them instead.
I felt like a sad clown. This is because I know what the Bible says. I am righteous in Christ. It also tells me to do certain things even if I cannot understand why other things happen. It tells me to pray for the sick… and pray in Jesus name, with confidence. It never said that I shouldn’t do those things if I have problems.
This poem reflected what I felt inside.
Faith (11 June 2006)
Lord, how can i believe and pray for people who
are sick and suffer the way i do
when it’s been so long i haven’t been healed
they must think i’m the fool
People thinking me that you’re just a dream
but Faith is the evidence of things unseen
But if a dream can’t be heard, why am I deafened by
Two crossed pieces of wood speaking loudly of what you mean
is your love enough for the sombuistic man?
Do people’s words unsteady his foothold like shifting sand?
but Faith isn’t easy to understand
where a bird in a bush is worth two in a hand
A bird in a bush. Two in my hand.
10 years later. The very thing that I incredibly lacked, and that I pray for other people for in front of them, has come to pass in my life. 10 years now in 2016.
Friends, the power of grace is such that you won’t have to feel so cursed that you can’t pray for others. You are righteous because of Christ and not because what you did. If you have Christ, never doubt this and walk in a new way. A new dimension.
But this has happened before to someone that came before us, as an example to learn from. This was the reason why I chose to do it even when I looked like the most cursed person and most unqualified person around. When I was doing it, I wasn’t feeling ‘confident’ or ‘spiritual’. Instead, I was embarrassed. Another lesson here: your authority doesn’t come from your feelings. It comes from the steady-rock of the completed work of Christ.
This dimension shown in this impossible–to-not-misunderstand, paradigm-changing account. It might even make you feel a little uncomfortable if you are legalistic. Trigger-warning! Haha.
In Genesis 20, Abraham, for the second time, cowardly lied to a foreign king about his wife. Abimelek thus took Sarah for his harem. This is serious on 2 counts. The sensibilities of today’s people, especially the church, would see this as a repugnant moral failing. And this is the second time! Secondly, this would disrupt God’s will for Abraham. Abe was to be the Father of Nations and Sarah is his wife. No wife, no descendants.
God chastised Abimelek, not Abraham.
I repeat. Not a word of reproach to Abraham.
Despite this moral failing, God still called Abraham His ‘Prophet’, His representative. What?!
If you are wondering what Grace looks like, this is it. God sees Abraham righteous because of Abe’s identity and His promise to him, not because of his moral failings. God doesn’t like sin, mind you. But this is the perfect case when Paul says, “where sin abounds, grace super-abounds” in Christ (Rom 5:20). God chooses Abe over Abi because of identify, not deeds. It’s unfair. It’s Grace.
God cursed Abimelek and also closed the wombs of Abimelek’s harem so none of them could birth.
Incredibly, God tells Abimelek to get Abe to pray for him to reverse this curse.
Many people tend to overlook these couple of sentences because it doesn’t make sense.
Remember, up to this point, Abraham and Sarah had been journeying for decades without their promised child. They should have all but given up. But evidence did show that they probably already did, that’s why Sarah tried to shortcut the process and Abraham had a child with their slave Hagar (Gen 16). This led to bad consequences – when we deviate from God’s plan, it always looks good in the short term, but disappointing in the longer term.
What a mind-job. God wants Abraham to pray over another person for victory in the same area that Abraham was the least qualified for in decades. Imagine a grade F student praying with a grade B student that God can help him at an ‘A’. In the Middle East, everybody wants a large family. An elder like Abraham must have journeyed in embarrassment that he was so old and yet no large family. How do you pray for someone else for the very thing that you obviously don’t have? How foolish would you look like?
Secondly, another thing that is overlooked is that Abraham just had a big moral failing! The Pharoah must be thinking, why would God honor the prayer of a man who is such a liar and wimp? Abraham himself must have been embarrassed to be face-to-face with Pharoah after that.
Abraham did so. God restored the king and his harem.
The beautiful picture is this. The king even gave Abe riches after this. So Abraham’s moral failing caused him to be enriched (one step closer to God’s promise of a great nation). But that’s not the kicker. This kicker is:
In the very next chapter, immediately after, Sarah conceived. SARAH CONCEIVED.
The very thing the world made fun of Abraham for, got restored after Abraham was willing to share God’s breakthrough power for other people in the very same area.
Dear friends, this is the picture of Grace you have with God through Jesus Christ. Galations 3 tells you are redeemed from the curse of the Law and that you have the “blessing of Abraham”. Law demands from you and condemns your sin and punishes you. Grace supplies your needs because of Jesus fulfilled the Law.
Even if you are struggling and seemed to be punished in life, it is not because God is angry with you. God will honor you because of Grace in Christ, and not because of what you did or what others have done to you. You can also boldly pray for people even for the same struggles that you have as well.
Yes, it seems embarrassing. It seems ludicrous to ask God to help someone else in the area that you were not helped yet. But God recognizes that as faith. That’s why Abraham is called the “father of faith” even though he had many major moral failings! What a great comfort to us!
In God’s economy, when we get our eyes off ourselves and do what God asks us to do. It somehow coincides with motions that it’s a matter of time before your own breakthroughs will come. No matter how condemned you feel, you are still God’s representative that He loves. He is not angry with you. You can pray for and serve others even if you look like the worst candidate. God can use this very act to open the door for your own redemption.
The receipt that God will do this for you is in Jesus.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Cor 1:2
What a wonderful God.
What a beautiful savior.
I love his pic.
A few months ago, I revisited that church. I haven’t been there in years. Many people who thought they knew me were very surprised. I was different. I was very much healthier. My spirit was steeled with a new empathy and confidence. Who is this guy? They didn’t know what to say. They’ve never seen such a change. Because inwardly, they thought God was done with me. They would ask things like, “which prophet prayed for you?” or “which church did you go to to get healing?” They couldn’t believe that God would ‘show favor’ to me alone… like I never deserved it.
It saddened me. It was none of those things. God had a timing for me that people did not recognize. Jesus had always loved me. I was never cursed by God. I just had my destiny and my time, and at the right moment, He allowed certain things to make me the man I am today. I had to learn what it feels like to be cast away by people. I had to learn to lose my pride and dignity. In the process, I have become closer to truth and understood more of God’s heart for the hopeless.
So, if you do meet people like me in the past – people that don’t have it together, people who are dissonant, people who are trying to follow God but don’t look blessed, people who are honestly trying to live-out the path less traveled that God ordained for them; please be patient. Try to put yourselves in their shoes. They might not be spiritual losers. God might have a special destiny for them.
And lastly, if you are ‘that loser’ like me, it comforts me greatly, that my healing started not in some church, or by meeting the ‘right’ people. Jesus met me where I was… alone in that bedroom (prison) isolated. He can meet us in our place of need, even if others have written us off.
Your fellowship journeyman,
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