We’ve been hearing it for months. As one man in our congregation appears to suffer more and more each week from the effects of cancer, he continues to proclaim his healing. God spoke it, he keeps saying, and he and his family keep talking about this healing even though you can obviously tell that cancer is winning inside of him. I felt led to take the day off work today, and shortly after waking up, got a text that he was in the hospital and the doctors had given him his death sentence: he has days to live. Immediately, I knew why I had taken the day off work. I had to be there for the family, to pray with and encourage my sisters and brothers in Christ through this horrible trying of their faith.
My prayer was that God would help them to have a whole faith. A faith that acknowledges God’s sovereignty regardless of the outcome. A faith that acknowledges His divine will in the face of desperate circumstances. I know that they had received a promise from God. I had no doubt of it. But professing it with your mouth is one thing; believing it in your heart is quite another.
When I arrived, I spent time with the family, being careful to speak softly as he drifted in and out of sleep. He was heavily medicated and I didn’t want to disturb him. I was also careful to only encourage with the help of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t want to say anything that I was not led to say for fear that I would instill hope in a hopeless situation. Not that I felt the situation was hopeless. I just had yet to hear God speak definitely to me regarding his situation. It was painful to stand there and listen to his family speak with such surety of his divine healing when inside me was so much uncertainty. I believed God was able and even willing. It just hadn’t come and this faithful man was on his deathbed.
Over the course of the next hour, his situation got worse quickly, until his wife was told to decide how to proceed should he be put on dialysis and not regain consciousness. As my pastor did his best to discuss the situation and the impending decision, I watched his son and daughter, and his wife, wrestle with the pain of facing death with him. And when my pastor said to him, “Of course, we believe that God can heal. If the time comes when the doctors say there is truly nothing more that can be done, what do you want to do? Do you want to be put on dialysis and risk your wife having to make the decision to take you off if you don’t recover, or do you want them to let you go without further resuscitative measures?” The man was silent, and his wife stood next to him gripping his hand and kissing it, tears streaming down her face. His son sat beside him overwhelmed with emotion, and his daughter cried silently while holding on to his arm. Then he looked at his wife and said, “You know what I would want, but it’s not going to come to that.” And he looked my pastor right in the eye and told him, “I will be healed.”
It was at that moment that I recognized the battle taking place. This family had stood solidly on this promise for so long, proclaiming his healing even when all evidence pointed to the contrary. It reminded me of Abraham, who walked up Mount Moriah holding the hand of a curious Isaac and then proceeded to bind him and place him on the altar, still holding out hope that God would provide the ram. He was brought to the point of almost driving the knife before God came through. Abraham stood on a promise that he would become the father of many through this son, even though his immediate situation spoke death for Isaac. When I watched this man, through short painstaking breaths, proclaim again his healing even while the nurses prepped him for what seemed inevitable, I was so encouraged. I was witnessing a show-down between he and Satan, and he adamantly refused to even entertain the thought that he might die. He was very convinced of his healing. And when he said it, I felt in my spirit the “I know.” What he had been saying all along finally bore witness in my spirit. Not that he needed it or that my witness had any bearings on his healing. He was going to receive it whether anyone else believed or not. It’s just nice to feel confident about God’s will when you are praying, I guess. Especially in such seeming direness.
After this amazing fight of faith, in which God brought this man to the ultimate point of either belief or surrender, those of us in the room were moved by the spirit to pray and so, in the middle of a busy and very full MICU, we rushed the throne room of God to plead for his restoration. Then, those but the immediate family left the room, and I had to head back home. All the way home, this thought tumbled around in my head: Some Christians have no common sense.
It’s a family trait, I think. I mean, Jesus had no common sense either. Common sense would have told him that you can’t walk on water. Common sense would have told him not to spit in someone’s eye to heal them of blindness. Common sense would have said that Lazarus had been dead way too long to experience any type of healing. Common sense would have said water does not just turn into wine. Common sense would have told him not to speak to crazy men in a graveyard as if they were demon-possessed. Common sense would have said that paralyzed men don’t just get up and carry their mats home. Common sense would have said that leprosy is an incurable and deadly disease. Common sense would have scoffed at the idea of being put through such horrific beatings, being nailed to a cross and thinking that a couple days later, you’d walk out in a new body. Common sense would vehemently opposed the idea of resurrection and eternal life. And I know it’s a family trait because even before Christ, common sense was missing. Common sense would have told Abraham that there’s no way God would test his faith by telling him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Common sense would have told Moses raging rivers do not part, and water does not come from rocks, nor does manna rain from the sky. Common sense would have told Joshua that walls do not fall by walking around them for a week. Common sense would have told Ruth there was no hope for a happily ever after, and Esther would not have dared hope that the king would notice her, a Jewish teenager. Common sense would have told David there was no way a couple stones would be able to beat the champion giant of the Philistines. And I can just imagine what common sense would have said to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego … or Daniel, who faced a den of hungry lions for defying the king’s edict. Yes, as I read through the scriptures it is quite evident that some believers lack common sense. And thank God for that!
It seems that sometimes, the greatest enemy of a promise from God is common sense. Thank you, Father, for giving us faith to defy what is common, and thank you that when we do, you work amazing miracles among us.
I called someone who was still at the hospital a few hours later and was told that he is doing much better than they expected. The nurses can’t explain it. But while many there are baffled, there’s a few that simply expected this all along. I can’t wait until he comes home with a complete healing, a wonderful anointing for the calling God has placed on him, and faith that defies logic and common sense!