HEALING

TALK GIVEN AT OFFICER’S COUNCILS
 

    INTRODUCTION

 
    1. There is a sense in which  all  of  us  in  our  pastoral  ministry,
    seek to exercise a ministry of healing - whether  it  be  spiritual, emotional
    or physical.
 
    2. If God can perform the miracle of regeneration  in  someone's  life,
    then why not the much lesser miracle of physical healing?
 
    3. In  Scripture,  we  read  of  countless  miracles  of  healing,  and
    unfortunately there are those within the Christian denominations,  who
    seem to treat it as a sort of commercial, an  advertisement for  Jesus,
    but that somehow, He, and His disciples, are somehow DIFFERENT TODAY!
    Yet we read in Hebrews 13:8, that He  is  "...the  same  yesterday,
    today and forever." His power has in no way diminished!
 
    4. General William Booth, the founder  of the Salvation Army, certainly
    never believed that it had..........
 
         He says, speaking of the Apostles,
 
         "They had the gifts of healing; that is they cured the sick
         .... without the use of ordinary means........ There is not a
         word in the Bible which proves that we may not have  them  at
         this present time, and there is nothing in experience to show
         that they should not be as useful today as  in  any  previous
         period of the Church's history.....Far be it from me  to  say
         one word that would stay the longing of  any  heart  for  the
         extraordinary  gifts  already  mentioned.  I  long  for  them
         myself. I believe in their necessity, and I believe they  are
         already amongst us."
         (Published in a War Cry of November 21st 1914)
 
 
    5. I don't need to tell you that witchcraft and Satanism are increasing
    at a phenomenal rate today; and apart from  the  obvious  slant  within
    these movements towards the lower nature, and various kinds of   sexual
    perversion, a big part of the attraction, is the obsession  within  the
    mind of the world, to see the supernatural in operation - and the devil
    makes sure it  IS  SEEN:  as  the  Bible  puts  it  "Lying  signs  and
    wonders!" It serves us well to remember, that for  every  blessing  or
    gift, the devil has a counterfeit.
    Often today, our FAITH has become a matter of DISCUSSION,  REASON,  AND
    COMPROMISE  -  and  clearly  for  the  most  part,  the  world  is  not
    interested.
 
    6. The Scripture tells us clearly that the Lord felt  it  necessary  to
    work with the early disciples and  produce  signs  which  followed  the
    preaching of the Word AS A CONFIRMATION of it's truth.
    I FEEL WE NEED THAT CONFIRMATION JUST AS MUCH TODAY!
    How often do we take someone's hand, perhaps in hospital,  as  we  pray
    with and for them! In a sense this is a form of the laying on of hands!
 
    I  don't believe for one  moment  that  this  is  a deviation from  our
    calling, but rather an extension to our pastoral caring ministry.
 
    7. Commissioner Flora Larsson,  who  for  many,   many years operated a
    ministry of healing,  prepared  an  excellent  series  of Bible studies
    about this  very  important  subject,  and  in   fact   would  go  even
    further  than  many of  us   would,   by   suggesting  that our members
    should  be  taught  to  MINISTER  TO  ONE  ANOTHER IN THIS WAY!
 
    8. I have found down through the years that the ministry has taken many
    forms, and indeed  so  often  has  yielded  many  different   kinds  of
    (often unexpected) results.
 

EXPERIENTIAL MATERIAL

 
    [A]
    I was called out in the early hours  of the morning, to a young couple,
    whose marriage was breaking up -  The  husband was standing there, with
    his suitcase, ready to walk out  the  door!  I  took  both  their hands
    and prayed, and as I did  so,  Bobby  who  was  not a Christian, felt a
    strange peace fill him, and  it  was  through this experience  that  he
    eventually came to the Lord. He didn't  leave, and the marriage was re-
    built.
 
    [B]
    Alex, the son of our pianist, was a young man, whose wedding service  I
    had taken. Alex took ill very  suddenly,  and  was rushed into hospital
    with severe headaches! Meningitis   was   suspected,  but when a lumber
    puncture and other tests were done,  he  was  found  to     have severe
    brain haemorrhaging, from a burst blood vessel.
    His condition was too  advanced  to  operate,  and  when  I reached the
    hospital, I found a family in  a  state  of collapse, having been told,
    firstly that there was no hope at all,  and that he was not expected to
    last out the night!
    The hospital advised the family because of their condition to go  home,
    as with Alex was in a coma, there was no point in staying! I offered to
    stay the night, and to let them  know,  if  there was  a  change in his
    condition.
    Nurses had been coming along, I  think it was  every   hour or so,   to
    stick pins in Alex's feet, to see  if there  was  any  reaction,  which
    there wasn't.
    During the night, I felt I should pray and lay hands on Alex,  which  I
    did, and something very strange happened, he became conscious, and said
    a few words to  me,  before  drifting  back  to  sleep. When the nurses
    returned, I said what  had  happened,  and  they  gave  me one of those
    looks, that  said  "Oh yes, you've fallen  asleep and had a dream." But
    when they pricked him with the  pins,  for  the  first time, they got a
    reaction!
    When the family returned next morning, they found Alex, sitting up, and
    conversing freely. The hospital were totally at a  loss  to  understand
    what had happened to this dying young man, and immediately wheeled  him
    down for another brain scan, to see what was going on!
    All they could say was that much of the damage seemed to have  repaired
    itself, and they suggested that for safety they would  like  to  do  an
    operation, to make sure that the offending blood vessel was permanently
    sealed. They said that because of the extent of the brain damage,  that
    there would inevitably be some paralysis down one side of his body, and
    that the family should be prepared as it may be quite severe.
    You can tell how severe it was, when I tell you, that within two weeks,
    Alex was back driving his milk truck, and living a normal life!
 
    [C] Our son  Phillip, was admitted  to hospital for tests,  because  of
    acute  recurring diarrhoea. We  realised  that  the  prognosis could be
    quite serious.
    For those who don't  know,   Phillip,   has    Down's   Syndrome,   and
    is naturally limited in his understanding.
    Eventually x-rays  showed a growth on the colon, and  they  decided  to
    either take away the growth, or take a tissue sample for tests.
    But many people were praying, and the result was, that when  they  came
    to do it, they couldn't find any growth. Phillip has been keeping  fine
    since then, and we give the praise to God!
    Whether Phillip was healed through the laying on of hands,  or  through
    the prayers of God's people  collectively,  is  not important - GOD DID
    IT!
    GOD CAN AND DOES HEAL TODAY!  That  is probably a statement with  which
    none of us would disagree, and I don't believe we can afford  to  limit
    Him in the method He chooses for any given occasion.
 
    [D]
    But something that we must always  bear  in  mind  is  that  WE  CANNOT
    MANIPULATE  GOD  OR  MAKE  HIS  DECISIONS  FOR  HIM,  FRUSTRATING   AND
    MYSTIFYING THOUGH IT MAY BE ON OCCASIONS.
    IF SOMEONE FOR SOME REASON DOES  NOT  APPEAR  TO BE HEALED, WE MUST NOT
    ENDEAVOUR TO PROPORTION  BLAME,  ESPECIALLY  IN  THE  DIRECTION  OF THE
    PERSON WHO IS ILL. MAYBE AT TIMES THE BLAME (IF THERE BE ANY) SHOULD BE
    DIRECTED TOWARDS THE PREACHER, OR  WHOEVER  IS MINISTERING, FOR LACK OF
    FAITH, OR LACK OF HOLINESS!
 
    I am not saying for one  moment  that everyone should receive immediate
    miraculous  healing  the  moment  prayer   is  offered,  because  quite
    obviously, that doesn't happen.
    We also sometimes forget, that  the  ultimate  healing,  is to be taken
    from this world of sin and  sickness,  to  a place where no wheelchairs
    are needed, the blind will see, and  the  deaf hear - where there is no
    need for hospitals or morgues, for  illness and death are forever past,
    and our youth will be renewed. Hallelujah!!
 
 
    I was asked to go and pray  with  a  very fine Christian lady. She felt
    greatly eased, and asked if I would  pray  with her every day until she
    was healed. She  was dying  of  cancer,  but  felt that my ministry was
    helping her.
    Although I was faithful in doing this for about three months, and there
    were times when the power of God almost felt like a thunderbolt flowing
    through me; at others as  though  my  hands  were on  fire,  she  still
    died of her cancer! She was one of the most godly women I have ever met
    and had wonderfully strong  faith.  She  was  well  known,  and  people
    throughout the world were praying for her!
 
    In life as a whole, we are at times at a loss to understand why  things
    happen. Perhaps in the ministry of healing, we are at times at  a  loss
    to know WHY THINGS DON'T HAPPEN!
    However, there is always some kind of genuine work done in that persons
    life - perhaps a relief of pain - or a  peace  and  acceptance  filling
    their life, or perhaps a controlling of their condition.
 
    [E]
    Chrissie, when we entered  a new appointment,  was already in hospital,
    about to undergo a serious operation  for  cancer.
    When I went to see her, immediately prior to the operation she was very
    worried,  very  up-tight  and  upset.  I  prayed  with  her,  and   she
    testified later, that at that moment,  a  peace swept over her, and she
    was able to truly 'rest in  the  Lord', and entrust everything into His
    care  -  and  went into the  operation  with complete peace of mind and
    confidence  in the  Lord!  She  was  NOT  healed  of  the cancer (which
    eventually  took  her  life),  but  certainly  at that time experienced
    the touch of the Lord  on  her soul.
 
    Some Christians seem to think that because we belong to  the  Lord,  we
    should somehow escape physical ailments, or that we should be  able  to
    dispel them, almost with a flick of the wrist.
    Scripturally that is not true. Think of Job  with  his  boils,  and   a
    host of other ailments or the Apostle Paul with his THORN IN THE FLESH!
 
    Unlike some people, who believe  that  this  was speaking of his  wife,
    (tongue in cheek)   I   believe  that  it  was  a  physical ailment. He
    didn't   understand   why   he  still   had   it,  after  praying   for
    deliverance!  This  man  who  was   so  greatly   used  of  God  in the
    deliverance of others.   Remember   after   his     shipwreck........
 
    He was not delivered from the   ailment,   but  he  was  delivered from
    the inability to cope. Sometimes  people  are  not actually healed, but
    they are helped  through   the   ministry,   to   find  courage, peace,
    understanding, and grace to cope.
 

    APPLICATION

 
    The Officer or Pastor, operating  a  ministry  of divine healing is not
    some sort  of  new phenomenon - rather I would see it as  a  return  to
    some  of  the  forgotten ministry of past  years.
 
    I in no way view myself as specially gifted in some way, because I have
    sought for many years to exercise this ministry. Rather I would see  it
    as part and parcel of my pastoral caring ministry to the people  in  my
    charge: simply another facet of the complete package of our ministry.
 
    Although it is a SUPERNATURAL ministry in no mistake,  I  believe  that
    for the Christian, especially the Christian  minister, it should be the
    most NATURAL thing in the world!