I've been kicking a few thoughts around in my head, and working on this post for ages, and I have finally realized that it's going to take me awhile to sort it all out in my head... so, rather than not post anything for weeks, I thought maybe I'd give you a glimpse into what I'm thinking about. :) This only about half a thought so far, so please keep that in mind, but feedback, discussion, etc. is still more than welcome.
About a month and a half ago, Jon wrote an incredible post that raised a lot of interesting questions for a few of us, about the "greater things" that Jesus talked about, and what that really means. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:12-14)
I've already written a fairly lengthy post on this verse and others like it, and a month and a half later, I am still mulling all this over. I still find myself incredibly challenged to seriously consider if I really believe that it's true - and if I do, then why do I not act on it?
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine was really not feeling well, and my heart totally went out to him. "Can I pray for you?" "Absolutely." So I went and got Stephie, and eventually we prayed.
It turned out to be quite the experience. I'm not really sure what it was like on his end, or Stephie's for that matter. But there were two dimensions of it for me that just left me wondering.
First, my hand on his shoulder got really tingly. Like seriously, pins and needles - but there was no "real" explanation for why that would happen - we were all sitting down and he was sitting on the floor, so it's not like my arm was falling asleep because I had it raised or anything. I don't really know how to describe it. And I found myself wondering - is this the power of God, flowing through me into my friend to heal him? I'm not sure... but he said later that he felt a lot better when we were done praying for him... which means that God was doing something...
Second, I ran smack into something we talked about on Jon's blog last month. Jon said, "i don't think it is simply a lack of faith that keeps these things from happening. i think it is because we have never practiced or tried, which is because of our lack of faith, which is because of a lack of practical examples." and then he raised a question:
have you ever tried to heal someone? and i'm not talking about "praying for healing." although that is the age old tradition within the church, i don't ever see jesus or the apostles doing that. they don't sit around, talking to the air saying things like, "dear god, if it be your will, please take away her cancer. may it be so, lord. may it be so. for your glory. amen."
no. they walk up, look the person in the eye and say, "be healed." they command it to be so with confident assertion.
That really tripped me up, I have to tell you. Because he's right. That's how they did it.
So this is what I said then:
I'm not willing to jump into the boat that says we can't do this. I've yet to walk up to someone and tell them to be well. I don't know if I can - and to be honest, I AM concerned about what it could do to someone's faith if I said it, they believed it would happen, and then it didn't. So there's the fear that prevents me from stepping out. I'm not a fan of the people who whack you on the head and tell you to be healed and wait for you to fall over - tho I do believe that in spite of the hype and in spite of the people who lie and twist it all for their own glory, honest people who are truly seeking God will still meet Him (have still met Him - I was one of them) in meetings like that.
But what if we could do it the way Peter and John did. Can you imagine that guy at the temple gate? His friends (or family) drop him off in his usual spot for another day of begging. Wow, that'll do a lot for your self-esteem... So Peter had to ask him to meet his gaze. What did that man see in Peter's eyes? What did John see as he watched? I don't know, but I think it was love. Compassion. A truly heart-felt desire to, on behalf of Christ, give this man a shred of dignity he had never known. I can almost see Peter grin as he reached down and took the man by the hand, the twinkle in his eyes as he tells him to get up. This man has never walked a day in his life. And AS he gets up (putting his own faith in line with Peter's?) his ankles become strong, and all the muscles in his legs he's never used are suddenly in working order, to the point where he can jump and leap in a way he'd only ever dreamed of for his whole life.
Imagine it, if we could bring that kind of joy to someone - the contagion it would be - how quickly the gospel would spread...
I don't know if I'm able to get past my lack of willingness to act on what I say I believe - but I hope I will. Because I think part of the point of miracles and whatnot (lol - "miracles and whatnot" - Happy speak for "signs and wonders") is to AID us in our faith - to help us believe. Jesus himself said something to the effect of, "oh for heaven's sake, if you don't believe what I SAY, then at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves" - that's paraphrased, but I think it's the jist and you can look it up in John - somewhere between 14-16, I think. :) He performed miracles as a testimony to who He was - and I think that's still the point. That, and just love...
(It's John 14:11, by the way.)
So that story in Acts 3 that I referenced in those comments has completely captured my imagination... and there is this very small - but very vocal - part of me that is starting to wonder if it is possible to say what Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you..."
"What I have... "
...What do I have? And is it really mine to give away?...
I didn't say it.
...but I wanted to.
I wonder what would happen?