Life Notes—February 21, 2013
“So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
Each of the four Gospels documents many instances of Jesus healing the sick. It was a primary manifestation of his ministry and drew crowds wherever he went. We read of the healing of paralysis, leprosy, hemorrhaging, fevers and the like, as well as the eradication of demons—likely what we call mental illnesses today. Heck, Jesus even raised a number of people from the dead. From what we read, there was no illness or condition on earth Jesus could not cure. Knowing his earthly time was limited, Jesus gave power to his disciples to heal the sick and commanded them to do so. When they had difficulty with certain conditions he called them out for their lack of faith.
Jesus considered these healings faith events, saying, “Your faith has made you well.” If healing was a primary manifestation of Jesus’ ministry, faith was the conduit through which the healing occurred. Clearly, there was a connection between a person’s faith and the healing power of Jesus. Jesus often referred to the unlimited power of faithful prayer, as above: “whatever you ask for in prayer…believe…and it will be yours.”
Sometimes I wonder if our faith has become diluted and divided in unhealthy, unnatural and unpowerful ways. Our currency reads, “In God We Trust,” but do we? Most of us have faith in health professionals, and they perform amazing works for the sick through modern medicine. But there are limits to what they can heal. So, my question is this: When we reach the healing limits of our medical system, do we have sufficient faith in Christ to heal? There are religions, today, who shun the medical system in favor of faith healing; and most of us look on them with suspicion, at best. Should we? Yet, we cannot treat faith as if it had an on-off switch. It is a dynamic manifestation of our relationship to God through Christ. A strong and living faith is a process, and I wish I knew how to get from where I am to where that is, quickly and easily. But I do not. Many of us turn to heart-felt prayer whenever we or others are sick, but is our faith placed in God or in medicine? Does believing in one reduce the focus of our belief in, and the power of the other? If you’ve read this far hoping to find an answer, you will be disappointed. There are many difficult questions we must wrestle with, as Christians, and these are among them. But one constant remains—our world needs healing.
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Lent. Tom is preaching downtown, where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00. Mitch preaches at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. The sermon is “Give Up Harsh, Condemning Judgments for Lent,” based on Matthew 7:1-5
Come home to church this Sunday. Explore the mysteries of faith with your fellow seekers.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator