GOD’S HEALING HANDS
BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
MARCH 13, 2011
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear.” (Isa. 59:1)
From the time Jesus baptized me in the Holy Spirit until now, my heart beats a little quicker and my spirit soars when I read any of the many passages in scripture that have to do with the power and sovereignty of Almighty God. The healing power of Christ when He walked the dusty roads of Galilee especially captivated me, thrilled me, and caused me to yearn to go and do likewise. Needless to say, I was a “sitting duck” for the Copeland spin on how to get a miracle. I went for the gusto of the popular doctrine that our friend Kenneth Greatorex describes as, “name it and claim it, blab it and grab it.” What a heady trip that was for me to think that those of us who received the Spirit about the same time could go and clean out Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA, where we lived. And I will say that we gave it the best shot we had when the Lord sent a woman into our midst who was dying of inoperable cancer.
I’ve told this story before, but for those just “tuning in,” she was a lesson in the sovereignty of God. In spite of our almost constant vigil, her continual confession that Jesus was going to heal her, and our doing all the things we had been taught would “work,” she died a horrific, painful death, right before our eyes. When I complained bitterly (OK, I railed) to God about it, He said firmly, “Ruth is my business.” That set me back on my heels in a quick hurry.
Growing up, we were taught that the Holy Spirit went back to heaven when the last Apostle died, and that we didn’t need Him because we have the Bible (King James Version). After I met the Holy Spirit in person, and He revealed Jesus to me as a live and breathing savior, champion, healer, deliverer, comforter, counselor and best friend, I thought I could just go forth in Jesus’ name and help people, deliver them from their diseases, and traumas, lead them to Christ who would save them. The Lord gave me a crash course in seeing and understanding that only HE “works all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Eph. 1:11)
Then, to be sure I didn’t miss the point, He gave our group another powerful lesson. We went over to a woman’s house whom we believed to be demon possessed. It was very scary for me to go through that darkened house, pleading the blood, casting out the demons, and declaring victory in Jesus, but it was totally traumatizing to learn the next morning that she had put a chain saw to her neck and died in a pool of blood.
Two experiences like that caused me to realize that there is only room for ONE on the Throne of God and it is NOT Jan! It also caused me to rethink what my role in the whole matter of God’s will on earth really is. I believe as much as ever that God can do anything, but in my old age I’ve come to understand the value in suffering. Peter wrote, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” (I Pet. 4:1) I’m not advocating martyrdom here, but merely observing that human suffering has a way of bringing us closer to God.
Many of the sick and suffering folks who came to Jesus to be healed, weren’t looking for a relationship with God, but merely a way out of their physical ills. In the process, they met the Messiah and their lives were changed in ways they couldn’t have prayed for, because they had never seen such power.
In fact, I think there is a parallel between the first century Jews whose world Jesus turned upside down and many Christians today who have given up hope that He still has Power. It’s been so long since God moved, that the question becomes “Has He gone away from us? Or have we gone away from Him?”
The Jews who lived in Jesus’ day had not heard the voice of the living God for some four hundred years, the period between the time of Nehemiah, in the Old Testament, and the birth of Jesus in the New (c. 432-5 B.C.). That’s a long time to go without spiritual sustenance. God had given them a measure of faith to hold on to the ancient promises, but they were so steeped in their own traditions, lives and trials that it took mighty miracles of God to wake them from their stupor.
John gives the account of the royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. He heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea and hurried there to beg Him to heal his son, who was close to death. Jesus said to Him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” (John 4:48) When the man asked again for Jesus to come with him, “Jesus replied, ‘You may go. Your son will live.’” (Vs. 50) The man believed and when he was still on the way home, his servants met him with the good news that the fever had left the boy and he was healed. What glory that brought to God through Jesus Christ His son.
Our niece Angie Blattner is in the fifth month of The World Race, currently ministering in Malaysia. Each month, as they move from country to country, the challenges for her and her team have gotten more difficult. However, the light of the Lord shines brightest in dark places and this month, the glory of the Lord has been poured out through her team in healings done in the name of Jesus.
Her account of healings in a small village brought me to tears as I read it aloud to Lenny. She and her team are having a “Luke 10” experience, and a book of Acts encounter: “Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.” (Acts 5:15)
Angie and her team are there in Malaysia, following in the steps of Jesus and the Disciples. Christ’s mission statement is found in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” When God calls us and empowers us to do it, it is our mission statement also, to be His hands and feet, wherever He places us.
Paul said of his ministry: “by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Acts 15:19) The signs and wonders performed by Jesus and His Apostles were for the confirming of the Word then and THEY STILL ARE! They also are a sign that the Kingdom of God is here with us today. Jesus said, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt. 12:28)
Many Christians have projected the Kingdom out to some future date, but this is contrary to what Jesus taught: “And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” (Mark 9:1) The kingdom has come; it is coming; and it will continuously come among God’s people until Habakkuk’s prophecy is fulfilled: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)
Many of us have felt the spiritual drumbeat quicken, and we wonder, hope and pray that the time is now when God will move in a broader, deeper, more visible way to bring light to people who are in despair, in need of spiritual, physical and emotional healing, or merely “someone with skin on” to love on them. That job description is not limited to missionaries in far flung places, but applies to all of us willing to answer the call wherever we are and however inadequate we may think we are.
Father, we thank You that Your arm is not shortened that it cannot save, and that You do today what You ever have done for Your children. It is an honor and a privilege to walk with you and to BE Your healing hands to others. Shine through us to bring light to all the dark places in the world, especially the dark places in ourselves. We worship you, Father, now and forever. Amen.