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arkallen

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The invitation was like a spark to a tinder box. For me it was confronting. For those of my family who happened to be at home when the invitation arrived it was the perfect opportunity to tackle me, once again, on a favourite topic. The invitation was from our good friends, to go with them to a Healing Crusade at their church. The speaker would be a noted ‘healing evangelist’ with successes that even the secular media have acknowledged over the years. I didn’t want to go.

But here I am, nonetheless, because I do believe. Here I am, out the front of the church, with a couple of hundred eager eyes on my wheelchair. (I wonder if the discreet “Bugger” sticker on the back is offending one or two? I hope so). In my fertile imagination there is one question on everyone’s mind:
“Is he going to walk?……”

I’m not unfamiliar with church; more often than not I have been the one facing the people, and many a time I’ve been the one praying for the sick. How different it is on the other side of the pulpit. In the brief moments it takes for me to be noticed (and Bugger and I are hard to miss!) each of my objections to being here roll crisply through my thoughts.

Top of the list: Embarrassment.
Am I not on display enough, without having to trundle to the front of church before of a crowd of strangers to receive the prayers of someone I’ve never met? My life is already something of a permanent spectacle; whether I’m holding up the queue of passengers while the bus driver climbs out to lower the ramp, or creating a hiatus at the bank by passing my computer back and forth under the glass screen attempting non-verbal transactions with the teller, or providing a living for the team of helpful nurses who keep me scrubbed and clean. I am forever on display! Perhaps I am too proud for my own good, but I don’t think I will ever adjust to this perpetual exhibitionism.

Next on my list: Cynicism.
How easy it is to criticise. I find it so enticing to characterise healing ministry in terms of the excesses of telly-evangelists. I confess I am annoyed by the simplistic approach of the evangelist; reducing almost every condition to the presence of pain, and healing to its absence. About this I shall write no more, tempting though it is to keep going……

(Is he going to walk?……)

A family favourite: Dread.
Am I afraid of a wonderful, restorative miracle? And specifically, am I afraid that it would prove the doctors right? Those eminent men who insist that my problems are “all in my head”. It took the loving ministrations of my family to point this fear out to me, initially to my indignant protestations. But they are right, and I am afraid.

More importantly: Faith.
This is the tricky one. People regularly say something along these lines: “We are still praying for you”. Occasionally I ask them what their prayer for me is, and the answer has never varied: “We pray for healing”. I don’t mind that, of course, but if anyone were to ask me how they should pray, that would not be my answer. Not now, not anymore. This sounds like a lack of faith I expect; like surrender to the inevitable. But people are always wishing things were different one way or another. True spirituality is to live richly with the way things are. Not the way you wish they might be.

Dangerously, there is the matter of: Courage.
I’m not sure that it is safe to be here. I cannot afford to indulge in wishful thinking. “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God,” Jesus said. We all long for the good old days. I could wistfully indulge that fantasy and dream of the days when I could walk and talk. But I am alive right now, not back then. It’s such a trap!

(Is he going to walk?….. Is he going to walk?……)

Thrillingly, I think also about: Relationship.
I am a Christian; I have a sense that I know God, and that I experience his love and provision constantly. How rude if I were to endlessly ask for what seems evidently not to be His plan? I understand persistent prayer, I know how to ‘knock and keep on knocking’; but I remember too that St Paul prayed just three times for the thorn in his flesh to be removed, and Jesus himself prayed three times “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Lastly, best of all, I have: Contentment.
Our Little One has Down syndrome, and it has never been our prayer that she would be any different. We pray for her in many ways, but she is who she is; and we don’t reject her by praying that she might be something else. The preacher tonight spoke about being desperate for God to do a miracle, and gave numerous examples of the fruit of such desperation. I can’t connect with that in any way. Every day is a miracle. I am not ungrateful, in fact I am thrilled with my lot in life.

Is he going to walk?……

Is he going to walk?……


As you can see, I’ve got my doubts that he will! And many would say that’s the problem right there. But I’ve got my doubts about that too.
 

VoiceforLinda

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Oh Roderick,
You are so gifted and the things you write sometimes make me feel like you are inside my head. I wish I had the ability to express my thoughts and put them in words like you are able to. Keep writing because it blesses my soul.
Linda
 

heymom05

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Northern Dancer

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A child's eye view of a 'healing'. I was seven. My brother was ten. He had Duchenne's MD. They said 'if you only believe.' Surely, they knew so much more than I did. I tried my childlike darnest for a miracle to happen. It didn't and in my small heart I felt that it was my fault. I wonder how my brother felt.
 

HelenL

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Hi Roderick, you may not be able to speak with your voice, but oh, your words are oh so eloquent... I hope you gather all your writings and put them into a book.
 

abbas child

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Roderick, I am glad you have peace. Regarding prayer and faith, isn't "no" an answer? Your blog is excellent. Psalm 19.13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me. . . .
 

abbas child

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Roderick, I wrote a reply and have no idea where it went. You know, I'm sure, what I think. Psalm 19. 13...I don't know how you made it through.
 

Alyoop

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I have never had the ability to pray for miraculous healing. Deep down, I think I maybe don't have the faith. Instead I always pray for a person, to be given the strength to endure, peace with the situation, whatever it may be.

Everything you wrote Roderick, was exactly how I would have felt. And like Ann said No is a very good answer, we just can't except it.

I would never be able to let a person I did not know lay there hands on me and pray for healing.......it's way,way too personal to come from a stranger. Being turned into an evangelical spectacle , just does not fit with my Christian beliefs.

Great reading as always, thank you
 

arkallen

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A child's eye view of a 'healing'. I was seven. My brother was ten. He had Duchenne's MD. They said 'if you only believe.' Surely, they knew so much more than I did. I tried my childlike darnest for a miracle to happen. It didn't and in my small heart I felt that it was my fault. I wonder how my brother felt.

Ahhhhhh, yes. With the best intentions we sometimes harm one another don't we?
 

Sequoia

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Your words Roderick truly make me feel like i was right there going through the same emotions. We tend to blame ourselves alot...for lack of faith, or not enough faith...as if we would all be healed if we had faith....and that may be true, but beating ourselves up over it, and making it our fault is surely not God-like, as God is merciful and loving. The older I get, the less I understand "how" God works, but the more I just trust him to do in me what I cannot do myself. "What is impossible for humankind, is possible with God." Letting go and trusting come what may!
Love your life giving words, Roderick.
 

TNTTony7

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Your writing is absolutely wonderful, I believe that you have spoke for many of us (judging by the comments), I know that is how I feel, everytime I go to church. There is an elder that comes up to me and says "you're looking healthier and healthier God is healing you" meanwhile he hasn't noticied my hands nor that my speech is barely understandable, at its best, the weight I've lost. I don't mention this to critize him, as I truly respect him and his faith is strong. Everytime, this happens I start doubting myself, wondering where I'm failing at. This is why I love Paul's writing that he prayed thrice, for the thorn to be removed. My opinion is that yes we do need to ask him, but God knows our needs and if it is in his plans for me to be healed then it'll happen.
 

momofsixkids60

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Roderick,

The sane thikng happemed 2 me Eastre. My paremts surrojunded me @ church. Wjhen it wsa ti8me 4 thje last somg ( the oayuing of hjands song) thjey tried 2 get me 2 tje fromt of the church. I told thjen "NO", not tjhat I wasm't a be9ever in prayer, just tjhat wjhatecer my outcone, I was @ peace W/ it. I see tjhey will B thje problen W/ defimite diagmodis.
 

arkallen

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05/2009
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AU
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VIC
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Your writing is absolutely wonderful, I believe that you have spoke for many of us (judging by the comments), I know that is how I feel, everytime I go to church. There is an elder that comes up to me and says "you're looking healthier and healthier God is healing you" meanwhile he hasn't noticied my hands nor that my speech is barely understandable, at its best, the weight I've lost. I don't mention this to critize him, as I truly respect him and his faith is strong. Everytime, this happens I start doubting myself, wondering where I'm failing at. This is why I love Paul's writing that he prayed thrice, for the thorn to be removed. My opinion is that yes we do need to ask him, but God knows our needs and if it is in his plans for me to be healed then it'll happen.

People mean well, don't they Tony? But many Christians don't have the experience or perhaps the breadth of view to see where people in our situation are coming from. Thanks for your comments, they certainly ring true.
 
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