Barb and I came to the Lord in the mid-1970's in the Charismatic Renewal, when millions of people in denominational churches came to the Lord. We received the baptism with the Holy Spirit as did millions, and started meeting in home 'prayer meetings' during the week while remaining faithful to the denominational church on Sunday morning.
This was before the Word of Faith (WOF) movement of the 1980's taught the integrity of God's Word. Until then many of the charismatic home meetings lacked balanced teaching - it was like the wild west, anything goes. We had to rely on the Holy Spirit of Truth within to be the referee on all we heard and saw, and that's where I first learned to lean on Him and to know His voice and 'witness' inside.
But the Word of Faith (WOF) had its own issues, human nature being what it is, some people who went extreme in the Charismatic Renewal went extreme in the WOF, and that's where it affected Barb and I.
Those of you who know us know our oldest son is handicapped
This December he will turn 39, but due to lack of oxygen during labor due to the cord around his neck, he is mentally about 4 years old. He is a joy, and also a heavy load for us. The diagnosis is Cerebral Palsy (CP), which is a brain injury occurring during labor or delivery, and that brain injury can be very severe or very mild: it's a matter of how long the brain was deprived of oxygen. CP is not a disease, but an injury to the brain at birth.
The influence of the WOF on charismatics like ourselves in the 1980's went beyond just learning the integrity of God's Word. That part of the WOF brought balance to the wild and crazy 1970's and was much needed. But out of that came an unhealthy church culture too.
The off-balanced part relating to healing is the part we experienced with our son
The culture of many who had been influenced by WOF was to question us as to why our son wasn't healed. They asked if I had fasted. They gave us scriptures to confess and declare. Some noted the brain injury of CP caused part of the brain to die so they offered ideas from hyperbaric chambers to verses about air to confess.
Some wanted to cast demons out of him. But CP is an injury and there aren't any demons involved. (The Lord not only told me so in a visitation, but taught me the Word that showed He simply healed injuries as they are just injuries. He showed me injuries sustained from the man with the withered arm to various lame men before Him and Paul (Acts 14: 8-10), none of whom had demons - just injuries that needed healing.
Then there were those specializing in personal prophecy, who said in various ways, 'Thus saith the Lord' - followed by any of the following: You have a secret sin, God is trying to bless you by giving you a handicapped son, God is trying to teach you something. And let's not forget those who put time frames to healing: About a year from now he will be healed, or "I just feel like it's very near" or "right around the corner". And then there was the general culture that looked down their noses at us with "What's wrong with you that you aren't seeing the promises of God come to pass in your life".
What the Lord told Chris
From the evening we first learned of Chris' brain damage when he was about 6 months old, until this day, we have a peace about his healing. Each night when Chris goes to bed the last thing I say to him is "By His stripes" and he responds, "I was healed". His handicap however has kept him from understanding time and past tense, so he responds because we've done it for years, not due to being able to grasp the past tense of 'by whose stripes you WERE healed.'
Chris has another point of view however. When he was about 22 he came crawling down the hall (he can't walk, so pulled himself along on his belly army man style) saying, "Dad! Dad! Know what Jesus said to me?! He said He's going to walk through the mountains with me! Yep, that's what He said! Yahoo! Isn't that great? Yahoo! Yep, that's what He said, He's going to walk through the mountains with me! Yahoo!"
Since that moment Chris has said upon seeing children run on TV: "When I get to heaven I'm going to run like that." And, "When I get to heaven; no wheelchair."
Picking up from last week, we can see the Lord gave Chris a promise for the finished, mature vision. Jesus never said His walk through the mountains with Chris wouldn't be in THIS age, but Chris assumes He was talking about heaven.
Because of the greatness of the word to him
Because of the amazing effect of the Lord's promise to Chris, he is at peace with waiting until heaven to be healed. I cannot counter his faith. But we have to go through an awful amount of hardship in this life until that day he is whole. There is always a price to pay before seeing the promise come to pass.
I honestly don't know what to do with the peace I've had these 3+ decades about Chris being healed - maybe that peace means it will be as Chris believes, in heaven he will be whole. Maybe that peace means I'll see it this side of heaven.
The key for me and the 'take away for today' is to stay in peace after receiving a personal promise. That promise will be the finished vision, the complete package. Stay in peace and stop looking for the how and when. When Chris was about 5 years old and I had been continually confessing, declaring, quoting scriptures on healings with great focus and intensity every day lots of emotion, firmness in my words for I wanted to show the Lord I meant it, and suddenly the Father asked me something. He interrupted my confession, imagine that!
"What scripture are you standing on?" (We were still influenced by WOF so I had dutifully picked a verse and 'stood' on it). I replied, "I Peter 2: 24." He replied, "What is it?" So I quoted it to Him: "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: By whose stripes you were healed."
He replied: "Very well. Can you just believe the promise, not looking for the manifestation?" That caught me off guard, but I replied after a pause to take stock what He was asking me to do, "Yes. I can." To which He replied: "Very well. Then just believe the promise. Rest in the promise. Get your eyes off the manifestation."
That was where my peace in the matter came - I stopped looking for the manifestation and since that day over 34 years ago, have stayed in peace. Have I fasted for his healing? Yes, 15 days, water only, until I realized I wasn't going to change the Father's or Lord's mind on the matter.
If you know me you know the Lord has been gracious to visit me many times since first seeing Him in April of 1986. Because He usually comes while I'm at home, Chris has been right down the hall and I SO wanted Him to just walk that way to heal my son. I've even had times with Chris right next to me in his wheelchair and the Lord standing next to me within arm's reach of my son - but all He did at that visitation was tell me why it is so difficult for people who have been in a long term condition to be healed. Still, I stay in peace, and haven't left peace, all these years. I guard peace jealously.
I pray you will go back to the last thing He told you about your loved one or situation, and find peace in the promise having taken your eyes off the manifestation - and stay in that peace. Chris as a little child has. I have. So can you. More next week, until then, blessings,
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