Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chapter Two??

Chapter Two(?) – Christians As Healers

In March of 2000, American missionaries held their annual conference near Vitoria, Brazil. I was blessed to be present at this event.

One evening, we had the always fun Talent Show. The cool thing about talent shows is that you are STILL a star even if you possess ZERO talent!

I particularly remember laughing with several LST students who had been in Brazil for almost a year. After their skit, a couple of the boys went back to their room because one of them was complaining of a headache.

The rest of us continued to laugh and talk together until we noticed several missionaries exiting with very concerned looks on their faces.

Soon, we discovered that our young friend’s headache had grown worse. It became a pounding headache accompanied by dizziness. After a while, he was on the verge of being delirious when he yelled, “It’s trying to claw it’s way out of my head! Make it stop!” He lost consciousness and his friend ran for help.

As they carried him through the lobby, his brow was furrowed in pain, his head jerking from side to side, mumbling incoherently. Fright flashed through our minds as we dwelt on the fragility and uncertainty of life.

And yet, as we all dealt with our anxious thoughts, a gleam of hope flashed through.

“Anyone who wants to can join me in my room to pray for him. Be there in 15 minutes.”

I went straight to the room, wasting no time, and found others already there, whispering with worried looks on their faces. Others joined us after making sure their kids were tucked away in the rooms safely.

With lights low, we gathered around the bed in that hotel room, held hands and knelt to the ground. I don’t even know how long the prayer lasted. We all lost ourselves in the mission of petitioning God on behalf of our brother. I have never felt so connected to a group of strangers as I felt that night.

Reluctantly, we pulled ourselves away and went to our rooms for the night. With the morning came reports…

“He regained consciousness when we reached the hospital…”

“The doctors did a brain scan and found nothing…”

“He is sitting up and hungry. He says he feels OK now. It’s like nothing ever happened!”

I have no doubt in my mind that God intervened that day. He heard our prayers and smiled as He wiped away the pain and took care of the problem. God still heals.

And, yet, within my “tribe” of church (the Churches of Christ), we seem to have forgotten this aspect of Christ’s life. If we wanted to really be Christ followers, wouldn’t we give our lives to heal others?

It seems like we should take a hint from our Catholic and Baptist friends, who seem to have the monopoly on hospitals! ALL churches who want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus should start erecting hospitals IMMEDIATELY!! And if we cannot build hospitals, let us become known as healers in other ways!

We need more Christians to become doctors, nurses, dentists, research scientists, and nursing home workers. We need Christian doctors who are willing to give away a free treatment once in a while! We need nurses who will give injections for no charge!

Where did Jesus venture in His lifetime? Many of his recorded days were spent in homes, in “sick communities” (would that be like a hospital?), and at funerals.

Jesus also healed people in a unique place. A place where we have not allowed healing for hundreds of years. A place that we have a different function for than healing. Jesus modeled that the “place of worship” is also a place of healing! We think that our church buildings exist for us to worship! But Matt. 21:12-14 says that Jesus healed people IN the temple! How about us? What would we do if someone knocked on our church’s door during worship? Would we hurry to “heal” them or get annoyed at them because they had interrupted our worship?

At times, (if I was to be honest) I get fed up with needy people. They are everywhere! But these words of Jesus always convict and challenge me, “I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matt. 25:45)

There are SO many opportunities out there for us! Hospitals, hospice care, funerals, reading the obituaries and randomly picking a family to help, feeding parents who are at hospitals (away from home) to get care for their kids, taking soup and 7-Up to your sick neighbor down the street…

How many ideas can YOU come up with?

Where will YOU begin to serve?

In what ways will YOU become a healer like Christ this year?

Where will you look for needy people?

How can you better see the face of Christ when you look at others?

How can you make your church’s meeting place a “place of healing?”

1 comment:

Klay Hall said...

Franklin I agree, we need to see this area of Jesus' ministry as a way to reflect Him and fulfill the "Great Commission". I have prayed with families who have sick loved ones. Often times it was in the hospital. If you make a generic announcement in the waiting room that you would be glad to pray over their loved ones as well, I can tell you the response is huge. Leave them your number to call if they would like more prayer or a visit. I was shocked at how many people are very receptive to this.