Seated in an auditorium on campus with my peers, I listen to John Wimber talk about praying for healing and it is just words bouncing off the walls of my skeptical mind. Until he initiates a challenge from the stage, asks those that need healing to get up and stand next to the wall while the rest of us stay seated.
That takes a while because so many students get up, lean against the padded wall.
He tells those seated to go pick someone from those standing. Pick someone to pray over. Well, that feels awkward and a bit like I want to run out of the room. But I do it.
I pick the girl with the black bob and we sit back down in the bouncy theater seats and introduce ourselves. When I share my name, she gasps. Says she has been looking for me for over a year on campus because the pastor at the college I attended before this one, he tells her to find me. She is a freshman and just finding her way.
Could this be divine, this picking her out random in the sea of others when she has been trying to find me? That skepticism, it starts to fidget.
She says she is having trouble hearing in her right ear and she wants me to pray for her. So I do it like John Wimber shows us. Put my hands on her ears and pray. And when I stumble over the words, my ears get fire hot and I feel something shoot through me like jumper cables on the wrong post.
He warned us about that hot feeling earlier and I wonder if this could be something and now that skepticism, it is restless like flag flapping in wind.
Several days later the preacher in chapel stops mid-sentence during his sermon. Starts talking to air, like he is having a private conversation with God and the audience eavesdrops. Says to all of us, that someone just got healed in their right ear. I think this man is a complete loon.
Who does this? Stand in front of a crowd and just stop to say he heard God say this, that someone just. got. healed.
I sit in my room afterward; answer the phone. It’s the girl with the black bob and she is out of breathe with joy. She tells me it was her, she is the one he says got healed. How she felt something hot in her ear while she sat in chapel, had it checked by a doctor and it seems as though God healed her.
That skepticism slaps me in the face and runs right out the door.
That encounter, over twenty years ago, it’s a page in the story he writes that is my life. How he redeems my unbelief in the healing of a girl that I didn’t know existed before that night.
You and me, we are all dispensers of spiritual gifts he gives away free. Just receptive cupped hands to hold the mercy, grace, forgiveness, kindness, healing; that’s all he asks. So we can give it away to others.
And how do we know when what we have in the cupped hand is ready for blessing?
Risk and practice.
Practice and trust in the one who gives the gifts.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-31 ESV