When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a doctor. Instead I began preaching. My path was influenced by a bold evangelist named Richard Vinyard. He sought God with prayer and fasting and received a gift of divine grace to heal the sick. In his meetings, we often saw cripples dramatically healed. He was a unique man with a genuine anointing. Richard was a fighter who didn’t quit. He had a saying, “He who fights, wins!”
Healing requires a fight. I have seen that people with chronic disease can be overwhelmed by discouragement. They feel defeated. They need friends to uphold them with optimism, prayers, and faith from the Scriptures. If efforts to obtain a cure fail, we can feel condemned. Satan will plant accusing thoughts: "God doesn't love me" or, "God's promises are not true” or, "I'm not worthy." Because it is a battle, because the devil is crafty, failures will occur. But still, don't quit.
Sickness is our enemy but God wants us well. So fight! God uses doctors and prayer. In Acts, Luke the physician was a valued member of Paul's ministry team. Jesus said, "The sick have need of a physician." Thank God for modern medicine. My mother experienced a miracle when the Lord healed her of TB, but she was also helped by good medical care. As a child, my mom's healing truly impressed me. Don't tell me God can't do that today. I've already seen it!
My own ministry of healing is a mixture. I believe in divine healing. I just can't make it happen on my terms. This dilemma keeps me humble. It is a mystery. But if we don’t fight, we’ll never win. So stand in your faith and trust in the Lord. Faith can grow.
I love biblical healing in all its aspects but I despise charlatans who offer false hope or peddle empty promises. Yes, genuine healing is available. If by God's grace we do exercise faith to believe, then the reality of healing from heaven can break through despite our fears or flaws. After all, it only takes faith like a mustard seed.
Healing may involve a struggle. The healing of my ankle was frustrating. I had sprained that ankle three times in one year. I limped, used a cane, wrapped it tight, but it kept getting re-injured. I could not walk up a grassy slope or take the stairs in the usual way. I had to go sideways like a crab. For five years, I had sharp pain, limped badly, and sought healing from God — but in vain.
Then one night at a small gathering of Christians, prayer was requested for an absent young mother who had injured her ankle. By then, I had given up on getting my ankle healed. To intercede for her, I put my hand down on my ankle and prayed. I don't know if she was healed or not. I felt nothing. The next morning at home, I got up and bounded down the stairs to get coffee and then suddenly I realized: I felt no pain!
Thirty years later, I am still healed, for which I give praise to my Lord Jesus Christ.
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly in Meridian at Chandler Road and State Boulevard Extension. You can hear pastor Ron each Sunday at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on WXKR SuperTalk radio, 103.3 on the FM dial. You are invited to join us for Bible class Wednesday at 11 a.m. and for Sunday Worship at 10:45 a.m. www.trinitymeridian.com