Thursday, July 28, 2011
8 months ago I sat on a beach in Bali, Indonesia, enjoying the waves, laughter of friends and the deepest sense of physical rest I had felt in weeks. My eyes were closed as I pondered what the next month would bring. My 4-month semester abroad was already 80% completed, and I had a black journal full of travel stories, revelations, prayers and dreams to process through. God had blessed me with an unusual peace about what my future would hold. I didn’t know what life would look like a month from that beach day. Normally that would frighten me to the point of anxiety. However, that sunny afternoon with waves crashing on white sand, I was calm despite looming final exam dates and the inability to predict or plan my life.
What interrupted that calm peace would change my whole life, in personal ways, professional ways and most importantly, in how I view God and how He manifests himself through me and to others.
I heard a man begin to pray for a local guy who had been walking up and down the beach, selling hand made bracelets for a few rupiah. Not only was this man praying, he was praying this local man would be healed of back problems...a physical healing. Up to this point in my 21 years, I believed God wanted to heal. I believed He also could heal. I had heard stories of this. But that was the extent of my thoughts and experiences with miracles and healing. It was a distant concept, and one that I had yet to seek for myself or for those around me.
That afternoon, despite a language barrier and the obvious religious clash of Christianity and Hinduism, the Holy Spirit healed through an obedient follower of Jesus and the power of Christ.
That’s all it took. I was shocked.
I was surprised, joyful, excited and even angry with myself for not pursuing this type of ministry sooner. It was from those emotions and revelations that I began my pursuit. It was a relentless hunger for the true character of God. That day on the beach began an 8-month study of healing, miracles, signs, wonders and the place from which they all flow-the furious, unhindered, overflowing LOVE of Christ.
I learned that God doesn’t just come to heal a physical part of a person-that action is like a clanging cymbal if it isn’t founded from a place of love. God heals the physical person to push for healing of the whole person. It is to display God’s power but more important is the visual representation of God invading darkness, evil, (in some cases sin), sickness and pain, casting that out by His perfect love.
It is THAT LOVE that I pursue now. How deep is it? Is there anything God would not do to show and manifest His love for us?
What is the extent of His love?
What request is too great for this love?
Am I willing to, in faith, rely on this love to break through sickness and pain so that God would be glorified through the revelation of His true character?
That’s where I stand now. No longer on a beach, but my mind and heart are still in awe at the radical, unhindered love of God. What does it look like? Let’s find out.