Nearly Magic

layered mountains

This past week in my Holy Yoga training we studied what it means to be co-resurrected with Christ and our spiritual inheritence. In my training manual there is a list of things included as part of our spiritual inheritance that we can continually draw from, such as divine guidance, victory and freedom from the bondage of sin, abundance of grace for every good work. One item on this list—divine health and healing—starts to stir murky waters in me, threatens to open old wounds.

I grew up in a charistmatic church, that is, speaking in tongues, prophecy, singing in the Spirit, laying on of hands, being slain in the Spirit. I appreciate being raised in such a spiritually fertile environment, taught to partake in the supernatural, because this can be something foreign to many. Although there were times when I sensed the spiritual realm being abused or manufactured by some person, which in hindsight is just part of human nature, more often than not the Holy Spirit was truly ministering to our hearts as a congregation.

One of the things I learned in church was to speak things into existence. God spoke and there was, and since we are created in His image, can we not do the same? We were to confess the good things into our lives—the blessings, the healing, the riches. And of course, we were to be cautious of speaking negative things so as not to let them materialize. For example, if you were sick you would confess that you were healed. If you were broke you would confess that you were rich. It seemed my mouth had the power to construct new realities, nearly magic. Coupled with this positive confession was the power of faith; you had to have the faith to believe whatever you were confessing would come to pass.

But people got sick, some died. Both young and old. We prayed for them! We professed and claimed their healing! We cast out the cancer in the name of Jesus! So why did they die? The best answer is this: you (or someone else) did not have enough faith to bring it to pass. You didn’t pray enough, or you allowed doubt to enter in, giving foothold to Satan. This was troubling for me as an adolescent. Troubling for anyone.

And so I struggled for years with God, deep down, questioning whether He was really a good God. I didn’t know how to reconcile the reality of death and suffering with what I had been taught in church. I wrestled with His sovereignty. I resisted it. God’s sovereignty rendered me powerless: I could not speak my life into harmony and health and every blessing. Only He could give me those things, and only as He saw fit.

The good news is God’s grace, that He did not abandon me to deep confusion and dark anxiety. Like Jacob, I wrestled with Him and He broke me, but He brought me through, giving me a new name. I came to terms with God’s sovereignty, and with that came blessed freedom, serious liberation. By accepting His control and His will for my life, I was finally able to let go of my control, trying to will and confess my life into perfection.

So back to the other day, when I came across “divine health and healing” on the spiritual inheritance list, I sought the Lord for help with the emotions that began to surface: I can’t do this, I don’t know how to do this. And what came to me was the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed right before His arrest and crucifixion. He knew what was coming: the cup of death, the wrath of God, the cross. This is what He prayed: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

Number one: Jesus’ faith was in God alone. “All things are possible for You,” He said. I can do this, I can believe this without a doubt. 

Secondly, He petitioned the Lord: “Take this cup away from Me.” Jesus’ entire life was set for the cross; it was His purpose—the reason He became flesh—and yet He asked to be spared of it. Ok, so there’s no limit. I can ask for anything, even if it seems perposterous or impossible. This is doable.

Lastly, Jesus surrendered to God’s sovereignty: “nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” This too, I can do. I can accept what God has for me because I trust He knows best. 

Here’s the bottom line: God is in control. Of everything. Every good and bad thing that happens, the Lord knows it and has allowed it. He has authority over all things. So He’s either sovereign or He’s not. There is no middle ground.

So now I’ve come full circle. I can trust God for divine health and healing; nothing is impossible for Him. But, I don’t have to muster the right amount of faith to sway God to answer that prayer. It’s not on me to say the right words, to convince God to act, to confess my prayers into reality. My faith is in Him alone. I offer my petitions—I pour out my heart before Him—and then I rest in His sovereignty. His will be done.

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