I recently had a first in my life. I felt called and led by God to pray that a dead woman would come back to life. A dear family friend Patty had an older sister Margie, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. I was asked to come to the hospital and pray healing for this woman. She was in her young sixties and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just weeks before. There is a back story in this family of the brother of this woman, Ted, who had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer some 7 years earlier. I had been a part of a small group who had prayed for his healing. He went into immediate remission of his cancer and is still praising God for his healing today. Ted was at the hospital when we went to see Margie.
My call to the hospital was sped up by Margie’s rapid decline. When I arrived with my wife at the hospital room Margie was comatose and on life support. Literally, as I walked into the room greeted the extended family and began to pray for her, she declined and died. It was about a twenty minute process that was shocking in how it flowed. The thing that truly stood out for me in the process was an outstanding sense of peace and the presence of God. I felt afterward like I had been sent to release this woman home to be with the Lord and to bring comfort to the family. As I was standing in the hallway talking to the family members after Margie’s passing I had the first of several words that I felt the Lord spoke to me. I felt the Lord speak to me that “this is for my glory.”
To make a long story short, the next morning I had three more specific words and signs that gave me courage to call Patty and ask if she would arrange with the mortuary to get us access to Margie’s body so that we could raise her from the dead in Jesus name. I was beside myself with faith and fear. Patty, her husband Tony, my wife Laura and I spent more than 60 minutes with Margie commanding, praying, and expressing our faith over her lifeless body. She did not get up that day.
Recently I was at a warehouse home improvement store while shopping for one of my hobbies. I was standing alone in the back, checking an entire wall of bird feeders, bird houses, bird baths and just about anything that you can think of regarding birds in back yards. A woman walked into my section and began to study bird food products. I immediately noticed that she was wearing a boot such as a doctor would prescribe to immobilize an injured foot. I immediately became aware that this was a great opportunity to pray for healing and share the love of Christ. I did not feel that God had told me to pray for her directly or given me a word of knowledge about her, but I knew that I should pray for her. There is a long history to this story about me trusting my Father in heaven and faith that I cannot go into right now. Leave that to say, I knew that it was the loving thing to pray for her. She was a bit older than me, probably in her early sixties. I could not do it. I would not do it. I had a very clear sense of loss in me that I did not have the faith, the trust in God to launch out on this one.
Later when I was alone with my Father talking to Him and reading the Word, I felt like I came to a clear understanding that it was another step in seeing the truth in me about my trust issues with God. God gave me a measure of understanding and healing that day. We often grow more from our “failures” than our successes. (Excuse the word, trying is never a “failure” in Christ)
I shared these stories of my life to show that each of us do not have all it takes to love others in the way that God will call us to love. As the scripture says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” In the context of this verse Jesus was speaking about the salvation of a rich young Jewish man who was seeking after God. The main point of this passage comes out something like this; the very things that we sometimes assume as being easy and straight forward can be spiritually and practically impossible apart from the manifest grace of God in our lives.
We will each come to a point in our walk with God where we cannot do what God is calling us to do. We are too afraid, too powerless, too selfish or just too broken to do the very thing that love demands be done. The good news is that what is impossible with man is possible with God.
I share these experiences with you because one seems easy and one seems impossible. Unless God comes and works no one will be raised from the dead. These experiences have taught me much about my own imperfect ability to hear from God and my need to grow in faith. Do I regret any of it? Well besides the fact that Margie did not get raised from the dead, I do not regret trying one bit. Trying is more important and more difficult than succeeding. I do regret not connecting with the woman in the store. You will never succeed unless you try. You will never grow in love unless you try.
I have shared two stories about my unsuccessful ministry attempts in the hope of strengthening you and teaching you several things about love. I share these stories because I know you are just like me.
An important aspect of growing in love is the key truth that we cannot do this in the power that we have. Love comes from God and ultimately much of the love that forms and empowers us will find its source directly in the Lord. Sometimes, we will know that it truly was not us who loved. We will see a sacrifice of love that is just too great for us naturally to choose to walk in. We must choose to ask God to fill us with His love so that His formation process can continue is us.
Love comes from God and we will never have enough love in ourselves to be what God wants us to be. What is impossible with men is possible with God. As we try we will sometimes fall short because of our weakness and sometimes because of our lack of faith. Sometime we will fall short because of reasons we cannot see or understand. We are at war with darkness and there are many factors involved with God’s victory over the enemy. Every time you try you succeed in the most important way, even if you fall short of the goal. Any time you love someone you have won!
Keep trying! Keep seeking love! Keep taking risks of faith! You will only grow as you risk and discover who you are in Christ and what He is to be in you. Let love push you over the limit of what is possible knowing that with God all things are possible. Let love loose in the world and see what God will do.