Some months following the event of The Lesson of the Touch, I attended another conference, enticed by both my experiences of the first one and my growing relationship with God. Still uncertain regarding the extent of God’s active participation in people’s lives today, I continued observing, intrigued with faith’s potential.
But, even then, doubt was receding, and my mind was opening. The seed of faith, planted in me decades earlier, was receiving the nurturing that it needed to grow the way God intended. This event would provide yet another supplemental boost.
During a conference session, I was sitting next to my husband in an aisle seat of the midsection of the church’s auditorium-sanctuary. A conference official approached me, accompanied by a woman of about my age. Leaning over, so as not to disturb others, he introduced himself. Then he told me that a few minutes earlier, as the woman with him had walked by me, she had received a word of knowledge regarding an abdominal pain in my midsection.
Surprised and confused by the entire scenario, I stared at him, trying to absorb what he was saying. But feeling no pain, I automatically replied, “I don’t have any abdominal pain.”
My response apparently caught the man by surprise, for he sounded shocked as he asked, “You don’t?” Shaking my head in the negative, I said (almost laughingly), “No.” Looking at one another, the man and the woman shrugged slightly, not knowing what else to say or do. Apologizing for bothering me, the man returned to his duties, and the woman returned to her seat several rows in front of me.
But as I watched the woman sit back down, I was suddenly gripped with the realization that I had, without intention, not spoken the truth. For a couple of months, I had indeed had a reoccurring pain in the area that the man had described. But not experiencing the pain at that moment, I had not made the connection, due to the unexpectedness of the conversation.
Now I was again the one who was confused. How and why would a woman, who I did not know, know about a pain in my body that only God and I knew existed?
Thoroughly perplexed, I remained in my seat until a short time later, when the woman got up and walked past me, exiting through the rear auditorium door. Instantly filled with a sense of “now or never,” I excused myself and followed her. Seeing her step into the ladies’ room, I waited in the empty lobby.
When she came out, I approached her, quickly explaining the situation regarding the pain that had been described. Though I had no expectation of what might transpire from our meeting, I was absolutely convinced that she, knowing more than I, was my opportunity to learn more.
Confounded, I was also awe struck. Radiance from the woman drew me to her even more than my questions had done. Standing face to face, just a few feet apart from one another, I was transfixed by her glowing countenance that permeated the air around us. She, on the other hand, was transfixed by something that I could not see, except upon her.
With partly raised arms and upward facing palms, she stood with her eyes closed and her chin slightly lifted, basking in more than the music that was coming from the auditorium. Though we spoke only briefly, and she offered an even more brief prayer for my healing, we continued standing together in a holy silence that was broken only occasionally by her softly spoken praise to God. In that state, we remained alone in the lobby without interruption for quite some time, before returning to our seats.
Soon afterward, the conference concluded for the evening, and my husband and I headed for the home of a friend with whom we were staying. In the darkness, we rode in silence. Deep in thought regarding the evening’s events, I suddenly became aware that the area of discussion in my abdomen was getting warm… quite warm, almost hot.
The warmth was deep inside my body, not on the surface, and it felt luxurious! I sat motionless, soaking up the warmth, not wanting it to end. But as we neared our destination, the warmth faded, and then it was gone.
I can’t explain all of the intricacies of my experience that evening. I can only testify to its occurrence and to the fact that the abdominal pains never returned. One of my gifts from the event is an unwavering knowledge that God is a healing God, still manifesting His Presence in our lives today through miracles of direct intervention. (See 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) He is Jehovah Rapha, “the LORD who heals you” (Exodus 15:26), just as He has always been.
The Bible, full of miracles in both the Old Testament and the New, reveals both God’s power and His goodness in uncountable ways, many of which we don’t always recognize as such. Men, even God’s “chosen” people, have more often than not misconstrued both God’s nature and His intentions, right from the get-go. (See Isaiah 1:3)
God wants all men to know Him well, to enter into personal, eternal fellowship with Him (See 1 Timothy 2:4). God has never hidden Himself from mankind, but has always been open, revealing Himself in a myriad of ways to provide the understanding that man lacks concerning God. (See Isaiah 45:19)
Right from the beginning of time, God has revealed Himself in His Word. The Spirit-filled Truth of God that is contained in God’s Word was then given a physical component in the life of Jesus—the Living Word—to make a new way for men to see the Truth of God quite clearly. The Truth revealed in Jesus can then lead to further opportunity for increased fellowship with God through the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit. But while many people believe in the historical Jesus, fewer believe in the future King Jesus, and fewer still accept the reality of a Present Living Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
By not engaging in purposeful fellowship with the Holy Spirit, even born again Christians can unknowingly diminish their interactions with God through a lack of expectation. Inadvertently, neither surprise nor disappointment are generated by the lack of personal experience with God that complacency with the status quo substantiates: a “that’s all there is” faith.
A faith that is not stretched in accordance with God’s Word is a faith that stagnates within self-imposed boundaries. In squelching new faith experiences before they begin, we can give greater credence to lack of experience than to the Word of God. A mind that is closed to God’s potential in any area of life through unbelief hampers new experiences with God in those particular areas.
On the night I was healed, I had little faith by which I might have received or even contemplated the expectation of such a healing. But in attending the conference, I was open to discovering new dimensions of faith. So I did have exactly what I needed that evening: willingness to accept the woman’s faith in God, a faith that radiated from her in Word and Spirit. The woman’s intimate relationship with God enabled her to hear, receive and deliver the Word that God had sent to heal me (Psalm 107:20), words for which my spiritual ears were not yet in tune.
My emerging faith was apparently enough to meet God halfway, through this woman, who He had placed between us. That evening, standing before the woman, as she basked in her relationship with God, I believed, without question, two things: God’s Presence and the woman’s intimacy with Him. In her awareness of God, God granted me awareness, also. In effect, God provided opportunity for me to piggyback off the woman’s faith that evening, undoing doubt by establishing in me a greater faith of God.
A faith in God that is more complete in both substance and application is a faith that is more life enhancing. ”We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) so that greater intimacy with God and increased expectation of Him will develop in us.
Through faith by grace, God has accomplished the greatest miracle of all: salvation that provides opportunity to commune with God one-on-one, any time and any place. When we are in Christ, God goes with us. Wherever we go, God’s supernatural power fuels our words and actions that are in compliance with the Truth of God, thereby fulfilling the expectations of faith that He develops in us.
While the world likes to say, “Life is what you make of it,” the Truth is that, with God, life becomes much more than that. The abundant life that God offers us in Christ Jesus (See John 10:10) is a supernatural life of transformation (See 2 Corinthians 3:18), one beyond the scope of the world’s vision that depends on our interaction with Him. The greater priority that we give to communing with God, the more personal experiences that we have with Him, breeding even greater intimacy with God in an unending cycle of faith. We, not God, are the ones who can bring the cycle to a screeching halt by applying the brakes of unbelief.
At this particular conference, God had yet another surprise in store for me. As He had revealed to me His Presence in the woman, so He also would reveal to me His Presence in me, letting me know that our relationship depends upon no intermediary other than Jesus Christ (See 1 Timothy 2:5).
The following evening, at the close of the conference, this is what happened:
Standing alone on a few square feet of floor in a crowded auditorium, I was desperate (no exaggeration). During the final minutes of the conference that my husband and I had attended in South Carolina, I wanted to experience God in some profound way, some way that was previously unknown and unexpected by me. I wanted a taste of what I saw and had seen in other people. I wanted to know God, not just to know about Him.
On that day, when I cried out in silence, imploring God with emotionally charged words in my heart and tears in my eyes, God showed up. He did not show up around me. Nor did He show up above or beside me. God showed up in me.
God was—is—real. I felt Him.
[Excerpt from The Life of the Cross]
God alone can set us aglow, igniting our lives with His potential. He alone is God.
And if we are His, others will know. His Presence will be seen all over us, radiating His Glory through so-called impossibilities that He accomplishes in us and through us, allowing the world to better see Him.
With God, we become the very miracle that we need: a mind fully open to accepting the full Gospel Truth of God.
”Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’” (Romans 12:2a)