My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Productive Pain

My friend, Sara, is one of my role models. She has what I like to call “forefather-faith”–the kind of stubborn trust in the faithfulness of God that sent Abraham away from his family looking for a land he’d never seen; that sent Abraham’s servant on a quest looking for Isaac’s bride; and that compelled three Hebrews to defy an order to worship an image in the face of certain death. Sara believes in divine healing, and rarely misses an opportunity to pray for those who are sick. She is a modern-day Hannah making constant intercession for her son, and the Lord is honoring her faith (you can read more about that here).

What is so encouraging is that she is regularly contending for healing in her own life. She has been asking the Lord to heal her ears for as long as I’ve known her; and while I might have given up by now and felt that God had no desire to heal me (or worse, that He no longer heals), Sara is relentless in her pursuit of the healing that the Lord promised her.

Last Saturday afternoon in our prayer set, Sara felt led to invite anyone in the room who needed healing in their body to come to the front for a time of prayer. The Holy Spirit had blessed us with His Presence, and she felt His prompting to ask for His touch. I will admit, at the time I felt reluctant simply because she’d asked one of the two other singers on the line to come and pray with her. The other singer had momentarily excused himself shortly before, so I was left alone singing and “didn’t feel inspired.” To be honest, I don’t even remember what words came out of me at this point. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit does not bind Himself to my emotions.

Sara and Nicole began walking down the row of people who had come up for prayer, laying hands on them and quietly praying 60-90 second prayers over each before moving to the next person. The entire process ended after about five minutes; then the other singers returned to their places on the line and we transitioned into another song. Well, that’s that, I thought.

I had forgotten about the entire process at the end of the set when I introduced myself to one of the ladies who had come up for prayer. We shared the usual pleasantries and then she said, “I just wanted to let you know I have a testimony.”

I leaned closer to hear her through the hubbub of laughter and small-talk around me.

She said, “I came in here earlier today and had a blockage in my right ear–I couldn’t hear well out of it. Well, when that lady prayed for me, it popped open and I’ve been able to hear perfectly ever since!”

We have all rejoiced in the kindness of the Lord and for Sara’s obedience in praying for healings. However, what has been the most interesting to me is that God used Sara to bring healing to a lady struggling with the same ailment as Sara. Furthermore, Sara’s genuine joy over God’s goodness has been a delight to witness–she has not asked, “why didn’t God do that for me instead?” She has rejoiced in His faithfulness to His word with an open, unselfish heart.


While reading in Isaiah earlier this week, I felt the Lord highlight this passage to me:

As a woman with child is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, so have we been in Your sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind; we have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (Is. 26:17-18)
Isaiah’s statement encompasses the required posture of an intercessor. Those who partner with God’s purposes know the baptism of pain that marks close communion with His heart. A woman in the middle of childbirth endures the pain because of the promise of holding a new life in her arms. An intercessor partnering with the Holy Spirit clings through emotional valleys to bring deliverance to the earth.

God can trust the weak with His power. We give Him most glory when we face the stark reality that there was no way we could have brought about deliverance ourselves. He uses us most in the areas where we feel that we fail the most–where we have to rely on Him because we have reached the end of ourselves.

I believe that God gives us authority in our areas of greatest weakness. Paul understood this when he struggled with his “thorn in the flesh” and the Lord told him:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
The process of God’s training is never easy, and sometimes the losses feel they are too great; however, if we truly desire to be a “these-signs-shall-follow” generation, we must allow God to lead us through some valleys. Although the process often involves crushing, the purpose always ends in Christlike-ness. We must not be so consumed by the process that we forget His purposes.

May He give you grace in persevering.

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