So what has God done for you?
Okay, if you are a follower of Jesus you know the list is pretty long. There are all the “…ations”. You know: salvation, justification, sanctification, and the corresponding, umm, implications. What I’m thinking about is not separate from those things. But more specific.
For example: a couple of months ago when I was at a *PRMI event, I made an appointment for healing prayer at the encouragement of a friend. Just a little background: I was carrying some wounds that made it very difficult to move forward with consistent joy and strength. I could not sustain joy and confidence in ministry. Every setback, no matter how small, seemed huge. And I felt so small. Like a sneak attack on my joy, past events would come to mind and I would be stuck wrestling with bitterness and anger, struggling to forgive all over again. Worse, I would feel isolated, like I had to carry everything on my own. Well, some of that pain spilled out in some conversations. One of the pastors there noticed and asked if I’d be open to healing prayer.
It was a remarkable experience. And I am deeply grateful. Three folks prayed with me. During that time of prayer, Jesus showed up in those painful places. In prayer, the team brought me before God. I found myself trembling, tears flowing, humbled. God spoke to me there. He said, very simply, “I never left you.” I didn’t know that I needed to hear that. But I needed to hear it. I had not been alone – and I will not be alone. They prayed for my healing and I felt so incredibly renewed. When I walked out of that room, I felt so good. I didn’t even know how bad I had been feeling carrying all that stuff.
The problems didn’t disappear completely. I had a long habit of slipping into dark thoughts. BUT – and this is very important – in that experience of healing prayer, I turned a corner. Those past events have lost their power. I don’t dwell there. I can confidently say that I’m growing healthier.
God firmly impressed a truth in my heart over and over again since that healing experience. It’s this: What God has done for us, God delights to do through us. That experience of healing was for me – but not just for me. Jesus is the Great Physician. He heals our deep wounds. God first works in us and then through us – often in the same way. Knowing this, I went to work learning what I could. Reading, mainly, but also praying.
This is really just an aspect of discipleship. God works through someone to work in us and then God works through us in someone else. God usually works in us through other people. Then we become the person who can help another see the truth of scripture. When someone teaches us to pray, we can teach another. When someone teaches us to be a healthy member of the community, we can help others. When God works in power through another person, we begin to discern that God can work in power through us.
I realize we can go straight to God. God reveals himself by the power of the Holy Spirit in scripture and prayer. We can do that alone – just between us and God. But how much is added when another person is involved? God worked through people to help me understand the scriptures. And the healing experience was prayer with others. And I learned something about prayer by praying with them.
What God does for us God delights to do through us. And last Sunday – although I’ll leave out the details – that is exactly what happened. I was able to pray for someone’s healing in a manner very similar to my own experience. And Jesus showed up and brought healing.
What has God done for you? Has God worked through someone to bless you? Bless another. Received encouragement? Encourage another. Given you a family or a community. Include another. Has God given your resources. Give to another. Has God worked through someone to help you follow Jesus. Help another follow him.
What God does for you, God delights to do through you. Did I mention what a joy it is when that happens? Give it a shot. Because (as G.K. Chesterton pointed out) any thing worth doing is worth doing badly.
Last thing: when God puts a group of people together in, say, a small church or missional community, He often gathers people together who’ve walked through the same sorts of things. Those common experiences – pains, blessings, and discoveries – are often the place where a community can begin to discern a calling into mission.
*PRMI stands for Presbyterian Renewal Ministry International. If you want to learn about what it means to do ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend PRMI. They are biblical, theologically astute, globally Christian, practical, and encouraging. It’s a wonderful teaching ministry. Their methodology includes practicing as the teach, and including everyone in attendance in the practice. Google PRMI or visit PRMI.ORG to learn more. If you want to read about healing prayer, I recommend Let Jesus Heal Your Hidden Wounds by Brad Long and Cindy Strickler.