Growing up in my Evangelical Free Church in the Missouri, we were taught a lot of wonderful things about Jesus and the Bible. But one subject that we never covered was the Holy Spirit’s raw, jaw-dropping power in our lives. We saw that he did a lot of awesome things back in Jesus’ day, but although we never talked about it, something had obviously changed in our day and age. He was apparently no longer in the business of healing or dispensing the sensational gifts that you read about in Scripture.
I loved the people there. Our pastor was a wonderful man. I had no reason to even ask the questions about why things appeared to be different now than back when Jesus was showing his disciples how to do the stuff. Church may have been boring and my own view of God limited, but it was all I knew.
At 17 my mom encouraged me to go overseas. I started doing missionary work. People didn’t have hospitals. You needed to do something for them to alleviate their pain, so you prayed for healing. And every now and then, you’d run across people who were obviously tormented by something outside them – something evil that behaved like the demons Jesus always seemed to be doing battle with in Scripture. Out beyond America’s borders, you didn’t have the luxury of ignoring such things – they hit you in the face. And if you grew up like me, you were ill-prepared.
What I since learned is that a whole segment of the church actually has no experience with a God that heals or blasts demons back to hell, and so they’ve constructed a theology called “cessationism” to explain their lack of experience. According to this explanation, the Holy Spirit stopped healing or dispensing many of his gifts after the apostles died because these gifts were no longer necessary to expand the kingdom. They backed this theology up with verses like 1 Cor. 13:8-10 “…we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”
I want to take these people by the hand and show them the things I’ve seen. I want to introduce them to the God I know – a God whose power is still transforming individual lives and, in fact whole nations, in amazing and sometimes spectacular ways. That’s why I often share stories of his power here on this blog. That’s why I take people on mission trips and show them that they can hear his voice today and can pray for the sick and see God respond.
I see it all the time and I want others to see it too. For example, here’s a story this week from World Racer Danielle Contarino. All her life she had been struggling with a crooked spine. Most pastors I knew in the first half of my life would have sent her to doctors who shrugged their shoulders. But last week, she met the God of power. She describes it in this blog
It’s about time we all did. We need to let him out of the boxes of our limited experience. He wants to equip us in ways that may seem new to us, but are as old and as relevant as the Bible itself.
The news was devastating to my twelve year old body. This news would change my future career forever. My life at the time revolved around gymnastics; the sport that turned my dreams into reality. The doctor had x-rayed my back and diagnosed me with scoliosis, which is a lateral curvature of the spine. As a result, one of my legs was longer than the other and the doctors said that if I were to keep spinning and flipping, my back would only worsen, and suggested I not do so. Although their suggestions usually didn’t hinder me from doing what I wanted, I would occasionally have back aches. Now fast forward ten years…
Last Saturday we met a man named Mark Marx who is teaching us to pray for the sick and disabled as Jesus prayed for them. He called me out to the middle of the floor and had my team circle around me. They prayed that my left leg would lengthen and be the same size as my right leg. As they prayed, I felt an extension in my knee! I watched as my left leg grew. I know some of you won’t believe this, but I can only tell you what I felt and what I saw with my own eyes. And Praise the Lord almighty, for His love endures forever! My team then placed their hands on my back, praying that my back would align and the scoliosis would be gone.
As sure as the reality of my fingers touching the keyboard, I felt my spine being moved! My spine has been curved to the right, and I felt it being pulled towards the left. Straightening! It was obeying its Creator! There was not a doubt in my mind as to what had occurred. Jesus made my back straight!!!! I give all the praise and glory to God! He is so good! As Amy Grant would say “I can’t explain it any other way, but God, truly God, truly God.” There is a physical Therapist assistant and another nurse on our team who also verified that the alignment was straight. I wish I could show you the huge smile on my face as I type this! God is so good and His love endures forever! I was covered by His love tonight!
And just to add the cherry on top, my computer has had a virus since Thursday and has not been turning on except to show “the blue screen of death”. I figured if God could heal bodies… He could heal computers too! I prayed and had my team pray as well. The guy who was going to fix it, Brian, turned it on and simply said, “Danielle, your prayers were answered.” There was nothing wrong with it! I am here to testify that God answers prayers my friend. There is no doubting it!
Whether it is fixing a crooked spine, or turning on a computer that wouldn’t work, there is nothing He can’t do! I wish I could tell you each this story face to face and let you feel my back! God is so good and I am so overwhelmed by His love! He loves you just the same my friend, with such unspeakable love! These stories aren’t even scratching the surface! My challenge to you is to keep your eyes open and allow Him to pour His love out on your life! He has so much for you!
I love this testimony. If you don’t know this God of miracles, aren’t you tired of living a faith that feels impotent? God hasn’t stopped doing the miracles that Jesus taught his disciples to do. He sent them out to drive out evil spirits, raise the dead, and heal every disease. And when he proclaimed, “You’ll do even greater things than these,” he wasn’t speaking metaphorically. Today he’s still sending us out that way. Ask the Lord to introduce you to a life of greater power and he will.