Kids, don’t try this at home
My little brother urged me to try out his new skateboard. I was wearing some light weight sandals that day, and knew I should have proper shoes on to try it out, but jumped on the board anyway. Within 15 seconds I rolled my left foot under the skateboard as I fell, the sandals offering no support, snapping the three outside metatarsal bones. The metatarsal bones are the ones that run across the top of your foot from your toes towards your ankle.
A trip to the hospital confirmed it, and surgery that night put them back in place. I awoke with a cast that allowed my toes to peer out from under the plaster on one end, and ran all the way up to just below my knee on the other end. The doctor said 6 weeks at least to heal, which meant there went my summer job as a Camp Counselor at Camp Tycony!
Hope is born
But I also knew the noted husband and wife team of Charles & Frances Hunter, who were known for their healing ministry, were going to be in town later that week. I had ushered for them the year before, and I told my mom I was going to be healed at their meetings. This was in the heady days of the Charismatic Renewal, when even denominational churches were opening their doors to people like Charles & Francis, and asking such revolutionary things like ‘Is it OK to have a guitar in the church sanctuary?’
Charles and Frances were ministering at a big Methodist church, and the place was packed. I hobbled around on cast and crutches, waiting eagerly for a word from one of them about ‘Someone here has a broken foot, and the Lord is healing it…’ But no such word came. With each word I thought my turn would be next – ‘A sinus condition’, ‘a back condition’, ‘a heart ailment’, but no ‘broken foot’ word.
I knew the scripture ‘with whose stripes you were healed’ from I Peter 2:24 – I knew that I knew that was true. It was revelation to me, for me. It was only a matter of how my healing was going to come to pass. I thought I knew – Charles or Francis would have a word for me! I could see it so real in my mind!
I thought I was in faith – I was eagerly expecting a favorable outcome – thinking that was faith. I was ‘up’ emotionally, so I thought my faith was ‘up’. Outwardly I tried to appear relaxed, but inwardly I was like a puppy begging for someone show him a little attention – ‘Come on Lord! Don’t you see me over here?! Just a word to Charles or Francis – just have them call me up and I know I’ll be healed!”
Hold that thought
Abraham was childless, and at the point we pick up his story, he is in his 80′s. Genesis 15:1-6 is where the Lord appears to Abraham and he first believed the Lord’s promise to him, that he would become the father of a great nation with offspring as many as the stars in the night sky.
Verses 4-5 say the Lord appeared to him and ‘brought him forth abroad’ in the King James Version. Most other translations say something like the Lord took him outside the tent to show him the stars.
But years ago I heard a Rabbi teach ‘brought him forth abroad’, (what he was taught in Rabbinical school), meant the Lord brought Abraham out into space by the Spirit, to see all the universe, and from that said “Look now at the stars and see if you are able to count them. So shall your seed be!”
What is clear, whether outside his tent or in space, is that the Lord gave Abraham a picture on which to base his hope. Abraham didn’t create the picture himself, as I did when I was thinking about HOW the Lord was going to heal me. Abraham allowed the Lord to give him the picture rather than him trying to imagine how the Lord would do it.
Back to John’s foot
But no word from Charles or Francis came that night. Very disappointed after the service, my last hope was the ‘prayer room’, which made me feel like a piece of unwanted leftover meat still sitting on the platter after everyone else had their fill – “For anyone else who did not get a word or wants prayer, come to the side room and we’ll pray for you.” So I went.
I just knew if Charles or Francis laid hands on me, I’d be healed. My ‘faith’ was really hope, picturing how I thought God would heal me. OK, the answer isn’t behind door #1, a word from Charles & Francis in the service, so let’s try door #2, the prayer room!
I said to myself that it didn’t matter if it was in front of everyone, that was pride and I repented when I saw that ugly thing in me, so I said “OK Father, a side room is fine, they can lay hands on me and I’ll still be healed.” (Wasn’t I in faith?)
About a dozen of us lined up, and to my horror, Charles & Francis were no where around. The ones praying for people was the band that traveled with them, “The Amigo’s”!!!!
An “Amigo” laid hands on my head and said a short prayer before I could even register my disappointment or ask where Charles & Francis were, and I felt no difference in my foot.
The pivot point – where hope became faith
As I hobbled away on crutches, I said “OK Father, so what if it wasn’t Charles & Francis, they aren’t the healers anyway, you are. The Amigo’s aren’t the healers. You are. So that’s OK. That means their prayer is as good as Charles & Francis, since you’re the healer, so that’s fine.”
I remember distinctly the moment I would either receive or not receive that night, though at the time I didn’t know my healing hung in the balance. I thought of going home, but I also thought of hanging around and just spending time thanking the Father and Lord for healing me. It was a pivotal moment.
God’s picture, not Abraham’s
Notice the sequence of events: 1) Abraham received a promise from the Lord, that he would have an heir of his own flesh and blood, and then 2) a picture to reinforce that promise, of the stars in the sky. That meant that every night as he wandered the landscape, every time he looked to the night sky, he had a visual reminder on which to base his hope – not faith – not yet!
God had given him that picture, he had not thought it up himself. He didn’t get a ‘word’ from the Lord and then try to figure out how the word would come to pass, building up that image in his mind and intertwining his emotional well being in this man-made picture. He let the Lord give him the picture.
Hope – seeing the stars was of the soul realm. It stirred hope within Abraham. He now had a promise and a visual aide that he might attain that ‘confident expectation’ of the soul. He had no idea HOW it was going to happen, just that the Lord had appeared to him as the Word of the Lord, given him a promise, and given him a visual aide. (Ror more on this you may be interested in my cd/mp3 series “I AM; Who Jesus Is and Where He Came From).
How I got healed
Internally I switched my ‘faith’, actually hope, from being called up in front during the service, then to the prayer room, then to it not mattering if it was Charles & Francis or a band member, to finally it didn’t matter because the Lord was the healer!
In my mind, my hope, my anchor of my soul, I switched from picturing being healed in the service, to the Lord healing me. I didn’t picture or visualize Jesus, I just turned my attention away from man, letting those options and images dissolve, and started to just concentrate on knowing the Father and Lord. Only.
I chose to hang around the now empty church, walking slowly back and forth across the back of the sanctuary on my crutches, concentrating on worship and the giving of thanks for my healing. I had to stir myself to find a reason to give thanks. I thanked Him for the Hunters, for the Amigo’s, for the fact that ‘by His stripes I was healed’ from I Peter 2:24.
Soon my thanksgiving changed into pure worship. I was worshiping the Father and Lord for just being them. Out of love, out of thanks for life, for the privilege of being able to be there that night, but mostly just loving on the Father and Lord. One time across the church. Back the other way. A third time. By the fourth time across I was just caught up in worship, hardly knowing or caring where I was, with my initial reason for worshiping, my healing, no longer my motive nor even in my thoughts! – I was just loving on the Father!
I remember it clearly. It was part way onto my 5th trip across the back of the church when I was jarred out of worship, my attention arrested by the intense heat on my foot. I looked down at the cast, and saw nothing. But a pin prick of heat without pain was piercing the area on the top of my foot right where the metatarsal bones were.
Suddenly I saw it – my eyes opened to the Spirit realm – a dot of light that expanded within 3 seconds to be about the size of a lemon, stay that size for 3 more seconds or so, then gradually shrink down to nothing, and was gone. I looked at my toes, and they were no longer purple. Just 72 hours earlier I’d been in surgery, but now my toes were normal color, and I could wiggle them inside that tightly fitting cast!
I was thrilled and started thanking and worshiping all over again, and drove quickly home. I told my mom what had happened, and though a believer, was rather skeptical. Barb and I were dating by that time, and her brother was an orthopedic surgeon. So the next afternoon I had him look at my foot, and he didn’t believe I had broken the bones, for to him it appeared a normal foot was in that cast. That was enough for me!
I went home, filled the bathtub, got a big knife out of the kitchen drawer, and soaked and sawed and cut that plaster cast off. My mom was terrified! I told her I was healed, and not to worry. My foot was indeed normal, and I went back to work the next day. Camp Tycony here I come!
What made the difference? I believed in hope. And that’s where we’ll pick up next week.