Hope continued: Remember the week of August 6th
I'd been sharing how Hebrews 6:19-20 says hope is an anchor of the soul. It is commonly mistaken for faith, but it is not. Hope is of the soul, and anchors us in life - Hope is a 'confidence of an expected end'. I also shared in the first of this series how the Lord visited me and taught me how people think in pictures.
In #1 of this series I shared how the Lord showed Abraham all the stars and told him if he could count them, that's how many his offspring would be. I shared how I was healed after breaking 3 bones in my left foot; how I went from hope that I thought was faith, to genuine faith.
She was our oldest son's teacher's aide.
A married mother of 3, we heard about her brain cancer some weeks after the diagnosis. By that time she was bedfast in the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, which was a 45 minute drive from where we lived outside of Boulder.
I went to the hospital. Laying on an air bed due to bed sores, she was very weak. I shared how God heals today, something she didn't know about, though she knew the Lord. In her church healing wasn't discussed, so this was all new to her.
There was no hope for her healing. The tumor was in the middle of her brain, about the size of her fist. Because of the location, an operation could only get part of it, and they said it would only come back.
Hope comes alive
When I shared that Jesus still heals today, it was the first positive thing anyone had told her in weeks. She listened carefully as I shared what the Lord had taught me about cancer and things 'with a life of their own'. He had told me that as the fig tree of Mark 11 died from the roots up when he commanded, so too could I (we) take authority over 'things with a life of their own'.
He explained to me, and now I to her, how cancer, infection, viruses and such have a life of their own, and that life is death, which can be commanded to die. We had used that instruction for several years already on ourselves and our young children at that point, commanding fevers, colds, and illnesses to die and their bodies to be healed. Sometimes the effect was immediate, sometimes within 24-48 hours, but always whatever the illness, the effect was at the least lessened greatly. (My cd/MP3 series "Healing School" and "The Most Important Truth the Lord has Taught Me about Healing" may be of interest for some)
Believe in hope
She was amazed at the possibility that she might be healed. But I refused to pray with her right then. I taught her, gave her a cassette tape (this was 1985) of healing scriptures, and a Bible and asked her to read Mark 11 and every example of healing in the New Testament, and I'd be back in about a week. I wanted her to read, think on healing, and give her time to allow the Lord to give her revelation about her healing.
Romans 4:18 says this of Abraham; "Against all hope, believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, 'so shall your seed be'".
Notice the sequence: 1) The Lord made a promise to Abraham. 2) The promise produced hope in Abraham. 3) Abraham believed the hope.
Though we are talking about #2 and #3 in this sequence, I need to take a little 'rabbit trail' at #1 - Abraham received a promise from God. Many, many people try to have faith, believe God for healing, finances, or whatever, without ever actually spending the time in His presence to receive a promise first.
Many think they just have to pick a chapter and verse to stand on, make it their own, and then stand. The reasoning is that we have the written Word of God, which is revelation, so that's all we need. Just pick a verse. If there were true, just reading the Bible would get people saved because revelation would just flow out. But the truth is, we each must have a personal revelation in order for hope and faith to arise.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:17-18 that the revelation that He is Christ, the Son of the Living God, is a revelation from the Father, and the whole of the church is founded upon that rock of revelation. He said that against that revelation the gates of hell cannot stand. (Peter is not the rock. Jesus here calls him a merely a 'small stone' - Petros. But of the rock of revelation the church is founded upon, Jesus uses the word 'Petra' - a massive rock like a mountain)
Revelation is the way the body of Christ operates, starting with that first revelation from heaven; Jesus is Lord. That's why I didn't pray for the woman with the brain cancer right away - she had no revelation so I knew my prayers would do nothing. Abraham couldn't just desire a son, then decide he was going to pick something to stand on and believe his son into existence. He had to get a revelation from the Lord first.
If you read the gospel accounts of healing, many times Jesus told people 'Your faith has made you whole'. In those instances, it is plain to see each person had a revelation about who Jesus was, and what He would do for them. (Again 'Healing School' and also 'Through Jewish Eyes' cd/mp3 has more on this)
How did my foot get healed? I knew by fresh revelation that I Peter 2:24 was for me and my foot. Not mental acknowledgement of a truth, but I had spent time in the hospital worshipping, thinking, receiving that revelation and knew it was for me. That is why I had hope. The promise to Abraham was why he had hope.
Thus my first recommendation for anyone 'standing', is to go back to square one. Go back to the last thing you know that you know God spoke to you or showed you, or in the Word, relating to your situation. If you have been 'standing' without such revelation, spend time in the Word, in prayer, in worship especially, and wait before the Lord for revelation that He wants to heal you, wants to provide for your needs, whatever the case - get the revelation first, and then that produces hope. End of rabbit trail.
How Abraham went from hope to faith
How did Abraham 'believe in hope'? Verse 19 of Romans 4 goes on to say; "He did not weaken in faith when he considered the (utter) impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about 100 years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's own body." (Amplified Version)
Notice he did consider the natural conditions of his and Sarah's bodies. Faith is not the denying of, nor the refusal to deal with the natural circumstances. Faith does not call something that is, as though it is not.
The process of believing hope
Hebrews 11:13 describes how a person goes through the process of believing in hope. Speaking of the larger promise of heaven and God's kingdom, it says: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises. But (1) having seen them far off, and were (2) persuaded by them, and (3) embraced them, and (4) confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
When that revelation first comes - Abraham, I want to make a nation from you. Or to a lady stricken with cancer - 'By whose stripes you were healed' is for you - it is 'far off'. We receive the revelation. We see the promise. It's a possibility - it is far off. But then it says they were 'persuaded by them'. Persuaded by the promises God gave them. That is why I left the healing scriptures with the lady with cancer and gave her that 'homework' of reading about Jesus healing people in the Gospels.
Abraham went from receiving a promise, to that stunning visual aide of all the stars, to believing in that hope. The promise went from 'Really? For me?' to 'I believe'. From far away, to persuaded. Then it says they 'embraced them (the promises)' - making them their own, personal promises. But that came only after they had seen them far off, then been persuaded by them.
I returned to the hospital around noon, 5 days after first talking to our son's teacher to see if she had done her 'homework'. When I arrived she was very excited, though just 2 hours earlier, about 10am, they had done a CT that showed the tumor was still the size of her fist.
I asked her if she was ready for me to lay hands on her. She said she was. I asked if she knew what was going to happen to her when I did so, and she replied, "I'm going to be healed of course!" It was then that I knew she had done her homework, and that the Father had given her revelation that it was His will to heal her. She had first seen the promise far off which produced hope. Then as she listened and read about healing, revelation came and she was persuaded. Then she embraced the promise, making it her own.
I put my hands on her head, and we began to worship and give thanks for her healing. Then I commanded the cancer to die and wither away like the fig tree of Mark 11, and her body to be healed, and we returned to worship. The whole thing lasted maybe 3 minutes. I told her to continue to worship, and I left.
It was about 6 days before I could return to the hospital, and I discovered she had been moved to rehabilitation where they were helping her get on her feet again and strengthening her muscles. She said the day we had prayed at noon, they ran some more tests about 3pm, including another CT, though they had just run one at 10am. But the afternoon scan showed the tumor had mysteriously shrunk to less than the size of her little finger's fingernail somewhere between 10am and 3pm. She was so thrilled, and was soon discharged to continue to rebuild her strength, totally healed.
How do you or I receive that initial revelation and promise from the Lord for our situation? That's next week.