Tuesday, 13 April 2010


So, I'm fortunate enough to have an en-suite room at uni, with an amazing shower. It's not powerful- it leaves shampoo in your hair even after rinsing it for ages. But what I like most is having a good old free sing in there, my little room that I can pretend is sound proof. I write lots of lyrics in the shower, and worship without reservation. This can only be good.

Anyway, in the shower this morning, God spoke to me, which is always great. He challenged me to think through the miracles I know Jesus to have done, which obviously is a few in the gospels probably adding up to about 10 days out of 3 years of ministry. I know so little. He's done a lot. He's still doing them today. Anyway, I was thinking about a friend I talk about this kind of stuff with, who is cynical about God healing when medicine could do the trick. Or about God doing smaller stuff, like caring about study grades or providing opportunities to reduce spending at the store by placing offers ahead. This does sound silly in some ways. But I was pondering, and have decided that God's really big. Like, ridiculously, and He's more powerful than I know. Not only that, that's not good enough, He's not more powerful than I know, He's perfectly powerful. There isn't any hint of a lack of power in Him. He can do literally anything. This means that He has the perfect perspective. Whereas we see things in this hierarchy of importance, God doesn't need to.

At New Wine, I'm always knocked off my feet by the faith of the kids I work with. It's so humbling. Indescribably so, it's such an honour and blessing. I see why Jesus loved children and said we should have faith like them. It's honest and innocent, untainted by cynicism that experience pretends to demand in us. Verrucas are not glamorous, but when you see 8 year olds gathered around shouting because they've just seen some disappear on a friend they're praying for, it makes you think. They don't see their problems as too small for God. They pray with such such passion for a sore throat to be taken away, and would pray with that same passion to see someone raised from the dead. Because they haven't been told that God's not as big as they think yet. He can do it. They ask. And they receive!

Jesus knows how we think. Look at Mark, when He forgives the sins of the paralytic man and nobody believes He could possibly do that. So He heals the man physically too, because if He has the power to do one, He has the power to do another. How often do we doubt God's power? Sorry, do I doubt God's power? I don't honestly even know if that's the problem. I think I know God can do anything. After all, He forgave all the rubbish I do, which is no mean feat. And He has defeated death. And He has healed. And He has calmed storms just by telling them to "be quiet". I believe all this. I think the problem is that we question whether He wants to do these things for us now.

There isn't one occasion (as far as I know) in the gospels of Jesus refusing or failing to heal somebody (excepting Jairus' daughter...who He does then raise from the dead so I think can be let off). Jesus was filled with compassion. His life and His death screamed it. Look at God, look at His character, and it's constantly one that loves His people with unquenchable love. He sent His son to die a terrible death for us, so that we could know Him. Why, oh why, would He do that if He didn't love us? There's no question. So, when we go to pray for stuff, I'd like to remember more how much He's given us already. He's generous. And if He can do all of that, healing a burnt finger or caring about how we feel, is not outrageous, except for the fact that He's ridiculously good.

I think in my mind I have this list of things that God can do, with the hardest at the top and the little things at the bottom.
  1. Forgive the whole world [including me]
  2. Resurrect people
  3. Remove someone's cancer
  4. Keep a car running on £5 worth of petrol for 9 months
  5. Make me bump into someone beautiful on the way to a lecture when I feel rubbish
  6. That top you can't justify buying in Whistles for £30 being in Oxfam for £3
  7. Get rid of a toothache
Slightly silly. But also slightly true.

But considering that God is all powerful and can thus do anything with no variation of effort (I sometimes imagine He's got a certain amount of miracle power each day or something, and has to allocate it accordingly), He has no reason for a list like this. As far as He's concerned, we're either asking for His help or we're not. We're either opening our lives to His incredible love and power, or we're not. Why live with this hierarchy, choosing to try and battle all those below number 3 on our own, when we've got a God who died on a cross just so that we could live in the fulness of life that relationship with Him allows? I don't think He would then go for the showy miracles, like some A-list celebrity who only does the prestigious chat shows. He will raise from the dead and He will make the sun shine on a lake just as you look at it because He knows it makes you smile and think of Him.

Having said all of this, case in point, I think I need to ask more. I know I need to pray more. I know there's a whole incredible inheritance that I'm not claiming right now. And I know God's dying to show His powerful love in this world through the big and the small.

There is the question, then, of why prayers for healing aren't granted. People ask me why He answers some prayers and not others. I believe He answers all, "yes", "no" or "wait". I don't know why some people are healed and others aren't, why some are raised from the dead and others aren't, why some people feel despair and never get out of it, why situations don't always get better as soon as we start praying. I just don't know. I do know that God has a plan, and it is perfect, and in all these situations, He is in control, knows what He's doing more than we could, is just, and He works them for good. It's our job to ask, and trust, and listen.

This is really long! I'm so sorry. I was just thinking.

I've just watched a video about Haiti, one of the poorest, most devastated nations. About how in February this year, amidst the rubble and starvation and death, the president called for 3 days of fasting and prayer, and the people came and cried out to God. How amazing is that? Such hope. Apparently there were 3000 recorded cases of people giving their lives to Christ in those 3 days. And 101 of them were voodoo priests previously.

And earlier (this does not flow) I went for a run. I got lost. I ended up running through a bad area, with lots of sirens. It was dark. I didn't want to go back through that area, so I kept going, and then the pavement disappeared and I was in pitch black woods. Then I got really scared (I am scared of woods at night) and I jumped out of the woods (about 5 metres above the road) into a main road, and sprinted across 4 lanes of traffic to get away from them. Scarier areas followed. I cried. I prayed lots. And I realised that with all of the stupid things I do in my life, I should, by rights, have died about 15 times over. But I haven't, which means there is still more for me to do. So I'm going to go and get on with it.

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