Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

By His Stripes We Are Healed

I attend a Pentecostal church. So everyone believes that miracles are still available for God’s people, most people speak in tongues (as in more than 95% of the congregation), and they all believe in diving healing.

Which makes me a little awkward. You see, I’m sick.

I’ve been sick all my life. Seriously, I sometimes joke that I had 7 near death experiences – and then I got born. Since being born, I’ve been hospitalised for asthma, had cancer, had chronic fatigue, every contagious childhood disease except mumps in spite of immunisation (whooping cough sucked), and a breast cancer scare. I’ve cut an artery. I apparently had 2 blood transfusions during my operation for cancer. When I had my wisdom teeth out, I had 3 allergic reactions, lost 10.5kg (going from 49kg to 38.5) in 3 days, and was hospitalised “dangerously dehydrated and malnourished”. (Joke: I’m never getting my wisdom teeth out again!)

Then I became a Christian.

Less than a year later I was hospitalised, initially with the doctors thinking that I had advanced meningitis, and that I was most likely going to die. Turns out it was “just” pneumonia. As can happen with pretty much anyone, and is more likely to happen with people who already have lung issues, I didn’t get properly better – my x-ray showed that I had lung damage, and that it was most likely to be permanent. So when I had asthma attacks all night I just chalked it up to pneumonia.

Eventually they got worse. They go so bad I was getting 3 hours of interrupted sleep a night – while working full time – for about 2 years. My iron levels plummeted, and I started having chest pains. After a barrage of medical tests I found out that dairy makes me stop breathing. I’ve probably always been mildly allergic to dairy, but having pneumonia really brought it out. Also turns out I’m coeliac, which is why my iron levels plummeted. I had to have an iron infusion after I collapsed and couldn’t walk for 3 hours. Try getting home by yourself when you can’t walk. Especially when there is a dead rat on the footpath. Not fun.

When I avoid all allergens, I am relatively healthy. But boy, does this cause issues.

Now, you see, I get the “Jesus died for our healing” every second week. He died so we could be fully healed of all of our diseases and live the victorious Christian life, without a day of sickness, etc, etc, etc.

Now, aside from the fact that I think that’s historically bogus, (St Paul appears to have had health issues, most likely with his eyes, and Timothy had stomach problems, and other great saints of the past have had a variety of health issues), quite frankly it annoys me.

Firstly, I AM HEALED. Jesus does not just heal people via miracles. Sometimes (often, these days) He uses doctors. It took several doctors to figure out what was wrong with me, and initially, I didn’t spend much time praying about it, because I just assumed that what I had would be easily figured out and fixed. As I said, it took about 2 years of doctors visits. But by the time of this specialist, I was spending a lot of time in prayer about this issue. Jesus healed me alright. He just used a doctor.

Secondly, my allergies do not bother me. They bother other people. I know them, I can cope with them just fine. But just because they bother you does not give you the right to tell me that I need to rely on the blood of Jesus to heal me of my diseases. And you definitely do not have to right to pray for me and then suggest that I go and drink a milkshake. Should you do so, I reserve the right to punch you repeatedly on the nose and then pray for your healing.

Thirdly, if you follow this argument theologically, you are going to run into trouble. What if I never get “healed” of my allergies? Does this mean I’m a bad Christian? Or a non-Christian? What about the people who prayed for me? Are they bad Christians, or non-Christians? What if they are leaders in our church?

And what happens when you get sick – really sick, not like a cold sick? What if you don’t get better in a few days, or weeks, or years, or ever? What if you are sick for the rest of your life? Will you still tell me that by His stripes we are healed, and that means that you aren’t really sick?

We are healed by Jesus. Sometimes that healing takes place physically in this life – sometimes even by miracle (and I have at least 2 miracle stories of my own, but I’m not sharing). But Jesus heals all who will come to Him of their greatest illness – the disease of sin, and that is the greatest miracle of all!

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