This Sunday we gathered to call upon the name of the Lord to bring healing, his peace (wholeness), into our lives. You can read about it here. Thirty-nine people (representing thirty-one families) came to the elders to receive prayer and anointing. Garrett Laubscher, our family minister, offers this reflection on an encounter with God that came through the faith of a precious child. Please take the time to read it. May your heart be stirred.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to join with individuals and families in calling on Yahweh Rophe–the Lord who heals. It was a humbling experience to join others in their suffering and to seek our Healer together. I entered in to this Healing Sunday with some expectations and preconceived ideas about how it would be, what i would do, and how God might move, but as usual God shattered my expectations.
Now, I went into this experience praying that I would be able to show God’s love to those who came forward for prayer, that I could be a representative for Jesus, leading them as together we went to our Healer. But as I was seeking to bear witness to Jesus for them, they were bearing witness to Jesus for me. Jesus was present to teach me and he made his presence known through the heart of a child. I was blown away by Jesus once again because of His heart for children, and His ability to teach me through children.
This child came forward for prayer with her mother. She squirmed in their seat as she looked at me with bright eyes and said, “Will you pray for my friend? He’s been so mean to me, and I don’t know why.”
So the protective parent in me wanted to talk to this mean kid, and his parents, probably in a ‘mean’ tone with some ‘mean’ things to say. I’m sure I could make this meanness stop. But there was this beauty in her heart–a sincerity, and a humble posture– something pure that made me pause. She didn’t just want the meanness to stop, she wanted wholeness for someone treating her less like a friend and more like what we might call, an enemy.
My first thoughts of more ‘meanness’ to make this meanness stop were not her first thoughts, or something she ever thought. She simply ‘didn’t know why.’ Why are people mean to each other? Why are some people our enemy? Why can’t we all love each other? And in that moment I didn’t know why either- in that moment I forgot all of the reasons why we hate, or participate in violence, or treat people like products, or seek revenge, or are controlled by fear, greed, and selfishness–I forgot why we are mean.
She didn’t say enemy, she (prophetically) said friend. My cynical mind immediately thought ‘frenemy’ at best, but she probably meant enemy. Or maybe she doesn’t even know what ‘enemy’ means, or maybe she can’t fathom the idea of calling a fellow child (human) an enemy, or maybe she knows everything there is to know about following Jesus. Because what she revealed to me is a glimpse into the Kingdom of God, a snapshot of what the good news looks like that says God is making right what has been made wrong through the reign of sin and death. When that good news, that kingdom, comes fully, we won’t know what ‘enemy’ means, only that there was once an enemy (not human, not flesh and blood) who has already been defeated. Those we call enemies are seeking wholeness (like us) in all of the wrong ways, and we know the only One that will actually make them whole. The healing and wholeness that Jesus offers can make friends out of enemies. Jesus even gives us instructions on how to make this a reality, instructions this child seems to be following better than most of us.
“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus also said to welcome the kingdom of God like a little child, maybe a like little child who comes forward for prayer from the Shepherds (elders) of the church, one who says ‘friend’ when we assume ‘enemy.’ Maybe we are to welcome God’s kingdom into our lives like this little one who wanted wholeness for her enemy–for this enemy to come to know Love, that they might discover they were created to be loved, and to love.
Some people were even bringing infants to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~ Luke 18:15-17