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01/18/14 Weekend Grif.Net – Testimony of Someone NOT Healed

01/18/14 Weekend Grif.Net – Testimony of Someone NOT Healed

Tim Challies shared his reflections on the “Strange Fire Conference” this
past fall.

John MacArthur opened the 2013 “Strange Fire” conference, and then, for the
second session introduced Joni Eareckson Tada as a friend and former member
of his church. She was at the conference to share her testimony of living as
a quadriplegic who has prayed for, but not received, a miraculous healing.
As MacArthur said in his closing comments, if anyone has the faith to be
healed, it must be her. In a sweet and spontaneous moment, Joni called
MacArthur to the stage and, hand-in-hand, the two sang a couple of stanzas
of “O Worship the King” together. I have been to a lot of different
conferences, but that will now rank as one of my all-time favorite moments.

Joni began by reading John 5, the story of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda
healing a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. She followed it
with her story of going to see Kathryn Kuhlman, hoping that she would be
healed and rise from her wheelchair. But Kuhlman did not heal her, and Joni
wondered who this God was who would deny her what she was sure she needed. A
bitter spirit began to take hold of her. If she couldn’t be healed, she
wanted to be left alone in her despair.

When she did turn to the Bible, she had a special interest in healing, but
soon saw that physical healing was not Jesus’ main interest; He was far more
concerned with spiritual health. She realized then that her interest in
Jesus had been more for what he might do to heal her body than for how she
might serve him. That is when she began searching for a deeper healing and
once she understood that healing, the Lord taught her that her disability
was a means through which God was causing her to grow in holiness.

She went on to speak of the chronic pain that lasted for many years and the
stage three cancer that followed it and expressed how she has learned to be
grateful for the suffering because of the way it keeps her longing for
Christ.

The suffering that results from sin in the world, God now uses to get rid of
sin. There is nothing sweeter than knowing the joy of the Lord Jesus in the
midst of suffering and all the while she holds on to the hope and the
confidence, that in heaven, the big deal won’t be getting a new body that
works, but a glorified heart that no longer twists truth, becomes anxious,
manipulates others, and all these other manifestations of sin.

Even today she often has well-meaning charismatic’s who come up to her and
pray for her healing. Though she never says no, she does always ask them to
pray for specific things and then highlights character issues. Will you pray
for my bad attitude? Will you pray for my grumbling? She means to show them
that she is far more concerned with indwelling, remaining sin than chronic
pain and legs that do not work.

She went on to describe a trip to Jerusalem and going to the very place
where Jesus had healed that paralyzed man so many years ago. And there, in a
moment alone, she found herself praying to God to thank Him for not healing
her, because a “no” answer to her requests for physical healing had purged
so much sin, selfishness, and bitterness. That “no” answer left her
depending more on God’s grace, has given her greater compassion for others,
has reduced complaining, has increased her faith, has given her greater hope
of heaven, and has caused her to love the Lord so much more. She sees the
joy of sharing in his suffering and would not trade it for any amount of
walking.

And she closed with this question: When you see yourself today, do you see
yourself waiting at the side of the pool of Bethesda? Are you wondering why
God hasn’t removed the disappointment and given healing when you’ve asked
for it. God may remove your suffering, but if not, He will use it to destroy
sin. This is the deepest healing, and you do not need to break your neck to
receive it.

And then, in classic Joni style, she led everyone in prayerfully singing the
hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.”

~~
Dr Bob Griffin
bob@grif.net www.grif.net
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”