Healing for Your Body & Freedom for Your Soul
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to hear an amazing evangelist, named Dan Bohi, and his intercessory prayer warrior, named Craig Rench. These two men have been traveling the country conducting revivals, complete with physical healing, for at least the past decade, and my friend Shannon was adamant that I go with her to the weekend services. Craig just happened to be Shannon’s pastor as a kid, so her whole family was flying in to reconnect with him and to experience the power of God through he and Dan. I was excited to come along, and eagerly anticipated what a “healing” service might look like.
As the weekend revival grew closer, I had a deep sense within me that these services would be very important for me. I felt like I had to attend their services- not just for me, but also for my friend Ali. Ali was a very close friend of mine who had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. And when I heard that God was healing people through these men, I stopped at nothing to get her in front of them. I seriously pestered her for two weeks before she finally agreed to come with me.
The extreme effort and orchestration it took to get us both to go to this service reminds me of a story found in Mark chapter 2.
“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus said, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” Upon hearing that, I imagine the man’s friends probably thought, “What the nut…that’s it?! We carried our friend all this way and dug a hole in some guy’s roof only to hear that his sins are forgiven? He clearly can’t walk….now what?”
And we are just the same. We come to God with what we think we need, and Jesus first and foremost, says we need something deeper; something only He has the power to provide.
Jesus wasn’t overlooking the physical bondage that this man was enduring. He had a much bigger picture in store for him.
“6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
As the story in Mark suggests, without a question, the greatest miracle God can perform for any of us forgiveness. He does the hardest thing first. You see, when God brings salvation to a person, he cancels the curse of sin, reverses the effects of death, frees a captive from Satan, and secures the person forever in His heavenly kingdom. It requires more power and more sacrifice than anything else you can ask God to do. Why? Because it required the death of his Son. God parted the Red Sea, sent multiple plagues on the Egyptians, opened blind eyes, cast out demons, and even raised the dead, all without having to kill his own Son. But when it comes to the liberation of our souls and our eternal freedom, the death and resurrection of Jesus was required.
When we pray to a holy God and ask for forgiveness, we are asking Him to reverse the natural course of the law of sin and death. We’re asking God to forfeit justice and to grant mercy instead. We’re asking God to do something far beyond what any human can do, something far greater than any miracle in the Bible. And God’s answer every single time is always YES. (Will Davis Jr.)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God that brings SALVATION to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16
These words were originally written in Greek, and the word used for salvation in this verse is “soteria”. It means to be made well, to be forgiven, cleansed, delivered, healed, made whole and kept safe in that condition. That’s the kind of deliverance God provides to us. His forgiveness enables freedom for our souls and our bodies, and that is exactly what He offered to the paralyzed man in Mark 2.
“Jesus has set us free, not partially, but completely and wonderfully free.” Galatians 5:1 TPT
We all are in need of freedom for our souls and our bodies.
That night at the revival/healing service was a transformative experience for both Ali and I. The spiritual encounter that I felt completely changed the trajectory of my ministry; perhaps a story to be later told? And my sweet friend, Ali received “soteria” from the power of God.
She left with the words of Proverbs 3:5 written on a card and inscribed upon her heart.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
She also left with healing. She walked into that service with two large tumors on her liver and bone cancer riddled throughout her skeleton. Later that month, as she attended a biopsy appointment, three doctors searched unsuccessfully for over forty-five minutes to find her liver tumors. As they turned her this way and that, Ali blurted out, “Sorry boys, I’ve been healed.”
God saved her for more than that incidence of healing. God brought her to Himself and cultivated a relationship with her so that her life could have its fullest impact.
Ali lived for three more years after that, and the manner in which she lived still rocks me today. I treasure the days that I got to walk alongside of her. She blessed me far more than I could ever bless her, and she showed me what it looked like to believe these words:
“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NLT
He chases after us with our freedom. And when we let Him overcome us with His complete and wonderful power we will find abundant life.
“You belong to God from eternity to eternity. You were loved by God before you were born; you will be loved by God long after you die. Your human lifetime- long or short- is only a part of your total life in God. The length of time doesn’t matter. Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say to God: ‘I love you, too.’” – Henri Nouwen
Christ came to set the captives free- and His power is stronger than any yoke that can binds us. He came to bind up the broken hearted; His touch creates life and beauty from ashes. And He came to open the eyes of the blind, gifting us with spiritual eyes that see and ears that know the voice of the Shepherd.
How do you come to Jesus today?
Do you need healing?
Are there chains that need broken?
Do your dreams need to be reawakened, your hope revived, or your broken heart restored?
Draw near to God and look up. Shift your eyes off of your need and straight into the eyes of the One that delights to make you whole. Talk to Him, don’t hide your sorrow, shame or brokenness. Show him what He already sees and receive the very thing that you need from Him today.