By Emily Norris
As I said on my profile, I came to Christ at a young. But, as we all know, the initial approach is only a beginning. This seems like a good spot to share some of that growth. It's a bit of a long story. So, get a cup of tea, sit back, and relax.
Picture yourself with a massive jar of pennies. You want to know how much is in the jar and the only way to find out is by hand counting, one hundred pennies for every dollar. After a while your hands pick up the scent of the coins, a gross coppery smell. Now, picture that in your mouth. That's what blood tastes like.
When I was ten years old, I was playing with a jar of flour. I blew into it gently, visualizing it as fairy dust. My mouth filled with blood. I ran to the sink and began spitting it out. But it was gushing faster than I could spit. My sister saw the incident and ran for our mother. Thank God, she was a nurse and could contain the bleeding with thick wads of paper towel and pressure. She sat me down and said I needn't be afraid because Christ bled too. Once I calmed down we piled into the car and headed for the ER. But they could find nothing wrong and the bleeding had stopped. Though the evidence of it was all over my shirt. They sent us home.
Mom wasn't satisfied and who better to turn to than the creator of the human body? After some prayer, God told her to call my dentist. She explained what happened and they told her to bring me in if it happened again. A week later it did and we went to the dentist. Thank God, he referred us to an oral surgeon instead of making careless assumptions. The surgeon we saw was delighted because he had just put down the latest book on my condition that very day. Arterial Venus Malformation. I'll keep the explanation brief. It's an aneurism (an over sized blood vessel) in my right jaw. For over a decade after, we took six trips down to Boston and six hours back. Sometimes it was for surgery, other times it was just appointments for discussing procedures.
This was something I was born with and I knew the Lord had his reasons. But, I won't deny a hot vein of anger that surged. Why was I on this never ending carousel? Why was it this hard? What was this grander purpose behind my woes?
During one of my many times at Mass General hospital, we were in the waiting room when an older woman asked mom how the bedside cots were. It turns out, she and her daughter were seeing the same doctor for a similar issue. We were later placed in the same room. I was wearing an ice pack and felt the usual drowsiness. Yet, you can't imagine how hard it is to sleep on that hard mattress with the constant beeping of monitors. On top of that, you have a lovely nurse coming in every hour to say, "Can I check your vitals, honey?" Anyway, the older woman told her daughter that she was going down for coffee and the girl pleaded desperately, "No mom, please don't leave me alone." Instantly, my prayer was answered as I remembered a time when I was the one pleading for my mom not to go, even for just a minute. I felt moved to speak and called out to them on the other side of the curtain. "I know that this hard right now, but it'll be ok." I then told her about how the mouth is one of the spots in the body that heals fastest. Or something like that. Afterward, I sat back and just like the ripples on a lake, I could see a little of what my journey did for those around me. That girl was a little less scared. I remembered the doctor from Israel who thanked me for letting him examine my case and how helpful the information would be in his own country. There was one nurse who changed her entire career path based on my case. I remembered the cross made of popsicle sticks that I gave my doctor and how he said, "I could've used this three years ago."
Those were just the instances I knew about. What about all the others I didn't know about? How far did those ripples extend? What other shores did they touch? What would I lose if all of it had never happened?
I don't have all the answers, but I'm in touch with the one who does and, even when I don't comprehend, I can know that He is working. Some day, it'll be rolled out in full and I'll marvel at His wonders.
"Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live." Psalm 116:2
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Everywhere I turn I see a need for healing. Yet, when the word of God is presented, people get greatly offended, Matthew 11:6. There is a cause and effect for just about everything, Deuteronomy 28(!). When we sin and don’t repent of it, it will manifest itself physically over time, James 1:15. Hidden sin eats away at the person. For example hatred for another, cancer, bitterness, arthritis, anxiety (lack of peace) heart disease. This is the issue, dis-ease, i.e. not at peace. We’ve all been there. This is why James says to believe and confess, James 5:15-16. Believe what? All God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (Greek and Hebrew), 2 Corinthians 1:20. Confess what? Our sins, 1 John 1:9. First, we MUST MUST MUST understand Who God is. He is love, 1 John 4:8. Evil doesn't befall us because of Him, but because of our actions and stupidity, Deuteronomy 28. We are under His protection when we obey Him, Psalms 91.
The issue is the belief, not so much confession, but that’s equally as important. To believe something is to have a strong conviction about the subject. If I say “The sun will NOT rise tomorrow.” How many would have a strong conviction that my statement is true? No one. Yet, the word of God says someday it won’t, Isaiah 24:19-20. We live in a fallen world and all the information we gather is based on that fact. The truth is in the word of God which says we live in the shadow of the real, Hebrews 8:4; Colossians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 13:12. What is the real? The things not seen, the invisible, not the unknown, Hebrews 11:1
So, to quote Pilot, “What is truth?” John 18:38. Jesus and the word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit, John 16:13; 1 John 2:27. This question is linked to “What is faith?” Faith isn’t blind, Isaiah 1:18-20. The word faith doesn’t show up in the Hebrew Scriptures because it means actually “trust,” Habakkuk 2:4. In the Greek, it means to have a “strong conviction.”
Immovable Faith is:
• Faith is NOT blind
• Faith is NOT taking a leap into the unknown
• Faith has to do with the invisible not the unknown
○ Faith is seeing you pay your bills on time
○ Faith is seeing yourself healthy
○ Faith is seeing yourself full of energy at the end of the day
Faith is a strong conviction that the things we do not see (health and peace) are there, we just need to take it, Matthew 11:12; Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24. Faith is built up like anything else, Romans 10:17. If we are to be good a mathematics, we must work out the problems. The more we do the better we get. To run a marathon, we must build up our stamina, Romans 1:17. The issue with Christians is they want microwave Christianity. We find out we're sick and we want instant healing. If we have the faith, it’ll happen, if not, we need to build up that faith. To build up our faith is by hearing the word of God, Romans 10:17.
Every coach and motivational speaker has the proper understanding – see in our mind’s eye of being healthy. This isn’t easy believism, it’s changing our mind to execute what we believe based on the promises of God, Philippians 4:8-10. Imaging it helps us solidify the truth, Proverbs 23:7; Genesis 6:5. While the world says “Seeing is believing” in the scriptures is “believing is seeing.” If this were not so, the placebo effect would not be real. If you believe, you can change. This is based on the scriptures I’ve already posted above. But it’s also a choice. If we cannot get over the world view, we’ll never take by force the spiritual.
Miracles are not for the perfect, but for the believing, Matthew 9:29. Hope is confident expectation of good. If we maintain hope of being healed, we create the capacity to see the evidence that it's possible, Romans 5:2-5. If we confidently expect to prosper, our mind will begin to work in such a way that we will begin to see the evidence that it is indeed possible. But if we think we're going to fail, then we'll see all the evidence pointing to failing. The evidence is there that we're going to succeed, and the evidence is there that we're going to fail. Literally, the tongue holds life or death for the path we choose, Proverbs 18:21; 1 Peter 3:10. It is just that simple. Believe the evidence based on the word of God and the finished work of Jesus or not. Our choice is whichever evidence we recognize for the outcome we expect. It's not that the "other" evidence isn't there. If we're not alive to the evidence for sickness, then sickness withers up and dies. If we're not alive to destructive things they eventually become unrecognizable in our environment. It's not that they don't go away if just that they're not going to have an effect on us.
Remember something else about faith. Doubt is not the absence of faith. Doubt is the persuasion and deep belief in the evidence that is contrary to faith. Our problem isn't we don't have enough faith, our problem is our attention is on the evidence that proves it's not going to happen. When we have our attention on the evidence that says "I'm never going to get out of this," that's what doubt is. Faith is when we have our eyes on the evidence that says "I'm coming out of this!" This is how one becomes fully persuaded like Abraham, Romans 4:20-22.
Finally, faith is not blind. We need to gather evidence of things. The greatest misconception is "Just take it by faith - blindly". Isaiah says "Come let us reason together" which is what God wants to do and why we have 66 books in the scriptures written by 40 penmen over thousands of years. It's to prove God's work through His promises. When people say "take it by faith" they're saying "just take it without evidence." If God says we can reason (to prove, decide, judge, rebuke, reprove, correct, be right) about our salvation, we can reason about everything else - get the evidence. Faith is not blind. Faith is based on very specific evidence.
At Creation, God knew what He wanted and decided the outcome before He spoke anything. The process is understanding the desired outcome in your mind's eye, believing it in your heart and then speaking it into existence. We're made in God's image, and whatever we imagine, all things, if we believe, and ask for, it shall be given.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
The choice is ours to believe or not. Period. Any ifs, thans, or buts, are just us not believing the plainly written word of God, Galatians 3:7; 3:26; Hebrews 11.