By O’Ceallaigh –
In preparation I worked on the theme of “Memories” and introduced the speech with the words of the old song, “Moments to Remember. Working from there we were able to bring a spiritual emphasis by expanding the idea and recalling various occasions during our collective years at this Christian Boarding School that changed many lives. The Spirit of God was obviously present because I am not, and WAS not capable of presenting such an august sermon without His prompting and certain assistance.
We ended the service with “Faith of our Fathers” and then the personnel active on the rostrum exited and marched down the center aisle to the sound of the organ’s bombastic recessional to greet all 500 of the attendees, maybe more, maybe less.
In the aisle, about half way to the double exit doors was a young lady, perhaps in her early twenties, seated in a wheel chair and obviously mobility impaired. By her appearance, she was probably afflicted with severe Cerebral Palsy, unable to serve herself in the least manner. She was simply there, scrunched down in her chair with her head tilted off to the right and resting on her shoulder.
As I walked nearer, that little inner voice said to me, “Just Touch Her!”
Our eyes met, and I walked on by. “That voice couldn’t have meant me,” I thought, “I don’t have the ‘Gift of Healing!’” It must have been intended for someone else. Yet, I was troubled. What if He was talking to me? What if…!
I have always wondered what would have happened if I had obeyed that voice, that impulse, to reach out and Just Touch Her! I have thought of the woman who reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. What if she had said to herself, “It wouldn’t do any good! I’ve been sick for twelve years!! I’ll just have to live with it.”
But, no! She reached out in faith and immediately she was healed of her malady. The degree of her sickness was never a factor. Just as the degree of sickness was not a factor with the man who had been paralyzed from birth! The apostle Peter simply said to him, “Silver and Gold have I none…Get up and walk!”
Not only did he walk, but he ran and jumped!
Now he had never learned to walk, yet when he was healed, the scope of healing extended to his brain that now had the ability to maintain balance and to coordinate the muscles, nerves and sinews so that he could function perfectly. That demonstrated “apparent age.” This is a creative phenomenon available only from God.
I could have stopped – momentarily – and reached out to this young woman and Just Touch her! But I didn’t.
I’ve thought for years that I was the only one who was too chicken to try! What if it fails? I thought I was the only one who didn’t have the faith to believe that God would speak to me, or work through me!
Just a few days ago, I was watching an interview at a prominent university with Pastor Wintley Phipps and Admiral Barry Black, Chaplin of the U.S. Senate, being interviewed.
Admiral Black told of an occasion in the senate halls when a staffer passed by him and asked him to pray for her. She had suffered a bad sprain to her ankle and was barely able to get around on crutches. He simply assured her that he would pray for her. A few steps down the hall she met another pastor from somewhere in Georgia, or other southern state and asked him the same thing.
This pastor turned to her and said something like, “Well now, we can’t have one of God’s children hobbling about in pain!” and he prayed for her, rebuking the pain and the injury, laying his hands on her, right there in the halls of the senate.
She left him with her crutches under her arm and hardly limping! In the following days she was carrying on with her work as though nothing had happened.
Dr. Barry Black went to God questioning what had happened and he said in the interview, “The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, ‘I WANTED to do this through YOU!’ but I had to use the next best thing, someone who had the faith needed to allow Me to work!”
Black admits that he has felt essentially the same way I have felt for nearly 20 years.
Lord, increase our faith!
Why are we so reluctant to believe that He will use us? Even if we have a minimal amount of faith, if there is such a thing as “minimal Faith?’
Perhaps that’s our issue. We take Jesus literally when He said, “O, ye of little faith.” Maybe faith is faith; qualitatively and not quantitatively.
Pastor Ryan brought this all back to mind last week when he gave us all a little study on Jesus and the man who was crippled for 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda.
Jesus said, “Do you want to be made whole?”
“Well, duh,” the man might have said, “Why do you think I come to this smelly pool everyday waiting for the water to move!?”
On the authoritative voice of Jesus, the man immediately rose from his bed of 38 years and walked, carrying his bedroll.
He did it, without question or hesitation. Not at all concerned about appearances or failure.
Since 1998, I have never heard that little voice speak to me in such a situation. But if I ever do, I will –
-Just Touch Her!
Beyond that, whatever happens is God’s business!