I remember a girl being brought before our college chapel one day to be prayed over. She had been told she might have cancer and so the whole school lifted her up in prayer for healing, with hundreds of people putting their hands on the people in front of them. After that chapel service she went to the doctor and returned with bad news: She did, in fact, have cancer. But rather than fall into despair, the chaplain led us all to pray again.
The girl returned a week or two later with an update. She had gotten a full body scan and there was no trace of cancer! The whole school broke out with the loudest, longest applause and a standing ovation for God’s power!
My heart broke and my eyes began to tear up. Not only had I just witnessed a healing, but I also had the privilege of sharing the experience with hundreds of others who could testify that God still heals. And not only had we just witnessed a healing together, but it was a healing from cancer!—a disease that impacts the lives of nearly everyone in someway and has no ultimate or easy cure.
However, I didn’t sense that there was a big increase of Charismatic Christianity at our school after that day. This incredible testimony had become a fleeting moment amidst the busy lives of college students. This story could have changed us by the masses if we had let it. But for many, it seemed as though life moved on as usual.
This too, is the story of Israel. God proves to the masses that He can and will take care of them and yet they constantly find themselves in denial. When Moses sent a group of spies into Canaan, only two spies (Joshua and Caleb) returned believing God could give them the land as He had said He would. Everyone else didn’t believe it was possible despite all the signs and wonders that God had already done to prove His power—in fact, they were nearly ready to stone Joshua and Caleb for their faith in God (Num 14:5-10).
Joshua and Caleb were blessed by God for their faithfulness in this story while most of Israel suffered for their unfaithfulness. Joshua and Caleb had let the stories of Yahweh get under their skin and change the mentality of what He could do for them as they remained faithful to Him. The rest were more concerned about reality as it appeared through a natural lens and held God back with their unbelief.
I suggest we do the same all the time. Masses of people witness God do amazing things and then they walk out of the room and forget. They don’t let the stories of His power get under their skin and so their lives proceed as usual. This is an ancient story, but its repetition can be broken when the Church is finally ready to believe at large in what God can do in and through us. Are we ready?
This is a short, loosely edited section that I shaved off of my new book, The Rush and the Rest: The Supernatural World and Works of the Holy Spirit. Coming out very soon!