JESUS IS STILL ALIVE THIS EASTER
POST 14 — JESUS STILL ORCHESTRATES HIS MINISTRY
In these posts, we have seen lots of things Jesus is doing on Earth in modern times, but we haven’t yet pondered situations where he combines a variety of these to achieve a given purpose. Jesus does not intervene to show off his deity, he is not involved with displays of his powers. Instead, his direct involvement is almost always to achieve a desired outcome involving a person or group of people. For example, in the previous post we heard of situations of Jesus guiding the supernatural “gift of knowledge” alongside physical healings in some lives. In this post, we will look at some of these “big picture” involvements of Jesus.
Of course, the overarching question that leads into the bigger picture is “what is Jesus’ main game”? That is a central theme in my upcoming book “God’s Creativity — And You” and is too vast a topic to tackle in short posts. But rest assured, the reasons and mysteries of what Jesus does or does not do are centred in a very big picture, which he is controlling.
To continue on the level of the smaller scale: here are the comments of Alastair Geddes, a tall ex-policeman, about his experiences as a pastor being led by Jesus step-by-step. He tries to listen at one and the same time both to people in need and to inner spiritual promptings guided by Jesus:
Hardly a day goes by when I am not involved in counselling. Many have found Christ’s salvation in our offices, many have been “filled with the Holy Spirit”, many have had deliverance and healing from physical ailments, relationships restored and marriages healed. On many occasions, the Lord has given me a “word of knowledge” as I have ministered to strangers, and Christ has shown me things about them known only to themselves. The gifts of “prophecy”, “speaking in tongues” and “interpretation of tongues” have also been bestowed on me.
Alastair is quick to point out that none of these supernatural giftings are any credit to himself, he is simply a vessel putting himself in the hands of Jesus as he tries to serve his Master. He mentions above a number of supernatural gifts for ministry that I have put in quotation marks, each of which is guided by Jesus and deserves a post of its own — perhaps to come later on. Right now, I want to give one detailed example to illustrate how Jesus can cut through the complexities of real situations in our lives and still get the job done. It involved a close friend of ours over many years, Pam Marson.
Pam was plagued by an uncomfortable condition that had unpleasant symptoms, both physically and socially. One major surgical operation had failed and she was due to go under the knife again the following Friday when she asked an elder in her church, Dr Rikki Decker, to pray for her healing. Rikki was a Chemistry lecturer and researcher at the local university, which at that time was a College of the prestigious University of London. Rikki told Pam that while he was praying, he felt a strong impulse to tell Pam that Jesus had in fact healed her.
Pam was delighted, but soon discovered her symptoms had not disappeared. She became very confused by this, and wondered whether she had been healed at all?
Remember how I mentioned previously that many works of Jesus are first tested before they become established, and that there is much to learn during these times of testing. Well, in Pam’s case her symptoms became far worse.
Then, out of the blue, a second new gynaecological condition presented itself! Her specialist arranged an urgent examination for Pam by a gynaecologist, expecting Pam to need a second operation.
It was the gynaecologist’s turn to be confused. He said that in his opinion, neither operation was warranted! He could not be sure, however, as that would require an investigation under anaesthetic, which he not been able to do. His opinion nevertheless held out the first glimmer of hope for Pam, that perhaps she had been healed by Jesus after all!
The confusing thing is that the worsening symptoms persisted.
What should she do in the short time she had left before the major operation? Pam wondered whether she should discuss her confusion with her specialist who was due to operate that Friday, but naturally she was embarrassed to do so.
She left it to the Thursday afternoon, her bags packed and en route to hospital, before fronting up to the specialist. Poor Pam! Imagine trying to explain to a medical specialist that, despite the symptoms worsening, and new ones appearing, she supposed she might have been healed by Jesus. She requested that he conduct a further examination under anaesthetic just before operating.
The next surprise in this saga was the specialist’s response. “I don’t operate on well people,” he told her. “I can postpone the operation until next Tuesday. Over the weekend, take vigorous exercise and test your condition thoroughly. If your symptoms persist, we should go ahead with the operation to fix the symptoms, regardless of whether you believe you have been healed or not.”
My wife Brenda had been driving Pam to hospital. She and Pam were both thoroughly perplexed by the situation.
“My pastor, Bill Anstruther, is very wise,” Brenda told Pam. “He lives nearby. Let’s check if he can see us and advise you what to do.”
Pastor Bill listened thoughtfully. The issue, he told them, was the symptoms. He suggested they should pray specifically for Jesus to remove those confusing symptoms! This they then did.
Pam spent the weekend with her friends, the Tracey family, on their farm. She put her conditions through a very vigorous testing regime, taking long walks and doing exercises she had not been able to do for years because of her condition.
There was no doubt about it! She had been totally miraculously healed!
Some humorous events followed her return home. She had to phone friends and relatives to explain in conversations that went something like this:
“Thank you so much for the flowers. Actually, I am not telephoning from the hospital. I am not going to be operated on at all. It’s hard to explain, but it’s because I have been miraculously healed by Jesus Christ… Yes, I can assure you that it came as a bit of a shock to me too…”
I checked with Pam some years later. Those pesky symptoms never returned.