Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Praying For A Miracle!

I am praying for a miracle.
I am hoping against hope.
I believe maybe foolishly that God’s power is greater than our power.
When we read stories about Jesus healing people we want to dismiss them, or explain them away.
Sure Jesus healed people in the Gospel, but that does not happen today.
When Mark was writing his Gospel he misunderstood healing powers of medicine and science for healing powers of Jesus.
These explanations might make us feel better about our lives and how difficult it can be to have faith when we are experiencing sickness and death, but it is not what the Biblical writers are trying to convey.
I want to state from the start that I am not against science or modern medicine at all.
And I do believe these things can be and are instruments of God’s healing power.
I am saying this morning that the Gospel’s are not about trying to explain everything that happens in terms of scientific truth.
They are trying to convey to us something unique about Jesus and his mission to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.
The healings that Jesus performs are meant to reveal to us that Jesus has the power over all things in our lives that stop us from fully living.

When we pray don’t we believe that God has the power to do what we ask?
If we take the Biblical witness seriously we have to believe that God has the power to heal.
That what we consider miracles are just a part of what God does on a regular basis.
If not then why do we even have a prayer list?
Why do we lift up these names every Sunday?
We do it because we believe in the power of God.
We believe that God can and does cure and heal.
I bet that if I asked everyone of you could tell me some miraculous story of when God healed and saved.

Jesus taught us that healing and curing were central to the mission of God.
The Kingdom is about total restoration of our mind, bodies, and souls.
To be a person of faith is to believe in that power even though it might seem foolish or hopeless.

I have known plenty of times in ministry and in my life when people of earnest faith prayed for healing, and the person died anyway.
Healing is not just about a physical reaction.
Healing is not just about being able to get up and walk again.
Every time we pray God acts.
Healing is offered to the person, not always in the way we had hoped or wished.
That is the hard part of faith to accept that even though we pray for things to happen in a certain way it does not always work out that way.
Perhaps God has another way to heal that we had not thought about.
For some a physical death is healing.
I know many prayers that started out as praying for physically healing ended up praying that the Lord be merciful to the person and take them home.
That too is a miracle.
Eternal life is miracle, and a major part of what we believe as Christians, and what Jesus taught.

This week I had a person call to ask for help from our congregation.
He needed money to get some things out of a storage unit.
I could not help him with this.
I explained that this was not a good use of the congregation’s resources.
We use that money to help people keep a roof over their head.
He understood.
He then went on to tell of all the hard breaks he has had in the last year.
He said to me, “You know what I really need is prayer pastor. Could you put me on your prayer list.”
This morning in our prayers we will be praying for this man.
It does not matter that you don’t know him or what his problems are; all that matters is that we will lift his name up to God for healing and wholeness.
God knows this man and what he needs, and now we will be the voice of God’s people crying out for his hurt and pain.
That is why we pray.
We pray for healing for a miracle.

I know that many of you out this morning have prayer concerns.
Many of you are looking for miracles.
Many of you are hoping against hope.
This morning I am telling you that Jesus Christ is here to heal and to restore.
This is the place to bring those concerns.
We pray because we believe in Jesus power, in God’s power to raise us up, just as he did to Simon’s mother in law, just as he did for all the people in Capernaum that day.

This week I was visiting with some of our members who are sick, who are dying.
We will pray for them this morning too.
Some of them are hoping for a miracle.
All of them are experiencing miracles.
Perhaps the miracle comes in more time with loved ones, enough time to say I love you and goodbye.
Perhaps it comes in God offering enough comfort and promise to be able to say that it is ok to die, because we believe in eternal life.
Perhaps it comes in the forming of real world healing, or a health professional giving really good care.
Perhaps the miracle is that we are all here this morning praying together in faith that God’s power will be experienced.

I need a miracle for my mother who is sick, for some friends who are sick, for people I know who are dying.
This is where we as the church belong next to those who are suffering.
In order to remain close to our lord we have to be with those who are not alright.
When we are close to those who suffer we remain close with our Lord.
Only after all things are lost do we remember that it is our faith that sustains.

One of the lessons I have had to learn over and over again is that prayer is sometimes the best medicine.
I cannot heal, but I know that Jesus does!

One of the things about Jesus is that he does not have to go looking for people to help.
They flock to him.
They crowd the door way of Simon’s house.
He attracts people who have needs.
People who are sick in mind, body, or spirit seek out Jesus because he is the one they know can heal completely physically and spiritually.

The same is true today.
We come to Jesus in those moments because we are looking for a miracle.
We are looking for a place to help heal us and restore us.
I notice that even people with no faith commitments will search out God when they are sick or dying.
People seek out God in the worst of times because that is the right place to turn, it is the place we go for miracles.
It is only God who saves.

There are many needs in our congregation, in our community, in our world.
I know that God in Jesus Christ can save.
That is my statement of faith.
I believe it because I have seen it all the time.
I am still holding out for a miracle.
I am still hoping against hope.
I still believe in God’s power to heal and send away restored.

We will sing in our hymn of the day today, “O, my soul praise him, for he is your health and salvation!”
This morning as we sing those words let us believe them with all our hearts.
As we pray this morning for all those in the world who are brokenhearted, powerless, sick, and dying let us believe that Jesus has the power to heal and save.
Let us leave worship this morning praying for miracles, hoping against hope, and praising the Lord for he is our health and salvation!

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