Yesterday Joel was filling in at a beautiful country church about 40 miles south of us, and spent quite a bit of time writing a sermon for the service. He just couldn't get that sermon to go exactly the way he wanted it to, but left Sunday morning expecting Holy Spirit to guide him as he preached. Little did he know what Holy had planned. While he was there getting comfortable with new surroundings, he started visiting with two of the Deacons of the church, who were ushering that day. Something one of them mentioned led Joel to tell them he had been miraculously healed overnight. The couple both wanted to hear about it, and they wanted the congregation to hear about it too......but the service was ready to start so he said he would ask the congregation what they preferred. At the beginning of the service he asked the people, around 60 in attendance, if they wanted to hear his healing story or if he should preach the sermon he had prepared. He warned them his healing story/sermon would mean the service would run longer. They quickly responded, asking him to tell his healing story! So, one more time he was able to share his story, and like so many of those other times, God led the way. Many thanked him for sharing and hoped he would come back to fill in again, as there pastor has just retired. And to top it off, the choir's anthem yesterday? "I Love To Tell The Story"!! Only God.
It is just 2 month shy of 5 years ago that Joel was healed overnight. January 24th, 2012. I have shared his story on my blog more than once, but in case you have not read it you can go HERE. Joel has shared it whenever Holy Spirit nudges him to do so. Once he ended up praying with a woman clerk in the aisle of Menard's because she had started a conversation with Joel asking him a question about Joyce Meyer. I sat outside in the hot sun waiting for him that day, and was frustrated, letting him know about it when he came outside. His response at that time was this...."I cannot keep silent about my miraculous healing and what we have learned about healing in general. God wants me to share my story and I need to obey." Amen. No matter what people think, say, or do, we both feel called to share not only the gospel but our healing stories. Usually it is on a Sunday morning, but sometimes God whispers in our ears in unusual places......like riding a subway in NYC, Menard's, an Amish store, a gas station, a hotel lobby, hosptial surgery holding room, grocery store, and more.
The response of people who hear Joel's story is varied. Most people want to know more, and ask Joel or the two of us to pray with them. Sometimes others get hung up on his gift of speaking in tongues that came with the healing. Sometimes we can see the eyes of those listening glaze over because they do not believe in miraculous healing. Some are curious, some even annoyed or condescending~how "silly" you believe God wants you well. Some have thought us just a little "west of weird". I have even experienced the response of anger from more than one who has lived with chronic illness and feels it is from God. That He is somehow glorified by their suffering. We respect others, but also obey God no matter how people respond. We are not to please man............but God.
The Bible tells us to share our testimony, giving God the glory. The Bible is clear on healing, too. Jesus does not ask his disciples to pray for healing, He commands them to heal the sick. He tells us all to speak to our mountains. The Bible tells us that by His stripes we are healed.
So Joel continues to share his story as he feels led, and especially if God takes over and hijacks a Sunday morning sermon because He wants someone in the congregation to hear about Joel's healing......about GOD'S healing for us. It is all about God and it is only God. That was pretty evident yesterday morning when Joel put aside that sermon he never felt comfortable with to share his own story of God healing a cowboy preacher at 4 in the morning. To God be all the glory.