I shared a few weeks ago my thoughts on a trilogy written by Kristen Heitzmann. I don't know that the trilogy has a specific name, but it is about the Michelli family. The plot is not really important here, rather the effect the truths in the story had on me. First, God can use people to do miraculous things. Secondly, the person God used in this story had a profound faith. Lastly, part of me longed for that faith, while a part of me shook in fear at what changes it might bring about in my life.
Last week I read a scripture in 1 Peter, for which I was thankful later in the day. I posted part of the passage in a Facebook group along with a personal comment that I was glad to have read it today because "it kept my lips closed. Now waiting on that 'love one another deeply' part to kick in." The passage was this:
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:7-11.
I took an opportunity to share this with a friend that evening as we prepared for a VBS puppet show. My point in sharing was that I had been frustrated by some things being said on this Facebook site, but that God had given me grace to not comment. It hit me later that we were preparing to serve by sharing his truth through the puppets, and even though I didn't recognize it at the time, he had given grace to do that as well!
I have been reading the novel Blessed Child by Bill Bright and Ted Dekker. In it a young boy is used by God to heal many people (again the plot is much more involved, but not central to this post). I went to bed last night thinking about the power of healing.
Many of you know my father was diagnosed with ALS in 2009. In 2011 the specialists in Houston, TX pronounced him clear of all signs of ALS. This is an extremely rare occurrence. In fact the websites dedicated to informing people about this disease proclaim it fatal. I take every chance to give glory to God as the power that brought healing to my father. But as I lay in bed last night, trying to make sense of this feeling of urgency, or anticipation, or the thought that God wanted something from me, I didn't believe he was preparing me to show his power through a healing touch...as in the books I had been reading. My prayer turned to one of love. Help me show your love to those around me. I don't have to do grand and wonderful things for you, Lord. Help me be faithful to show your love to those who see me.
When I woke up this morning, I finished the book. Guess what the message was? I know this because it was repeated several times throughout the last pages, and the characters themselves had to be convinced of it. Whoever said that a straightened hand was more dramatic than a healed heart, anyway?
And the verse in 1 Peter also loomed out at me, as well as my flippant comment: waiting for that love one another deeply thing to kick in. Yes. So is God. He's waiting desperately for me to see the love he has for this world. The love he has for that sarcastic person who frustrates me. The love he has for the family members who refuse to see him even though there is evidence all around them. The love he has for me, even though I constantly put other things before him. He wants us to love one another deeply.
One more incident. (I told you I was dense.) At the end of the book Bill Bright wrote a word that spoke to me as a writer. He wrote: I have come to the conclusion that a good novel on biblical themes can reach many more people than most theological works. God Himself, upon coming to the earth in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, chose stories as His primary mode of communication. He used fiction. We call them parables, but they are stories either way."
And suddenly I was validated. It's okay that I write stories. It's important that I share my heart through fiction. Jesus shared truths using parables. People understood the power of love and forgiveness and healing that way, and they still do today. So I am not just writing entertainment. I am using the gift God gave me to "serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
Does God still heal today? Most definitely. Is all his healing physical? Absolutely not. In fact, physical healing is still only temporary. We will all die. But spiritual healing, healing of the heart, is everlasting. And he invites us to have a part in that. To pray for the wounded souls around us. To minister with the grace God gives us. To show His love to the world. Deeply. With our words and by our actions. It is his greatest gift.
Here I am, Lord. Use me in whatever way you see fit. May the words I speak and the words I write bring you glory. Amen.