On Sunday, someone brought a guest to me.
He was immediately likeable. I started a friendly hello, but then I learned: he was deaf.
He had a small pad of paper and pen stowed in his shirt pocket, so we scribbled messages back and forth. He was obviously gentle and kind. After a few introductions, I asked would you like to sit with us? and he quickly agreed, grabbing his stuff from a dark row in the back and taking a seat next to our pile of coats.
Then he scribbled: Do you know if anyone here has knee problems?
I knew what that meant. I have been around a while. And I want to be honest about the things I thought in that moment.
I wondered, was this guy one of those people? I’m genuinely repentant for this, but I have seen so much empty posturing and fruitlessness, even some manipulation and deception… and I had allowed those experiences to cloud my trust and my faith and make me skeptical. I also felt an instinctual protection for the family rise up within me, and I fought the urge to respond in a non-committal way, sort of purposefully creating an insulating barrier between him and them.
But this man had a spirit that seemed soft and pure. He had some verbal abilities, so between his words, his scribbles and his gestures, I understood that he had had a dream, and had come in response to what he had seen. In that moment, I also remembered that my dear friend Leslie has been living with knee pain for a long time–a year or more–and my heart had been burdened for her healing.
I decided to open up, and hope.
I laid my hand on his arm and spun around, looking for Leslie’s blonde hair. I felt my chest start missing beats, as though I had the winning lottery ticket in my hand and was waiting for someone to tell me I had misread an 8 as a 3.
And there she was, not ten feet away.
I introduced them. Leslie connected what was happening more quickly than I had. Within seconds, she aligned herself to this stranger brother and the Spirit of the Father between them. She sat, he knelt before her, and I fidgeted. I didn’t know what to do with myself. The edges of my sight blurred and I got tunnel vision.
It was so simple. He gestured gently and prayed silently, only for a few moments, and sat back on his knee, gesturing for her to test it. She did, and some pain remained, though she felt it was improved. He prayed again–again, simply, silently, unimpressively, with no showmanship.
I watched her pointedly, waiting for the part where she said it was a little better and hugged the man, and smiled, and thanked him for praying even though her knee was the same. Exclusively, this was my experience.
But her eyes changed. Her face changed. When her eyes met mine, I knew what I had seen. I watched her eyes fill. I felt the burden of her pain evaporate from my heart.
I couldn’t breathe. I looked around for Nick; I suddenly needed a safe place to fall apart.
It was then that I remembered. A day earlier, over my dishes, it had welled up in my heart, out of nowhere: Jesus, I really want to see you heal someone. I’ve believed for my whole life that it happens, or used to happen—but Jesus, I want to SEE IT. I know it’s real. I want to see it…”
Even now to type those words, I cry. I can’t believe the disappointment I risked–it’s so unlike who I have been. When those thoughts came up in me—while rinsing a skillet—they were completely out of context of my day. They applied to nothing about my physical moment. But they were suddenly there, and so strong, and I prayed them from a hungry, needy spirit, like Thomas crying to see the nail holes. It was abnormal for me, because I have overcome disappointed hopes by conditioning myself to never ask.
I had seen hearts heal. But bodies? Never, at least not in a way that got my attention enough to overcome my emotional detachment. Never really.
Never right in front of my very eyes.
But now, I have seen.
I wept for many reasons over the next hour. But later, when I took a moment to squeeze our precious new brother in gratitude, still a complete mess, he passionately reminded me: It’s Jesus, in me. It’s not Jesus through me. It’s not me channeling a Jesus in the skies, down to earth through strategic prayer. It’s Him, literally alive IN me, His heart acting in my heart. The spirit of His love for Jesus, and his commitment to Jesus, rinsed me all over again.
It was simple love. Simple and complete.
I know Jesus is in me. I know the way you know a silhouette simply because you recognize the gait. I know.
So suddenly it seemed completely simple and perfectly beautiful that Jesus would heal people, that we could heal one another. When I lay my hands on them, they’re His hands too.
Suddenly, the healings of Jesus stepped off the pages of my bible and became part of my reality.
Part of my life. Part of my faith. A facet of His love–His Presence–alive in me.
As Ben put it, impossible has been flipped on its head.