In August 2010, Delia Knox, a woman who’d been paralyzed from the waist down for 22 years, got up out of her wheelchair after receiving healing prayer in Alabama. Since 1987, she’d been without feeling in her legs since a drunk driver slammed into the car she was riding in. Delia’s miraculous healing was filmed and has become a popular youtube video.
The UK’s Daily Mail broke rank and file with the secular press and ran the story on Delia’s miracle. When Delia returned to her home in Buffalo, New York, the mayor’s office was there to meet her, as were her elderly parents. Her testimony has stood the test of time and of public scrutiny – her healing has been validated as complete and legitimate.
I’ve been reflecting a great deal lately on faith. Or perhaps, the absence of it in my own life. There are a thousand ways that the devil tries to rob us of our faith in a day. But there are also a thousand stories out there like Delia’s that I keep bumping into, besides the astonishing ways I’ve seen God act in my own life.
My mom pointed out something to me in Matthew 11 last week that won’t leave my mind. “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you” (emphasis added).
The Greek word for repentance is metanoeō, which means “to change one’s mind about something.” Jesus states here that if we are witnessing miracles and not repentant – that is, if we don’t see everything the same way God does – are we then not worse off than the land of Sodom?
There is a church in Connecticut that I know of through a friend that has seen many miracles, healings, and even eyesight restored. The church consists mostly of illegal immigrants. I have been wondering why God would move so mightily with this group, of which many are technically criminals, but be slower to release His power for others – for us more law-abiding citizens, so to speak. And I had a sudden, terrible revelation. Adherence to God’s laws and to the governments in which we live are monumentally important. Yet in God’s economy, faithlessness comes at a costlier price, is much more devastating perhaps, than some of the other sins we’ve held up as being terrible. Nowhere in scripture did Jesus deny anyone healing, deliverance, or any other provision. He administered His power freely to everyone who came to Him in faith. Faith was the only requirement. Afterwards, He told them to sin no more.
As soon as I saw this, I saw the church in America. What will He say to us, full of tradition and stodgy theology? Overfed and self-satisfied with our doctrines and our own fleshly service. And oh, so faithless!
And I applied this to myself. What will I not do to bring the kingdom of Heaven here to earth – who will I not set free – because my faith was so ungodly?
May it never be so.
During this landmark time when Sodom is in the spotlight because of socio-political headlines, is the American church in a worse state because of her failure to come into agreement with God at the sight of His miracles? Will the great theologians of our day someday mourn their heavenly reward as merely stubble, because they had brilliant doctrines but had so little faith?
Praise God that if our faith is small, we can get more (Romans 10:17). But when doubts try to creep in about the willingness or ability of God to heal, to provide, to deliver someone from addiction, or in any way to supersede what we see in the natural realm, we should forsake them with all the vehemence we’d reserve for the blackest and most heinous sin with which we could be tempted.