It was the summer of 1999 when our family attended a mountain Bible camp just west of Glacier Park, Montana. An evangelical "faith healer," wild and full of himself, made an altar call. I went up. I am usually cynical. But I had a pinched nerve and no medical insurance, so decided I'd give it a try. I told myself that it wasn't 'him' I was trying though. I determined to open my mind to the Lord and give HIM a chance.
An elderly woman stood in front of me in the line, someone I had known for years as a kind, prayerful woman. The woman had trouble with her hips and needed a walker. When it was her turn to be prayed for, I was close enough to watch and hear everything that was said.
After the healer prayed for the woman, he had two men take hold of her arms and attempt to run her back and forth in front of the stage. They ran her in the direction away from us and appeared to have much of her weight in their arms. She wasn't able to support herself well at all. On their return, the pain in her face was obvious and her need for their support appeared even more so. After a few minutes of this torture, the men brought her back to the healer and she grasped for her walker. The healer then told her, “something inside you is blocking it. You just didn’t have enough faith.”
She was devastated and left the building in tears.
I was shocked. Wouldn’t the fact that this elderly woman went up to the altar for prayer been an indication she had the faith of at least a mustard seed?
Later, I found her and sat down to talk to her. I tried to encourage her, but she was still crying and said, "No, he was right. It was my fault." I felt terrible for her.
Was the healer right? Was the Lord unwilling or unable to heal her because she didn’t have enough faith? I don't believe it. I think he was just a jerk who wants people to believe in and praise him. If he was really about the Lord's business, that woman wouldn't have been crying by herself in the back of the church.
Some of these so called preachers make believe that it's always God's will to heal when they, the preacher, demand it. People that have obvious physical issues and don't get healed are just an embarrassment to them.
What is faith in the real God?
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
How do we get faith?
Galatians 5:22 tells us Faith is a fruit of the spirit. According to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is the author and finisher of our Faith and Romans 10 states, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Faith begins with a decision to believe the Word, and to begin a walk of obedience. Once making the decision, the Holy Spirit is able to work in our hearts, and make faith grow. We can't "make" ourselves have faith. It's a gift, born and nurtured through the Lord. And boy, that woman sure did have it. Can you imagine making the decision to go up to the altar and allow them to take away your walker? She only did that because she had faith and hope in the Lord. Her only error was in allowing that jerk to place his hands on her and later, when his commands to the Lord for his - not the Lord's - glory weren't met, he abused her by putting doubt in her mind about her own faith.
Is Faith necessary?
Romans 4 says that believing God brings us righteousness and believing on God brings us justification. Galatians 16 also states that by believing in Christ, we are justified by His faith. Belief is necessary for justification.
Mark 16:16 says “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Faith is necessary for salvation
Eph. 6, The Shield of Faith is part of the armor of God. Faith is necessary for our battle with the enemy.
I never returned to that Bible camp because I honestly don't believe our time together in fellowship, prayer and worship is supposed to end with a preacher shaming members of the congregation and causing them to doubt their faith. (That wasn't the only disconcerting event I witnessed at that camp.) But I have attended other, more mature camps in the last ten years and have been very blessed by the ministries.
Oh, by the way, that nerve in my leg is still pinched to this day. However, it doesn't matter. The number and depth of things the Lord has done for and with me and my family over these last years has been unbelievable. My leg is of little importance compared to the amazing things the Lord has done. I do have complete faith in Him to know us, the purposes He has for us, and the best way to accomplish those purposes. I have no faith in faith healers.
More to come...