I confess, religious cynicism has me in its bony grip. I’m not a cynic about God or his astonishing power, but I do tend to run, like a wailing banshee (whatever a banshee is) from any kind of fad or ‘God-will-listen-if-you-pray-THIS-way’ philosophies.
Despite it all, I try to keep (at first) an open mind and I’ll give anything a fair hearing. Like today, there was a guest speaker at our weekly staff meeting. He seemed like a nice, unassuming chap, an evangelist who’s travelled widely. He spoke on the subject of the NT church and how miracles are still for today.
It was a good talk, packed with wisdom and insight, but I admit, I mentally faded out at one point, as I shifted to get comfy. ‘Sore back’ had been plaguing me this morning – a sort of dull ache that’s bugged me on and off for years. Osteo says I have sciatica (cheers dude, for an old-lady-illness) but while most of the time I’m ok, every few weeks or so, I pop pills and grimace when I walk.
So today’s talk (to get back to subject) was interesting until…err…wait, he decided to put this miracle business into practice. I shifted about a bit more in my seat, trying to find a comfy spot, as he randomly called out a couple of conditions he’d like to pray for.
“Hearing problems…anyone struggling with that?” (Whew, at least he didn’t say back pain…ha haaa…)
Him: “Back pain?”
Me: (Maybe he meant upper back pain…that’s not me.)
Him: It’s lower back pain
((For goodness sake))
Heart thumping silence.
Me: Alright…alright, it’s me.
(Team giggles behind me)
I go up to the front, almost reluctantly and he prays a really simple, gentle prayer, asking for God to pour out his love and to heal me.
I felt something, definitely and in the moment of receiving, I knew that despite my cynicism for religious nonsense, I really, truly, truly believed and knew that my God could do this. This had never once been in doubt. But for some reason, I was reluctant to put my ego on the line, in order to see what was being offered.
Made me think about some of the miracles in the Bible. Often the miraclee (another invented word) had reached the end of their rope; the woman with a bleed, the man who laid by the pool of Bethesda, the man lowered on ropes down to the feet of Jesus….all desperate for a miracle, all (in many respects) willing to make a fool of themselves, in order to get what they needed from Jesus.
I’m not coming up with any conclusions here, other than to speculate that my British sense of propriety and a huge dollop of cynicism/ego could have stopped me from having an experience with God today. Had it not been for the speaker’s persistence, it probably would have done.
As for sore back – no trace of pain for the rest of the day. Watch this space.