We arrived home from Waiting School 11 in Maine, sponsored by Elaine Pettit Ministries, just a few days ago. As I've told many, the trip was not necessarily fun (more on that later), but the Waiting School (as always) was so worth the trouble!
As I've mentioned previously, I have serious personality and mind-altering pms issues. It's something that is very difficult to deal with, not only for me, but for my family. I've prayed, been anointed several times, taken vitamins, minerals, and herbs, etc. Most recently, at the urging of my husband, I went to the doctor. There was no underlying health issue, but she suggested either oral contraceptives or antidepressants. The allure of "normalcy" was a strong one, so I decided to start taking the "pill". Oh, what a disaster! It simply magnified all the negative things I was already experiencing, and made me so tired that I literally slept all day at one point. After about a week, still in the undertow of that experience, I had a melt-down one day and took an antidepressant (which I decided not to continue). All the while, I would cry, and pray, and I could only hear God say, "My grace is sufficient."
At the healing service during the Waiting School, I did not know whether I should go forward for anointing. So, I stayed back to pray for others. I was really upset after the service, though, and couldn't leave the sanctuary. I was so confused about God's will in and purpose for my struggle. Chuck encouraged me to go speak to Elaine after the service. There were several vying for her attention, so I waited. She graciously gave of her time, and her words were so encouraging. She told me that we should seek healing unless/until God showed otherwise. She anointed me, and prayed over me, and it was really a beautiful sight as there happened to be several women hanging around after the service that laid hands on me also. Elaine declared that she knew that God heard us, and was responding, as the Spirit bore witness to her, and other agreed.
I "felt" nothing really. Nothing unusual. No lightning bolts from heaven. Honestly, I still don't "feel" much different. So what was different about this particular anointing?
At the Waiting School, I picked up a copy of "Praying Clear Through" by W.J. Harney. I've been stuck for a few days now on Chapter 7, "He That Believeth". Harney's book points out that we too often want a "feeling"--"the witness"--before we will even believe. That is where I have been living. Wanting God to pour out His Spirit--resulting in a "feeling" or some outward manifestation.
The scripture reference is 1 John 5:10. I went to 1 John and began reading in Chapter 5. I am fully aware that in 1 John 5, John is talking about belief in relation to salvation. But, I think it applies to any kind of believing prayer. James 1:6 tells us to "believe and not doubt" when we pray.
I've had trouble with that. Of course, I believe that God can and does heal. My struggle has been, "Does He want to heal me?" Or is this just the thorn--like Paul had--that I'm supposed to deal with?
Knowing that when we prayed, the Spirit bore witness, I had a decision to make. Do I believe and trust in the testimony of God that was given to those praying for me--they had an assurance that God had heard and was responding. When I read 1 John 5:10, it struck my heart, "Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar." Whoa--I definitely will not consciously be guilty of calling God a liar! So, I am choosing to thank Him for the healing He is bringing, for I trust that His healing power is at work even now.
John goes on in v. 14-15 of chapter 5 to tell us that we can be confident in approaching God when we ask in His name (with right motives), and that we can know that we have what we asked of Him.
God also brought a couple of songs to my mind regarding this matter, which resonate so perfectly with my heart:
"Faith is the Victory" (the hymn)
"The Voice of Truth" (Casting Crowns)
In little ways over the past week, God has been using different things to really drive this message home. Just yesterday, I heard Chip Ingram teaching on the radio (I love his teaching!). He spoke about how a "feeling" may indicate an encounter with God, but could mean not much else when there is no faith to back it up. What really matters is believing, life-changing, faith.