(A seven minute read)
In my soon-to-be published memoir, Masterpiece (A Love Story), I talk about ponies, and how there are ponies everywhere. Ponies are the obsession of Little Johnny, and he wants one more than anything. One day when his dad had a truckload of manure delivered as fertilizer, Johnny started digging through it. His logic was, with that much manure, there must be a pony in there somewhere!
This may be an odd way to introduce the topic of divine healing – like the healing Jesus did – but bear with me.
Ponies are real, and they are all around us. I see them everywhere. But sometimes, they are not in the guise I expect.
Johnny doesn’t see a problem. He doesn’t see a load of crap. He sees an opportunity – the possibility of his wish come true. Johnny has faith.
In several Bible passages, we have Jesus instructing His disciples to have faith. Faith is the key to getting things done in the kingdom of heaven. Faith brings forgiveness of sin. Faith brings eternal life. Faith moves mountains. Faith brings divine healing. Faith raises people from the dead.
Faith comes from God. The opposite of faith, fear, is from the devil. It’s usually camouflaged as one or more of these: doubt, distraction or despair. They are powerful inducements to turn away from God and thus, be afraid.
Doubt, distraction and despair are simply variations on the same tired lie the devil has told since the very beginning: there is some problem or condition in my life that God can’t handle.
It’s a sorry lie, but sorrier still is the fact that I sometimes fall for it, even after all I’ve been saved from. I’m embarrassed to say I too often believe this lie. It happens when I allow what I see with my eyes to take precedence over what I know to be true in my spirit.
Even if things might look grim in the natural world, there is always something miraculous happening in the supernatural. So – where do I cast my eye? Do I stop with a pile of manure or do I search for the pony?
Changing my field of view from poop to pony began by substituting one word for another. I used to ‘have to’ do things. I have to go to work, have to service my car, have to do my taxes, have to get a root canal. Everything was a task, a burden, a problem.
Today I ‘get to’ do these things, so these same things become an opportunity or even a blessing. Why? Because I have a job! I am affluent enough to own a car! I am a productive enough citizen to be taxed! I live in a time and place where modern medicine can fix serious dental troubles!
You see? There are ponies everywhere, and we find them if we stop looking at the manure.
This essay is taken from a piece I originally wrote for Masterpiece. That original version was penned while I lounged in a chemotherapy suite at Guy’s Hospital in London in September 2019. I had a cannula in my right arm allowing toxic substances to be pumped into my circulatory system.
So here’s a case where things might look grim in the natural world. But what is the miraculous thing happening from God’s point of view? Where is the opportunity? Where’s the pony?
The cannula was my regular companion for many weeks because I was being treated for bladder cancer. I was definitely in need of physical healing! While I certainly welcomed supernatural intervention on Jesus’ part, and received a massive amount of prayer for it, I also recognized my healing path may have lain in the natural.
Or, as it turned out, be a combination of the two.
As I went through 15 cycles of chemo and 32 rounds of radiotherapy, no matter what happened, or how I felt, I never ever doubted the Healer. God is good. He gives ponies, not manure. I refused then, and will always refuse to adjust my understanding of God’s goodness downward to ‘explain’ any circumstance.
As I post this today, I have 100% faith that I’m healed and cancer-free. An MRI and CT scan to be done in a few weeks will verify this, and then the specialists will have caught up with what God has already done in my body.
Cancer patients often have many questions, even after they are apparently healed, or are ‘in remission’ as the doctors say. They’ll never say a cancer patient is healed for good and all, those doctors. Because in the medical world, any worst case is always possible (and then there’s the threat of a malpractice suit, but I digress).
Doctors have lots of statistics showing how cancer could reoccur, that I might need chemotherapy again in the future, or radical surgery to re-plumb my insides so I pee through a stopcock in my bellybutton.
None of that matters at present. It only leads to doubt, distraction and despair. I’m too busy living to worry about any of it. It’s not a today problem.
Future decisions aren’t to be made yet. And it’s not time to find any ponies there. But God has them stabled, and waiting for me. When the time comes, if it comes, He will give me the grace to find them, and the strength to ride them, and the joy that comes from being saddled up as a member of His posse.
Dare I say, I got to go through cancer treatment so that God could show me something I wouldn’t have learned otherwise? Time will tell. But I will lay long odds that this is true. How can I say this? Because I understand the nature of God. He can do me no wrong.
So I continue to pray, and bless the prayers from others made on my behalf. And I wait in the mystery of what’s to come, and bask in the freedom it brings. I’m not responsible for the outcome, nor are the doctors. It’s all up to the Lord, and so I leave it with Him, where it best resides.
Thanks, Alan, you write radiantly. I too see ponies everywhere… and keep looking till I find them. Blessings on the journey, whether the ponies await or whether you get to ride them there.
Thank you for the encouragement. Your comment is full of deep meaning for me. May God bless the work of your hands.