Tag Archives: healing

Boy with pony

There Are Ponies Everywhere

(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.

Russian riding horse

Be Meek!

(A four minute read)

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’. [Matthew 5:5] Be meek!

Meekness does not mean weakness, rather the strong who place themselves in a position of weakness, where they persevere without giving up. The Greek word Jesus is quoted as using, [πραυς) means “tame” when applied to animals. These animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others.

You and I have been created as powerful beings with free will. We can encourage life in others, or we can bring death. We can choose to love, or do evil. It is the taming of our urges to harm, to dominate, to lash out, to criticize that make us meek. We are like a war horse that is perfectly tame under a warrior’s hand, and yet ready to immediately exercise great power on command.

When Jesus taught ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ [Matthew 5:5] in His Sermon on the Mount, He was speaking to a crowd that well understood ‘meekness’ as ‘power under control’. Meekness did not equal weakness, but submission. It meant acting under proper authority.

So what was Jesus telling his disciples to do? What were they to submit to? What power was he referring to?

He was referring to His own example of power under control. Just as He submitted to His heavenly Father, members of the crowd were to submit to Jesus.

This great sermon came early in Jesus’ ministry. As context, Matthew’s account finds Jesus preaching and ‘healing all kinds of sickness and all sorts of diseases among the people’. [Matthew 4:23b] His fame spread as rapidly as a person could walk or ride from town to town, conveying the amazing news: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed and the lame walk!

Soon, he was inundated with ‘great crowds’ that were hard to control. Indeed, Luke records ‘The whole crowd tried to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all’. [Luke 6:19]

How many are in a ‘great crowd?’ Hundreds certainly, thousands likely, tens of thousands possibly. considering some came from up to 50 miles away – many days on foot. And, He healed them all, with His meekness, His ‘power under control.’

The crowd came with expectation for His words, but especially for His healing power. As He always did, Jesus demonstrated to the crowd by His lifestyle how they themselves could bring the kingdom of heaven to earth:

  1. Be alone with God the Father and get into relationship with Him: ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel’. [Mark 1:15b-16]
  2. Submit to Him through prayer: ‘But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret’. [Matthew 6:6a]
  3. Through His presence, release the power of heaven into the earth: ‘Heal the sick who are there and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’. [Luke 10:9]

The Scripture accounts record this process. Remember, Jesus the Son could only do what God the Father was doing. He was like any other child, looking to a parent for instruction and direction. ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does’. [John 5:19]

To maintain this connection with the Father, to ‘see what the Father was doing’, Jesus would often go off by himself to pray. On one particular night, before delivering the Sermon on the Mount, he spent the night in solitary, then He named 12 of His many followers as Apostles.

After that, ‘He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples an even larger group was following Him) and a great crowd of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases’. [Luke 6:17]

What is that last bit? People came to hear Him and ‘be healed of their diseases.

We think of the Sermon on the Mount as being full of great teaching, but let us not forget that for his followers, in addition to being edified, ‘they were healed‘. [Luke 6:18b]

They all followed those same three steps. They got alone with God-made-flesh, Jesus, submitted to Him,and then saw the power of heaven released. Their sicknesses were healed, ‘including those who were vexed by unclean spirits’. [Luke 6:18a]

Did this happen because they were pushy or aggressive? Or because they made some special sacrifice or said some special prayer? No – it was because they were meek. They placed themselves under their Master’s authority.

Scripture emphasis mine.
Image: Ponyart, via Wikimedia Commons