I was blessed to have my four-year-old grand-daughter stay overnight for a birthday sleepover and small party this weekend. She of course wanted me to fall asleep with her which I did…and then she woke up crying with a bad croup-like cough at four in the morning. I calmed her down but didn’t have any children’s medicine and as I lay with her it seemed like she kept coughing forever and couldn’t get back to sleep. I used my grandmotherly instincts to rub her chest and back and try to soothe her but she kept on coughing…and then, feeling so bad for her, I guess I also used my spiritual instincts and prayed that God would pass along healing through my fingertips as I continued to gently rub. And it seemed like a short while later she (and I) fell asleep.
Of course I don’t believe I have special powers by any means…but while I lay there listening to her cough I remembered a Bible passage I heard recently in Acts of the Apostles about Peter (while with John at the temple) healing a lame man (of course after Jesus had already ascended into heaven)…and when the Jewish rulers and elders “realized that they (Peter and John) were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished…” Peter responded, “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3) He of course told them it was by the power of Jesus that they were able to perform the miracle of healing.
The event took place days after the Holy Spirit visited the apostles at the Pentecost. (Note that the Bible says some of the people, hearing the apostles speak in various tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit, thought they were crazy or drunk even though it was only nine a.m.) After the healing, Peter and John were thrown in jail, but later released with a warning. “…they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” And then they prayed, “Lord…enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4)
I don’t think it’s far-fetched or crazy to believe that God calls us all to strive, despite our human weaknesses, to be saints, prophets and even healers. We can help heal others in myriad ways both big and small…sometimes through our prayers for one another, listening, a caring gesture or touch, kind words or just spending time with someone. And Jesus even said we would perform greater acts than He. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) We just have to ask and believe.