I do not watch a lot of television. My parents got rid of theirs when I was in the fourth grade, and it forever weaned me from passive entertainment. I became a reader instead. So it was with some desperation that I found myself watching, of all things, the 700 Club on CBN past midnight nearly thirty years ago in the living room of my apartment on the campus of the university I was attending. The host spoke of a healing miracle.
The physical pain I suffered intensified at night. Often I could not sleep. Nearly six months previous I had been in a fairly severe car accident. While I was stopped at a red light, I was rear-ended by a car going about 35 miles per hour. This resulted in severe whiplash and a pain that extended down my shoulders and arms. Months of physical therapy and Vicodin had not alleviated the pain. I have a long neck which the doctor indicated was part of the problem. I was simply very vulnerable to severe whiplash.
So there I sat, watching late night television because sleep eluded me, and I was curious about the miracle of which Pat Robertson spoke.
Pat Robertson sat in his studio with a woman whose name I can no longer remember. He spoke about healing and immediately the screen broke away to a vignette about a woman who suffered from back and neck pain. God healed her miraculously from the injury, and she was completely free of pain. She demonstrated her range of movement.
My first reaction was disbelief. Not necessarily at the healing miracle. I believed God can and will heal. I just didn’t believe I was qualified or that maybe my situation was dire enough. After all, the Lord had healed my mother from complete kidney failure. But that was a life and death kind of situation. My chronic pain was more of the consistently uncomfortable and miserably depressing variety.
My second reaction was bitterness. Literally the thought that ran through my mind was that God would heal others, but He would not heal me. No miracle for Alice. The reason I specify this is because I have noticed that we have a lot of misconceptions about healing. If we do this, or if we pray that, then maybe God will condescend. Or perhaps we try to emotionally blackmail God, trying to make Him feel guilty for not having answered our prayers.
So I want to say that in no way was I expecting, asking, or even believing that God wanted to heal me.
Pat Robertson began to pray and, to my interest, he called out a woman in the television audience who had neck and back pain that radiated to her hands. She did not believe that God would heal her, he said. I got still. Was he talking about me? Well, said Pat, God is going to heal her right now. And while I sat there, expecting nothing, believing nothing, a golden sort of heat began to radiate from my head, down my neck, and through my arms all the way to my hands.
I was completely shocked. The pain was completely gone. It did not return. This is only the first time that the Lord has miraculously healed me outside of the natural course our bodies take in healing themselves. But that night, several things occurred. I was forced to reconsider whether my prejudice against televangelists was grounded in truth or merely an invention of the press. Remember that in the late eighties, a number of televangelists were exposed for their various sins. But God obviously used the 700 Club as a vehicle for His healing. Who was I to judge based on my scant knowledge? I have had far more respect since then for the men and women of God who minister on screen.
I also had to reconsider my assumptions about God.
I have since learned that God loves to heal.
That miraculous healing does not always occur is beyond my understanding. But I have been healed enough to know that the first step is to start asking. And I love that God did not wait for me to ask.
Lastly, being freed from pain gave me a new lease on life. I had contemplated dropping out of school in order to try to heal. But time would show me that my education was ordained by God, and He would not let an injury prevent me from fulfilling my destiny.
So I leave you with a question.
What assumptions do you have about who God is and what He wants to do in your life?
Start asking Him now to tear down the strongholds that might prevent you from receiving His many blessings. And maybe, occasionally turn on the television.