Back in January, I went on a mission trip to Manilla, Philippines with Trash Mountain Project. We visited their four trash dump sites – one of which was Smoky Mountain. I documented the day on the blog. It’s a day I won’t ever forget.
The pastors at Smoky Mountain asked us to go by the house of a boy named Dennis. Dennis was 10 years old but looked like a toddler due to malnourishment and muscle spasms he was constantly having. When we arrived, Dennis was curled up on the floor, a mass of bone sticking through his skin. His mother was beside him, one hand stroking his head, the other holding a nursing infant.
As 7 American pastors crammed into his ‘house’, we prayed. It was hot, smoky, and dark. The kid just looked like he was waiting for death. As we prayed, I distinctly remember telling God – if You don’t do something, this kid is dead by the end of the week.
Sunday afternoon, I get a text from Brett Durbin with this picture.
“Guess who this is.”
A few seconds later… Dennis.
I texted back – Not a chance that’s the same kid.
A few minutes later, I got an email from Jon “Greek” Kazaklis:
I wanted to update you all that were on the trip back in January. We have some awesome news from Pastor Reynixon & Pastora Cora. Dennis is feeling good and came to church with his mother today.
Pastora Cora said, “I’m so happy to see Dennis in church smiling at me. Thank you for all your prayer.”
The photos were sent from Pastora Cora and they clearly show how much Dennis has improved. Praise God!!!!!
I was in awe & I am still in awe at what God is doing in little Dennis’ life. This past month, we have gotten reports that Dennis has been able to stand and control body movement. God is good!
I looked back at my text messages.
“Not a chance…”
I wrote those words.
So what is more mind-blowing – that God chooses to heal a boy that practically no one on the planet knows about in a place where everyone else has forgotten or that a pastor finds that whole scenario so unbelievable that he would write the words ‘not a chance?’
I no longer want to be surprised by text messages that say – “Guess what?” Or emails of things that my eyes deem impossible. Or stories that leave me speechless.
Is it really that hard to believe? Or have my eyes developed spiritual atrophy?
We had a discussion over in the Philippines on the subject of prayer and healing. There’s the stuff they teach you in seminary – the “theologically sound” stuff like praying in Jesus’ name and in His will. Most of us agreed that the way we were taught to pray in seminary sounded a lot like hedging your bets.
My prayer life was changed forever when I prayed with someone who had cancer. She prayed for healing, she asked for it bluntly and directly from her Father. She said she wasn’t picky how He decided to heal her – with medicine or without. It would be miraculous either way – she’d know either way it was from Him. There was no “if it’s Your will” or “in Your timing.” She kept asking for it.
She wasn’t healed.
A few weeks before she died, I got a chance to talk with her. She was still praying for healing. She looked up at me.
“Grant – don’t ever play poker. You’d get fleeced.”
She continued…I pray for healing like a kid asking a dad for a toy. I want it. But I’m mature enough now to know that if He doesn’t give it to me, not to pitch a fit. Ultimately I trust Him, not what I’m asking for. So I will neither be surprised nor disappointed with His answer.
That’s powerful stuff. And it’s why we not only serve all but why it’s important to put ourselves in places to see God work. It’s why going on trips, serving in ministries where is so important personally to our faith. So our faith can go to the point where we aren’t surprised anymore but thankful.
A place where we ask of the Father then we see Him work. More than just see Him work…but actually be a part of it.