We had a guest speaker at church on Wednesday, a man I highly respect. He told a true story of taking a missionary team to Kenya, and how everyone they touched in a prayer service was healed of their sickness. When they came back to America, the same team of believers didn't have the same results. Very few if any were being healed. He said to me, "Pastor Tim, I don't have a theology for that."
I do. Right or wrong, this is what I believe: Those people in Kenya just don't know any better. They don't know that you can only believe what you see. They don't know that you have to pray "just right." They don't know that you have to end your prayers with, "In Jesus Name" or they just disappear on their way to heaven. They don't know that you have to wear the right clothes, belong to the right denomination, graduate from catechism classes or tithe regularly to be blessed of God. How silly of them.
Now. I'll remove the tongue from my cheek and say this... we've been spoiled in America by our own freedoms and selfishness. As Christians we don't mean to treat God as a cosmic slot machine or his Son as a Genie in a Bottle, but in many ways that's what your prayers and mine have boiled down to. In Kenya, they understand honor. They understand faith. Stay with me, here. Read these incredible verses from Luke chapter 8 and you'll see what I mean.
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."
Two very different people, two very different circumstances, with one thing in common: their faith. Neither one of them had to come to the altar crying, be slain in the spirit, pray at the top of their lungs, dance, scream, or shout. All of those things can happen, and all have their place. But I'll go as far as to say this: Jesus didn't heal them.
Their faith in Jesus healed them. They believed Him. They honored Him.
And so many people in our United States, wearing the label of Christian, dishonor God by shacking up together outside the confines of marriage, approving of the homosexual lifestyle that God calls "abominable," abusing their bodies with tobacco, drugs, alcohol and yes - even food. With mouths like sewers, they curse their neighbor and then ask God for his blessings. They post "F" this on Facebook, then write a request for prayers when things aren't going so well. Where's the honor? Where's the respect for our Creator? Our Savior?
The Bible says the prayers of the righteous avail much. The people in Kenya and other third world countries where revival is happening get it. They understand it. God is moving among those people in an exciting, miraculous way.
We look at the situation in Africa and shake our heads sadly. But I ask you America, which of the people are the truly blessed?