Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Miraculous Healing

John 15: 26-27
“When the helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me. And you also will bear witness…”
Acts 5: 32
“…And we are His witness to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
These verses tell us two things.
1. That the Holy Spirit will anoint us to bear witness to Jesus Christ, His Lordship and His kingdom.
2. That the Holy Spirit will ALSO, apart from us, bear witness and give testimony to Jesus.
We usually think in terms of Him enabling us to witness, but we should not overlook the “also” in the verses referred to above. We should remember that He will walk beside us to give His own witness. It is this second dimension of testimony that adds power to our sharing the gospel. Below are two examples of how I have seen this happen.

In 1971 when Laurel and I were first married we were asked to speak at a youth retreat for a group of high school kids from a Baptist church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The youth pastor had prepared for the event by calling friends and intercessors to pray and fast for the Lord to visit these kids. There were about 40 of them at the event. Most of them attended church, but I am not sure if any of them really knew the Lord or had a real personal relationship with Him.

Laurel sang and I spoke. While I was sharing our testimony of our walk and experiences with the Lord, you could have heard a pin drop. It was as if Jesus was walking among us. His presence became more real each time I mentioned his name. A couple of the kids expressed a desire to know Him. Then a few more. Suddenly twenty of the group were on their feet and praying for one another. The other twenty, along with the football players, remained seated and just gazed in wonder at what was happening.

Then a young man named Rob came up to me. He had both emphysema and asthma. His breathing was a loud wheezing and was so labored that it could be heard all over the room. He had a breathing machine with him, and his doctors had recommended that he not go to this retreat. But there he stood before me with a look of despair and desperation. I pulled him off to the side and said, “Rob, do you want to know Jesus?” He said, “Yes,” but then pointed to his chest to communicate the agony he was going through with his lungs.

I quoted Jesus' words about laying hands on the sick, and then I laid my hands on his head asking Jesus to touch him. Suddenly he fell back and began to shout, “I can breathe! I can breathe!” The Lord had instantly healed him of the emphysema and asthma. I then yelled out to the group, “Hey, everybody, God just healed Rob!” Immediately the other twenty kids rose up like a covey of quail. All forty kids were standing with arms uplifted to the Lord praising and thanking Him for the miracle. They all instantly gave their lives to the Lord and stood there weeping, laughing, and praising Him.

I did not orchestrate this. This event seemed so spontaneous; I simply watched it happen. I had told the group that Jesus died for our sins, that He had risen from the dead, and was alive now as living Lord and Savior. But as I was speaking, Jesus was moving around that room apart from me and was speaking to them by the Holy Spirit. Their lives were transformed because God revealed Himself to them.

On another occasion (circa 1968) when I was still in college, a friend and I were preaching and telling people that Jesus is alive and that the Holy Spirit is present to reveal Him and demonstrate His presence. We could sense the presence of God, and people were being healed. A young man was there wearing a back brace because he had broken his back in a car wreck. I prayed for him and the Lord touched him. He began to weep and to leap up and down, crying out, “I’m healed! I’m healed!” He took the brace off and began to twist about. I turned and saw a young child about six or seven years old with tears streaming down her face. I asked her, “Kindra, are you okay?” She looked up at me and said, “Jesus is in this place. Jesus is in this place.” Other people were healed of various sicknesses at that meeting. Again, I felt I was an observer watching Jesus work among this group of people. I was testifying, but He was there also giving his own testimony, apart from me.

We speak of faith and of the need to believe, but there was in those days a dimension of God's presence that arose from Sovereign acts of Divine grace, providence, and purpose that transcended what we wanted. We did not cause it to happen, we simply responded to His presence. We testified, but He also testified. May we even in this day again proclaim the presence of Jesus expecting that God will again, "...also bear witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will" [Hebrews 2: 4].


what's the deal with that said...

Dad, this is really beautiful. it really is true that we're just vessels, isn't it? that we show up and do our work, and the rest is not up to us.

Wonderful, Dad!

josenmiami said...

good stuff Billy,

when you were with us, you mentioned a passage in Acts where one of the apostles was speaking and he referred to the "testimony of the Holy Spirit, and of us..."

do you remember where that is?


Billy Long said...

Joseph, in Acts 5:30-32 the Apostle Peter was standing before the council and on trial for the gospel. He spoke of Jesus' death and resurrection and said, "...we are witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

mbrennan said...

excellent Billy. This is Ultimate Reality rather than a manufactured result.

Mike said...

Howdy. I am enjoying your visit.

Mike said...

If we tell people about Jesus and the power of God begins to work it gives people a reason to believe! Without a direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, it's just words.

jim sharp said...

As someone who appreciates "out of the box" thinking, I love your blog name.

What is so great about your experience, in my old home town, you didn't need a "point of contact" or required to plant a "seed gift" you were simply obedient to "go" and Jesus showed up.

It is when we join Him in what He is doing that we will be amazed of His love for us.

I would love to know what the 40 young people are doing today.

Billy Long said...

Thanks for your comments. When the Lord healed Rob, these kids got so fired up for the Lord they went back to Tulsa and started a Bible study a half-hour before school each day and had about 80 students attending. They were witnessing on the streets and actually hit the newspaper at that time. One of the fathers was filled witht he Spirit because of what he saw happening, and years later he was heading a counseling ministry at Regent University in Virginia Beach. I also wish I knew where those "kids" are now.