There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius … His father was sick in bed suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. (verses 7-9)
Again, I am struck by the matter-of-fact inclusion of healing in the ongoing ministry of Paul.
Years back, as a seminary student, I remember a group of local renewal-minded pastors gathering together regularly to study the issue of healing. Not being part of my tradition at all at the time, it struck me as odd. Somewhat flaky.
Funny, since I grew up in a church that took God’s word incredibly seriously, at face value. Yet we relegated passages like this to a previous era, to a past dispensation, with the door now closed to our own experience.
I don’t understand Scripture and God’s working in that way anymore. I see these sightings as evidences of the inbreaking Kingdom of God that Jesus preached and that the apostles and early church continued to emphasize (as evidenced by Paul’s teaching in Rome recorded in this very chapter, Acts 28:23).
But, such passages grab my attention and stretch my faith beyond my present experience into more of the Lord. Paul prayed, then placed his hands on the man and healed him. What was the content of his prayer, I wonder? What interaction did he have with his Lord before he stepped forward in faith to see this healing accomplished? What did he say? What did he hear?
It would be convenient to have a formula. But it seems clear the reality is something richer, rooted in ongoing interactive relationship with the ever-present, indwelling Spirit of Jesus.
I know there are different seasons. I know there are different giftings. But I am convinced, in it all, it is the same Lord.
So, dear Lord, continue to stretch my faith. Make me flexible enough to step into the ministry you choose. I am praying for someone’s healing right now. I ask for your powerful presence and intervention.
Again, in it all, keep my eyes on you.
Reflect: Is there a situation before you at the moment that only the miracle-working intervention of the Lord can set right? If so, pray. Pray like Paul. And wait on the Lord for what he has next.
(Note: I wrote this post over a year ago. Reading it again now, I am personally encouraged to realize the person I mentioned in my prayer has indeed experienced healing and is continuing to live in it. The journey is ongoing, but the Lord is at work. Praise him.)