The other day, I went into the dollar store to pick up some items. As I was about to enter the line to pay my bill, suddenly some type of force touched me, and I felt it right inside me, somewhere in that deep spot that some people call their “knower” (as in, “I know it in my knower”). I was kind of shocked, and thought (correctly), “This must be God trying to communicate with me.”
While that might sound strange, because you might not have thought of God doing something like that before, as I just stood there thinking about this and wondering what was going on, suddenly a young woman in a wheelchair went into the line in front of me, and then I knew why God had done what he did in speaking to me like that.
How exactly did he do it? It was something like a tug in my spirit. I was very distinct. It was not an accident or “just a feeling” (as some people might want to explain it away). I’m not saying people do not make mistakes in terms of their discernment. It does happen. But I knew that this was God speaking to me. And that’s why I waited. There was something he wanted me to see, and it was this woman in the wheelchair.
Now as an aside, there are many people who discern God incorrectly, and I’m guilty for having done it myself. Do you know it’s possible to make God out to be an “angry man” when he isn’t? It’s possible to “paint a picture” of God in our own mind, due to our preconceived ideas about him, that are wholly incorrect. To understand who God is, you need to look at who Jesus is, and then you will understand God perfectly. Jesus really loved people. And so he demonstrated who God really is and what God is really like. He is a loving God! He is also angry at sin because it hurts people. Jesus was very angry at the religious leaders because they misrepresented God! So if you want to know who God really is, look to Jesus. He has “explained” him, the Bible says. And the more you get to know Jesus, the more you will be able to hear his voice.
I got into a good conversation with this girl, and asked her a few questions as we were standing in that line together. (Did I say standing? Actually, she was not standing at all. She was sitting in that wheelchair.)
Now God is a good God, who loves people. God loves the people he has created, and wants what is best for them. That’s why he gave us commandments, like, “Do not steal”, “Do not covet”, or “Do not commit adultery.” Those are the “Do not do what is wrong” type of commandments. They are not intended to limit your freedom, but to protect people. I think it is obvious, but still, some people have this picture of God as being someone who wants to limit your freedom. They do not like the “Do not do what is wrong” type of commandments, but those are all good commandments, and are there for your protection, and my protection.
There are also the “Do what is right” type of commandments. These are the commandments like, “Honor your father and mother.” That’s a tough one (for some people). They do not like their father or mother, because of some abuse they suffered from them, or it may be perceived abuse, or it may be a form of bitterness because of something that happened. The problem is, if we hold something against our father or mother in our heart, then it destroys us. It would be better for me to just forgive my father or mother, and let God handle it in his own timing. Who knows? God might even use my good example of forgiveness and love towards my father and mother, to change my father and mother. In short, life is a test and you will be challenged at every turn. How well are you doing in the test?
Other “Do what is right” type of commandments are “Love your neighbour as yourself.” That means you are to be polite to your neighbour, because you want others to be polite to you. That only makes sense, right? Yet some people are very impolite. The world cannot survive on impoliteness. We must learn how to love one another.
No Man Has Greater Love Than This
What is the greatest love you can show another person? The greatest love you can show another person is to lay down your life for that person. There is no greater love than that. And that’s what Jesus did for you and me. He laid down his life for us at the cross. The Bible makes it very clear, Jesus did that while we were yet sinners!
The greatest thing a person can do is not only to lay down their life for their friends, but lay down their life for their enemies! While we were yet enemies of God, the Bible tells us, Jesus laid down his life for us. Think about it. Now there are those who say, “Don’t tell me about Jesus. I don’t want to believe in him, because he will limit my freedoms.” Actually, it was to give you freedom that Jesus died on the cross! The Bible puts it this way:
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NASB)
What? It was for freedom that Christ died for us? Yes! Because Jesus said that whoever sins is a slave to sin (see John 8:31-32). You don’t want to be a slave to sin, do you? It’s a miserable thing having anger, torment, bitterness, anxiety, unforgiveness, envy, jealously, and depression in your life. Those are all indications that something is not right on a spiritual level. God wants to set you free from all of that.
How much does God love people? Does God love people enough to interrupt their day and tell them that he loves them? Does God love people enough to interrupt their day and encourage them? Yes, he loves people that much! He loved that girl who was in that line, in the wheelchair, and that is why he interrupted me. He knew I would be obedient and respond to him. God is looking for people to love others. And that is the truth! Will you agree to allow God to use you to love others? If you agree, then God will use you. He will speak to you in a way that is unmistakable. It may not be exactly the way he did it with me. But he will certainly speak to you.
As I was there in line, talking with this young woman in that wheelchair, I asked her about why she was in the wheelchair. I normally would not ask a question like this, but that is what I felt like asking. I felt God was leading me to ask her that question. So that is what I did.
Some people would not ask a question like that, but I felt very open to ask her that question, so I did. Here is what she said to me: It was a result of a botched surgical procedure that she had been in that wheelchair for three-and-a-half years. A surgeon made a mistake!
What loving father would just ignore this woman? What loving father would say, “I don’t care about the fact that the surgeon made a mistake.” No father on earth would act that way. Neither would God. God cares. God cares deeply for this woman. That is why he spoke to me that day.
Now there are people who criticize God, or who choose not to believe in him, because they say, “If a loving God exists, people would not be in wheelchairs.” Or, they say, “If a loving God exists, then my mother would not have died.”
God does not will that people be in wheelchairs. It was also not his intention from the very start that people would die. But our world is in trouble, and something went wrong a long time ago. This girl did nothing wrong to be in that wheelchair. It was the doctor who made the mistake. Why should she have to suffer? The fact is, things happen that are not God’s fault. You would not blame God if someone stole your shoes, would you? It was not God who stole it.
Life is a Test
This life is really a test, is it not? There is a lot of suffering around us. There are people who are in wheelchairs, and there are people who are dying. Children, even are starving. But none of this is God’s fault. Who’s fault is it? To understand the big picture, we need to understand that “sin” is in the world. It came into the world through rebellion and disobedience to God’s commands. Now there is a lot of trouble in this world. Can God even be trusted? Actually, he can. In the midst of all of the trouble, God did not give up loving us. He did not give up caring. He cared for us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to die on a cross for us. That is love.
How is love expressed? Love is expressed through obedience to God. Jesus obeyed God. We, too, are to obey God. Jesus said,
“This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:12-14)
Now I was at the store, and God was providing an opportunity for me to show his love to this girl. So I did. This girl in line at the store had a problem: she was crippled. And it was not even her fault, it was the surgeon’s fault. Did God care? Of course, he did! He cared enough to send me there.
I spoke with that girl and was very impressed. She had a good attitude, and had faith that God would heal her one day! I encouraged her in her faith! She also said that her mother had faith that God would heal her one day, too! That was encouraging. I blessed her. I walked with her, until we parted ways. I knew that God had put us together for that short time period, so that I could speak blessings over her.
Did God heal her completely that day? Well, no. That was not the purpose for our encounter. But I do believe God is a healing God and wants to heal her. If anything, God was allowing me to influence her, so that she would keep on believing. For God wanted to encourage her. He had not forgotten about her, just because the surgeon made a mistake. But was she being tested? Certainly, she was. She was being tested in her faith, to see if she would keep on believing. But is there a precedence for this? Is there a precedence for people believing that God wants to heal them? Actually, there is. The Bible has a lot to say about healing.
A Bad Disease
A long time ago (that would be more than 26 years ago), I got sick. And when I say sick, I really mean sick. This sickness was, in fact, a disease which the doctors said was incurable, and I was severely affected, and this went on for about 16 years. During its peak, and for about a year, I had to crawl to the washroom.
It was much worse than that, even. I had an inflamed wrist, and inflamed jaw, an inflamed foot, an inflamed rib cage, an inflamed neck (you cannot imagine the pain, I could not even turn it). I had inflamed vertebrae, an inflamed sacroiliac region (the region around your waist, at the back), an inflamed groin, breathing was difficult, and it was very difficult to stand up straight, because it was so painful. Twice, I also developed an inflamed iris (in my eye), which was also very painful and required powerful cortisone drops.
My weight sunk to 127 pounds (I am normally now about 165 pounds), and when I went to bed, the pain got even worse. I would wake up with throbbing pain in my upper back about four hours after getting to bed, and could not get back to sleep. At about 11:30 in the morning, I would be so exhausted from all of the pain and inflammation, I would have to go back to bed.
In the mornings, I would have to do exercises for an hour, because my back muscles would become spastic, and the pain was intense. I would have to do these methodical painful stretching exercises so that I would not lose my mobility. Every day was like starting at square one, right back where I began — my muscles would become spastic again.
Because of the pain in my rib cage, I had to take shorter breaths, and I felt like I was being squeezed. But one day, when I went to church, the pastor said in front of about 600 people at the start of the church service, “There is someone here who feels like he is being squeezed.”
I said to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel.”
But I never told the pastor.
The next week, I felt like I was being hunched over, because of the pain in my vertebrae, and when I attended the church service, the pastor gave another word, again in front of everyone at the start of the service. He said, “There is someone here who feels like he is being hunched over.”
I said to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel.”
But I never told the pastor.
Thus, the Lord was speaking to me through the pastor. He was telling me, “Have faith, son. I am watching over you.” He did not cure me immediately. But he spoke through the pastor, and others, in order to give me faith. God will do that. God will encourage us. And although God is a healing God, his goal, ultimately in this life, is not healing, but sanctification.
“For this is the will of God: your sanctification” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
The word “sanctification” means to be made holy. And that is God’s will for you. It is his first will, far greater than physical healing. One passage that brings this out is the following:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)
This is the prayer of John. He is saying, “I desire that you be prosperous in all things and that you be physically health to the same extent that (“even as”) your soul prospers.” Sanctification (or personal holiness) must come first, otherwise, we will get off track spiritually. We cannot simply pursue healing without regard for God’s commandments. It doesn’t make any sense. For the Bible says,
Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)
Your sanctification is important. In the midst of this “pursuit of holiness,” some people (even some Christians) deny that God wills to heal people today. Well, I disagree with that, because God healed me (even though the doctors said it was impossible). Even today, if I tell a doctor I got healed from Ankylosing Spondylitis (which is the disease I had), most will respond with a puzzled look and try to explain it away: “You probably didn’t have the disease.” That’s because they do not understand diseases of the heart. My problem was a result of the spiritual condition of my heart. And problems of the heart can affect you physically. The Bible says,
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Is this passage talking about physical healing? Yes. The verses immediately before this say,
“My son, attend to my words … they are life to those who find them, and health to their whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
Am I surprised that God did not heal that woman instantly that day when I met her? Not at all! The Lord led me through many experiences, and many trials, before he healed me completely. The timing is not for me to say.
My duty to this woman that day was simply to be obedient to what God was telling me to do. I talked with her. I encouraged her in her faith. I agreed with her desire and her mother’s desire, and even faith, to be made well. I was there to encourage her in her faith. And that, I think, was the reason that God spoke to me the way that he did.
Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
I will tell you one other thing that happened that day, and it was that I felt God speaking to me to start writing small pamphlets, called “tracts” (like this one) that could be given away to people when I met them. For up until that time, I had not written any tracts. But now, I have written many, and these are available at www.amazingtruestories.ca for anyone to download and print on their own printer.
Who is God?
God is a loving father to his children, and cares about them deeply. Accidents, and troubles, do happen, and that is for sure, because I had that terrible disease, and that is no joke. Therefore, I know what it’s like, I can assure you. But I also know what it’s like to be loved by God.
One day, seemingly out of nowhere (but I do know where it came from, it came from the Holy Spirit who was living inside of me, because I had trusted in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior before that time), God revealed his experiential, tangible, “you-can-feel-it,” and “you-can-know-it-right-inside-your-heart” love to me. God poured out his love upon me, and I began to cry. I cried and cried. I cried for two-and-a-half hours. It was intense. I also shed many tears after that.
Eventually, God healed me completely of that wretched disease, and I have been free from that disease for more than 10 years now — yes, completely pain and drug free. I can also eat all foods again (before that, my diet had been severely limited).
I have experienced first-hand God’s goodness and his love. I have learned about his love for his children, for he is a father to them. That’s something you may have never been told before, but I am here to tell you that he is indeed a father to the fatherless, and we are all in need of his loving touch.
God longs to be the father that you never had, for even good fathers will acknowledge that they cannot meet God’s level of perfection, and love, that we all need. For there is no one who is good enough to meet the standard that is required in order to be perfect. But as for God, he is perfect in all his ways.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A God of faithfulness who does no wrong, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
In short, God is a loving father, and the same care and compassion that he had for me, and for that girl, he has for you, as well, for he cannot help but be loving, because that is who he is. This does not mean he also does not have standards, and principles, and even guidelines and commandments, but nothing that he does is to harm us in any way.
His goal is to protect us, so that we do not cause harm to ourselves, and to others. His goal is indeed freedom and it is indeed for freedom that Christ came into this world, and died on a cross, so that our sins could be forgiven, and we could enter into that eternally loving relationship with God as our father, as he really is. Do you believe this? I want to encourage you to believe it, because it is true!
*The printable tract is provided as a PDF document that you can easily print on any letter-sized paper. Print the page (on both sides). If your printer cannot print both sides, simply print on one side, then feed the paper back in, and print on the other. Then, simply fold the page three times in half. This tract is small (2.75″ x 4.25″ — a bit larger than a business card) and convenient for responsible free distribution.