My brother Jon has been sick in the hospital this past week due to another bout with colitis - a health issue he has dealt with since he was a teenager. Thankfully he has been well taken care of by specialists in his area, but it is extremely difficult to deal with a loved one experiencing pain.
Interestingly enough, Jon was going to preach on divine healing this past weekend at the mega-church where he serves as a Youth Pastor near Chicago. Between Jon's ministry and our own we have seen hundreds of people be physically healed after simple prayer in the Name of Jesus, from both small and large physical issues. Including experiencing God's healing power in my own life several times over the years. No one "taught us" how to do this - we simply obeyed God's Word to pray prayers of faith.
It seems that most Christians believe God still does miracles today. The difference usually is in how frequently we believe this can happen. Even non-charismatic Christians ask God to heal and do miracles when faced with impossible circumstances such as the sickness of a loved one or tragedy in some corner of the world.
I heard recently from a Pastor friend in Rosemount, MN that one of the young adults in his congregation created a bracelet while undergoing a tragic illness in his life that stated E.W.I.W. in a similar manner as those old W.W.J.D. bracelets. E.W.I.W. stood for "Either way I win." He referred to the fact that he was trusting God for healing, but even if God didn't heal him, he would end up in heaven. Now that's good theology!
We cannot consider or comprehend the goodness and justice of God without eternity in the equation.
While I believe God's goodness pursues us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6), I also believe we must "go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22). The latter was a oft-quoted doctrine of the early Church and remains true today.
I love what Leonard Sweet wrote recently on his twitter "This child is destined to cause the falling & rising of many" (Luke 2:34). May Christ be your "rising" in 2011." This is my prayer for you in the New Year - 2011. May the Lord bless you and make His face shine upon you. May you be even more conformed to the image of His Son and bring glory to God with your life. May you live your best life in 2011 - for you have only one to live.
Yet this is God's ultimate promise to us as we head into the New Year and beyond. Even when we do not see the "rising" of Christ's power in our own life here on earth, and when we face the frailty and the darkness of our human condition, we have this hope as we remain in Christ - either way I win.