by Angus and Batya Wootten
“You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you” (Deuteronomy 8:5).
Most of us either need, or Most of us either need, or know of someone dear who needs a healing touch from on High. So why do we not experience more healings and miracles in our midst? Can it be because we are not seeing tribulation and chastening in its proper perspective?
To answer, in the spirit of a “loving mother,” I (Batya) want to first address several points and make some suggestions about trials in the life of a Believer…
Some time ago a dear friend of mine, a sweet, itty-bitty mite with four children, came to visit me. Her husband had not been able to find sufficient work and her eyes were swollen from crying many tears. As we talked, she told me that she was “Trying to follow the Lord, but things were not working out right.” She said this because she was feeling the sting that often comes when a Believer has problems. She knows the Lord and walks in a Hebraic lifestyle, yet all was not well with her family. So it is that I concluded that she suffers from the same thing that many of us suffer from. I call it the, “Just ask Jesus into your heart and everything will be wonderful syndrome.”
Please do not misunderstand me here. There is nothing more wonderful than having the Messiah come into your heart and life. Nothing. It is the absolute high point in one’s life. It changes everything. Life is completely different once we meet the Master.
If you have not yet had the experience, believe me, you are missing a life-changing incredible moment in time. But, realize that once we do ask Him to be the Lord of our life, we seem to enter into a wonderful “honeymoon state,” but after a while that season is over and day-to-day life sets in – which comes with tribulation. As Yeshua said, “In this world you will have trouble, many trials and sorrows, even tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). It is like a three step process: Promise, Problem, Provision. We receive Yah’s promise, then encounter problems, and then see His provision. Some do not realize that being chastened is part of our growing-in-Messiah process. They mistakenly think, if you have a problem, you are “in sin.”
This is true if sin means to offend our God on any level, as in missing the mark, or not exactly hitting the bulls eye in a target. We all do that. All of us have sinned and fall short of His glory. Salvation is a process. Righteousness is immediately imputed to us, then we begin to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into Messiah’s image. By His Spirit we are empowered to move from “glory to glory.”
Death to self is a life-long process. Yeshua said, if we endure until the end, we will be saved (Mat 10:22; Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 3:15; 15:31). The Greek word for “saved” is sozo, meaning to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, and be made whole. This word should be translated as “being saved” because it speaks of something that happened in the past and is continuing to happen.
We cannot save ourselves. Salvation/ sozo is both an event and a process. (See Strong’s # G4982; and Israel – Empowered by the Spirit by Smith and Wootten, chapter 3, “Burying Our Sinful Nature – Learning to be Obedient.”) In Messiah we are granted peace that surpasses all understanding, yet we also must suffer affliction as we learn obedience to His ways. If we are His sons, we will know persecution and tribulation. When this happens to us, we need to consider His suffering and not become weary or discouraged.
We are to instead take heart and know that our difficult experience proves our sonship: This is “the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom He loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:5-11; also see Job 5:17; Pro 3:11-18).
“Reproval” is a mark of true sonship. Thus we should expect to see such action in the lives of all legitimate sons of the Living God. Everyone. Every son gets reproved by the Father – some more often than others. The Greek definition of the word is, “I reprove, rebuke, discipline, (b) I expose, show to be guilty” (Strong’s #G1651). Note the “I.” It is a work of the Father. Correction is supposed to be a Father/Son experience – one that draws the child closer to his Father.
As brothers, we may be called upon to help a brother in the process, but we need to honor it as Father/Son experience and be very careful in any corrections we offer. We do not want to be like Job’s friends, who unfairly judged his situation. Their errant actions made the Father angry and they ultimately had to ask Job, the very one they spoke against, to pray for them (Job 42:7-11).
Personal chastening is painful – but if we allow it to be used to train us, it will help us become partakers of Abba’s holiness. So we want to embrace our difficulties, learn from, and be strengthened by them, knowing that they will ultimately yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:3-13; also see Acts 14:22, and Israel – Empowered…, chapter 21, “Gifts of Healings and Divine Health.”)
Illegitimate sons are NOT chastened. Legitimate sons are chastened. Grapes are squeezed and crushed, then wine is born. Our God is the Vinedresser and we are His vineyard. We absolutely will experience His crushing in this life. He even promises Israel that He will test/choose us in His furnace of affliction (Isa 48:10). (The Hebrew word for test is the same as the word for chosen; bakar. See Redeemed Israel – Reunited and Restored, Batya Wootten, chapter 8, “Chosen to Choose.”)
Will our difficult times always be due to “sin” in the normal sense of the word? No. Olives, too, are crushed, then they produce oil, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the intent of our crushing is to show forth the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh in our lives.
Speaking of a man who was blind from birth, Yeshua’s disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Yeshua replied, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).
Sometimes, the Father is working a work in the life of an individual and wants to show forth His Glory – which shines most brightly in the presence of darkness. In fact, to see the light in Goshen we must be surrounded by darkness. To be delivered from the lion’s den we must first be thrown into one. To be a prisoner who is exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh we first must be thrown into prison. To grow in faith, our faith must be tested. To see the deliverance of our God in our lives, we first need to be in a place wherein we desperately need to experience deliverance.
Roots and Results
Due to errant teachings, if Believers experience difficulties, they can end up with yet another problem – because they admitted to having a problem. Many of us have told other Believers about our problems only to have them look down their spiritual noses at us-due to our sup-posed failure to “live happily ever after.” This is to our shame.
It is true that a “curse causeless will not come” (Pro 26:2). If we have a problem, there is a reason why we have it and we need to find its root cause. When problems surface in our life, Yah is trying to teach us something. When things are not in order, He wants us to take note of it. But always remember that He allows problems to arise because He wants to effect a change for good in our lives: “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).
Abba wants to build us up and prosper us, but to do so, He must sometimes first uproot things in our lives. Again, our job is to find the root cause of our problem. When encountering difficulties, our first question should not be a Pharisaical “Who sinned,” but a compassionate and caring, “What is the root cause of the problem and what change does the Father want to effect?”
Problems can be likened to weeds. We can chop off a weed and it will appear to be gone for a season, but if we do not pull up its root, it will one day return. So, when it comes to problems, we want to ask the Spirit to give us a “word of knowledge” to help us know things that we might otherwise not have known. (The point is not for us to know anything about others and their private lives, but so the one being ministered to might “know” that the Holy Spirit is working in their life.)
A word of knowledge needs a companion “word of wisdom,” because it reveals how to apply the knowledge given. These are gifts of the Spirit and we need to seek them, to help root out problems.
Troubles make us sorrowful, but we must keep that in perspective. Paul said, “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so you might not suffer loss in any-thing….For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:9-10).
“Repentance without regret” sounds like an oxymoron, like two opposites that cannot possibly go together. Yet, in the economy of the Holy One, the two add up to one perfect repentance: We are sorry for our actions, but we learned valuable lessons from the experience. This in turn worked positive change in us, which makes it hard for us to “regret” having chosen the path that we took because of the invaluable lesson we learned.
Sometimes we walk “wrong” paths to learn truths about ourselves. Such experiences lead to “godly sorrow,” which produces good fruit. Sometimes, we do so because of the company we chose – which teaches us that we need the gift of discernment of spirits.
Another problem is that sometimes we feel we do not hear the Father’s voice as often as we did when we were new Believers. Troubles arise and we want to know what to do about them, but Heaven seems silent. An excellent answer to this situation is offered by Christian teacher, Graham Cooke (www.grahamcooke.com).
When we were babes, the Father would often reach into our world and touch us. But as we mature, it seems that He gets quiet and is not reaching out to us as in times past. However, His quietness does not represent a lack of love for us, but, because of His great love for us, He is trying to get us to seek Him – because He wants us to grow up and learn to reach into His world. (See the book, The Voice… Hearing the Almighty by Batya Wootten.)
When we were babes, the Father would often reach into our world and touch us. But as we mature, it seems that He gets quiet and is not reaching out to us as in times past. However, His quietness does not represent a lack of love for us, but, because of His great love for us, He is trying to get us to seek Him – because He wants us to grow up and learn to reach into His world. (Also see the book, The Voice… Hearing the Almighty by Batya Wootten.)
We want to learn to reach into our Father’s world. Words of wisdom and knowledge, and discernment of spirits, are important gifts that will help us have good results.
Answered Prayer and Affirmation Effects
Another potential problem is that many see a positive response to prayer as an affirmation of ones’ “good standing with the Lord.” This can lead to them believing all is well with their soul; they have no need for repentance. If so, the spiritual well-being of those who pray for others could have much to do with healing of the sick.
James tells the sick to call on their “elders” and have them pray, so they can be raised up. He says, “Is anyone among you suffering or afflicted? Then he must pray….Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders…and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:13-16).
Key to healing is our “confession of sins.” We must first pray and ask the Ruach if we have any unconfessed sins in our life. If our problem continues, we need to call for the elders and THEIR prayer should raise us up. Their prayers may include a “word of knowledge” as to the root cause of the problem, and it can be dealt with that way.
The prayers of the elders is supposed to raise up the sick. Thus, elders need to take a level of responsibility for the success of prayers for the sick. We must beware making the ill feel guilty. It is not always about the one who needs prayer not having enough faith; it is possible that a problem could lie with an elder. If so, the Father may not allow the miracle because of the “approval” the elder might assume from it. Such affirmation can possibly lead to a false sense of security.
Sin versus Glorious Opportunities
Another problem is always assuming that the trouble is a matter of “sin.” Speaking of a man who was blind from birth, Yeshua’s disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Yeshua replied, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).
Sometimes, the Father wants to work in the life of an individual so He can show His Glory – so we will know of His great love for us. Thus, these situations are potential opportunities to see our Father at work!
I Sent You a Boat…
Quite often when people ask the Lord to heal them, they assume their prayer should be answered supernaturally; they take the position that Yah will not use the medical profession to answer their request. But consider the many who have been healed by penicillin. Add to it those who have had broken bones set, and open wounds and burns treated.
When we pray, we don’t want to be like the man who is on the proverbial roof of his house that is being swept away by a flooding river. He cries out to the Lord to save him and expects a supernatural answer. So, when a boat, and later, a helicopter come along and the people offer to save him, he turns them down saying, “The Lord is going to save me.” Then his house floats away and the man drowns. When he arrives in Heaven he asks the Lord, “Why wasn’t my prayer to be saved answered?” And the Lord says, “I tried. I sent you a boat and then a helicopter, but you didn’t want them.”
There are many ways in which we can receive healing. The ideal way is via a supernatural event, but, Yah can also use herbs, oils, and the medical profession.
Let us rethink our ideas about these things and ask the Father to move us to a place wherein we can be vessels He can use to show forth His glory. Let us ask Him for opportunities to see His glory, His salvation in action!
Please Pray for our Friends in Need
Michele Libin, Mary Lynn Houtz, and Daniel Calderon all need healing touches in their lives. Please lift them before the Messiah.
Ask Him to allow them to be examples of His glorious healing power.
Ask Him to please allow us to be a people who know His healing hand.
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