It was a late night after having worship with friends over at Ryan and Stacy’s house. Melissa and I got home and hung out in our room a little before deciding to turn off the light and actually try sleeping. 10 PM. This has actually become early for me. I have this bad habit of staying up late at night because it’s potentially one of my only opportunities to just be by myself in the quiet. The problem with that is that I have to get up early Monday through Friday and it makes me sleep late. Late to bed, late to rise, late to TOA, bad missionary. But not tonight. After a few minutes of thoughts in my head, I nod off.
About forty-five minutes later, I wake up in a lot of discomfort. Mosquitoes. I hate these blood-sucking, malaria-giving, good-for-nothing-but-killing little insects. I had checked the mosquito net before going to sleep, but apparently one got in through the whole Dodger put in the net or it was hiding under the bed. When a mosquito bites in the middle of the night, it intensifies the discomfort and the mosquito last night bit me squarely on the bottom of my right foot and again on my left ankle. It wasn’t just itchy, it was painful. I couldn’t stand it, I had to get up.
I walked into the bathroom to act as though I was doing something other than just getting up because I was frustrated. Who was I fooling? I didn’t need to go. I walked into the kitchen and got a drink. I then paced in the hallway briefly, praying, pleading that the Lord would kill the mosquito in the net, so that I could hopefully just get some much needed rest. My feet still in a lot of discomfort, I got back in bed and pulled covers over me so that the mosquito couldn’t bite me. Its too hot for these. I took the covers back off; totally open myself up for the mosquito’s second course.
Powerless. That’s how I felt. Truly, I had a small problem. A mosquito was disturbing my sleep and in the midst of that problem, I felt totally powerless, whimpering in prayer as I paced my hallway.
That night at worship, we had been praying for people in the group that had pain in their joints. One guy who hurt his shoulder the previous night playing basketball, a teenager with a hurt knee and an older woman whose been told she needs her knees replaced. The first guy felt better movement in his shoulder, but still some soreness. The second guy said that he felt much better, like he felt fine. And we prayed and sang over the lady and she felt heat in her knees, but wasn’t healed in her body. I prayed for them along with the others. We prayed that the Holy Spirit would release the healing as He’s done throughout all of history.
And yet, I concede, that in the middle of the night, I felt powerless against this stupid mosquito. Its an interesting juxtaposition. Humbly, I confess, that I’m missing something.
The words of Jesus in Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
Power. Can I just say that I don’t understand things? Jesus says that I will receive power when the Spirit comes upon me. He says that for all of us that receive the Holy Spirit. I believe unflinchingly that God moves in the same way today as He did in the first century and as He did in the beginning of time. He is the same. Jesus said that it was good that He was leaving because then He would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit, who comes in power, is then dispersed throughout multitudes of people, instead of just the One.
Its hard though, I’ve talked countless times about Awadhi’s healing and I feel powerless often. I’ve prayed countless times, I’ve laid hands on him, I’ve fasted and no physical progress yet. Another juncture to decide whether I’ll press in or back off and give up. And not only with him, but with other areas of my life where I feel as though I’m not making progress, not walking in power as I ought to.
God continues to hold on to me though and His power is shown even when the physical doesn’t change. Awadhi is still deaf and HIV+ in the physical, my friend who needs new knees still has messed-up knees in the physical. But as she said with blessed assurance, she’s received her healing, she’s just waiting for it to manifest in the physical. Despite what it looks like in the physical, hope is not lost.
Paul blesses the Roman church saying that they might “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Hope itself comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. Hope. Hope that God is still at work; hope that things in the spirit are waiting to be shown in the physical; hope that sickness, death and sin don’t have the last word. That’s powerful stuff right there.
Lord, let my hope not be deferred, let my heart not grow sick. I believe the desire is still to be fulfilled and its arrival will be like a tree of life.
(final prayer adapted from Proverbs 13:12)