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Two years ago, a couple from our congregation shared a ‘word’ with Rhoda and me they felt was from the Holy Spirit. They also gave us an umbrella, symbolizing God's promise to provide us with a new level of security and well-being. It was a powerful gesture, one that we sincerely appreciated.

Fast forward to a morning several months later when I woke up feeling dreadful, battling a significant sinus infection and a pounding headache. My week was filled with crucial meetings and other pressing responsibilities, and I couldn't help but dread the prospect of facing it all in my condition.

By day two, my ailment had worsened considerably. Then, a moment of inspiration struck as I walked into my office and noticed the umbrella resting in the corner where I had placed it. It had remained there untouched for several months. It was an ordinary, large black umbrella.

“I couldn't ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit as I felt urged to pick up that umbrella and stand beneath it.”

I couldn't ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit as I felt urged to pick up that umbrella and stand beneath it. The scene was comical: I stood indoors under a large black umbrella on a brilliantly sunny March morning. Yet, in that peculiar moment, the power of God surged through my body, and miraculously, I was healed.

Ten minutes later, I walked into my TEAM meeting, completely free from the sinus infection that had plagued me just moments before. I haven't experienced a sinus infection since that day. It was a powerful reminder of God's faithfulness and ability to bring healing and restoration in unexpected ways.

For some reason, I seem wired to be a skeptic. Maybe it’s a reaction to some of the pseudo-claims I have witnessed within the context of an overly zealous Christian church. Perhaps it is fear of being disappointed, or maybe I am like the dad who brought his son to Jesus for healing:

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief’. (Mark 9:24 NIV).

“After a lifetime of praying for miracles in my life and the lives of others, I have reached an exasperating conclusion.”

After a lifetime of praying for miracles in my life and the lives of others, I have reached an exasperating conclusion: the outcome is unpredictable, mysterious, and astounding. I have prayed for people in a setting filled with prayer warriors and worshippers, but the miracle being sought has not manifested. Yet as I stood under an umbrella, and without uttering a word, the power of God penetrated my body and healed me of my affliction.

So, what conclusion(s) can I draw?

Jesus told me to pray. This simple but profound instruction is found in James 5:13-16 (NIV):

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

In this passage, believers are encouraged to pray for those who are sick, and it even includes calling on the elders of the church to pray and anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord. It emphasizes the power of prayer and faith in bringing about healing, both physically and spiritually. Additionally, it highlights the importance of confessing sins and seeking forgiveness as part of the healing process.

This biblical command underscores the role of prayer in seeking God's intervention and comfort for those suffering from illness and affliction within the Christian community. It demonstrates the belief in God's ability to bring healing and restoration through prayer and faith.

Human reasoning suggests I add the total sum of my disappointments and conclude that my prayers are unlikely to produce tangible results; therefore, why bother to pray? Allow Satan’s agents of fear, anxiety, doubt, and despair a voice in my soul, and my faith may become weaker, making it more challenging to trust in God's promises and goodness.

The Bible claims Satan is a thief. One of the key passages where this imagery is used is John 10:10 (ESV). Here, Jesus describes Satan as a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. In this verse, Jesus contrasts His mission, which is to give abundant life, with the destructive intentions of the thief, who is identified as Satan.

“The thief comes only to steal and, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

The imagery here emphasizes that Satan seeks to steal the blessings, joy, and spiritual life of individuals and ultimately bring destruction. This characterization of Satan as a thief aligns with the broader biblical portrayal of Satan as a deceiver, tempter, and adversary who opposes the purposes of God and seeks to lead people away from God's truth and goodness.

I have decided I will not let Satan get a foothold in my thinking. I will continue to pray for miracles even when my faith is weak. I will respond to the Holy Spirit's prompting. I will continue to open the umbrellas God provides and stand under them as a faith-action. Maybe God will show up.

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