Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Sunday
Dec092012

JESUS GREW MY LEG 3/4 OF AN INCH

The LORD has just healed me in amazing ways.

I’ll start at the beginning.  I twice broke my right leg – at three years of age and also at twelve.  The results didn’t bother me.  I successfully ran track and cross country in high school.

My first clue about my minor deformity came when I took my medical exam in 1957 as part of my application to Navy Officer Candidate School.  Some twenty of us applicants stood at attention, buck naked, while two officers and a Navy MD checked us out.  When the MD scanned me, he requested a measuring tape and measured both my legs to the hip bone.  “As I thought, Mr. Towe has a 3/4-inch pelvic tilt.”

“Will that disqualify me, sir?” I asked.

“No, not if you pass the agility tests.”  I passed them, but was disqualified anyway.  I told the Navy I’d once had an asthma attack during wheat harvest in central Michigan.  Although wheat harvests are no problem on the high seas, it provided an excuse to reject my application.  By ’57, the Navy was looking for any excuse not to train more officers.

And then my ¾-inch pelvic tilt stayed off my radar screen for the next 55 years.

Walking with a Cane

After moving to Seattle in 2010, I’ve had a series of minor ailments, which I tended to blame on Seattle rather than my age in the high 70’s.  However, one ailment went from minor to major in the spring and summer of 2012.  My right knee became quite painful, and I walked with a cane.

I took three approaches to healing:

  • ·      Medical.
  • ·      Advice from my son.
  • ·      And I asked for healing prayer.

The healing prayer came in a marvelous context.  In July, I attended Rita Bennett’s Emotionally Free Conference in Lynwood.  The Conference included both training and experience in inner-healing prayers.

What are inner-healing prayers?  They are prayers of an inner-journey in which you Biblically and prayerfully go back to hurtful time in your life with the Holy Spirit.  You let Jesus take control of the situation, so that in Him you experience forgiveness, healing, protection – whatever remedy is needed.  As a result, your personal history is changed, and you’re liberated from trauma which previously dominated you.

Craving Physical Healing

In the Conference I received inner-healing prayers, but the healing I craved was physical – my right knee. I assumed by now that the ¾-inch pelvic tilt was the cause of the problem. I had known of the LORD making shortened legs grow out.  So I asked the Rev. Mike Andrews from Miami to pray that my right leg would be lengthened and healed.  He has had lots of experience with Jesus' performing such miracles.  Rev. Andrews prayed for me.

What happened?  As far as I could tell, nothing.  (I should have realized that the LORD usually works with me this way – no instant, spectacular results.  Rather, just you wait.)

My right knee continued to hurt, but I wanted to know if my leg had grown out. I checked one evening when my son phoned for help. He was near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and his car had died. He needed a tow. I drove to meet him, called AAA, and we had a long wait for the wrecker. During the wait, I took off my shoes, and I asked him to measure my legs with a tape measure. He did – and as I feared, my right leg was still ¾ of an inch shorter.

But my son gave excellent advice. He suggested I go to the orthopedic shoe store in Shoreline, near where my daughter and her family live. So I did and purchased, not only shoes, but also heel lifts for my right shoe. This helped significantly, but some pain was still there.

Torn Cartilage

I also sought medical help.  In Seattle, I’ve been blessed with an excellent internist at Swedish Medical Center. She recommended an x-ray of my right knee. She saw that something was wrong with my kneecap and referred me to an orthopedic specialist. He suspected a torn cartilage, so he had me take an MRI.  That was a new experience – and an MRI is a wonderfully engineered torture machine. I had to lie completely still for 30 minutes -- a terrible experience. That 30 minutes seemed to last at least four hours. I was plagued by itches and twitches. But the MRI worked. It confirmed the diagnosis of the torn cartilage. I was scheduled for knee surgery.

But, between diagnosis and surgery, my son and I went to Alaska for ten days – a great experience, but my limited mobility caused me to miss much.

Surgery happened soon after, and I enjoyed it.  I had a spinal anesthetic, and was numb from the waist down.  But, I was also awake and alert.  It was a 20-minute operation in which the doctor made three incisions in my right knee cap – one for a tiny TV camera, one for a nipper, and one for a vacuum cleaner. I watched it all on TV.  I saw the tear on the left side of the cartilage.  With the nipper, the doctor clipped off small chunks, until the cartilage had a smooth edge.  The doctor narrated the operation as it proceeded, and I asked occasional questions, which he was glad to answer.

Walking Right After the Operation

While I was in recovery, my son arrived to take me home. We went to Bartell Drugs for the pain medication. It’s a long way to the prescription counter, but with the cane, I was comfortably able to walk the distance. I kept my right knee stiff, and most of the pain was already gone.  I convalesced for three days at home, after which I took off the bandages, and my recovery was swift.  I can now easily walk long distances, but I can’t yet kneel comfortably.  I have certainly thanked Jesus for this part of my healing.

And what about my right leg being lengthened? I had given it little thought since summer. I certainly hadn’t prayed about it. However, on Tuesday, November 27, I was scheduled to go to Shoreline, to my daughter’s home for dinner. On the way, I went to the orthopedic shoe store. Yes, I had a ¾-inch lift under might right heel, but it wasn’t really comfortable, because it was a high heel. I needed to have my right shoe built up with a ¾-inch higher sole along the whole length.  It would cost $150.

I parked my car, and as I got out, the thought came to me – measure your legs again. I had a tape measure in the car.  With both shoes off, I measured the distance from the ground to my hip bones. The distance was the same. I was amazed and didn’t trust the measurement, so I did it again. Again, the measurements were the same, and I thought, “Thank You, Jesus.”

Nudged by the Holy Spirit

Only then did it occur to me that the nudge to remeasure my legs had been a leading by the Holy Spirit.

I didn’t go in the shoe store, but drove to my daughter’s home.  It was natural for me to praise Jesus joyfully during the drive.  Not only did the Holy Spirit direct me to the miracle of healing, but also showed me I didn’t need the built-up sole – a saving of $150.

After dinner, I asked my daughter to measure my legs.  She did.  Both hip bones were the same distance from the floor. A miracle. A documented miracle.  I'm 78, and a man’s bones don’t grow at that age.

And the miracles continue.  As I said, I hadn’t been praying for the lengthening to happen. In fact, stuck in an apartment, I have mostly lived a self-centered indulgent life for the past two and a half years in Seattle. 

The LORD’s lengthening of my right leg was pure grace -- unmerited love.  The LORD didn’t say to me “Your trust has healed you” or “Your prayers have been answered” or “Well done, good and faithful servant,” because I hadn’t trusted, I hadn’t prayed, and I assumed that the prayer for lengthening my leg hadn’t worked.

The Real Healing:  Encouragement

So, my healing and its timing were unrelated to my limping walk with Jesus.  It was all His doing.  So what’s happening here?  I’m convinced that my healing is an encouragement.  “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.”  Luke 12:48.  The LORD is throwing big challenges at me for 2013, so I need to repent of entangling sins and become dedicated in prayer in order to survive and, in Jesus, to overcome.

The LORD is helping me do this.  Recently, I bought Devotional – daily readings culled from the sermons of Smith Wigglesworth, a Welsh plumber.  (If you don’t know Smith, check his astonishing biography in Wikipedia.)  Getting to know the world through Smith’s eyes, I realize that a person’s normal state is to be fully functional.  If we’re disabled, the LORD wants to free us from our spiritual, emotional, and physical disabilities. 

And the LORD has laid a healing burden on my heart.  Every day when I’ve gone out, I’ve seen a lame person.  I’ve wanted to tell them the great news that they can be free – but I chickened out.  How do I walk up to a stranger on the street and start telling them about Jesus’ love and power?  But, the LORD is training me how to do it.

Praying with Power

And I’ve asked Jesus to direct me to opportunities.  Thank You, Jesus.  And may I be bold to pray with power for afflicted brothers and sisters.

The miracle continues.  In the past 30 months, I’ve spent a lot of time wasting time.  But, since the miracle growth of my leg, I haven’t had time to waste time.  I’ve been getting lots of writing done.

But the big miracle is this:  Because I’ve been healed, I know I have responsibilities to pass along that healing.  So, it’s drawn me out of myself.  I experienced worship differently on Sunday.  The sermon and prayers were much more relevant, and the LORD’s Supper was empowering.  There’s new joy in reading Scripture and praying.  Thank You, Jesus.

And to point out the obvious:  What He's done for me, He'll do for you.

____________

Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2012 by Jack Towe

____________

I welcome your reactions.  Please click below on "Post a Comment".