Read Chapter Two
The Position of Humility – Miracle Ingredient 1 of 7: Bring it to Him
I could see her desperation as she approached me. This attractive Fijian woman of Indian descent needed a miracle. In her culture, women who cannot conceive are devalued. Doctors told her it would be absolutely impossible for her to have a child. Making matters worse, her marriage was being adversely impacted.
She asked me to pray. Normally, after any service I would do so. But this time, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to wait until I could pray with her and her husband. She was broken and continued pleading, “Please Pastor, please, pray for me.” As heartwrenching as this was, I knew I needed to be obedient. Finally, she invited me to come to her home the following day when her husband would be there.
That night I went to my room, excited about all the things the Lord had done during the night’s meeting. When I closed the door behind me, I turned and was greeted by an unexpected visitor.
Like most developing nations, encounters with the supernatural are commonplace. Fiji, despite its association with island paradise, is no exception. Fijian history, dating back to the 19th century according to locals, was filled with various forms of sorcery and witchcraft. The Fijian witch held an infamous place in Fijian lore. She resembled the mythical Medusa with hair active, climbing upward as if her locks were snakes. Her translucent image hung in the air like a body floating in water.
The only problem was that my visitor fit the locals’ description of the witch exactly, and she was very, very angry—at me. Though she made no sounds, her face filled with rage—her eyes black and piercing with hate and shifting in every direction independently.
I’ve encountered the demonic many times before, but never such an apparition. Still full of the Spirit, I leaned toward her as if to say, “You don’t scare me!” and then shouted, “Well, I guess I made the devil mad!”
She disappeared instantly, but more evil was waiting for me the next day.
I really didn’t know at the time why this thing had appeared to me, but the following day, when I arrived at the barren woman’s house, I felt an evil presence again. I was looking for the woman’s house number, not knowing whether hers was the house on the right or the left, and this sense of malevolence came at me from the house on the right. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I paused and rebuked the evil presence and it left in an instant. My friend and I pressed on toward the door and, to my relief, the house we were to be visiting was the one on the left.
Upon entering, the first thing I asked the woman was, “Who lives next door?” She was surprised at the question but answered, “All those people there have idols everywhere in the house and serve all kinds of other gods.”
In contrast, this woman’s home was full of the presence of the Lord. Satan evidently was upset at what he knew could happen here, and how it could impact their community. Without wasting any more time, I told the woman and her husband to stand and hold hands, and that I would pray that they would have a baby soon. No sooner had I touched them when the woman fell to the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit. Her husband seemed taken back and didn’t understand why she was lying on their small living room floor. But as I pulled her back to her feet, I did something I had only done similarly once before. I looked her in the eyes and said, “Thus says the Lord, you are completely healed. You will surely have the child in your arms by this time next year.”
Thinking back on that makes me tremble, because it had to be the boldness of the Holy Spirit or I would have been in trouble! I believe now that it was what the Bible calls the gift of faith as described in I Corinthians 12:9. My friend and I then left this couple’s home, not knowing if we would ever see them again.
Many times when I pray for people I never hear the results or get to know what God did for someone after I’m gone. In this case, however, God was gracious and gave me a glimpse of His awesome power.
One year later, my wife, Julie, and I were in that same area preaching at another service. When I was about to share my message for the evening, a woman came running up to me holding a baby and shouting, “Pastor Jerry, Pastor Jerry, look!” I did not recognize her, and being polite I said, “Yes, that’s nice, you have a beautiful baby.” She said again, “Pastor Jerry, look!” She must have known from my expression that I had forgotten who she was, because she went on to refresh my memory of the visit to her house the year before. She then explained to me that within one week of our prayer for her she had become pregnant. She said, “It’s a miracle, the Lord has healed me!”
Some ten years later, my good friend, Satish, met me in Fiji when I was visiting that area again. He reminded me about that day when we had prayed together for that dear woman and her husband. He told me that this incredible story had spread throughout the entire town and had caused them to believe in the God who cares for our every need if we but bring it to Him.
The 1st Ingredient: Bring it to Him
The turning of water into wine was Jesus’ first recorded miracle. For various reasons, believers have struggled with this action. To some it seems too practical—beneath the Lord of the universe. It smacks of magic, a slight of hand, a parlor trick. Yet, within this miracle is a kind of template of what ingredients are needed to see divine intervention. Maybe Jesus’ first miracle was intentionally pragmatic to help us mere mortals see that we too can play, not just as spectators, and that not all miracles need a Charlton Heston, Hollywood style parting of the waters.
There was a first ingredient to changing the water into wine. It was exercised by the barren woman in Fiji—bring it to Jesus. No matter what the issue or need, Jesus is willing to be involved. Some may think that goes without saying, but I’ve found, unfortunately, it is the most common mistake of even faithful believers. We think of going to Jesus as a last resort, not a first action. Without this principle as a foundation in your faith walk, your opportunities to see the miraculous will diminish.
Your position must be one of humility. The humble believer looks first to their Savior. If that smacks of “Old Time Religion,” well, maybe there are some things we should go back to.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” John 2:1-4
When I first read this passage, it seemed to me that Jesus was acting almost rudely and disrespectfully toward His mother, which I know is opposed to His character. So I dug deeper to find out why. I noticed that Mary didn’t get offended at being talked to in this manner; she simply ignored His statement and went ahead and asked the servants to fill the jars with water. She assumed He would go ahead and do the miracle she requested, in spite of His voiced objections to the timing of it, and He honored her faith in this matter. I also wondered why Mary bothered. It doesn’t seem like this was that big of a deal anyway. It was, at worst, a matter of a little embarrassment that the wedding planners hadn’t planned well enough. Why was it so important to her that He do this? Then it hit me between the eyes: There is no issue we have in our lives that God is not interested in, and Mary knew this principle. This seems an insignificant problem for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to give His attention to, but He did it anyway. He is never too uncaring, too busy, overworked, or so preoccupied with running the universe that He won’t take notice of even the smallest things in our lives, if we ask Him to. We see over and over in the Bible that at times Jesus unexpectedly invaded people’s lives, such as with Zachaeus and the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. At other times we see Him waiting to be invited into the situation, as in the case of the blind man on the road to Jericho and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. To default to an attitude of “If it’s God’s will . . .” definitely results in seeing less miracles.
No matter what the issue or need, Jesus is willing to be involved. The first step is always to recognize His desire to work with us by inviting Him to do so. Matthew 7:7-8 says:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Jesus will always be the answer to whatever your problem is, no matter how great or how small. I can’t stress enough how very important it is to get your problem to Him.
When Jesus answered Mary’s request at the wedding at Cana, He said, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” Some translate this as, “Who has related this to Me?” or “Why do you involve me in this?” or “Who has brought Me into this situation?” It is my experience that the people who get answers are the people who bring Jesus into the situation. Mary knew that her miracle could only come when Jesus became involved in her need.
Another story illustrating this principle is found in Matthew:
A Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” Matthew 15:22-28
I think most people would agree that, at first glance, Jesus seemed to treat this woman very rudely. The first time I read this story, I was a little shocked that He essentially called her a dog. She was not a Jew, and there were definitely cultural attitudes in place which would have explained a normal Jew calling a Canaanite a dog, but Jesus wasn’t a normal Jew. His disciples acted in character of the norm by asking Jesus to get rid of her because she was being annoying. But Jesus is always kind, isn’t He? Actually, there are many instances where Jesus seems to be “testing the mettle” of an individual. He wanted to know how she would react: faith or fear, pride or humility. Another thing to note is that this woman approached Jesus using a pious Jewish saying, “Thou son of David.” Perhaps she thought that the right religious words and identification with the right religious group would carry some weight with Jesus. It didn’t. Jesus’ initial response may have been a reaction to her false religious approach.
Her response was amazing. She didn’t get offended. She had a one-track mission to see her daughter delivered, and she didn’t care what she was called. She believed that He was the only One who could provide her miracle, and she was determined to get it. Finally, she dropped the religious cloak and simply said, “Lord, help me!” That was all He needed to hear, and she got her miracle, and a mention in the annals of history as being a woman of great faith.
This is a pivotal principle when we come to Jesus. Not only do we have to recognize that He is the only One who can meet our need and provide our miracle, but also we have to come with humility and confidence. We must have the attitude that no one can talk us out of it or trigger a pride response that might make us back off from getting what we need.
Believe me; Jesus will test us on this. How many times have we suffered through something because we thought we were too unimportant or not good enough to bring our small (or great) need to Jesus? Or the opposite, that it was too embarrassing to humble ourselves to ask someone to pray for us or to go forward in church in front of everyone in order to receive the prayer that might lead to us receiving what we need? How much do we really want it? Do we want it enough to be persistent? Do we want it enough to humble ourselves? Because that determination is what it takes.
Born Without Eardrums
At our church in Southern California, we had gone through about a six-month period in which we were experiencing a wave of incredible healings and miracles.
One night, many people gathered for a service specifically set aside for healing. The whole purpose of the meeting was to have people come themselves, and bring their friends and family, their co-workers, and their neighbors to the church to be anointed with oil and prayed for.
Our services always began with praise and worship so that we could draw near to the presence of the Lord. When conducting healing services in any location, it was my habit to always ask the sick to come to the front of the room. I wanted to see those who were in need as well as to be close enough to discern where the presence of the Lord was moving. Often I would not even wait until the worship service was over, but would walk around and begin to pray for people as I felt led to do so by the Holy Spirit.
During these services, parents would often bring their children who had various sicknesses and ailments. During one of these services, two different sets of parents each brought a child born without eardrums. As I was walking around and praying, I began to lay hands on the people that I felt God wanted me to touch. I came to a young girl that I guessed was 11-13 years old. I laid my hands on her, not knowing what was wrong with her or why her parents had brought her. She immediately began to scream. It almost scared me to death! I thought that perhaps a demon or some mental illness was manifesting itself. Her parents immediately took her out of the service to try to calm her down. Later, the parents came back inside with tears running down their faces. I asked if they were okay, and they told me that the reason their daughter had been screaming was that she had been deaf and could suddenly hear. The praise and worship was so loud and so strange to her that it had frightened her and she began to scream. This brought tears to my eyes and we were all crying together. It impacted me so much that I will never forget that day.
That same night, a 19-year-old young man was brought to me for prayer. His hearing was instantly healed as well, but the miracle didn’t stop there. He immediately began to speak in other tongues. He was not only healed, but filled with the Spirit. The following week, the same people brought him back to be prayed for again. When I asked why and was he okay, they said that he was fine, but that he prayed in tongues night and day. They wanted prayer for him to shut up. Needless to say, this was one prayer request I absolutely refused to pray for!
Remember: A miracle is something that does not happen naturally. It is something that only God can do, and only God can take credit for. If there is something that you need, and I mean really need, and you have no way to get it for yourself, and no one else can give it to you, then that is the time we have no choice except to live without it or bring it to Jesus. Why not bring your need to Him?