The only reason that I even attended a Wednesday night healing service a little over a year ago is because I was filling in for the pianist on Sunday and was therefore expected to be at choir practice, which took place right after the healing service. I didn’t really want to be there, as I felt the beginnings of a headache that was likely to turn into one of my bi-monthly migraines by the next morning.
I wanted to just wait in the back until choir practice began, but it was one of those services where I was one of about five people in attendance and there was no way for me to hide. The rector sat in one of the pews with us while he talked us through the service. At the end, we all stood in a small circle while he anointed our foreheads with oil and prayed over each of us individually.
That was my first experience with healing in the church. Besides seeing a couple of the infamous televised services where the more people who fall backward into a dead faint, the better. This service was nothing like that. No shouting proclamations. No frantic hallelujiahs.
Not that there can’t be authenticity and biblical healing in well-known pentecostal services, because I believe there can be. And is. But my comfort zone falls much closer to the practices of the “frozen chosen” than those who shout and dance. And in my experience, I had never known spiritual healing to be practiced by anyone other than my more energetic brothers and sisters in Christ.
So that Wednesday night as I stood in the circle, my participation a product of circumstance rather than choice, and waited for the oil to be pressed into my forehead, I didn’t know what to expect; but I whispered a prayer that only God could hear and accepted the moment for whatever it might be.
The migraine that I expected the next morning never came. And although I do still have occasional headaches, I have not had a migraine since that quiet evening. I have no other explanation.
Two weeks ago, I didn’t really want to go to church. I have weeks like that. And I’m not proud of this, but sometimes I stay home simply because I don’t feel like going. Still, this time I ended up deciding to go.
We arrived at church, settled into our pew, and flipped through the service booklet. A guest minister would be performing a healing service.
With the symptoms of my health issues increasing to the point that I am considering medication…on the eve of a difficult diet that I am enforcing upon myself in a last-ditch effort to avoid medication…as I’m contemplating how to manage a life of chronic pain and fatigue…on a day that I wasn’t feeling particularly close to God and didn’t feel like worshipping Him…
…we showed up to a healing service.
This particular healing service, I sat in the midst of a much larger congregation. One where I could easily hide and avoid.
Instead, as a family, we walked forward to the altar, prayed our silent prayers and accepted the oil upon our foreheads and the healing upon our lives.
I’d like to say that I walked away with a renewed physical health, my symptoms fading, never to return. I did ask for that, among other things. But that is apparently not to be my answer this time. And that’s okay. Because even as I walked forward, I knew that wouldn’t be the focal point of my prayer. Because healing of the physical body is only a small part of how God heals.
More often, I believe, His healing is for our mental and emotional state. Our healing is for our heart, to draw us closer to Him and teach us more about our relationship with Him.
Over a week later, I know that God is healing me. I can’t tell you how yet. But I know He is.