Friday, February 05, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road...

This post was started on Friday Feb 5, but it took several days to finish it so I am just posting it now on Friday Feb 12.:

Dillon's doctor said that Dillon is "On the yellow brick road, but a long way from the Emerald City. He is just stopping to pick up the scare crow." (Gotta love Doctor Gelman!)

Translation: He is doing better but he is still not healthy. His lungs still don't sound too good from the RSV and pneumonia he had. Doctor Gelman wants us to keep both boys home from church this weekend as he is afraid of one of them coming in contact with someone who is sick. Dillon's lungs are not strong enough to handle another sickness right now without another "hotel" (hospital) stay. Doctor Gelman wants to see Dillon again on Monday to check his lungs and see if he is ready to start using less albuterol and atrovent.

Dillon's surgery was moved to March 26 because they want him as the first surgery of the day (they cannot keep him without food for too long on this diet). However, the child that was already scheduled for the 19th also needs to be the first surgery so we will be scheduled for the 26.

Dillon's acupuncturist worked on him on Friday. She put some needles in his lower back, hips, and down his legs. She also gave him a massage and taught us how to massage his legs and lower back. She wants us to have everyone in the house do a 30 minute massage on him each day. We are going to have to try hard to get this done - everyday! I was able to massage him for almost an hour tonight on Friday and off and on all day Saturday so that is a good start. We got about 13 inches of snow so the boys and I were in all day anyways.

I feel very discouraged with it all though. I don't know if discouraged is the right word, I feel like my hands are tied, like I am fighting a losing battle. Despite all our daily work with Dillon - the patterning, the masking, the 5 therapist I have in my home every week sicne he was born, the stander, the chair, the AFO's, trying to change his positions, keeping him moving all day instead of just laying in bed, keeping him as active as possible, etc - his muscles are still so tight it dislocated his hip! Even if we are able to avoid surgery in March - the timer is ticking away till the next time it will happen. I don't know how I can avoid this for life... it is impossible! Eventually Dillon WILL have to have these surgeries, casting, and braces. I think I would have to spend more time than I have everyday just massaging his legs to try to avoid it - and will it even work? Now I understand why parents do the surgeries, what choice do we have?

The last paragraph is written from a human stand point. We have no other choice, these surgeries are inevitable... without God. However, we know the one who CAN win this battle, who CAN fix his hip problems. Question is - do I have faith? James 5:14-16 "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

I want to study this passage part by part. I have heard many different explanations of this verse that try to make it so that it doesn't mean what it reads. So I want to go part by part and examine what it says.

"Is any sick among you?" James was written to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. It was written to Christians who were not in just one church, but to the Christians all over. If the rest of the book of James applies to us as Christians today, then so does this verse. I don't believe we can say the book of James is for us - except James 5:14-16. Dillon is not a Jew, nor is he a "Christian" (due to his age and mental understanding it is not possible for him to have placed his trust in Christ alone.) However, he is apart of our family and Josiah and I have placed our trust in Christ and are God's children. He also belongs to God as God covers the babies who are not able to understand what He did on the cross.

"let him call for the elders of the church;" The term elder could refer to the members of the Sanhedrin - except that the Bible makes it clear that it is talking about the church. The members of the Sanhedrin would not have been in the church. Therefore it has to be talking about the Pastors, deacons, teachers, etc in the church. The men who were the Shepherds of the church.

"and let them pray over him," The word pray is used 306 times in this tense. Christ commands us to pray over and over again. Why would he command us to pray? Because it works! Mark 11:24 says "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Matthew 17:20 says " And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, If ye have the faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Luke 17: 6 says " And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you." Prayer works!

"anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:" The oil here would be probably be olive oil. Olive oil is seen throughout the Old Testament as a offering to the Lord. It used used on the alters with the sacrifices to God. Olive oil was poured on the head of the man God wanted to appoint. It seems to be a symbol of one being set apart by God to do His work. It was commanded to the Jews in Exodus to be "an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations." Oil is associated with worship through out the whole Old testament as well. Olive oil was used to set apart the tabernacle and the things that were in it as being holy and for God. Olive oil was used in the cleansing process for when people sinned against God. The oil was used in the lamps to keep them burning as well. In Mark the Bible talks about the disciples using oil to anoint and heal the sick.

"And the prayer of faith shall save the sick," Prayer and faith are often found together in the Bible. In the verses already used, we see that only by faith is our prayer effective. We can move mountains - if we only have faith. Faith is the core, the essence of everything. James 1:5-7 says that if a man wants wisdom he needs to ask - but he needs to ask with faith. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." If we are going to anoint a sick person with oil and pray for God to heal that person - we must have faith that God will heal. James tells us that if we waver in our faith God will not give us what we are asking for. I believe this is the main reason so many people want to excuse this passage away. They don't have the faith to believe that God will heal someone. Do I have enough faith? No I don't. I need God to help me. Mark 9:17-29 is about a father who asked the disciples to remove a demon from his son. But the disciples were unable to. So the father asks Jesus. Verses 23-24 say "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief." I think this father is saying that he wants to believe and does believe to the best he can, but is asking Jesus to help him if he has any doubts so that he can more fully believe. Jesus then granted this father's request and cast the demon out of his child.

If you stop and think about it - do you, do I, have the faith to pray and believe that God will heal Dillon's hips? It is hard, but I believe through fasting, prayer, and asking God to help our unbelief we can have the faith to go to God and ask him to heal Dillon.

"And the Lord shall raise him up;" Whenever we see God heal a person in the Bible it is immediate. I believe if God heals the person it will be known right away so that the full glory can go to God and God alone for what He has done. He will raise the person right then. Remember the lame men that were healed, they were always told to stand up and walk - right then. If the healing didn't come right away then the healing could be attributed to any number of other things. When God performs a miracle, I believe He does it so that He gets the glory for it. Another thing I notice in this phrase is also in the last phrase... the would "shall". Webster's dictionary says the word shall is a command, used to express what is mandatory, used to express what is inevitable, etc. There is no "wiggle room" in this word. It says if you pray in faith it WILL happen. The only variable here is if we will do our part. God will fulfill His promise if we do what we are told to do.

"and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." This is another part that is used to say that the Bible doesn't really say what it seems to say. This verse says IF he hath sinned. This verse does NOT say this is only for those who are sick because of their sin, as I have been taught by some. We learn in 1 Peter 3:7 that is husband and wife are at odds our prayers are hindered. Proverbs 28:9 tells us that if we refuse to hear the law our prayers "shall be abomination." Mark 11:26 says "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." Psalm 66:18 says "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" There are several things in the Bible that will hinder our prayers being answered. So before we can go to God in faith and ask him to heal, we must have clean hearts before God. Of course, we have all sinned, so I don't think this verse is saying it can only be done if the person is perfect. But we must each make sure that we are pure before the Lord and that if there is any known sin in our life that it is confessed and forsaken before entering into this process. The verse is telling us that if we do confess sins that may be hindering our prayers - God will forgive us so we can have pure hearts and have our prayer heard.

"Confess your faults one to another," This goes along with the verse above, Mark 11:26. Matthew 18:15 says " Moreover if they brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained they brother." Matthew 5:23-24 says, "Therefore if thou bring they gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to they brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Over and over again we are told to have nothing between us and a brother in Christ before we can worship God.

"and pray one for another," How many times do we read of Paul telling a church that he is praying for them? That his prayers don't stop, that they are always in his prayers? Many times. Paul understood the power of prayer and therefore prayed for his fellow believers often. John 17:15 is Jesus praying for Christians, not that we would be removed from the world, but that we would withstand the evil in the world. 2 Corinthians 13:7 is saying he is praying that he fellow Christians would do no evil. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, we are fighting the same fight. We should be praying for each other. We should be praying for strength, wisdom, a pure heart, etc for our brothers. We should have hard feelings or disagreements with our fellow Christians that keep us from being able to pray for them. If I want my brothers to pray for me, am I being faithful in praying for them?

"that ye may be healed." The word "that" is a conditional word. This will happen if that has happened. If we want to experience healing we need to be praying for our brothers in Christ and have confessed our sins. The word "healed" means to be cured, to be made whole. It means a miracle! When doctors have no cure, only temporary fixes and God heals - it is complete!

"The effectual fervent prayer" The word effectual is similar to effective. Fervent means marked by great intensity of feeling, zealous. So our prayer for healing is to be effective and of great passion to us, something we care about greatly, something we are zealous about. If I don't care about the person asking for healing, I would not be good to pray for them because God wants to see us pour our hearts out before Him!

"of a righteous man" The elders who are called to anoint with oil need to be righteous men. They must be men who are keeping the commands of God, innocent, guiltless, whose way of thinking, feeling, and living is to have his will fully conformed to the will of God.

"availeth much." Availeth means to be strong, to have power, to have strength to overcome. The prayers of righteous men are powerful, they have the strength to overcome anything. They have the strength to overcome what the doctors have said, the have the power to change a medical condition!

Going through all this leads me to the only conclusion I can come to if I read the Bible and take it literally. If we gather righteous men of our church and in FAITH ask God to heal Dillon's hip - he will! Do I believe it though? Do I have faith to believe that God can move a hip back into socket and keep it from coming out again? Do I have faith to believe that even though the doctors have stated Dillon will need several surgeries, that God can change all that? I don't know... it is HARD. It is easy to answer yes, but to really examine my heart and see if I believe is hard. But I know I can be like the father of the child with a demon and ask God to help my unbelief! If I (we) can trust God to hold our eternity secure in His hands, to not falter on His promise of eternal life with Him, why can we not trust Him to fulfill His promise for physical healing here on this earth? Why is it easier to trust for something "obscure" than it is for something concrete? If I am trusting His promise that believing His blood was payment for my sin, and that His Resurrection conquered sin and death... then can I not trust His promise that if we pray with faith He will heal?

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