God Still Works Miracles–Part 2–Geoffrey’s Obedience

Tom and Geofrey at the Melting Pot

Tom and Geoffrey enjoying The Melting Pot experience at dinner on Thursday night.

 

As Tom and I spent the rest of the day with Geoffrey, we learned how God had worked in his life and how God had been preparing for my healing long before any of us had an inkling that it would take place.

In July, 2013, Geoffrey came into contact with a man in his country who is known to have the gift of prophecy. While talking with him, the man stopped, looked at Geoffrey and told him that he saw a plane ticket on his head and that Geoffrey would be going to America the following July. Geoffrey thought it a bit strange as he had no reason to go to America and certainly didn’t have the means to do so. Despite this, he accepted the man’s words, but as time passed, forgot about them.

When information came out about the 2014 International Gideons Convention early in 2014, Geoffrey felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit that compelled him to register, which he did on faith. It wasn’t until partway through the process that he remembered the prophecy. As his plans progressed, God provided everything Geoffrey needed. He was given a plane ticket, the money he needed for registration and accommodations, and another gift of just the amount he needed to renew his visa—with an hour to spare before the deadline.

On the morning of the convention breakfast, Geoffrey was ready at 7:15 even though the breakfast was not until 8:00. He tried to leave his room but was drawn back inside. This happened several times. By the time he actually left, Geoffrey realized he would barely make it on time. I remember seeing him at the door, scanning the room for an empty seat when the man across from me waved to Geoffrey and pointed to the place at our table. I assumed they knew each other from one of the convention sessions, but later learned they had never met.

Geoffrey settled at the table in time for the blessing and the serving of breakfast. We smiled and nodded a hello to each other but were too far apart to be able to converse. He later told Tom and me of being under such conviction of the Holy Spirit to pray for me, that he didn’t enjoy his breakfast or hear any of the program. All he did for those two hours was listen to and focus on God’s command to pray for my healing. As I mentioned in the previous post, Geoffrey was so nervous to approach me because he didn’t know how I would respond that he asked the man next to him to relay his desire to pray for me.

Throughout the rest of the day, as we talked and shared, we learned that God had used Geoffrey’s gift of healing—as well his humble and obedient heart—to facilitate healings in his home country of Malawi. While not a faith healer, Geoffrey feels compassion for and will pray for anyone who comes to him with a request to pray for healing. In those cases, he has seen some complete and some partial healings, as well as no visible evidence of healing. But when he hears God’s direction to pray for someone’s healing, goes to him or her, and is obedient, the results have been 100% effective.

In my particular case, Geoffrey obeyed God every step of the way, even though he didn’t always know the purpose and at times felt uncomfortable. He responded in faith and obedience to Spirit’s nudges and directions. And God used him in a great and mighty way to restore my health.

Tom and I cannot stop praising and thanking God for this miraculous gift of healing (as well as a bit of walking and leaping)! We are doubly blessed to have Geoffrey as a friend and a dear brother in the Lord.

 

(Part 3 will tell what else God did during the week as word of my healing spread)

 

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What About the Roman Soldiers? An Easter Musing

I’ve always wondered about the Roman soldiers mentioned in Matthew 27:62-66 and Matthew 28:11-15. What makes them intriguing to me is that they were the only people physically present at Jesus’ resurrection.

Imagine being an eyewitness to the greatest event in the history of the world. How many were there? Who were these men? What did they experience that night? What happened to them? How did it change their lives?

I thought there were two soldiers at the tomb. But Matthew refers to them as a “guard of soldiers”. In doing some research, I discovered that “two” guards is merely tradition and highly unlikely. A “guard” consisted of a minimum of four soldiers but could comprise as many as the situation warranted. One article I read suggested that the Romans would have wanted there to be at least one soldier for each of the 11 remaining disciples, who were the most likely to steal Jesus’s body.

So, here we have all these soldiers sent to guard a tomb. It’s almost like the old light bulb jokes–how many men does it takes to protect a dead man? I’m thinking these soldiers took their assignment in one of two ways. Either they felt they were at the bottom of the barrel, getting all the worst assignments, or they were thrilled with what appeared to be the easiest assignment ever. Guarding someone who’s already dead–how hard could it be?

And then I think about the reality of that night. I’ve done a lot of camping. There’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire on a chilly night, passing around hot chocolate, making s’mores, singing, and telling stories. I’m sure their night wasn’t much different–at least until what happened next. The noise must have been deafening. When God demonstrates his glory, it is never done quietly. And the light, bright and blinding. In the midst of this seeming chaos comes Jesus–alive. What crossed their minds? Maybe some of them thought, like the centurion by the cross, “surely this was the Son of God.” Probably, most ran away in abject terror.

In Matthew 28, the soldiers found their way back to the chief priests, not their Roman commanders, to give their report. If they’d been sleeping, as some say, they would have had nothing to report. Instead, their information alarmed the chief priests enough to offer them a substantial amount of money to keep quiet and lie about what they saw.

After this, we hear nothing more. That’s when I really start imagining. How did their lives change? I hope some of them became followers after reflecting on that experience. Imagine what they told their wives when asked, “How was your day?” How do you explain the strange event/miracle you’ve just seen? I would love to have been a fly on the wall during those conversations.

Jesus could have waited until the women arrived to roll the stone away, for them to witness the light of Jesus’ glory. While there did not seem to be any interaction between Jesus and the soldiers like there was with the women and the disciples, the soldiers were the ones physically present at the scene. As a twenty-first century Christian–and a Gentile–it occurred to me that maybe this was God’s way of including us in the resurrection. Perhaps this is our crumb from the master’s table, an indication that we, the Gentiles, are loved by God, also ordained to be his children. Whatever the case, nothing changes the bottom line:

HE IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!

 Easter blessings to all!

 

 

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