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  • Leah Van Someren

Healing is REAL.

¡Hola son de Bogota, Colombia! 

May I confess something to you? Perhaps some of you can even relate…If I dig into the recesses of my mind, I’ve been known to liken God to a magician. As in, someone who impresses onlookers with slight of hand, altered perception and mind tricks. Of course, if anyone one asked, this would never be my answer. No way! “God can do anything without limit or restriction!” I’d [intellectually] assert. But if I lead with vulnerability and tell the honest truth within my heart, I often felt unconvinced and suspicious when I’ve heard proclamations of God’s works in our modern day. 

My skepticism especially took hold regarding spiritual gifts described throughout scriptures. You know…gifts like prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues. I do not come from a charismatic tradition. Before Training Camp, hands in the air during worship was the closest I’ve seen to anyone being ‘slain by the Spirit’. It wasn’t until a couple months ago I opened myself up to the possibility of God apportioning any of these to me (I Corinthians 12:4-11). 

As I learned more about the various gifts and the miracles God desires to do through His people, the more I leaned in. Excitedly, I asked Him to ‘prove it’. Not necessarily in the “I won’t believe you until I see it for myself” sort of way but rather, “it must be a pretty cool trick…can I see?” I sincerely wanted to see His powerful hand at work but my expectation was that of a kiddo at a magic show, ooo-ing and awing, begging for more. Through my heart’s exploration, I’d specifically been drawn to the gift of healing. I’d heard story after story of God healing people and I wanted a ticket to the show. But when I came across people who openly shared their aches and pains…people that I could actually FEEL God telling me to pray for…my fear of something not happening dismantled my curiosity about what if something does.

And then we got to our ministry site, Formavita….

Everyday our group splits up to serve in various ways (be on the look out for a tour on my next blog). Not even a week into our ministry and God already blew my meager expectations out of the water in the most upside down way. Leave it to Him to teach me a lesson, while putting me in my place and giving me a massive hug — all at the same time. Last Thursday, August 10th I assisted Aida, the head (and only) chef in the kitchen for the first time. Sporting blue scrubs, a white cloth cap and soft slippers, she prepares food daily for 100+ kids and adults using only three burners. She doesn’t speak a lick of English but during our time together, she outpoured unfettered excitement, joy and sass as we carried on our game of instruction charades. She was even quick to forgive when I mistakenly threw away the skins of a red pepper because I misunderstood her hand gestures. Note to self: You never waste ANYTHING in the kitchen. Everything can be used for something!

As we wrapped up lunch preparation, bobbing and weaving around the petite kitchen, Aida carried a ginormous pot of boiled potatoes to the floor drain to pour the water out. All of the sudden, I heard a yelp and muffled Spanish spat through gritted teeth. I darted from my post at the dish pit to find Aida doubled over in pain, her foot bright red. She accidentally poured boiling water directly on top of her exposed foot! I quickly removed her scalding slipper and grabbed a cup of cold water to pour on her injury. Sitting her down on a small plastic stool in the corner, my heart broke for my new friend. With tears welling up, she could hardly stand the pain as the flesh on her foot immediately blistered with second degree burns. 

Other women came into the kitchen and after hearing Aida’s woes, offered various relief tactics including a medicated ointment called “After Burn” and wrapping Aida’s foot in a specific leaf and plastic wrap. I drifted back to doing dishes unsure how an English speaking, 25 year old, newbie would be much help. The women subsided and Aida sat in the corner on her stool, fanning her foot with her hand. I toweled off my hands and bending down, motioned her to stop fanning. I gently took her foot and began blowing on the various burn spots, the only relief I knew how to give. She sighed heavily and whimpered. 

Then God spoke to me…”Why don’t you pray for her healing?”

“Because I don’t speak the same language. She won’t understand me.” I reasoned. 

“But I will…won’t I?”

I looked up at Aida with tears in her eyes and asked in English, “May I pray for healing for your foot?” putting my hands together to motion for prayer. 

Her head bobbed up and down with eagerness so I knelt down on the kitchen floor, held her foot and bowed my head. I love that God pours out freedom in the midsts of our incompetencies and lack. Because I knew Aida couldn’t understand what I said, I was able to be completely honest with God while I prayed, leaving the tangles of perception and expectations of man behind. Note to self: Doing so is *always* a good idea. Guys, I literally started my prayer with “Jesus, I’ve never done this before…” but as I prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit present. Momentum picked up and Aida whispered prayers in Spanish above me.

While praying, I felt the Spirit urge me to get my lavender oil from downstairs. An ‘anointing’, if you will, just like in James 5:14. We finished praying and I looked up. Her sweet smile met me with gratitude and hope. In broken Spanish, I asked her to wait while I got something to help. She nodded and I skippered off. Coming back into the kitchen, I asked her to take the leaves and plastic wrap off. She grimaced as the material tore away at her flesh but together, we eventually got it all off without much damage. I held the lavender oil up so she could smell and large smile took over her face.

Kneeling back on the floor, I dripped the oil over her contorted foot. As I did, I felt the Lord asking me to pray one more time. I glanced up and asked with some hesitation, “May I pray one more time?” Without a beat, Aida nodded her head. During the second go around, the Spirit immediately overtook me. Declaring healing in Jesus Christ’s name, I felt something in me shift from a curiosity to hope of God’s power, promises and goodness. With my last ‘amen’, she hugged me and put her slipper halfway on, limping around the kitchen. 

The immense peace I felt overwhelmed me. I went back to my station, processing all that just happened. Four minutes later, God prompted me to check in with her pain. I turned to ask Aida how her foot felt only to find her directly behind me with a gigantic smile. Before I could get the words out of my mouth, she exclaimed, “¡el dolor se ha ido!” which means, “The pain is gone!” I, of course, didn’t understand but she motioned to her foot, gave a bigs thumbs up and reiterated, “¡Nada!” My spiritual immaturity got the better of me when I shouted, “Really?!?!” and succumbed to a giggle fit. She laughed and said, “Gracias a Dio”, meaning thanks be to God. Then, just like that, she put her slipper back on fully, even over parts of burnt flesh and walked around the kitchen with ease. I stood gapping with mouth open. I couldn’t believe it! Not only did healing just take place in front of my very eyes but Aida acted like it was no big deal! 

Do you know why?

She expected it to happen. She saw my prayer as an invitation of healing, not a magic trick or a ‘maybe this will work as a last resort leap of faith’. She believed she Jesus would heal her because when you have little, you lean on God a lot…not for a ‘show’ but for your life. Her walk

with the Lord is saturated with the fulfillment of God’s promises because she steps boldly into faith for the sake of God’s glory, not her own awe or entertainment. She knows, that she knows, that she KNOWS He will meet her. I am learning this…rather, He is teaching me by way of personal encounters and relationships with His children. 

Sweet friends! Listen to these wise words of Pope Francis, “God is not a divine being or a magician, but a Creator who brought everything to life.” That’s amazing! We have a God of great healing who promises throughout scriptures to renew, uphold and heal. This isn’t some far off, swinging for the fences, ‘it can’t be real’, magic trick! 

It’s real!

And it’s as physical as the world itself. I testify as a once skeptical onlooker, I’ve witnessed and been invited to participate alongside the healing hand of God and it wasn’t heightened or flashy. It didn’t create waves of applause or fireworks, like I expected. And it surely wasn’t about me. No…our God is much too creative to bend to our imagination. God isn’t interested in performing or feeding my (dare I say ‘our’?) unsustainable desire for showy entertainment. Instead, God lovingly accepted my faith as small as a mustard seed and revealed Himself so that healing may reign and His glory may be lifted up for His own sake.

But even beyond the euphoria of physical healing, our God promises spiritual healing -- eternal healing! Jesus Christ was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our inequities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). My prayer, dear friends, is the Lord uses these words. For some, to spark a curiosity in the Lord’s presence, for others to, increase faith outside of a presupposed box.

Let the Truth be known, our creator God who brought life to all things desires to heal if we would just lean into obedience and step out in faith. It’s by His will, power and sweet desire for life abundantly that healing is a reality. 

Thanks be to God!

Ps. Here are a couple photos of Aida's foot, her and me together and a sweet video of Aida jumping rope only a day after she got burnt! Homegirl is fantastic and God is amazing.


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