Resurrection Sunday has come. And gone. Christ-followers worldwide responded to shouts of “He is risen!” with the glad cry, “He is risen indeed!”
But many of us are still living in Saturday – that uncertain space where as my friend Jan Carlberg writes,
Life dangles between bad news and hope, even for those of us who believe the story’s true and mean it when we shout, ‘Christ is risen!’
This morning the difficult news came of the cancer diagnosis of a good friend. Another one. So many, so hard. Peace Ridge is exploding with signs of new life, yet as I try to clutch joy with both fists I can’t let go of the sorrow clenched in my soul for so many who are suffering.
This is why I must tell you of a brand new book that demonstrates our God is still in the business of doing miracles: Greater Things Than These: Practicing What Jesus Preached, by Texas author and international minister Jan de Chambrier.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he said in John 14:12-13 that we’ll do “greater things”?
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Like me, do you want to believe God is still in the business of performing miracles today? Are you skeptical because of the claims of faith healers or past disappointments when you’ve prayed for healing and it failed to come?
I hear you, friend, because I share that skepticism and those disappointments.
But when my own family members testify to what they’ve personally witnessed of the healing power of Jesus through intercessory prayer, I believe.
I know what they say is true because I know them. And I know the God they serve.
I have known Jan since we were babies growing up together in Illinois. Jan’s mother and my father are siblings. As first cousins Jan and I share the same ancestral heritage in Norway, where our grandparents were born and where we will be serving together this fall.
Jan and her husband, Philippe, travel internationally as ministers of healing prayer and soul care. They’ve taught the core values of the Christian faith in many countries including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Belize, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, and Argentina. Jan has also worked with teams to establish centers for healing prayer at hospitals throughout the Houston area.
Listen to Jan’s firsthand account of the healing of a blind woman in a hospital room in Houston:
When (Bartimaeus) heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Luke 10:47-52
“Having just read this passage aloud, I regarded the hopeful countenance on the unlined, translucent face of Ellen, a hospital patient propped up on pillows in her bed. She and her husband, Fred, exuded the kind of faith that can move mountains. Ellen had been blinded by a stroke, but she believed Jesus could restore her sight.
Earlier that Wednesday morning, one of our prayer team members had visited Ellen while doing rounds as a volunteer chaplain. Breezing into the chapel a few minutes late for our regularly scheduled service, Shirley whispered to me, “Jan, there’s a patient upstairs who is blind and believes that Jesus wants to heal her. Can we go up there together and pray?”
I eagerly approved Shirley’s request and quickly reconfigured our plans in the chapel that day, sharing this prayer need with the intercessors who would remain there. I asked Leon, another charter member of our team, to come as well, and the three of us hurried onto the elevator. We felt our faith rise with every passing floor.
We introduced ourselves to Ellen and her husband, although only he could put faces to our names. Then I read aloud the story of blind Bartimaeus.
“Ellen, just as Jesus healed Bartimaeus, so he is willing and able to heal you. Fred, would you place your hand over Ellen’s eyes?”
As her loving husband covered her eyes with his right hand, I said, “I am going to put my hand over Fred’s, and then Shirley and Leon will put theirs over mine.” A hand sandwich – although I didn’t verbalize it.
“Lord, thank you that you are our Creator and the one who is able to make all things new, all things holy and whole. Your Word tells us that you are not a respecter of persons; that what you have done for one, you are willing and able to do for another.
“Just as you touched and healed Bartimaeus, we ask you, Lord Jesus, to touch and heal Ellen. In the name and by the blood of Jesus, we command these eyes to receive their sight! Thank you, Jesus!”
We removed our hands from her eyes and stepped away, moving several feet back to stand expectantly at the foot of the bed. A rather dazed Ellen stared at us, almost reluctant to give voice to what had suddenly appeared before her, as if it might disappear like a mirage.
“You’re bald headed!” she ventured, pointing toward eighty-something Leon. “And you’re blonde and curly headed!” were her words to me. She also correctly assessed Shirley with “You have dark hair.” With increasing excitement, she pointed to the farthest wall from her bed. “I see a clock over there, and I think it says one o’clock.”
Hooting and hollering with joy, the five of us nearly raised the roof, praising Jesus for hearing and answering our prayers, just as he had with Bartimaeus. We wafted back down to the chapel as if on eagles’ wings, and Shirley, Leon, and I shared this miraculous account with the rest of the team.
“We were all praying down here as you were praying up there!” they exuberantly reported. Heaven had come to earth as our faith had become sight, the body of Christ working together in unity, putting into practice what Jesus taught us to do.
To believe is to see.” – Jan de Chambrier
I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7
– Excerpt from Greater Things Than These: Practicing What Jesus Preached by Jan de Chambrier, Healing Tree International, 2019. Used by permission.
** For more information or to order copies, please visit Jan’s ministry website www.glimpsesofhope.org.