Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Gift of Healing and Miracles

On Sunday, our Sunday school lesson was about spiritual gifts. We didn't spend much time talking about the gift of healing so I thought I would save it as a topic to share on my blog.

There is so much I love about the gift of healing, and I think it's one of those gifts that often gets misunderstood and swept under the rug. In every lesson on spiritual gifts that I have sat in during my life, the mentioning of the gift of healing has always been a quick reference to priesthood blessings.

Priesthood blessings are a great way to facilitate healing and miracles because they operate through the power of God by our faith. However, if we don't have the faith to be healed, we might not receive the miracle we were hoping for. If the person extending the blessing does not have faith, then again we might not receive the healing we were hoping for - if we are relying on their faith alone. Faith to heal and faith to be healed are two separate sides of the coin. And not every priesthood holder has the gift of healing. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “The need of faith is often underestimated. The ill one and the family often seem to depend wholly on the power of the priesthood and the gift of healing that they hope the administering brethren may have, whereas the greater responsibility is with him who is blessed. … The major element is the faith of the individual when that person is conscious and accountable. ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole’ [Matthew 9:22] was repeated so often by the Master that it almost became a chorus.”

Before we go further, I'd like to add that the gifts of the Spirit are not reserved for a certain class of people, certain denominations, or even specific genders. God is no respecter of persons and He works through all of us for the edifying and uplifting of mankind. Sometimes we get it set in our mind that if we see others who are not of our religion or culture, exercising spiritual gifts - then they must be counterfeit gifts. Let me emphasize how important the gift of discernment is in these encounters. Through the Spirit, we can discern all things. With that in mind, I must say that it is incredibly powerful to witness a healing between a healer who has the faith to heal, and the recipient who has the faith to be healed. Both powers of faith working together create profound miracles!

What is the Gift of Healing?

 In many church lesson manuals we read,

"Many who hold the priesthood have the gift of healing the sick. Others may be given a knowledge of how to cure illness."

These are two great examples of how the gift healing may operate in some individuals. To add to that, I believe the gift of healing is more than receiving knowledge - it's accessing the Holy Spirit through our faith, to know what to say, what to do, and in what manner and by what means to do it. Because it's a gift of the Spirit - it comes natural. As it is not the healer doing the healing (it is of Divine origin), it should never feel forced, strenuous, nor exert all of your energy.

Surprisingly, I have heard many members of the Church say that miracles are rare today, and something of the past. I have even heard this taught in lessons. That has not been the case in my own personal life and I am sure there are many others who would love to shout from the roof tops the incredible miracles they participate in or have personally witnessed - yet they understand the wisdom in not casting peals.

Should We Share Our Healing Experiences?

When moved upon by the Spirit, there are times when it is good for us to share our testimonies of these experiences with those who may be benefited by us doing so. We must be careful to never boast about them (D&C 84:73). I know that when others have felt prompted to share with me, it has only increased my faith and strengthened my own testimony. Were it not for these testimonies, I would not have recognized and been prepared for future opportunities.

Without offering great detail, I would like to share an experience I had a few years ago that helped me embrace the gift of healing. I have never shared this experience before as it has never felt right until now. I trust that the Lord will use it to reach those who will be edified from it. 

Over the past several years I have been told many times by friends and family that my prayers "work". I always thought this funny because I believe that all prayers "work". After being asked often to pray for others, I realized it was my faith they were actually referring to. Because of my faith, miracles were happening!

One particular day I was unexpectedly asked by some friends to go to the home of an acquaintance and help heal her. She had been suffering from severe arthritis that had crippled her feet to the point that she could barely walk, Her toes were twisted and wrapped around each other, and her legs suffered much pain. Guided by the Spirit I knew just what to say, and what to do, and I believed that she would be healed. This beautiful sister also had great faith that she would be healed.

While praying for her, and speaking to her legs and feet to be healed, something amazing began to happen. I will never forget the sound we heard as her bones began to pop. Her legs began to vibrate and became very hot. One by one, her toes unraveled, popped, and moved back into their proper place completely straightened out. Her leg bones shifted while making popping and cracking sounds and they straightened out as well. Before we knew it, our friend appeared to have a brand new set of legs and feet! Three days later she came to my home, and for the first time ever was able to briskly walk up the long flight of stairs to my door without any assistance. The joy we all felt is indescribable!

This experience changed my life and the lives of my friends. We witnessed the miraculous healing power of God that can only be accessed by the Spirit through faith and prayer in Jesus' name. We witnessed what I later learned that some refer to as a "creative miracle", and we learned just how fast God can work when you believe with nothing wavering. Most importantly we learned that God is the same God today as He was 2,000 years ago, and because of that, New Testament kind of miracles are not only possible but happening all around the world today. On that day, my faith was magnified and I was able to assist in many more miracles of a similar nature, when prompted.

To those who have not experienced miracles of this magnitude and believe that they are a thing of the past, the prophet Moroni says to you (Mormon 9:7,8,20,21),

7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healings, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;

8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them

20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

He tells us that it is our own unbelief that causes miracles to cease in our lives. We must have faith, and faith is a gift that all can pray for. He also reminds us that if we truly read and understand the scriptures, then we will know the Gospel of Christ and the fruits of it.

 Our loving Savior Jesus Christ has said (John 14:12-14);

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 

The Savior knew that we could not receive the Holy Ghost until He parted through the veil. He knew that the gift of the Holy Ghost, could work in us and through us to perform these greater works.  He tells us that anyone who believes in Him and on the power of His name, shall do greater works than He. Can you imagine? The One who brought Lazarus back to life, the One who turned water into wine, the One who walked on water...He's telling us that WE will do greater works (when prompted by the Spirit).

Who Can Heal?

It's important to remember that we do not heal, it is God who does the healing through us.

When I am not busy being a full-time mom, I am an author and motivational speaker known as "The Happy Lady". Through books, blogs, music and videos, I share the message of finding hope and happiness.

A couple of months ago I came in contact with a recent mission president who took note of my work and said, "Thank you for your ministry." That comment took me by surprise. I had never thought of what I do as a ministry. I always thought ministries were churches. Then I realized a ministry is simply a message, and my message is hope and happiness.Through my gift of writing and speaking, along with sharing that message, it's always been my mission to help others find healing and peace.

In the early history of our church, faithful men and women facilitated in great miracles and healing. Some through their talents and gifts, and others through prayer and priesthood power. I have read many wonderful testimonies of my own pioneer ancestors that have strengthened my faith a great deal.

Because spiritual gifts and healing were openly discussed in Relief Society meetings and recorded in the minutes, we are able to learn a great deal about the early women of the church and their spiritual gifts. Surprisingly, it was common for women to lay hands on the sick and to bless them.With the prophet's approval, Emma Smith and her counselors (as did other faithful women) laid hands on the sick and blessed them that they might be healed. Many saints were healed during these times, and their faith was strengthened.

 The prophet Joseph Smith had said regarding this, "If the sisters should have faith to heal, let all hold their tongues."

Though the practice of laying on of hands is no longer permitted for women in the Church, the gift of healing in general, is extended to all. The Lord is no respecter of persons, if He can use us He will choose us. Alma 32:22-23 says;

22 And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.

23 And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.

Across the globe and in other cultures, I have heard many beautiful testimonies and accounts of miracles occurring through faith in Jesus Christ. People of both genders, of all ages (children included) from all walks of life, who have received or facilitated in healing miracles through faith in their Lord Jesus Christ. Though we may not see our Savior with our physical eyes standing before us ready to help, I testify that He does stand by our side ready to heal us when we call upon His name. He already suffered our pains so that we don't have to, we just need to utilize that great blessing and have faith that His atonement makes us whole.

Why Does the Lord Offer this Gift?

The gift of healing is a marvelous gift, and the Lord often uses us as instruments in His hands to work miracles in the lives others. There are many different ways that our Father in Heaven uses this gift within us to bless His children. This is where I'd like to turn the rest of our focus.

I believe that healing can come in many different forms such as through a smile, a compliment, a song, a letter, or a kind act of service. Sometimes, by just being ourselves and allowing our natural gifts to flow, we heal others without even knowing it.

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who made your problems and worries fade away? Have you ever been carried off into a piece of music that soothed your soul and brought you peace? Have you ever received a kind act of service that tore down the walls around your heart and allowed you to feel love? These types of healing happen every day, all around us. Through promptings of the Spirit we can use our gifts to uplift, relieve suffering, and restore wholeness.

The perfect example of this happened to me a few days ago, when I received this anonymous email.

Hello Lindsey 

I was on a journey of awakening consciousness in cyberspace when i discovered your positive  expression of love and light. You are having an impact on people that opens hearts and inspires

souls. By giving to others in such a profound way you facilitate personal healing. Your life and work
set an example that enriches and empowers. I honor and respect what you are sharing with the
world. You should be very proud. Thank you for allowing people to experience your greatness. I 
wish you a life filled with joy.

This email came at a time when I was experiencing strong head winds from the adversary. While following promptings of the Spirit and sharing my testimony through music and writing, I received an unpleasant encounter with a local, prominent business man (being a member of my church) who accused me of a copyright violation. After showing him the proper verification he needed to cease the accusation, he still was very unkind towards me on the phone. And even though I had done nothing wrong and was very kind and respectful towards him, I felt very defeated in all my endeavors.

That night I prayed for things to turn around. First thing the following morning an old friend called me up just to tell me that a skin care product I created and sell, happened to change her friend's life. She had purchased some last year and had given it to her children's teachers as a gift. One of the teachers shared with my friend, how the product had healed her feet! She was so excited she called to share.

Now, she didn't have to take the time out of her busy morning to hunt down my phone number and call me. She could have just kept it to herself. But she heeded the prompting of the Spirit and called to make my day. It was just what I needed to hear to remind myself that my gifts, talents, and creations do help make this world a better place. When I use my gifts, people are healed!

I don't share this to boast or elevate my own ego, I share it to help others realize that sometimes we underestimate our role in the gift of healing. My friend who gifted the product, said that she thought it was just a nice skin cream and fun gift idea, she never realized that this particular item was an answer to someone's prayer. She also didn't know that her phone call was an answer to my prayer. That wasn't the first time I had learned of healing resulting from the skin care product that the Spirit prompted me to create several years ago. This phone call reminded me of those previous testimonials and my faith was strengthened.

Later that day, I received the above email. I felt as though it was the Lord speaking to me through one of His children, letting me know that all the blood, sweat, and tears I have devoted to carrying out promptings of the Spirit over the years has all been for a purpose. He is aware and He is appreciative. He is using my work and my gifts to heal others. In that moment of realization I felt healed of my worry and doubt.

In summary, the gift of healing is much more than a prayer or even laying hands on someone. It's a gift that we often overlook and underestimate. It's a vital gift in this world that we live in. As we prepare this Earth to meet the Savior when He returns, part of that preparation is healing. To become like Zion we must heal our hearts and minds. Miracles are the fruits that will draw those in our families and communities to Christ. Miracles, signs, and wonders follow those that believe (Mormon 9:24). As we come to know our Savior through miracles and healing, we can share that light with others and help lift the world to a higher place, and by doing so prepare the Earth to meet Him when He comes.

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