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The Power of the Cross and Healing in a Pastor’s Ministry

The cross recognized the value in suffering. Some Christians have taught that faithful followers should always be physically healed if they pray hard enough. They have proclaimed, “if you had enough faith you would be healed.” Proponents of the “prosperity gospel” claimed that authentically turning one’s life to Jesus immediately resulted in abundant health and financial blessings. The idea remains that believers should never be poor or experience sickness. Paul surrendered his life to Jesus, and although the Lord restored his vision, the apostle nevertheless had a number of years of pain (2 Cor. 10-13). Yet, it was not for lack of faith (2 Cor. 12:7-9) on his part. In addition, the thief on the cross beside Jesus received freedom from eternal punishment. Jesus pronounced, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43, NIV); however, the offender still experienced much suffering after he surrendered his life. He hung on the cross for a several hours after the soldiers broke his legs. The sovereign Lord could have rescinded him from the cross and removed his suffering the moment he submitted, yet this comeback never occurred.

God wants to move your life forward so that you return to giving one hundred percent to the people you care about in your life, family, and church.

All Christians have struggled with suffering as it remains an unpleasant fact of life. The cross was not chasing after suffering, and suffering was not a sign of weak faith. As Paul wrote, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame” (Rom 5:3-5, NIV). My church includes an extended time for prayer and praise to the Lord. This testimonial moment in worship has transpired into an integral element of our weekly worship. People publicly share both their requests and thanksgivings to God. Our traditional congregation has openly embraced this period, inviting personal prayer into the liturgy. We have learned that the cross covers all suffering and healing. We obey God’s call to pray for healing and the Lord pours his healing power in our sanctuary. I agree with Farah as he clarifies, “whatever our experiences may be, we simply act from obedience. When He heals, we praise Him. When He does not heal, we still give Him thanks. It is His to heal, ours to obey.”[9] Indeed, some people have come to a deeper faith in Jesus during sickness than in the pleasant and healthy times.

Again Paul articulated, “to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times, I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Cor. 12:7, NIV). Paul also uttered, “be … patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12:12, NIV). Obviously, the apostle experienced both suffering and resurrection in his ministry and life. The power of the cross accepts meaning in both suffering and healing.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2017

About the Author: Cletus L. Hull, III, M.Div. (Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry), D.Min. (Fuller Theological Seminary), Ph.D. (Regent University), has served as a pastor with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for 30 years and psychiatric chaplain for 28 years. He also teaches courses in New Testament at Biblical Life Institute in Freeport, Pennsylvania. He has researched the growing Disciples of Christ churches in Puerto Rico and has an interest in the significance of the Stone-Campbell churches in American Christianity. His article, "My Church is a Mental Hospital" appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Healing Line. Twitter: @cletus_hull, Facebook, www.CletusHull.com

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