Have you ever heard a healing take place? I have. I listened to an audio tape of Duane Miller teaching his Sunday school class from the text of Psalm 103 at the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Jan. 17, 1993. Duane prematurely retired from pastoring three years earlier because of a virus which penetrated the myelin sheath around the nerves in his vocal cords, reducing his speech to a raspy whisper.
He experienced firsthand the awful distress described in Psalm 102, the counterpoint to the joy found in Psalm 103.
Teaching his class that day with a special microphone resting on his lips, he reaffirmed his belief in divine healing and that miracles had not ended with the Book of Acts. Listening to the tape, at times you can barely understand his weakly spoken wheezy words of faith. The miracle happened at verse 4 when he said, "I have had and you have had in times past pit experiences."
On the word "pit," Duane's life changed—the word was as clear as a bell, in contrast to the imperfect enunciation of the preceding word "past." He paused, startled; began again and stopped. He said a few more words—all in a normal clear tone—and stopped again. The class erupted with shouts of joy, astonishment and sounds of weeping. God completely healed him as he was declaring the truth in this psalm. (You can read the full account in Miller's book, Out of the Silence, Nelson Publishers.)
Consider His Benefits
Like Duane Miller, perhaps you have spent a lengthy time in the despair found in Psalm 102; but Psalm 103 shows that the Lord has a deep healing to match your deep hurt. Psalm 102 ended with a sense that God's blessings would skip over you (v. 23) and benefit instead your children and their descendants (v. 28). Psalm 103 says God will not forget you.
No wonder the psalm begins with gratitude (v. 12). Look at what the Lord has done (vv. 3-5).
1. He forgives all your sins. Sins, like legal wrongs, are of two kinds: those arising from intention and those stemming from negligence. God forgives both our acts of commission and omission. He frees you to start over after failure, cancels all indictments against you, and discharges all your debts.
2. He heals all your diseases. The sticking point for many is that they have not yet experienced a healing like Duane's nor that assured in this psalm. But as believers in Jesus, we must take the long view when miracles do not immediately occur—that ultimately in Christ healing will come even if you must wait for the glorification of your body at the resurrection. God is committed to stamping out all disease; but in His providence, He has not yet banished death nor the instruments of illness which lead toward it.
Please broaden the definition of disease to include any deterioration which diminishes your well-being and wholeness. A disease can just as easily be a bad attitude, an unforgiving spirit, a bitter heart, an eruptive and angry tongue, a fundamentally flawed will that does not resist addictions. In Jesus, the good news of the gospel works to liberate us from these deformative and degenerative diseases so that on the inside our personality and disposition increasingly resembles that of Jesus.
3. He redeems your life from the pit. The pit represents the abyss from which you cannot escape. God reaches His long arm into the pitch-dark hole of depression or despair where you lie helpless and imprisoned, grabs you strongly, pulls you up and sets your feet on solid ground in the sunlight of His presence.
4. He crowns your life with love and compassion. A crown of righteousness, life and glory waits for you in heaven (2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4). Right now, the Lord wants you to wear a crown of love and compassion. Let others seek the crown of success, riches or power. God has a better gift for you.
5. He satisfies your desires with good things. The principal horror of depression is its total lack of hope. But God is committed to bringing good into your life—no matter what. The subtlety of temptation is that it bids you to believe you are headed down into the pit of nonfulfillment if you obey God, when the opposite is true: "At Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). There's no disappointment in Jesus.
6. He renews your life like the eagle's. Trap an eagle and confine him to a dark cage. He won't live long. He lives best when he flies free. You're no different—and that's why the Lord has provided "all His benefits" (Ps. 103:2 ) for "all the oppressed" (v. 6). Note the word "all." Our Lord is not a God who has pets nor is He a respecter of persons. His favor applies to all who call upon Him.
Our Basis for Confidence
How can we be sure God is like this? We have the records of generations to whom He has revealed himself (v. 7). His character is seen in how He helped Israel and what He's done for you (vv. 8-12). And if that's not enough to convince you, observe His tender parenting (vv. 13-18). Your life has a fixed center of stability because the Lord reigns (v. 19).
George O. Wood is the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God.
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