He walked into Sunday services with a bit of a swagger. Dressed in black dress pants, black shirt, bolo tie, cowboy boots and hat, his entrance was impossible to ignore.
He and his wife took a seat near the back. Both in their early sixties, graced with wisps of gray hair, they settled at the end of the pew as the music began to play like they’d been a part of our church family forever.
His wife was taller and much thinner than he. Both looked care-worn from years of hard living and long days in the sun. Their skin was a dark, tan brown and deep with wrinkles.
He was stout, but carried himself with an air of… something. Not superiority exactly. Pride to a point. But there was something else, something more like familiarity. Like he already knew he belonged with us and was simply taking his rightful place.
Midway through the service, Pastor announced that he wanted to introduce our two visitors. The pair stood up and nodded to the crowd as our minister filled us in on how they’d come to be among us for Sunday worship.
They’d relocated from out west, both retired, living in an RV. At least for the time being. “Bill’s got an extraordinary testimony” Pastor went on to say with bounding enthusiasm. “As he lay dying in a hospital bed from kidney failure just a few months ago, God healed him and raised him up! He’s one hundred percent healed! Praise Jesus!” Waves of applause filled the sanctuary. Bill raised his hands and mouthed the words, “Thank you, Jesus” as his wife beamed beside him.
Pastor told us that because of this miracle, brother Bill now had an anointing on his life. Then he added a touch of dramatic flare by raising his bible in the air and quoting scripture,
James 5:15 says, And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven!
Pastor gave an altar call that very day. The sick and infirmed made their way to the front of the church in droves for our new brother to pray for them. The entire service was pregnant with anticipation as Bill anointed each and every one with oil, praying away sinus infections, belly aches, migraines, tooth aches and joint pain, all in the name of Jesus.
The weeks and months that followed were a constant flow of requests for Bill’s healing touch. People filled the altar kneeling before him as he laid his hands on them one-by-one. His wife dutifully sat in her pew, lifting the one hand she had toward the ailing, quietly beseeching God’s healing power. She’d lost the other arm at the elbow in an auto accident a decade or two before.
And I wondered… hadn’t brother Bill prayed for her arm to grow back? Why did God heal Bill but not his wife?
Why is God willing to lend a kidney, but not willing to lend a hand?