Jack Sheffield is a Priest. He and his wife Anna Marie formed Deep River Ministries (http:www.deepriverministries.org) which, according to their home page, “is an interdenominational healing ministry of Jesus Christ committed to healing individuals, the church, places and situations through the power of the Holy Spirit and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Even though countless healings have occurred directly or indirectly through their ministry, but the vast majority are by human standards sub-newsworthy. (Let’s be honest, in the human economy reduced redness following prayer over a poison-ivy rash doesn’t get equal attention with snatching someone out of the jaws of death.) But my purpose in writing this article is not about spiritual healing, since healing is only incidental to the Sheffields’ overall ministry.
Rather, I want to write about a personal experience while attending their 2011 weekend in
on April 1 & 2. Jack talked about several things on Friday evening, and I’ll describe three of them. But let me say up front, I’m writing something different from what they intended to teach. Dallas
The first was a quote from Psalm 24, which I’ll paraphrase as “Lift up your heads, O ye gates! Behold, the King of Glory is coming in!” Now hold that thought, as I’ll get back to it.
Jack told the story of a preacher who interviewed a witch on a TV program he hosted. As he faced the witch and asked several embarrassing questions, all with an accusatory tone, the witch remained silent. Finally, the preacher asked, “Why don’t you say anything?” The witch responded, “I’m not about to say anything, since that creature behind you is at least eight feet tall!”
Jack’s third story, beginning at from 2 Kings 7:4, is why I’m writing all of this on the Time’s Up! blog. The setting of the story is a city in
Israel under siege by ’s army. Four lepers have reached such a point of hopelessness and despondency, that they leave the city and go to the army’s camp in order to get killed right away. To their surprise, the camp is empty! The passage says that God made the Syrian soldiers hear the noise of a large fighting force descending upon them, and they ran away in such terror that they left everything behind. And of course, the Syrians thought in human terms, attributing a divine miracle to some ridiculous earthly activity. To a modern Bible scholar, the Hittites and Egyptians wouldn’t align with Syria Israel against . But soldiers in ancient Syria didn’t have the benefit of twenty-five centuries to analyze their folly. Syria
Here’s what screamed at me from the two stories. An army of soldiers who hated
Israel could hear the thundering hosts from God, but the religious leaders of couldn’t. And the witch could see a godly apparition, but the preacher couldn’t. Neither is there any record of the good folks in the city even asking “What’s that noise?” And neither is anything said by the preacher’s camera crew or stage hands. Israel
My thoughts turn to domestic abuse and other forms of oppressive violence today. It’s disquieting to me that, with infinite supernatural power and support available to victims, is the Church missing this resource? Are abusers able to see the eight-foot-tall armored defenders, or do they hear the thundering hordes of God’s warriors, only to be unbothered by them because the modern-day Church is too “dignified” to notice (or worse, to tap into this power)? Why is it that when church leaders or prayer teams pray that God will give victims strength, support, healing, or even protection, the prayer always seems to contain the unspoken petition “But don’t really do it, because we’re conditioned not to expect miracles today”?
I’m even concerned with the prayer in the Cursillo renewal movement that begins with “Come, Holy Spirit,” because it honestly seems that the next thought is “but don’t embarrass us by really showing up and making us look like Charismatics!”
It’s time for the Church to be open to miracles, and to look forward to the day that miraculous supernatural intervention is the norm rather than the exception. For twenty centuries the Church leaders haven’t been very open to this idea, and a lot of the members have likewise been more comfortable with the status quo.
Now back to Psalm 24. If the King of Glory is going to work in the Church, if supernatural intervention is truly going to be something that victims can rely on, then the leaders of the Church need your help. The King of Glory doesn’t come through closed gates. So will you help the Church and its leaders to see what’s truly available? Will you also be the eyes and ears?
Grace and Peace,