• Anna Johnson

Invisible Transformations

“Lord, my heart is meek before you. I don’t consider myself better than others. I’m content to not pursue matters that are over my head—such as your complex mysteries and wonders—that I’m not yet ready to understand. I am humbled and quieted in your presence. Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap, I’m your resting child and my heart is content in you.” —Psalm 131:1-2

This past week I had the privilege of attending a conference at the beach. It was a wonderful time spent learning about Jesus, worshipping and glorifying Him, and connecting with other passionate believers. This conference was specifically on healing, which I actually didn’t know at the time...I discovered that about a week after I had registered. For 2 months I have been eagerly awaiting this conference...maybe this would FINALLY be my moment of healing! After 21 years of pain, suffering, and my health deteriorating more almost every day, maybe this would finally be my moment.

Since then, God has done some major open heart surgery on me (and continues to do so) and have truly come to understand what it means to “die to yourself”: my life isn’t about me...it’s about Him working through me. And truthfully, I don’t know if I’ll ever be physically healed in this life—a fact I just recently have come to be able to accept by the grace of God—but that’s okay...because I know somehow He’s bringing good out of all this...and that He’s with me every single step of the way. And I WILL enjoy a perfect, new, divinely healthy body free of pain, sickness, and suffering when I get to heaven. He always keeps His promises, even if not according to our time table.

I went into last week not entirely sure what to expect. I’ve never done anything like this before, and since my kidney failure relapse last August—January, I haven’t really done ANYTHING...I’m just now starting to really “get out” and do stuff again, get groceries, etc. so this was definitely a stretch for me...but I was determined to go. However, even though I knew I may not be healed at this conference, I’m not gonna lie...I was hoping BIG TIME for exactly that. Well, spoiler alert: I was not healed. Nope...something much better happened. Much, much better.

I had a prophetic word spoken over me at the beginning of May that this month would bring radical change and transformation in my life...long awaited promises would be fulfilled, stepping into new season at last. I of course figured this meant physical healing. It’s all I’ve been thinking about all month...how I’m going to get healed this month...particularly thinking I would be healed at this conference. After all, what are the odds that I would get this word, AND be going to a healing conference?! Crazy. So all week I’ve been waiting for the miracle...waiting to see my whole body get hit and start tingling and realize that I’m not feeling any pain anymore, that I can eat a meal without getting sick, that I can walk up a flight of stairs without stopping to rest. But nothing. No change.

By Thursday I was really tired, and was starting to get discouraged...why wasn’t anything happening?! Friday night I attended a healing service, after listening to messages on healing all day...and because I was so tired I was extremely emotional. I was listening to every message and directly relating it to my situation...and boy oh boy was the devil playing with my head. I was spiraling into a pity party for myself...all the while going over time and again all the reasons why I am not healed yet—I’m believing for it and have had faith for years now, I’m not harboring resentment or unforgiveness towards anyone, I have gone through deliverance from oppressive spirits...so why am I not healed?

Most of the speakers at the conference held the view that when we pray for healing, God always wants to heal us IN THAT MOMENT when we ask for it. This was hard for me to accept, because if this really were true, then that would mean I’m either doing something wrong or not believing hard enough, or that God just hates me. Either way, I wasn’t understanding this theology, and I was gettin extremely upset trying to rationalize it in my poor exhausted brain. So, per my dads suggestion, I went up and talked to one of the main speakers during the break. I asked him quite point-blank, “if God really wants to heal everyone right when they pray for healing, then why am I not healed?” He couldn’t answer the question. I tried to discuss with him my view of how maybe some people aren’t meant to be completely and totally healed on this life for reasons that are behind our understanding (such as Paul, Stephen, Timothy, Job, even Jesus!), and that the only answer to this question has to be that “God’s ways and thoughts are higher” and maybe we’re just simply not meant to know His complete plan for our lives. He disagreed, but continued being unable to give me an answer to my question...any of them. I walked away even more disheartened and upset. I was honestly wishing I hadn’t even have gone to the conference...now not only was I physically suffering (as I am constantly), but I was not suffering emotionally and spiritually—was there something wrong with me that God just singled me out as the exception to His rule for some reason?

When we got back to the hotel that night I prayed. Hard. I cried. Hard. I had been begging Him all week to touch me...even if in a way other than physical healing—just to show up...reveal Himself to me in a powerful amazing way. And I hadn’t gotten anything. Then I woke up the next morning and God had spoken to the depths of my soul while I was sleeping. I immediately realized upon waking the reason I had felt so unsettled all week: my focus had shifted from Him to me. The focus of the conference was healing in Jesus’ Name...however if Jesus were taken out of the equation it would have been a bunch of motivational speeches. It was self-centeredness in Jesus’ Name. And the minute I realized it I thanked God for revealing it to me. See, I do okay when I keep my eyes fixed on Him, rekindling myself CONSTANTLY that my life isn’t my own, I’m here for His purposes, that I have died to myself and live only because He lives in me. But the SECOND I put the focus back on myself (even if it’s healing in His Name), I spiral and fall into deep depression. Because my situation IS depressing. It IS horrible. It IS unfair. And hearing all about “how to get your healing” is very hard for me because I have a tendency to take responsibility for everything...and I end up striving and feeling like if I’m not healed it’s my fault—I’m not doing something right. When in reality this while theology is screwed up. While the world operates by striving, the Kingdom operates by surrender. Jesus reminds us in Luke 18:17 that the only way to enter the Kingdom of God is to become like a child, humbling ourselves before our Father and trusting Him with our everything. How quickly we forget this and spiral into self-sufficient thinking! The Lord kept speaking to me and speaking to me all day on Saturday...downloading His words to my heart and refreshing my spirit with His promises.

I am so thankful I went to this conference...not because I had an awe inspiring encounter with God or for my long awaited miracle healing, but because He spoke to my heart in a profound way. HE answered my questions that no one else has been able to answer:

~Healing is not up to us...and it’s not our job to know when or how it will come. His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8) and we have to live in the mystery, trusting that He will keep this promise, too—just like He’s kept every one in the history of time.

~God doesn’t call us to strive, or work for our healing. We can’t “earn” His promise or make it come quicker by simply believing harder or having more faith—the will of shod is unwavering...and our doubt or unbelief will not sway His divine will (see Job 42:2). We are not that powerful! He is all powerful and sovereign...who are we to think our resistance could hinder His will being carried out? (This is a very controversial topic in healing, the issue of faith and unbelief, and many people would challenge me here, saying that lack of faith and unbelief can hinder and even inhibit healing and the will of God as a whole being carried out...however how does one who holds this mindset explain God radically saving/redeeming an atheist who has no faith even that He exists, or a strong Christian who is fervently believing for their healing that dies anyway? The only answer is this: GODS WAYS ARE HIGHER. We have to live in the mystery of His will and ways.)

~God has a uniquely different plan for each and every one of us. Just like He created not one person like another, no one’s life plan is the same. God heals us in different ways. God speaks to us and reveals Himself to us in different ways. God gives us all different gifts (1 Cor. 12:8-10, 1 Peter 4:10, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11), and falls us to different occupations, areas, and circles of life. We can’t demand of God to reveal Himself how WE want Him to reveal Himself— in a miraculous powerful demonstration, or by causing our bodies to tremble uncontrollably...and we can’t demand of God to heal us when and how WE think we should be healed. That’s not only manipulative, but also it’s disrespectful of the Sovereign God. Elijah only ever heard the still small voice of God speaking to the depths of his heart, while Moses tended to see God’s power demonstrations. Some people are healed through the laying on of hands, after 5 minutes of prayer, while others are healed through God’s medicines, after 25 years of suffering. Why? We don’t know...and we’re not meant to. It’s part of the mystery of His will. The best thing I can say is that He wanted someone working for Him in every corner of the earth, in every field and job occupation, and with every type of personality so that the entire world would be covered with people committed to building His kingdom and making disciples.

~God wants a relationship with us. A relationship without trust is not much of a relationship. And if we knew the entirety of His will for our lives, there would be no point to trust Him. When we continually seek Him and stay in His Word, keeping our hearts open to His voice, we know where He’s calling us and what He’s saying to us right when we need to know it (see Acts 1:7)...but if He revealed everything to us all at once, there would be no reason to stay in communion with Him. He loves us so much...He doesn’t want to go a single day without spending time with us! This is why we are called to trust—trust builds a relationship with the Father. We don’t have to worry about our future because He is a God of love—He made us out of love, He designed us to love and for love, and nothing can separate us from this love (Romans 8:38).

So what’s the point? We don’t need to know everything. We’re not supposed to. It’s okay to doubt. We have a loving Father who’s waiting with open arms and will calm and reassure our hearts with His gentle touch. We’re all called to different paths...to make a difference in different ways...and even if the path you’re called to is not the one you imagined for your life, it’s okay...you can rest that it’s the best one for you (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 138:8). We don’t have to do it on our own strength...in fact, the path of the believer is impossible to walk without Christ as our strength! We are invited to surrender—to rest in His arms...to let Him fight our battles, reminding ourselves constantly that HE is our everything. He is our purpose. He is all we need...with Him we have no lack (2 Peter 1:3)! They key to being able to rejoice and give thanks in all things, like Paul talks about in Philippians and 1 Thessalonians, is to keep our eyes fixed on Him. What freedom comes when we realize our life isn’t our own, and it’s not up to us to fix it or ourselves...all we are called to do it trust! Not to pave our own path, but to quiet our hearts long enough to hear the direction the Lord is guiding us and to walk that road with His help. We need to shift our focus away from the healing and to the Healer—away from self and to Christ. As AW Tozer wrote, “Selfishness is never so exquisitely selfish as when it is on its knees...self turns what would otherwise be a pure and powerful prayer into a weak and ineffective one.” God is working behind the scenes to fulfill ahis promises to you...but we must let Him fulfill them in HIS time (Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11, 8:6). Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that God wants to do something bigger than just fulfill His promise TO us...He wants to do something THROUGH us...and oftentimes, the through comes about during the waiting. And we must learn to find joy in our process...how? By reminding ourselves we are bringing comfort and companionship to others through our process—it enables us to walk with them through their own process. And finally, we mustn’t get caught up in the glory of God that we forego a relationship with Him. It’s not up to us to demand how He will fashion our lives...and it’s not up to us to make a formula out of His will, His healing, and His presence. We need to be very cautious not to be chasing after an experience of God so fervently, that we miss Him entirely: because He never leaves us...He’s always with us...and if we are searching and striving and not finding Him, usually it’s because we’re looking in all the wrong places...expecting Him to show up through a bolt of lightning through our house or heart...when really He oftentimes just pierces our soul through His loving Word. He’s the God of the extraordinary no doubt...but we can’t forget He’s the God of the ordinary too. And He uses different means to touch different people. Trust that He knows what you need better than you do!

So no. I didn’t get physically healed. But I got emotionally and spiritually and mentally healed (and 3 healing beats 1 any day, right?!). I finally have clarity about some questions I’ve had for years...some peace about the future and life itself...some powerful reassurance about just how gloriously and perfectly good Papa God is. I know God is doing something bigger than I can see...and if it takes 5 or 10 or even 21 MORE years of suffering and loss and pain to reach the people He’s called me to reach, then so be it. I’m here for Him and Him alone. I’m a vessel for Him. I’m nothing without Him!

So I encourage you...if you’re finding yourself in “the depths of despair” as I call it, or even on your way there, hit pause and ask yourself what you’re eyes are fixed on...because it’s impossible to be hopeless when we’re looking to Jesus. It’s impossible to be sad or discouraged or angry or afraid when we’re looking to Jesus. Stop waiting for the next best thing—whether that be a physical healing or a touch from The Spirit—and start loving your journey right here right now. There’s a reason you’re where you are. There’s a reason you’ve been through what you’ve been through. And there’s a reason you’re going where you’re headed. Trust. Trust. Trust. And rejoice in the knowledge that God is doing powerful work in and through you! Learn to love your process—your here and now—knowing in confidence that the process is building the character you need to carry the promise...and that your process and the hope that you exude through it is helping someone through their own process.

CONTENTMENT. That’s what I got this past week. Contentment. Peace. Joy. Right where I am. Nothing’s changed, but EVERYTHING’S changed. He’s using me...and that’s all that matters. ✨ Kol hakavad la-el ✨

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about since things...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” —Philippians 4:4-5, 8, 11b

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” —Mark 13:32

“Walk in wisdom toward others, making the best use of the time.” —Colossians 4:5

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. And He has put eternity into mans heart, so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end.” —Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for he prize of the Howard call of God in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:13-14

“For perhaps you were created for such s time as this...” —Esther 4:14b

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do it give up.” —Galatians 6:9

“Therefore we do it lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” —Romans 8:18

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” —1 Peter 4:1

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my lower is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution’s, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“And my God will meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:19

“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to rest and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” —Romans 12:1-2

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 8:38-39

“Praise be to the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” —2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to a Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” —Ephesians 3:20-21

#stillIwillpraiseYou

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