They were God's words, not mine. I felt that He had put these words on my heart because it was His truth, and I believed that it spoke to what God was about to do. I typed it out (in blue, Michael's favorite color) and posted it everywhere...
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
It was on the front door as the guests arrived, and it was even next to the fresh flower bouquet on the counter. It just seemed like this verse said it all. It revealed God's heart, power, and mercy for us all.
After all our guests arrived we gathered in our family room. My husband, Mike (always the "techie genius"), rigged up skype to our television set, so that we could all see and hear Bruce Van Natta more clearly. Our immediate family...Mike, Ryan, Christopher, and I stood near Michael at the front of the room. Kim was there as well, standing with the family around Michael. Some of our guests were seated on couches, chairs, and the floor. While others chose to stand.
There was a hush of nervous excitement in the room. The same question was on everybodys mind..were we about to witness another instant healing miracle? Would this be the last day that Michael would suffer from the ravages of Bi-polar disorder? We didn't know the answers to any of these questions, but one thing was clear. God has perfect timing, plans, and methods. God is in control, and His ways are higher than our own. God always answers our prayers. Sometimes He answers them in ways we might expect, and sometimes He answers them in ways that are beyond even our greatest imagination. Sometimes the answer come immediately, while other times the answer is a process.
It seemed like the best way to find out the answer was to simply ask God the question. I began by introducing Bruce and Kim to everyone. Next I read 2 Corinthians 5:17, and then turned it over to Bruce and Kim. Interestingly enough, Bruce began by holding up a piece of paper with the same verse (that I had just quoted) written on it. He too felt that God had put that verse on his heart as he was preparing to pray for Michael!
Bruce continued by talking to everyone about Jesus and the sacrifice that He made for all of us on the cross. He spoke about the importance of accepting Christ as our Savior, and he asked Michael if he believed in Jesus. Michael nodded his head and said that he did believe in Jesus. Then Bruce asked Michael an interesting question...is there anyone you need to forgive? It seemed like it took an eternity for Michel to answer. Then looking down at the floor and in a very quiet voice he gave the answer that pierced my heart. The person he needed to forgive was himself. In that moment I could feel his sorrow, his pain. I could feel all the loneliness and isolation that he felt in his prison of depression. I could see all the guilt and frustration literally hanging on his shoulders like a heavy weight, and then I began to see it lift as Bruce and Kim began to pray, and Michael finally let go of all the unforgiveness.
Being able to let go of unforgiveness was a huge miracle in itself. If God had stopped right there we would have celebrated His blessing, but God wasn't done yet. Since Kim was physically in the room, she actually laid hands on Michael. Then Both Bruce and Kim prayed aloud while the rest of us prayed quietly in our minds.
There was an undeniable sense of seriousness in the room. After all, Bi-polar disorder is serious business. When your brain chemistry is out of balance, it causes all kinds of endless pain and problems. Not only had Bi-polar stolen Michael's joy, but it had even threatened to steal his life. We had tried everything to combat it: psychologists, psychiatrists, medications, and even a hospitalization. At this point nothing had really worked. It seemed like we were just masking the symptoms, putting a band aid on them. It often felt like we were always chasing a moving target, never quite able to hit the bulls eye. Michael wasn't getting better. He was getting worse. As his situation deteriorated, so did our hopes that he would live a happy, normal life.
However, with each word that Bruce and Kim prayed, that hope for a happy, normal life that we thought was dead began to come alive again. The atmosphere in the room changed. The serious nature of mental illness was overwhelmed by the serious nature of God's healing power. God began to make his timing, plans, and methods known...especially to Michael who experienced it to such an intense degree that he could no longer stand up under it. Michael began to fall to the floor. At 6'1" and weighing over 200 pounds it could have been a painful landing, but Mike and Ryan were standing just behind him and caught him on his way down. They helped him the rest of the way to the floor where Michael laid on his stomach for several minutes. He began to sweat profusely, so we put cool towels on him, and he laid there unable to move for quiet awhile.
He later explained what it felt like when God healed him. Michael said that at one point he could no longer stand. His legs just kind of went out from under him. He explained that he began to feel really hot (which explains the profuse sweating). While he laid on the floor, he said that he felt like he couldn't move, like someone was holding him down. Finally, after several minutes it was over, and he knew that he had been healed. He knew that God had just blessed him with an instant healing miracle.
When I looked into Michael's eyes, I knew too. I knew why God had put 2 Corinthians 5:17 on my heart. Michael was in Christ. He was forgiven. He was healed, and he was a new person!
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray something like this: