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Sunday, August 8, 2021

The Gift of Healing Part 10: Taking the Gift of Healing Beyond Mortal Expectations

Was the Brother of Jared blessed with the Gift of Faith? Unquestionably so -- to such an extent that it was powerful enough to part the veil!

Because God is no respecter of persons, He affords you with the very same, exact blessings as was given to the Brother of Jared. In fact, He's so desirous that we have this kind of experience, that He gave us further light and knowledge on the subject of faith, and how to develop it into "exceeding faith" or "superfaith" -- the same kind of active (not passive, not reactive) faith that holds armies at bay, raises the dead, causes the sun to stand still, calls down fire from the heavens, parts a sea, changes the course of rivers and creates food in just-empty baskets.

Now here's the real interesting fact:

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)

In fact,

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)

This is a significant verse because Jesus' "works" included displays of unspeakable power, like resurrecting the dead (John 11:43–44), controlling weather (Mark 4:38–40), matter (John 2:7–9), and the body (John 9:6–7). His "works" also included accurate teaching (Matthew 4:23) and righteous intervention (John 2:14–16).

I definitely believe that at some point in the future, true disciples -- those who take God's revealed words seriously, without excuse or personal interpretation -- may also personally partner with Yeshua in similar supernatural blessings.

As I "wind up" this analysis of the Gift of Healing, I'm reminded that God has granted others significant experiences with the Gift of Healing. And because He is no respecter of persons, you, too, may have an opportunity to personally experience these "Greater Things":

Healing Great Multitudes

We read in Matthew 15:29-30 that Jesus "came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel."

Here we see that even though Jesus moved locations, He still ministered to those who were handicapped. His location changed but his focus didn't. The lesson for us: No matter where we are, we can still care for the sick, the lonely, the vulnerable. We still love the unlovable, we still reach for those who are tucked away in the corner. We still focus on the least of these.

Brother Joseph got this concept, and acted on it. We read:

"July 22, 1839.—Joseph arose from his bed of sickness, and the power of God rested upon him. He commenced in his own house and door-yard, commanding the sick, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole, and they were healed according to his word. He then continued to travel from house to house from tent to tent upon the bank of the river, healing the sick as he went until he arrived at the upper stonehouse, where he crossed the river in a boat, accompanied by several of the Quorum of the Twelve, and landed in Montrose." (Brigham Young journal, in Debbie Birch, “ July 22, 1839: A Day of God’s Power ,” New Era, Mar. 1971, 17)

But what about today? Could Christ’s believers cure diseases? 

Of course (and so much more)! 

But why don't we hear about such instances today? 

I'm not talking about priesthood blessings nor doctors healing people. No; I'm talking about that third category which was mentioned in the General Handbook of Instructions -- “Exercising faith” -- which leaves all participants glorifying "the God of Israel."

I see so many videos of people horribly, needlessly suffering. Shouldn't the disciples of God be overflowing with compassion (as Jesus did) and healing others (as Jesus did)? Not even those you would expect to be performing these healings are doing so in ways which leave masses praising God. This is a mystery to me.

Long-Distance Healings

"The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way." (John 4:49-50)

Can you just hear, even feel, the desperation in this poor father's cry for help? And for a nobleman to be doing so -- this was no small thing.

Bust do you see what Yeshua did? He just spoke words of healing, and it was done! How cool is that?! 

No making frantic calls to find somebody with a significant calling. No changing into a suit. No flowery, 15-minute discourse as part of the healing prayer. He just said six words -- "Go thy way; thy son liveth" -- and it was done.

Long distance.

At some point either before, during of after that moment, Yeshua provided a miraculous healing. Yet the exact moment of the healing is not important; but what was important was: “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” (John 4:51)

Are long-distance healings possible?

I believe they are. 

Although it's not an exact duplicate of the above story, there is an amazing latter-day parallel:

"After healing the sick in Montrose, all the company followed Joseph to the bank of the river, where he was going to take the boat to return home. While waiting for the boat, a man from the West, who had seen that the sick and dying were healed, asked Joseph if he would not go to his house and heal two of his children who were very sick. They were twins and were three months old. Joseph told the man he could not go, but he would send some one to heal them. He told Elder Woodruff to go with the man and heal his children. At the same time he took from his pocket a silk bandanna handkerchief, and gave to Brother Woodruff, telling him to wipe the faces of the children with it, and they should be healed; and remarked at the same time: 'As long as you keep that handkerchief it shall remain a league between you and me.' Elder Woodruff did as he was commanded, and the children were healed, and he keeps the handkerchief to this day." (History of the Church Vol 4, ch.1 footnote 4;

"A man came to [Joseph] and asked him if he would go about three miles and heal two of his small children, who were twins, about three months old, and were sick nigh unto death. He was a man of the world, he had never heard a sermon preached by a Latter-day Saint. Joseph said he could not go, but he would send a man. After hesitating a moment, he turned to me and said, “You go with this man and heal his children,” at the same time giving me a red silk handkerchief, and said, “After you lay hands upon them, wipe their faces with it, and they shall be healed; and as long as you will keep that handkerchief, it shall ever remain as a league between you and me.” I went and did as I was commanded, and the children were healed." (“History of Wilford Woodruff,” Millennial Star, vol. 27, no. 1 (May 27, 1865), 326)

Here, we see:
  • A man approached Joseph Smith regarding dying children.
  • Instead of accompanying the man to his house to heal the children, he displays a supernatural faith in healing.
  • The man (and another) took Joseph at his word, and departed. Their trust in Joseph's words (which were ultimately from God) led to them seeing the children be healed.

Catalyzing the Incredible

Another supernal exhibition of the Gift of Healing came when Yeshua raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:17, 39–44).

These days, we don't hear of very many instances where a person raised another from the dead. But make no mistake: It has happened.

In a talk given at a Church Educational System fireside in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on May 7, 2000 (here), then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks described a type of genuine miracle specifically wrought "through the power of faith, without specifically invoking the power of the priesthood." 

Or, as I mentioned earlier, "Exercising faith.”

In fact, as if to reinforce the point that gender and church membership is irrelevant in such instances, Elder Oaks said, "Many of these miracles occur in our Church, such as by the prayers of faithful women, and many occur outside it." He then quoted 2 Nephi 26:13:

"As Nephi taught, God “manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith” (see also 1 Ne. 7:12; James 5:15).

The Gift of Healing truly knows no gender nor denomination. It is a gift of faith, predicated upon one's belief in Jesus Christ. Not that these scriptures never say these healings are predicated upon righteousness or worthiness, because none of us are worthy before God. No, not one. But that belief, that faith in God, seems to be THE precondition which sparks the incredible.

Seeing Beyond the Hidden

The movie "Moneyball" featured a scene where a baseball player (Jeremy Brown) could only envision making it to first base, and that's it. He was so focused on making it to first base that, when he actually hit a home run, he was oblivious to it:

We mortals tend to see healing opportunities in terms of first-base runs. But our God, and His perspective, continues to send YOU home run-level opportunities. Whether you just stay on first base, or take the run to home plate, is up to you.

The story of Jesus Christ truly is the greatest story ever told. One of the greatest aspects of that story is the fact that it's not over. Though Jesus ascended to Heaven, He is still working here on earth. Jesus is still changing the hearts and lives of people, and still healing in truly miraculous ways. And He's using mortals to accomplish His work.

What about you?

If you want to get close to Him -- and have Him get closer to you -- then quit thinking about yourself. Focus on others. Focus on helping them get to home plate..and you will, too.

"The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.241)

"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." (History of the Church, 4:227; from a letter from Joseph Smith to the Twelve, Dec. 15, 1840, Nauvoo, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Jan. 1, 1841, p. 258; this letter is incorrectly dated Oct. 19, 1840, in History of the Church)

"It is a time-honored adage that love begets love. Let us pour forth love-show forth our kindness unto all mankind, and the Lord will reward us with everlasting increase; cast our bread upon the waters and we shall receive it after many days, increased to a hundredfold" (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:517).

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48)

"We should have before us a strong desire to do good to others. Never mind so much about ourselves. Good will come to us all right if we keep our minds outside of ourselves to a certain extent, and try to make others happier and draw them a little nearer to the Lord. … When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated" (Pres. Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report, Apr. 1899, 2-3).

Not all healings are physical. Many can be spiritual or emotional. Just a kind word at the store, the library, a class or at church can catalyze a great deal of healing. The only thing limiting these small but significant healing opportunities is our awareness (or lack thereof).

An Invitation

Have you ever seen the Gift of Healing in action? Note that I'm not talking about a priesthood blessing; again, even the church's Handbook differentiates between “priesthood blessings” (calling “the elders of the church” to “let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord”) and “exercising faith.”

Do faith-based healings still exist today?

You tell me. Erase any doubts people may have that such miracles don't exist today.

I invite you to contact LDS Perfect Day via its contact form or via email at by Saturday, August 15, 2021. Share your experience with me, and let's share it with others (don't worry; I'll delete any identifying information).

It's up to you to convince others that miracles have not been done away with, but still exist, among true believers of Yeshua HaMashiach!

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