There Is No Spoon
While we’re talking about The Matrix, lets take it a step further. This time I’m going to use The Matrix as an illustration for how supernatural healing works.
So some background: Neo (Keanu Reeves) is inside a computer program. Now that he has been freed from it, he can come and go as he pleases. It’s not the real world and he knows it, but he’s still learning about what the implications are for him. In this scene Neo is waiting to see a woman called “the Oracle” who’s going to tell him whether or not he’s really “the one.” Before he meets her, Neo interacts with some children who seem to be able to teach him a lot. Hey, I think Jesus said something somewhere becoming like kids…
Watch now, discuss in a minute.
I love teaching people how to pray for healing. I love getting to be the one to put my hands on someone and say the words, but even more I love seeing other people pick it up. It’s like double the joy for me. Not only do I get to see the person who was healed get all excited, but I get to see someone who’s never seen someone get healed get excited too. There’s something about empowerment that’s really gels with me. I digress—as usual.
Anyway, just about every time I walk someone through how to heal, they inevitably disregard what I say. I’ll repeat myself several times over, but for some reason they can’t diverge from their own way of viewing it. My directions are simple: Pray short prayers, talk to the sickness/pain like it’s a dog and tell it what you want it to do (i.e. pain leave, leg grow, eyes see), and speak it in Jesus’ name (using his authority)… the same way Jesus/the Apostles did it.
It’s as simple as that. Healing the sick has nothing to do with how “holy you feel in the moment,” or how much “faith you’ve mustered up for this moment,” or how mature your “Christian walk is.” Nothing. It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with Jesus. He paid for your healing on the Roman equivalent to an electric chair 2000’ish years ago. Then after 3 days of being dead, God the Father raised Jesus to life and seated him on a throne next himself, putting all authority under Jesus’ feet. This is all coming straight out of Ephesians by the way.
Now this authority is comprehensive. It’s not just authority over rulers and governments, but also death. Death didn’t hold him, so everything “death and lower” is under his feet. A paper cut isn’t death, but it’s a very very very small step towards death (unless you’re a hemophiliac, then it might be a giant leap towards death). Basically, all of that is under his feet. Jesus can make death do whatever he likes—like nullifying death’s power over people. Ok, clear on that? Ain’t no power greater than Jesus, human or otherwise.
Alright, so we know Jesus packs a hefty punch. What about us? Here we go. Going back to Ephesians 2, Paul the Apostle writes:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses [sins], made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
What Paul is saying: In our state of being screwed, dead because of sin which we are powerless to stop—we (humans) all die, right?—God loved us. God loved us when we were dead, when we were all screwed, he loved us. Our sin, our rebellion from him, our saying “screw you” to God, “I like things my way and I don’t need you,” didn’t stop his love for us. It didn’t stop him from showing us mercy. So God, raised us to life. Note: There’s no mention of an action on our part. God is taking the action. He is loving us in our sin, he is being merciful to us in our sin, and he is making us alive. That’s kinda like dropping a lollipop in manure, pulling it out, cleaning it off, and eating it when you would have been justified in leaving it there to rot.
That would have been enough, right? I’d be satisfied at that point. I’m dead, God loves me, he gave me life. But it gets better. Keep reading.
Remember what happened to Jesus after God raised him from the dead? That’s right, God seated Jesus with him in heaven and put all authority under his feet. Ok, now look what God does with us. “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ok, ok, ok…. you get it yet??? (I get excited at this part)
WE’RE SEATED NEXT TO JESUS! He doesn’t just raise us to live, he puts up with him above authority and power. Our lives become intertwined with his somehow and we get a place with him there. Again, it doesn’t say “once we were good enough” or “after we memorized half the Bible” or “once our faith hit an all-time high” or ANYTHING.
Again, it’s initiated by Jesus. He puts us there due to no merit of our own. It’s the first thing he does after giving us life. It’s all a big gift. We were screwed, he rescues us, we can’t take any credit for it. We just get to sit there and enjoy it. Not exactly the Capitalist values we’ve been taught right? You want to rest, get a job and after a while you’ll have enough saved to retire. We work so we can rest. In God’s kingdom it’s the other way around: Rest first, do stuff later.
So getting back to healing prayer, after a long yet fulfilling (in my opinion), detour… we see that the authority we have is over death (of which sickness/pain/decay is a sub-category). We couldn’t didn’t get ourselves to our chair with Jesus, and likewise we can’t do anything apart from him. So healing, our authority to make things better, is only possible in Jesus. It’s his power we’re using… I mean, I personally can’t make anyone better. It’s not my power, it’s Jesus’ power. But he’s given it to us to use.
So, even as I explain this to people I’m teaching, it still takes some time to sink in. You see, they still believe they have some part to play in the healing. They think they need to “build up faith.” Well, you might not feel like you’ve got faith, but when you do something ridiculous like commanding blind eyes to open in Jesus’ name you’re actually exercising faith. James says that “faith without works is dead.” Faith always has an accompanying action. If you believe you’ve been given the power to heal, you’ll at least take a stab at it—you’ll risk looking foolish.
For many of them “building up faith” is praying a long prayer (nothing against long prayers)—ie, getting the right words words out. If only I say it the right way, or ask the right things, or use the right tone, God will heal them. It’s not about you. God’s not standing next to them hoping you do it just right so he’ll be released to heal them, and disappointed when you didn’t get the words out just right. Great, I was going to use her to heal this blind man but her prayer was structured all wrong, guess I’ll just have to withhold my mercy until she figures it out. No, God’s not like that. He’s given you authority. Use that authority, tell the eyes to open in Jesus name, and ask them if they notice any improvement to their vision. It puts all the pressure to deliver on God. He’s pretty good at handling pressure, let me tell you. Better yet, if God heals the person you know it wasn’t your eloquent prayer that melted God’s cold heart into a merciful compassionate mush for the afflicted. On the contrary, it shows that God’s heart was already full of mercy for that person and he was just letting you play a role in delivering the message.
SPOONS! Spoons. Right, waaaaaaaay off track again… ish.
There is no spoon. What in the heck does it have to do with all of this? Unrelated? Wrong. Related. Here’s how.
So often our faith is founded in what we’re able to see. As Neo talks to the bald kid in the toga, he learns an immensely practical lesson about the Matrix. He can’t manipulate the matrix by his will. He can’t just make the spoon bend with his mind. He has to recognize the truth, that truth being that the spoon doesn’t exist. It’s by letting go of his effort and simply recognizing the truth that the matrix bends for him.
Likewise, using the example of healing. We often put our faith in what God has said we’re able to do. We pray for people, trying to make things happen by willing it into existence. We want the blind eyes to open because we’re trying hard. You can’t heal people by your will. People get healed because God heals them. As we learn to sit in the catbird seat (the seat we have with Jesus), we learn to work from rest instead of striving for results. Like Neo, we recognize the truth: The miracles happen as we recognize that it’s not us who do them, but God, and it’s only because of our seat with him that anything jumps when we tell it to.