The Journey 153
Read: 2 Kings 5:1-27
A horrific incident was reported by Yahoo, Washington Post and host of other news channel about the death of Pastor who died of rattlesnake bite last week as he conducted the worship service. The name of the Pastor is Mack Wolford, who is from West Virginia, and who was famous for serpent-handling, a talent that he exhibits during worship service. He had planned for a praise and worship service where he proposed that all the believers would have a great time, by speaking in tongues, while he would show case his talent of handling dangerous rattle snake as a part of his test of faith and faith living. But on the contrary that Sunday was day horrifically going wrong when he was bitten by the rattlesnake he owned for years. After about half an hour into the praise and worship session, Wolford passed a yellow timber rattlesnake and laid it on the ground and sat next to the snake which bit him on the thigh. The worship service came to a halt thereafter and Wolford was taken to a relative’s house where he finally breathed his last. According to Mack Wolford and his faith belief, Bible gives the Christians the authority and the mandate to handle serpents to test their faith in God, and that, even if they are bitten, they trust that God will heal them. The passage they cite for this belief system is from Mark 16:17-18 , “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” What is strange about this pastor is that his father who was a pastor and also a serpent handler had died in the same manner. Isn't sad and strange that even today there are many believers who put Lord to test by doing strange things, when sickness and suffering comes to their life or in the family and then dictate to the Lord on the particular way, healing should take place?.
This week we were meditating on the theme ”Transformation in the life of the sick and the suffering” based on the healing of Naman in 2 Kings 5: 1-27. If we look at the bible we have different ways by which God heals people. In the case of Naman, the prophet Elisha asks him to wash himself in the river Jordan seven times. “ Seven times in the river Jordan”. In the New Testament, we find that there are times when Jesus uses different method to heal. When he healed the centurion’s servant, he did not even meet the servant, he only commanded and the servant was healed. But when he heals the blind man mentioned in John 9: 6, he puts his spit on the ground and then applies the clay in the blind man’s eyes and the tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam. That is the method that Jesus used to heal the blind man but when he when he meets Bartimeus [Mark 10:46-52], he does not do anything like what we mentioned before, on the contrary he says to Bartimeus that his faith has helped him to get his eye sight back. All these passages in the word of God teaches us that God in his souvergnity knows and it is He who decided the mode and the method of healing in each one of our life. What the Lord wants from us is to trust Him and in His will and also understand that it is our Lord who gives us deliverance from sickness and suffering by his own unique ways rather than putting God to test by saying that God will heal me, even if I don't take medicines, or God will heal me in this particular way that I believe. Let us remember that we are mortals, and that life and death is in the hands of God. Test of faith in my life is not testing God about His faithfulness.