Chapter 8, A Golden Ticket

Chapter 8

A Golden Ticket

 

The winepress, olive press, and long-suffering all produce the anointing. In the dark season, under the frozen earth, a seed is coming undone. This dark hidden place is a blanket for the soul giving us character development. This process, once completed, brings joyful buds and a sweet-smelling fragrance of blossoms opening in spring. Opposite of the season of winter is intense heat in the furnace where gold is purified from dross. Joy and purity come from suffering. This process to become holy is the reversal of what many of us have been taught:

Strike that, now reverse it!’

–Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl, author of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has many hidden gems in his writings. He says strike out what you have been programmed to believe and reverse it. Grandpa Joe, in the movie Willy Wonka, got out of his sickbed when his grandson received a golden ticket, but I have some dear friends right now with ALS, MS, RA, etc. that have not been able to get out of bed for years—cannot feed themselves, bathe themselves, or even wipe themselves. Unless our Messiah Yeshua walks into their rooms and heals them, they will be gathered with their loved ones sooner than later. The Father can and does heal, but He has not healed them yet. No golden ticket, Charlie. I have one friend that has been in a nursing home for over a decade—a decade in bed, but she has ministered to me during some of my darkest hours. She ministers from a bed of suffering, typing text on good days with her pinky fingers as her other ones are like crinkled-up french fries due to rheumatoid arthritis:

Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.

Roald Dahl

time

But I ask, which person would waste more time, a person disabled or one with good health? All of us are prone to waste valuable time, but I think you will be amazed at some of the people I will cover in this chapter. Many of them could have consumed their whole lives in pity, anger, doubt, and fear but instead have used their suffering to comfort others. They do not have long healing lines wrapped around buildings. They do not make millions or own jets, but what they have sparkles and shimmers from the inside out:

Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the road?

–Roald Dahl

One day, I asked the Father some questions–perplexing questions. I was feeling overwhelmed by the many sick people He had sent across my path of late. I longed to help them, pray with them, and encourage them, but mostly their situations had not improved. I frequently talk to the Father but usually do not get a quick response, if any, but on this particular day, He astounded me. While meditating on disease and suffering, I suddenly heard this in my spirit.

Nick Vujicic wouldn’t have the ministry he does encouraging people if he had limbs.”

Immediately in a type of vision, there Nick was before me smiling. If you don’t know who Nick is, he is one of seven known cases in the world of people born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of arms and legs. According to his autobiography, his mother refused to see him or hold him when the nurse held him in front of her. Still, she and her husband eventually accepted the condition and understood it as “God’s plan for their son.” His bio is long, but here is a snippet.

“Since his first speaking engagement at age 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions, sometimes in stadiums filled to capacity, speaking to a range of diverse groups such as students, teachers, young people, business professionals, and church congregations of all sizes.” [1] A scripture popped into my head: “The Father speaks to Moshe, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11, NASB).

And again, I hear, “Nick Vujicic would not have the ministry he does, encouraging people, if he had limbs.” What a profound thought. Go to his website, and you will see Nick’s smiling photo of him splashing in his swimming pool. There are ministry photos of him speaking to thousands, and one where he is holding a child born with the same disease. But what if Nick were sitting in a wheelchair looking disparaged and weary? Would we see him the same? Would our emotions change? Of course, they would. Some might argue that if the Father healed Nick and he grew limbs, Nick would have a more prominent ministry, but what has given him a flourishing ministry is his attitude and vigor to make something of this precious life regardless of his physical condition. By the way, two of the seven with tetra-amelia syndrome are sportswriters and journalists.

I believe in healing and multiple ways of being healed, but is everyone healed physically? No, not even one of the most righteous missionaries in the Newer Testament. “Greet Prisca and Aquila, as well as the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus has remained at Corinth, and Trophimus I left sick in Miletus” (II Timothy 4:19-20, BSB). The apostle Paul who was anointed to heal many, left this man sick with, more than likely, malaria. The great prophet Elisha died in his disease. Wouldn’t men such as these be eating foods that were grown the Torah way? Wouldn’t they have a better grasp of anointing oils and laying hands on the sick? Why would the apostle Paul (Sha’ul) tell Timothy to have a little wine for his stomach if a swing of his suit jacket, a dab of oil, and a “By His stripes you are healed” work wonders? Why would Isaiah apply figs as medicine if he could just lay his hands on King Hezekiah and heal him? “Prepare a poultice of figs.” So they brought it and applied it to the boil, and Hezekiah recovered” (II Kings 20:7, BSB).

We are often “Wrong, sir, wrong!

–Roald Dahl

[1] https://coreagency.com/speakers/nick-vujicic/

legless man

But let’s face it: many people with arms and legs are suffering greater than smiling Nick. He encourages people to enjoy life and be thankful, grateful even, but if given enough kale juice, cut out sugar and carbs, slather him in oils, make him repent for any evil thought, Nick will not grow arms and legs. No, not likely to happen. These things work well for the healthy or for the ones who have taken their health for granted and have become couch potatoes.

I want to present a thought: Could Nick be more whole than you and I? More joyful–more thankful? Could Nick be wasting less time than those of us with limbs? Have you ever visited a nursing home, hospital, or orphanage to minister to someone, and they ended up ministering to you? I think we both know this happens every time. A golden ticket, for sure. A parable describes a man named Lazarus who died and went to Abraham’s bosom. He was not wealthy or healthy. He was sick and in need of food. He had sores oozing. However, in the next life, it was the wealthy man who was in torment. “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores” (Luke 16:19-21, NASB).

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.

–Roald Dahl

The parable concerning Lazarus showcases a sick man begging for compassion and bread. The wealthy man passed by him daily but had no empathy or love to give. I have written about sickness before but possibly not in these shades of grey, and the worse I suffer, the more I have to say about it. This topic is not for everyone, but perhaps my take on it will help a few find joy even in great sorrow—even in great pain. Possibly, those who are healthy will see that the sick may have wisdom that comes from suffering. “Although He (Yeshua) was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8, BLB).

Many quote multiple verses on healing with great faith. They use them over and over for friends who just received heartbreaking diagnoses. However, most of these people boldly shouting, “be made whole in Jesus’s name,” still wear prescription eyeglasses and see a dentist. They take medications for pain or Tylenol on occasion. Possibly many who claim divine healing took the chemo therapy, had the surgery, etc. for extra coverage. If a person with paraplegia or a person with quadriplegia is brought into the room, will those who are shouting verses and natural cures walk over and yell, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Stand up and walk! Yeshua came for you to have an abundant life.” Would these be inclined to tell the person with paraplegia to eat some kale and drink some pomegranate juice– live the Torah way? Doubtful.

The Messiah did come to give us life and life more abundantly, and Nick is living a life preaching the Gospel and shining light. Even with Nick’s lack of arms and legs in the natural, he is spiritually equipped with Yeshua’s arms and feet. Lazarus was directly in front of the rich man, but the rich man never cared. The rich man did not medicate his sores or let him eat at his table. It was not the poor beggar Lazarus who needed to be healed. It was a healthy, wealthy man who needed to be healed of a heart condition. Isaiah 53:5, KJV says, “By His stripes, we are healed.” This verse is a popular verse used for the sick. Peter used this verse to point out the truth. “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds, you were healed” (I Peter 2:24, NASB). Yes, often the verses used for healing are talking about being healed from sin and about the lost sheep of the House of Israel– instead of a physical infirmity. Is there a measure used when regarding how powerful our Father is? Is someone with poor eyesight or an earache a better candidate to be healed than, say, Nick, growing arms? Why don’t we pray to throw out our bifocals at 40? Why did a man who had vigor and perfect eyesight walk up a hill and die? Because God said, Moses, it is time.  Because the Father said, it is time, My Son, Yeshua.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.

–Deuteronomy 31:14, NASB

Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.

–Deuteronomy 34:7, NASB

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere, But not a drop to drink.

–Roald Dahl

bubbles

Yes, most of us want those suffering to get better–to live happily ever after. We do everything out of love, and we want those in anguish to be made whole, but what if the person in front of us is more whole than we are–more filled with joy? Sometimes things are opposite. “Strike that, now reverse it!” Psalm 73 is very descriptive to expound on those who prosper in this life.

Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling; my steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat. They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like mankind. Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them. Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot. They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high. They have set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue parades through the earth. Therefore his people return to this place, And waters of abundance are drunk by them. They say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High? Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain, I have kept my heart pure And washed my hands in innocence; For I have been stricken all day long And chastened every morning.

–Psalm 73:1-13, NASB

Do you feel stricken and chastened? Job did, Jeremiah did, and many others. One woman’s journey was so full of obstacles, disabilities, and sorrow, but her triumph and tenacity inspire many today. Helen Keller was born with much adversity, but she accomplished more than most people who were born with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Anything you want to, do it; want to change the world–there’s nothing to it.

Roald Dahl

Another inspiring story is the life of Helen Keller. Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 and died on June 1, 1968. She was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker. What would her life have been like if she were born healthy, had perfect vision, and powerful hearing? Awe, but she did. Helen saw and heard things many do not, thanks be to her mentor, Anne Sullivan. Who are you mentoring right now with greatness inside them, things that need to be birthed for future generations? Helen worked with the American Institute for the Blind for 44 years. Keller teamed up with the Jewish Institute for the Blind. She spoke words with great chutzpa to those who tried to blind society and close their eyes to injustices. Here is one such quote from 1933.

One of the most powerful pieces in the Keller archive is a letter to the Student Body of Germany, written in 1933. The German universities had been burning books that contradicted their evil agenda, including a book that Helen herself had written on socialism and social justice, and hearing of it shortly afterward, Helen’s anger and sharp words warned the Nazis;

“History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas.

Do not imagine your barbarities to the Jews are unknown here.

God sleepeth not, and He will visit His Judgment upon you.” [1]

Helen, who could neither see the enemy nor hear the raging voice of Hitler with her natural ear, did hear with a heart that took action and with courage. Would Helen Keller be the same bold, compassionate woman without her disabilities? Without her teacher, Sullivan? Perhaps, but doubtful in the measure of tenacity she exuded. How many people with spiritually closed ears and eyes laid hands on her or prayed for her to see while they sat blind and naked without hunger or passion? We can have 20/20 vision and be blind as a bat.

Friends, we must rethink some things. No matter what you are going through today may these two individuals’ lives be encouraging and inspirational. You, too, can minister right where you are. Your life can impact many. Your hands and feet can be like our Master Yeshua’s, and even if you lack hands and feet, think of smiling Nick and his beautiful voice. There is great joy in ministering out of our weaknesses, for when we are weak, then we are strong.  Paul said, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:10, NASB).

We have so much Time and so little to see. Strike that, now reverse it!

–Roald Dahl

[1] https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/blind-yet-seeing/

wonka suspense

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