Are you willing to consider you might have more control over your life than you think? Do you believe you could be in control of the situation if you were… say… imprisoned in North Korea?
A couple we know told us the story of a young woman who had stayed with them shortly after being imprisoned in North Korea. If you wanted any control over your life, being a female in a prison in North Korea is about the worst possible scenario.
Her cell was very cold, and too small for movement. She appeared to be up against the wall—under the complete control of her imprisonment. But she refused to put up with the situation and decided to take charge. Nearly frozen, she cried out to God for help. He told her to exercise in her mind. As she began exercising in her mind she began to warm up—even to the point of sweating. God made it possible for a woman, alone in a North Korean prison, to take control of a seemingly uncontrollable situation. And not only was she able to warm herself, she was able to have favor for her eventual release.
If you haven't done so, please read the previous two articles before continuing.
But most of us won't ever find ourselves imprisoned in North Korea. So let's consider something a little more ordinary as an example: the common cold. Is it possible to control the common cold?
Sherrel and I used to have about one or two colds per winter. I believe the average for most adults is two or three. We were probably beating the average because we've always tried to eat right and exercise.
Everybody gets a cold… right? There's no cure for the common cold… right? We knew that once or twice a year, a cold would put us up against the wall and we would just have to stay there for a few days until it went away. It never occurred to us that it could be any other way.
A few years ago we had just sold the house we were living in, had bought a foreclosure to restore, and were getting ready to move into a rental we owned. The timing was really tight. Our movers were coming the next day and the new owner's movers were following right on our heels.
That evening Sherrel came down with a cold—runny nose, sneezing, the whole works. I looked at her and said something like: “This just can't happen. We simply can't have you feeling bad with what we have ahead of us in the next few days.” She agreed. So we decided to try something that sounded totally crazy. We decided to stop the common cold with the Word. We were desperate enough to try anything. I remembered reading about anointing the sick with oil, so I got the olive oil out of the kitchen, and put some on her forehead as I prayed for her.
Please note: I believed in healing and had prayed for the sick—but with very, very little success. So I wasn't exactly full of confidence. I knew God would do His part; but I wasn't at all sure about my part. I don't remember what I prayed. All I remember is our determination that we weren't going to put up with a cold. (Sherrel didn't take any medication at all; we decided we were just going to trust God.)
The next morning Sherrel woke up feeling great—free from any symptoms! I don't know what we were expecting, but it wasn't total relief. “Lord, you mean we can actually stop the common cold? You mean we can actually do something that medicine can't do?” Of course, we were pumped!
In hindsight, this is what I think happened: We were just beginning to understand the control we had over our lives, and with the cold we made a small shift in our attitude. We said, “No (out of desperation)” when we would have normally said “Whatever….” God, in His goodness, encouraged our small effort in the right direction by stopping the cold, which caused us to re‐think some things: “If we can control the common cold, what else are we putting up with, needlessly?”
Of course, we realized we had only stopped that cold… but what about the next one?
That incident was not a coincidence. We've stopped every cold since then—with just a couple of exceptions, early on. And even those exceptions only lasted a couple of days—without the normal lingering side effects.
We don't live in a cabin in a remote area of the mountains; we are around sick people every week. And we have cold symptoms coming at us just the same as anybody else. But when a symptom tries to put us up against the wall, we just say, “No you don't.” It's not the words or the voice inflection however, that makes the difference. It's getting into a different position—a position of authority made possible by Jesus.
Why do I get so excited about stopping a cold? Because man can't do it. Man has figured out how to do a lot without God, here in America. But man can't stop the common cold.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm grateful for modern medicine, because it saves a lot of misery and suffering for a lot of people. But every time my nose starts to burn and itch… and I just say, “No you don't, in Jesus' name!”… and the symptom instantly disappears… well I get pumped. God gets all the glory out of that one!
You should get pumped, too. If Sherrel and I can control the common cold, so can you. We don't have a “gift” of healing as given by the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:9). We are not doing anything you or anyone else can't do. We are just taking the Word and applying it to the situation.
Imagine yourself being able to control a cold forming in your head—stopping it dead in its tracks. Don't you think you would be looking around in other areas of your life, trying to figure out what else you could control? Don't you think you would be going after those things you have been putting up with for who knows how long? Well, you would.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)
As I said earlier, there's way too much stealing, killing, and destroying going on. And whenever we allow ourselves to be the man against the wall, we are unwittingly just helping the thief. When the common cold, or anything else, has us up against the wall, we are preoccupied with our own welfare. And when we are preoccupied with our own welfare we are of no use to anybody else.
If you can't go on a mission trip because of your health, then people may be robbed of what God has put in you especially for them. If clean water is on your heart, and you don't have the money to give generously to a water project, then somebody may die. If you have an addiction then you may destroy your relationships with loved ones.
Are you convinced you can have more control over your life than you thought possible? Well, Jesus has made it possible. He came to us, so we might have life that is real and genuine—a life active and vigorous, even in this world. He was not controlled by anything other than His love for us. Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame… (see Hebrews 2:2).” We are the “joy” set before Him.
And we don't have to be controlled by anything other than that same love (see 2 Corinthians 5:14‐15).
We'll continue tomorrow.
Have a good day,