Esther Crook, who is part of our Hafenkirche Frankfurt church plant recently attended the 'Signs and Wonders' conference led by Grantley and Floss Watkins. Here she tells us a little of what God taught her through that time:
If I'm honest, I wasn't overly looking forward to this conference. I'd been at many of these types of things before and it was always the same old thing. People with back pain and sore knees getting “healed” and everyone else getting all excited about it. I'd never witnessed any “proper healings” of life-threatening diseases, or anything dramatic like broken bones being fixed. To say I was cynical would be a bit of an understatement...
Of course, I knew deep down that God COULD heal if he wanted to...but I guess the real issue I had with it was down to the deep pain I carried in my heart – the loss of my mother to cancer five years ago. Why hadn't God healed her?! She'd come to know Jesus through her illness, which was great, but I'd prayed like crazy for her healing, her church had prayed for healing, people had laid hands on her and prayed for healing, my church and small-group had prayed and fasted. But still, she was taken from us, followed nine months later by my aunt (also to cancer). So did God choose to heal backs and knees, but not cancer?!
The first night of the conference (Friday) was a bit of a blur, but I had an interesting dream that night in which I had a car sitting in a garage, which I went into every day and sat in and cleaned and polished. There was a key in the ignition, but for some reason I couldn't bring myself to turn it...
The next day I was emotional from the get-go, but I'd kind of surrendered my cynical heart to God by that point. The first session was on baptism in the Spirit and I realised then how empty and devoid of hope I felt and how much I needed to feel God's tangible presence afresh. I really felt overwhelmed with floods of perfect peace and had a clear picture of myself as an empty vessel (a Frankfurt “Bembel” jug to be precise! God does have a sense of humour) being filled with the Holy Spirit and then I was joined by other Bembels in all different shapes and sizes...and we were all overflowing! I guess that was my church. I was both crying and laughing at that point.
The session that followed was the one I'd, for obvious reasons, most been looking forward to: “Dealing with disappointment.” Grantley and Floss were so real and honest about times in which God hadn't answered their prayers and how they'd worked through that pain and confusion. I found it so encouraging to see that in spite of this, they kept going and were regularly seeing God perform signs and wonders!
One of their tips that particularly spoke to me was “using disappointment to fuel breakthrough”, so rather than allowing our disappointment to cause us to give up, using that anger to fuel prayer to do the enemy some serious damage instead! Also, in Matthew 11 when John the Baptist has doubts about who Jesus is, Jesus doesn't rebuke him for his unbelief but does say “blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (vs 6). I realised, although I thought I'd worked through it, I HAD taken offence at God for not healing my Mum. As a result, I'd allowed a root of bitterness to grow in my heart and that was what was fuelling my resentment for the backs and knees people (backs and knees are worthy of God's healing too!). Floss then prayed about letting go of bitterness and I knew I had to do this. It was time to move forward (turn the key in the ignition perhaps?). Also, they suggested a good question to ask is “how can I use what happened to me to help others?”. Something which I will be praying on.
Later, a few friends and I prayed for each other's little aches and pains (I had developed a stiff neck that afternoon, which wasn't healed, but still!). But it made me think...this should actually be normal in our church, shouldn't it?! I'm not saying the journey ahead will be easy, or that doubt and unbelief will never rear their heads again. The pain of bereavement is something that I think never fully goes away either...but my mustard seed of faith for signs and wonders has definitely been restored through attending this conference. And I guess that is all it takes.
What's your story? What has God been teaching you recently? You can share it with us using this form, or by clicking the 'Share your story' button that lives in the footer of our website.
And if Hafenkirche sounds like the kind of place you'd like to serve in, they are currently recruiting for an ID intern for the 2018-19 academic year. Check out last Tuesday's post to learn more.