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    25th June 2006

    healing…

    My niece and nephew, Emmy and Josiah, are beautiful and amazing children, and they have been ever-faithful in praying for me over the last year and a half. The fact that I have a problem that makes it so I can’t walk gives them something physical that they can relate to on some level and also gives them a clear focus and goal for their prayer. Their prayers are especially extraordinary and powerful because, at ages 3 and 5 the small doubt and questions of adulthood haven’t crept into their hearts and minds – and they believe entirely that I will walk someday. This being the case they figure it might as well be sooner than later.

    “I just can’t wait for Uncle Daryl to walk!” Josiah told his mom a couple of weeks ago at a bit of a family gathering. “But when will he walk?”

    “I don’t know,” Melissa told him, “When it’s the right time.” Josiah then returned with a better question than the first, “But how will he know when it’s the right time?”

    “He’ll know,” Melissa assured. And I heard this and knew it was true, and then I heard a thought (is it funny to “hear a thought”?) that when the right time came I would hear a voice calling me to “come!” or telling me to “go!” and do something, and then I wouldn’t really think about it but I would just get up and go.

    From the very beginning this website has had a thing about healing. Right away, it was in print on the web and in the paper that my family had faith that I would be healed. Through this site (and word of mouth) thousands of people have prayed and continue to pray for my physical healing. (Even more amazing is that now thousands of people are praying on Prayway.com, the online prayer community that my brother started after seeing the need for it while working on the site which bears my name.)

    Occasional updates have been written about how my overall healing and returning to life has been coming along. But I myself haven’t really fully addressed the issue of healing on this site (except for in some of my earliest updates, which can be found here: http://www.darylholmlund.com/journal.html). So here goes.

    While in the hospital, I read a book called You’re as Healed as You Are Saved by John Stocker, the pastor at Resurrection Fellowship here in town (I’ve mentioned this book before because I caught an error in his discussion of NT Greek while rereading it this year). In it he talks about asking for a specific word from God concerning your specific situation. This really makes sense to me and seems like truth – might I even say, scriptural truth? The Apostle Paul received a specific revelation concerning his thorn in the flesh and it seems like each miracle of healing reported in scripture was unique unto its own situation. (A further discussion of this will have to wait until someone asks me to fill in the missing parts of my writings and publish them or something like that.)

    So I asked God to speak to me concerning my situation. I said, “God will you heal me?”

    And the first thing he said was, “Whether I heal you or not, you can live a wonderful life and bring me glory.” And this has been generally how I have gone on thinking about healing: I’m not going to sit around waiting to walk again – I’m going to do the best with what I am given each and every day, whether I am given a lot or a very little and whether I can walk or not.

    (Warning: The next two paragraphs are not meant to be offensive and I feel like I am overlooking some things and showing a bit of immaturity in my thoughts here. My disclaimer ought to also include this: This little essay is intended to show my personal spiritual journey through SCI and is not given as criticism of the journeys of others or as a compendium of spiritual truths concerning healing.)

    There are some folks with spinal cord injuries who spend great amounts of time trying to find a cure for their problem or trying to retrain their body to work the way they want it to. I believe that these are worthy pursuits and am myself currently trying to get into an alternative therapy program. And there are Christians with injury or illness who spend time trying to find and master spiritual principles which unlock healing. This too is more than admirable, it is courageous and takes an incredible faith.

    But the last time I checked the Westminster Catechism, the chief end of man wasn’t to glorify God and enjoy him forever by walking. And the last time I did a personal evaluation, my goal in life wasn’t just to walk (though I wouldn’t mind being able to) – and while this next statement is something that I can write easily, really believing and living it is often a daily struggle: For a time at least, I might glorify God and enjoy him just as well or even better with a debilitating spinal cord injury than without.

    Returning to narrative mode… After a while I decided to ask God again, only this time I said, “God do you want to heal me?” And he replied with an emphatic, “Yes, oh course!” which didn’t make me feel stupid for asking, but let me know that he really meant it. And in this confidence I asked again, “Will you heal me?”

    And the day I asked this question I got a strange sort of answer. This same day I had been wondering why it was that all of Jesus’ disciples and the early Christians thought that he would return imminently – and yet here we are still waiting for Jesus to return to earth in the flesh (or whatever you might call the physical substance of the resurrection). So I wondered, “Jesus, why haven’t you come back to judge and to reign? Do you want to? Will you today?”

    The answer I heard was for both of my earlier question and this one was this: “Not yet. There is still more work to be done. But it won’t be long – work for me and you won’t even notice the time anymore…”

    And now fast forward to the present and what God has been teaching me lately. I asked God for a word for my situation right now, and he said, “Look into eternity.”

    This was an answer to many of the questions and discontents in my heart – discontents with where the church in North America is going and where I might fit it with that, and questions about global missions and where I might fit in with that. But specific to this little essay, looking into eternity revealed this to me: Faith for healing is at bottom faith in the salvation that Jesus began – faith that Heaven or the New Creation is a real place and in that place there will be no more tears.

    In Stocker’s book, You’re as Healed as You are Saved, one of the revelations that God gives to him is that it was ok for him to “say that he was healed” even though he was still sick. I think that what this word from God forces me to go to the base issue of faith. If I really believe that Jesus died that we might have eternal life then I can say with certainty that I will be completely healed. Though I certainly can’t say exactly what the healing of resurrection and new creation will be like, I don’t imagine I will have a great concern as to whether or not I can walk.

    So I’ll say it. I believe Jesus will heal me.

    This might be tonight or tomorrow or five days before I die – or five minutes – and it might be the moment Jesus calls to all of the saints no longer living… but I know that when I hear him calling, “Come!” I will, and then the months or years that I spend rolling around won’t seem like more than a few grains in the sands of eternity.

    9 comments

    21st June 2006

    Out of work…

    …for a few days at least. We got done grading the test we were working on early and they don’t have anything for us to do until Monday. It’s kind of nice to have a few days off, but kind of lame to not be getting hours (read: not be making money). On the next test, I don’t think most of us will grade as quickly as we did on this last one. It really benefits us to grade slowly because it means we work more, with the added benefit of improved grading accuracy. And if the folks in charge complain that we aren’t moving as quickly, then I think we ought to just tell them that the only reason for moving quickly would be if we got a significant bonus for getting done early. Of course they won’t even nibble on that idea, so we’ll just grade at a nice leisurely pace for a few weeks.

    In other news, Congratulations to my sister Carrie and her fiance Loren, who received an affirmative answer when he asked a certain question of her last weekend (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, he asked her to marry him, and she said yes!)! That was on Saturday evening, and on Saturday morning, they got to go for a helicopter ride. What a day.

    Well, I’m up too late because I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow, but I’m still going to go to bed now.

    13th June 2006

    Work improves and a very short intro to the text of the Bible

    Work has been good, I suppose – or at least as good as grading a few math problems a few thousand times each can be. I’ve made a few friends and really don’t mind the monotony. I really wish they would let us listen to music, but I guess I understand their reasons.

    In any case, there’s a guy at work who knows a lot about a lot of things, so it was lovely when the conversation turned to the text of the Bible and all of the sudden I was a bit of an expert (though he wasn’t so sure he trusted my information). So, we don’t have that much time to chat on our breaks (and usually I’m trying to stuff my mouth with lunch or something) so he told me to send him an e-mail. I’ve decided that since I’ve written a brief intro to this thing called text criticism, I might as well put it up here and inform a few folks. Oh, and feel free to correct me and whatnot – I’m tired of only getting Spam responses that I have to delete…

    My good Dennis,

    I have decided to write you briefly to say hello and to give a brief description of biblical text criticism. Obviously I’m not a bona fide PhD bearing expert, but I can assure you I know my stuff. A short article that I found at http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20030227.html confirms a few of the things I am about to mention.

    The text of the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) were originally written down in Hebrew with the exception of a few chapters of Daniel and Ezra which were written in Aramaic. These writings – the Torah (the first five books of history and law), the books of history, the prophets, and the canonical wisdom books – were translated into Greek about 200 years before Christ. This text, known as the Septuagint, or LXX for “seventy”, was made because Greek had become the common tongue of the Mediterranean world after Alexander and his successors took over. There are debates over which version of the Hebrew scriptures New Testament authors quote, whether the Masoretic (the name for the Hebrew text) or the Septuagint, and sometimes there are definitive answers – like in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he uses the Septuagint because he quotes a passage where “seed” is found as singular in the Septuagint but in the plural in the Masoretic.

    The New Testament itself was written in what is known as koine Greek – common Greek, the Greek that had become the trade language of the Mediterranean. The letter to the Hebrews is in nearly Classical Greek – as if someone today would write a letter using legal language or something, and the writer of Luke-Acts (Luke and Acts were originally a single work) was also probably formally educated in Greek. The letters written by Paul and John and Peter all have some similarities with other existing Hellenistic Greek letters; the Apocalypse of John has some similarites with other Apocalyptic literature from the period.There are a number of Semiticisms in the text – expressions that make sense in Hebrew (or Hebrew culture) but not in Greek (or English) – as well as epexegetical comments where the writer used an Aramaic word and then translates it to Greek for us.

    Of these texts (the Old and New Testaments), there are no extant “autograph” copies (the originals). The earliest large collection of NT writings is a big section of the Pauline letters written around 200 and is called Papyrus 46. The earliest complete collections of the Old and New Testaments are Greek from the 4th century and in the 5th century, Jerome translated the whole thing into the Latin (known as the Vulgate – also for the “vulgar” common tongue). The Vulgate is a good source because Jerome knew Greek better than we do and because he was in possession of better and older manuscripts than we are – and now we have very well attested texts of the Vulgate.

    Some later extra-canonical writings were written in Coptic – an Egyptian/Greek mix recorded with Greek letters. The recently published Gospel of Judas is one of these. Another source of critical material is the Arab world. A number of Arab scholars made copies of the Hebrew scriptures for their own studies.

    I think one of the things that might be confusing you about the languages thing is the debate over which language Jesus and his disciples would have spoken. Since the text is in Greek, we might conjecture that at least some of them (Matthew, John, Peter – the writers) would have spoken Greek. And as mentioned above, Greek was the trade language of the Mediterranean world. Others think that they spoke Aramaic. Jesus came from the north country of Israel, on the frontier facing the Arab world, and at this time, Aramaic was probably the principal trade -and official administrative – language of the Arab world (Arabic didn’t come into prominence till the 6th century CE. As mentioned above, there are Aramaic words used in the NT text, though this doesn’t prove that it would be the language used most often by Jesus and his friends. There is also a number of scholars who argue that Jesus and his disciples would have spoken in Hebrew because it was still the language of the rabbinical schools – schools that all Jewish boys would have attended for a period of time, depending on their skills and place in like. Scholars argue about why certain speeches from the gospels show that they would have been speaking one language or the other, but I’m not well-informed enough on this topic to make a judgment call. (It is possible that they would also have known a little Latin as this language was coming in as the language of the Roman government, and the sign on the cross was written using it).

    See you at the office and Godspeed,
    Daryl

    4 comments

    5th June 2006

    First day of work!

    That exclamation point was entirely undeserved. I worked today, sort of.

    So this job I have grading exams – all the exams have been scanned in so we can grade them electronically, and we spent a large amount of time sitting around waiting for the computers in the grading room to work. Then we spent even more time learning how to grade. Actually, we spent a little time learning how to grade, and then a lot of time while people complained and tried understand how to use a rubric.

    It felt a bit like Office Space

    Bob Slydell: You see, what we’re trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work so if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?
    Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
    Bob Slydell: Great.
    Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door – that way Lumbergh can’t see me, heh – after that I sorta space out for an hour.
    Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?
    Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

    Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?…

    3rd June 2006

    Why I came back to Colorado on Wednesday (and more!):

    I was at Calvin’s library trying to figure some stuff out on Tuesday afternoon, filling out some paperwork and calling doctor’s offices and whatnot, when I remembered that my mom had mentioned that I should check out a job that was in Loveland’s newspaper. It seemed pretty good, a job where I could make some money in only 6 weeks or so, so I called the place up and asked about it. The last day they were doing interviews was on Thursday. I asked what would happen if I showed up on Friday and they said they might still have something. So I went home (after having dinner with my cousins and Dr. Laura Smit) and packed my stuff up and left the next morning.

    Now I get to grade elementary and middle-school math assessments 8 hours a day for the next 6 weeks. It might be fun, but then again, it might not. Hopefully I still remember some math, even though its been a while since I really had to do any (as a Greek major we don’t really use much math except when we are trying to figure out how many lines to read for the next class period).

    I’ve written another post today, which is below this one. It is kind of personal and I’m still not sure that I want it on this website. Part of the reason that I think I’m going to put it up and leave it up is this discussion that went down at Calvin a month and a half ago. It was about administration looking at students personal web-pages and potentially finding incriminating evidence on it (an article about the discussion from the Calvin Chimes can be found here). Students were getting all upset about getting in trouble when they post drinking pictures or stories. Almost like when they realized that people had walked into their dorm room and seen their dirty laundry all over or something.

    Well, I want people to see my dirty laundry. I don’t want to have pieces of my life that are separate and secret from the rest. I wrote a song last year that said, “I want to live my life before you, hold my heart up to the light, I will stand out in the open until there’s nothing left to hide – Jesus you’re everything now: Turn me inside out…” And as much this can be uncomfortable, I will still pray this same thing: That I would have consistency of character so that I would be the same person from whatever angle you might look at me. So. Without further ado, here is…

    2 comments

    Confession number two…

    I’m sick of myself right now. Or at least sick of the way I act sometimes. It happens to me from time to time that I get a very great discontent. Sometimes it is a sort-of-good-feeling discontent that comes from knowing I can do more with life than I am doing – that I want to do more. Other times, it is a very-bad-feeling discontent, coming from a realization of a great inconsistency in my character – or an attitude or habit which is not merely inconsistent but is really quite awful.

    This is the way that I feel right now concerning the way I treat and think about females who are in the same age range as I am. I’m terrible. I’m always really flirty and manipulative about it when I want to be, which means I’m either leading people on or trying to get to fruits which I have no right to. I’m an ass towards the females that I really like – women whom I really want to be friends with. But then there are girls whom I’d rather not bring in as real friends, and instead keep them on the outside so that there could be potential for non-committal cuddling or something of the sort – if she’s not really a friend it won’t be as awkward later, right?

    I don’t know that it is really a good idea to put this kind of stuff on a website, because I don’t want people out there to realize what a creep I am sometimes. But I am, and I would rather have everybody know and make it difficult for me to keep up habits that cheapen love as God intends it to be – habits which have a destructive potential I know all too well from my own family.

    And besides this sick feeling in my stomach that comes from this discontent, I’m also feeling the general letdown of having graduated but still not knowing exactly what to do with myself while at the same time realizing how far I really have to go before I will really be able to be responsible for myself (instead of my mom being the one who keeps my life running). I’m trying to fill out forms and make appointments and renew my drivers license (which had expired about a month ago) and I’m not doing these things very successfully or very efficiently. I’ve also been absent to friends and family lately, and when present I’ve been cross or stupid. I feel like I’m failing as a human being, as my friend Katie might say.

    As a follower of Christ, I know that my past transgressions are forgiven and that through Christ’s work and the power of the Holy Spirit I am free to live so as to please my God. And while I certainly don’t think dwelling on past shortcomings is healthy, to truly repent takes an amount of focused energy. And it takes confession. Confessing on the internet is kind of wimpy. But perhaps it will help me to confess in person to people whom I have wronged.

    I’ve been studying the biblical book of Hebrews, and one of the major themes is that there is a further rest which God has prepared for his people to enter through Jesus. In my discontent state, I long for rest. This passage from Hebrews chapter 4 reminds me that entering God’s rest requires obedience, and sometimes even requires surgery, but that the surgeon is skilled and sympathetic – knowing what it is like to be human even more than I do:

    11Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
    12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
    14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
    15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
    16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.