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    23rd March 2007

    As I was driving home from Durango yesterday…

    …I was awoken by the vibration of my phone… It only vibrated once and then died, but the sudden noise caused me to jump. My brain was completely disoriented – and then my heart started racing and kicking adrenaline throughout my body as I realized that I was in my car on my way through southern Colorado and right in front of me there was blue skies and a large drop off.

    Shit, I’m driving off a cliff! I thought as my brain roared to life under the influence of the adrenaline. (The language here might not be appropriate for some of my younger/more easily offended readers, but it is reminiscent of another near death experience in southern Colorado that some of you have heard about – if you haven’t, ask me and maybe I’ll tell it to you sometime.)

    After a second or so I realized that I was not, in fact, driving off a cliff. My car wasn’t moving at all, actually. Perplexed, I looked out the other windows and realized that I was in a parking lot of sorts. How did I get here? I wondered. I must have had the luck to take my hand off the gas and just stop here…

    And then, taking stock of my surroundings, I saw that the parking lot I was in belonged to a church and suddenly remembered that I had pulled off here between South Fork and Del Norte to shut my heavy eyes for a few moments. I looked at the clock on the CD player in my car. I had been asleep in the warm sun there for 35 minutes solid. The church was up on a hillside and I had parked so I was looking out over the valley.

    And now I felt like I was going to be sick. I didn’t throw up, but I got out of my car and stood there for about ten minutes breathing in the fresh mountain air and enjoying the sunshine, letting my nerves calm down a bit before continuing on my journey back north.

    I don’t know why my phone started to go at that instant, don’t know who was trying to call me – but man, it is good to still be alive.


    21st March 2007

    Short hair, spring break, and a lead on the missing guitar…

    Starting with the news that everyone is most interested in: The Fort Collins Police think that someone pawned my guitar and they have found it and put a hold on it and whatnot. I have to go identify it – and I might have to identify whether the person who pawned it was also the person I suspect might have taken it from Everyday Joe’s. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do that for a couple days, because…

    I’m on spring break right now, writing from Durango, CO, where I have a number of friends – mostly just Matt and Amelia, but I guess I know a few others as well… Okay, actually just Matt and Amelia. Fish Wilson is also down here with a friend from Luther named Cricket, and we (minus Cricket) watched Men Seeking Women last night. This is an awful movie, but we watched it as a group a number of times in high school and it seemed appropriate. I’m not sure whether it was worth it or not and I don’t think I would recommend viewing it under normal circumstances, so I’ll end the discussion there.

    Before coming down here I made a stop in Grand Junction to visit my dad and his wife. We saw the Colorado National Monument and it was good.

    Also I cut my hair on Saturday last. I love the headband, but long hair is a total pain – and I’m not talking about having to wash it, because I didn’t always do that. I’m talking about it getting in your eyes and ears and making your head hot when you wear a bike helmet.

    There are many other things that I could say right now, but instead I’m going to go study in the Fort Lewis College library and leave you wondering what those other things might be…


    11th March 2007

    Correspondence on healing

    A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from Calvin, one Ms. Laura McGiness – herself currently a senior at that school, sent me an email informing me that she was preaching at LOFT that week and was wondering if she might quote something that I wrote on this site last summer. Her sermon was going to focus on Luke 8:40-56 and especially on Jesus our Healer. (A recording of her sermon can now be found here – go down to 2.18.07 and click on the MP3 link – it is only about 20 minutes long and quite good.) In replying I wrote out a number of things that I had been thinking about healing recently. I also asked her if it would be okay if I in turn quoted from our little exchange of words to let folks in on the fun.

    So here we go. Laura wrote first, describing her developing ideas – which were right on the money:

    I have a question for you, and you’re more than welcome to say no to
    this, but I figured it would be worth a shot to at least ask: I’m
    preaching in LOFT on Sunday (and, as usual, have waited till the last
    minute to figure out the specifics of what I want to say…). Anyway,
    I’m planning to talk about the story of Jesus healing the hemorrhaging
    woman/Jairus’ daughter from Luke 8:40-56, and I think that the main
    point of the sermon will center on the idea of Jesus as our healer.
    However, we often interpret miracle stories in such a way that only
    focuses on Jesus’ ability to heal people physically, when in reality
    his healing is much more significant than that; it seems to me that
    Jesus healed people of physical problems in order to restore them fully
    to community with each other and with God. In the New Testament
    miracle texts we see Jesus using physical healing as a means to bring
    people more abundant and lasting spiritual healing–physical healing
    was not necessarily an end in and of itself. Likewise, the salvation
    that Jesus offers us is not just our “get out of hell free” card, but
    it encompasses our whole selves, our whole lives, and the entire
    cosmos. Jesus died for us so that we could experience fellowship with
    God and abundant life even before we get to heaven.

    So most of the sermon will focus on the idea that Jesus offers us
    holistic healing, just as he offered the woman and Jairus’ daughter.
    Therefore, we should not be afraid to ask big things of God when we are
    in need of healing (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.). However, I
    don’t want to end the sermon without bringing up this issue: what do we
    do when we pray earnestly for healing, and God doesn’t seem to answer?
    So this is where you come in, because I remember reading a really
    well-written and insightful entry on your blog last summer that
    grappled with this question. I don’t think that I could put it into
    words any better than you did, so I’m wondering if I could read a short
    excerpt from that blog entry (June 25, 2006) in my sermon. You are
    more than welcome to say no to this, because I’m really sensitive to
    the fact that we often turn people with incredible testimonies–like
    you–into symbols of God’s miraculous power rather than treating them
    like full human beings. I don’t want to turn you into the Calvin
    poster-boy for the issue of healing, but I think that you shared some
    really meaningful thoughts on your blog that would improve my message.
    Just let me know if this is okay.

    You can tell, just by reading this what an outstanding communicator Laura is (she was recently accepted into the graduate school for rhetoric-communications at the University of Colorado…) – and you can begin to see what an all around outstanding person she is, too. I wrote back way more than she needed, partly because I just needed to get some of these thoughts out of my brain:

    Yes, you may excerpt from my writing; I’m not longer around the Calvin community and will soon be forgotten there by all but a few students and some professors, which is really just how life goes – and it is good this way. Two things come to mind in terms of your excerpting: First, I would be interested to know which part of that entry you would use; and second, I think that this is the third time that I know of that something I have written on my blog has been used in a sermon – perhaps it is time to start charging royalty fees… So that’ll be $75, thanks.

    Ha. Just kidding.

    And I’ll even give you some of my current thoughts on the topic of healing, whether you want them or not. One is an insight gained from seminary: The healings and miracles in the book of Acts seem to be done in part, at least, at ways that are crucial to the advancement of the gospel – the good news of Jesus; and that even a great many of the recorded miracles of Jesus in the Gospel accounts have one of several motives: the demonstration of Jesus’ authority over different powers/infirmities; the future bringing together of Jew and Gentile into one body – something prominent in Acts as well; and the proper meaning and execution of Sabbath and purity laws.

    I think that this helps to understand why there are some powerful miracles of healing being done in less developed areas of the world where the miracle has more impact – here in the states we are powerfully jaded as far as the miraculous. If I got up and started walking tomorrow, some people would hail it as straight from God while others would try to explain it away. But then again, it isn’t just us who are jaded concerning miracles – the Jews saw all that Jesus did and still crucified him. This thinking also helps to see how God might deliberately take his time in healing someone like me because in this country, someone in my position might be more able to connect with certain people.

    There was a story that I had heard/read before but had forgotten that I was retold this summer. Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy were imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II and found themselves in a prison cell full of lice. Betsy, who was very good at being thankful for everything, wanted to thank God for the lice, which seemed absurd to Corrie – but, it happened that because of the lice, none of the guards would stay around very long or abuse them, giving them an unusual amount of freedom. I don’t do very well at it, but I try to thank God for the situation he has put me in – I usually only really succeed when it is obvious that something good has come of it.

    Which brings up a thought that I have had recently on healing, and especially concerning that webpage that bears my name. Through that page thousands – might we even say hundreds of thousands? – of people were praying for healing; and I would say that through that webpage and through myself somehow, there has been an unbelievable amount of healing. I have heard a great number of people tell me about how that site helped them through different things – understanding their own paraplegic son or getting through a painful spot in a relationship. And I think that a great amount of the prayer for my own healing has been channeled through me into the lives around me, my family and others. I certainly do believe that one of the reasons why people seem to see the grace of God through me (even when I’m living in rotten disobedience of some sort or other) is because I have probably been one of the most prayed for people in the world over the last couple years.

    I say none of this to boast, of coarse, but to say that God is amazing and mysterious in his ways – but we must say that he is good, too.

    And finally, a recent revelation into my own healing is that healing can be slow sometimes. I haven’t seen you for quite some time, but in the last year there has been a fair amount of improvement in how much I can use post-injury body. It’s not like walking is going to be a practical means of transportation for a while – but at the rate of improvement I am on, it would be so eventually. Most of what I can do right now is aided by spasms – which is really hard to explain – but essentially I can trigger my muscles in such a way that I can stand up and even take little steps and “walk up stairs” – but those muscles and nervous signals are such that such movement is 1) pretty slow and 2) not very stable.

    People see this improvement and think that it is amazing – and it is, really – but here is the insight that I think God has been giving me: When people pray for healing, what they want is immediate healing a lot of the time – and sometimes instantaneous healing happens, whether we’re talking about broken relationships or broken hearts or physical ailments. More often, of course, healing is a long term process. A broken bone can take weeks and months to heal; a broken friendship longer; a broken heart still longer; and we as Christians see our “sanctification” – itself a sort of healing – taking us up til the day we die (at least most of us don’t reach earthly perfection…). The ex-con might experience a tremendous change in his life right away when he comes to Christ – but most of us (and even that ex-con) have a long journey of healing and being made new. I think that perhaps God has given me a picture of my healing being akin to this: slow and sporadic at times – but with the Spirit we’re going in the right direction.

    Not bad, I guess.

    To which she replied:

    Wow! Thanks so much for the extra insights; it was the nicest surprise
    to read so many more cool thoughts on this topic, and I think that
    you’ve given me a few more things to ponder before Sunday night. It’s
    actually rather funny that it happened this way, because on Sunday I
    plan on making the point that God delights in blessing us far more
    extravagantly than we usually ask for or imagine. (The bleeding woman
    merely wanted physical healing and tried to disappear in the crowd, but
    Jesus called her out and ended up restoring her to an entire community
    and also called her “daughter.” Jairus wasn’t going to bother Jesus
    with the whole business of healing after he found out that his daughter
    had died since he figured that Jesus’ healing powers would be useless
    at that point; instead, Jesus performed an even greater miracle.)

    Now it was I who was discovering great insight, prompting this reply of my own:

    Yeah, I meant to say last night that I think that what you are preaching is right on – and absolutely the truth that so many of us need to hear. We so limit what we think salvation entails. If Jesus only came to bring the next life, then we might as well wait for a deathbed conversion. And I hadn’t thought much of Jesus exceeding expectations in the way that you’re talking about here but I think that that is also a keen insight. By writing what I did last night I certainly in no way meant to imply that your sermon direction and insight were lacking or off the mark – but I did think that you might be interested in some of the things I have thought since then.

    On a sermon like this, it will probably be harder to limit your material than to come up with great ideas – I suppose it is good to try to stick to the main point, remembering that the Spirit often works in rabbit trails (how often that is the part of a sermon that we remember…).

    This was a satisfying and pleasing interaction on several levels. I love hearing from friends, and I love seeing that sometimes things that I write here take on wheels, going places with the people who read this. A good reason to keep writing from time to time.

    In other news, my guitar is still MIA. And I still miss it. The good news is that my mom’s property insurance will probably pay part of the replacement cost (and a few others have already chipped into the Daryl Needs a Guitar foundation). The other good news is that the absence of my guitar has led me to start working on learning how to play the mandolin that my dad and Carla gave me for graduation last year (as though being done with school wasn’t enough of a gift!). I probably should have taken this whole incident as a sign that I should quit playing around and do my homework – but instead I am even more determined to make music whenever I have the chance.

    That’s quite lovely, isn’t it?

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.