Written by Florence A. Ukpabi
What do you do when you are faced with the news that someone you know, maybe a family member, friend or church member, is experiencing hardship and difficulty?
Last year I was in such a situation. I was faced with very disturbing news concerning a very close friend who was experiencing hardship as well as a church member who had just been made homeless.
As I listened to the news, I was overcome by a sense of extreme helplessness: what was I supposed to do with this news? How could I help these people? I had absolutely nothing to give, no money, and no accommodation, nothing of value to alleviate their difficulties.
I remember ending the call and deciding to pray. As I prayed, tears welled in my eyes and once more I became heavy with helplessness.
I think what shocked me the most was how real the situation was. Sometimes we can hear something about other people and commiserate with them but it never really touches us. But at that moment I thought to myself: “This is really happening to these two people, they are in real trouble, this is real!”
This thought truly did overwhelm me. I knew in myself that I could not help these two people but this knowledge spurred me on to pray harder. I prayed…
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…
… And then I stopped, as if struck by lightning and asked God a question: “What is Your will in this situation?”
In the quietness of waiting and listening I received an answer: “Freely you have received, freely give.”
And then I began to truly understand as if the last piece of the jigsaw had been given to me. I could see that the issue was not so much what could I give but more what could I do and who could I be. I felt that God was telling me that I had everything I needed to help these two people because I had His Spirit within me. Wow, what a revelation this was to me at that moment!
As a born-again child of God, He had given me an abundance of spiritual resources to help those who may be in need. It didn’t matter if Christ no longer walked the earth because He is alive in me and as a consequence of this, I have the ability, the power and the authority to shine His light and glory onto others.
I finally understood God’s will in this situation and it was so simple, ‘be Christ’, which in other words means ‘be anointed’.
Prior to this event I had received a vision where I saw oil being poured into an uplifted vessel, and even though the oil was overflowing the vessel, God just wouldn’t stop pouring it out! This vision represents what I believe it means to be anointed. When an individual is just so overflowing with the Holy Spirit that everyone around them can’t help but come into contact with God.
When I received that answer from God, I didn’t think of it in relation to a scripture but a simple message, but it’s only now when I look back that I realise that the answer was part of a deeper message that relates to my life and ministry.
Matthew 10 verse 8 reads:
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Healing was a major component of the ministry of the disciples, and I believe is still a mandate for the body of Christ today (tend my sheep – John 21: 16) and this has grown in importance to me ever since I fell ill myself in 2008 with a rare illness. My own journey struggling with a chronic health condition has enabled me to see with the eyes of those who are emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically burdened with illness; I now realise the struggles that they face everyday within the Christian community but I also know the freedom, joy, strength and deep healing that is made available to each person when God is placed at the centre of the quest for wellness.
I am now more certain than ever that God has a wonderful plan and purpose for every person who struggles with chronic ill-health but sometimes the greatest difficulty is hanging on through all the pain, hardship and sorrow to reach that place. That is why I created a health and well-being ministry called On the Road to Healing.
On the Road to Healing is first and foremost a peer support ministry, where Christians and those who would like to find God can support, learn from and encourage one another on their healing journey.
We have a private online community where members can interact with one another in a way that is very similar to Facebook or Ning, and we also produce a free quarterly motivational booklet with writings from community members.
In addition to this, I offer training, support and advice to local churches and Christian organisations who want to learn how to best support their congregation and service users in ongoing health matters and work alongside a growing list of Christian Health and Well-being specialists who support the ministry online and through training and networking events.
If you wish to find out more about this ministry please feel free to visit the website at http://ontheroadtohealing.org.uk where you can find more information or contact me directly.