Sometimes healing comes in a different package than we're expecting. On my birthday this year, I was in the Holy Land with a group of songwriters. The whole experience was rich and life-changing. I'd love to share one of my "moments" with you. We were in a little town Jesus frequented called Bethsaida. As we entered Bethsaida there was an engraved stone that said Jesus welcomed the people and cured those in need of healing. Just reading those words stirred my heart.
We continued walking the grounds and listening to our guide. But out of nowhere it began to rain. We took cover under this metal roofed seating area, primarily there to provide shade during tours. Our guide got excited and told us that it does not rain here this time of year except maybe every 80-100 years. The rain was a miracle. Whoah. What? That's right. It doesn't rain in June at Bethsaida. It's dry as a bone. Here we were, sitting under a covering to keep dry from the rain. We worshipped and we prayed. And right in the middle of the rain, in the middle of this moment, our leader Sharon recognized that this was a sign the Holy Spirit was here to do a work. He wanted to move on our behalf. Miracles were waiting. Rain is often a symbol for blessing and favor in Scripture.
I stepped out from the overhang to overlook a hill. The rain was light, but delightful. In that s
prinkled moment, the Holy Spirit told me that He had been waiting to bless me because He wanted to do it on my birthday. He knew this was my day, and He knew it would rain. And He was present to do healing on this day for me.
Wow. I began to cry. Do you know that God knows your birthday? It's not just something written in the Scriptures. Sure, He knows the number of hairs on your head…but He really knows every detail about you. And, I might add, He really cares. He cares for us, in very intimate ways. As I began to weep, Sharon came over, laid her hands on my shoulders and head and began to pray. I felt this overwhelming nearness of God. It wasn't like the "peppermint" sensation I had a couple years ago when God took away the Lyme disease from my body. This was different. I couldn't pin point what was happening, but there was definitely something shifting in my spirit. Sharon finished praying for me and moved on to the next person who wanted prayer. I just stayed there in the rain. And I heard God whisper in my spirit, "I’m giving you new wine for old pain." HOLY SMOKES. What does that even mean? I loved it. I knew it was a personal message from Jesus to me. But I didn't know what it meant. I'm still leaning into this one. New wine for old pain. Hmm. I know the pain He's talking about. This ridiculous abdominal pain that has plagued me pretty much non-stop for over four years. The pain that keeps me slightly hunched over and makes me stare at the fridge in despair. The pain that has no answers, no solutions, no root. That pain. Holy Spirit was giving me new wine for that pain. We came back together as a group a few minutes later and shared our healing moments. Again, I couldn't articulate what just happened. But it was very real, very personal (on my exact birthday), and the rest a mystery. A few weeks after we all got back from Israel, I was songwriting with two of my friends who went on the trip, Matt and Annie. Matt had a similar experience in that same place and time. As we were writing, Matt said, "I think what happened at Bethsaida was that my hope got restored. It was hope restored." Whoa again. As soon as he said those words, I knew in my spirit that that was exactly what happened at Bethsaida. My hope got restored. Hope restored is definitely a form of new wine. Hope keeps you going. Hope gets you off the sidelines and back into the game. Hope gives you reason to get out of bed in the morning. Hope is the ignition and catalyst for so many other things. After Matt said "Hope restored" I realized that I suddenly had a desire to get back out and do ministry, music, and travel again. I had hit the pause button for about 18 months, and I wasn't sure I was going to get back into traveling music ministry. But something shifted in my soul in Israel, and God had given me a new hope, focus, and grace to begin again. That was not what I was expecting. Healing isn't always physical. Sometimes our deeper need is actually internal: a mindset, a sense of defeat, a rejection that has shaped us. There are a number of inner healings we all need at different times in our lives. So let me ask you this. If God were to show up on your birthday, and whisper to you…"I’m restoring your hope." What would be restored in your life? What would change or shift? What old pain do you have that needs new wine? Maybe the pain isn't going away yet. Mine has not…not YET! Yet being the key word there. Many of you know I had my gall bladder out a few weeks ago. It definitely needed to go - infected, inflamed, and surrounded by scar tissue. But, I haven't had the pain relief I thought I was going to have. You know what? So what. God is giving me the provision and sustenance right now to do exactly what He has called me to do. He is giving me hope and energy. And for the times I'm tired, He provides space to take a nap. As I continue to walk in His strength, instead of my own, my hope cup stays full. I'm under the shadow of His wings rather than flying off on my own.
What does hope restored look like on you? I hope you'll press in to Jesus and find out. I hope you'll keep asking Him to fill, guide, and direct you. I hope you'll hear His tender voice whisper to you what you need at the exact moment you need it. He is the very essence of hope.
I know this is getting long, but there’s one more piece of info I forgot to mention. In my music studio upstairs is a sign that’s been on my wall for several months. It says, “The Rain is on the Way.” Perhaps the rain has arrived. JOYFULLY,