My feet hurt. Couldn’t wait to get out of my shoes and snuggle up with a good book. We had a great event. I said goodbye to the last few women in the lobby, and Kev packed up our book table. I looked up and saw two women coming my way. One I knew (and loved), and the other I didn’t. I think she stood about six feet tall. She had a holy confidence that drew me to her. She stepped in close, looked at me with fierce kindness, and leaned to whisper these words, “Susie, I sense the Lord wants you to know that He’s proud of you. He’s seen how hard you’ve fought to stand in faith while battling your health. You need to know that you’re not standing here unhealed because you lack faith. Your fight has not been wasted on you. You’ve gained so much over the years and helped so many. When you get healed, God will propel you forward and use you to help many others cross over to a place of healing, wholeness, and abundance. My husband and I have a prayer ministry, and we’d consider it a great honor to stand with you, pray with you so that you can walk free.”
Something quickened within me. Courage surged within me. This woman spoke truth into my soul. Faith and hope too.
She had no idea how accurately she affirmed some of the things God had impressed upon my heart in the past year. My soul awakened afresh to the possibility that I would see healing in the land of the living.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it (have an appetite for it), will eat its fruit (the produce from the seed planted).
Death in this verse translates this way: death.
And the word life in this passage translates: to live prosperously; to be alive; to be restored to health.
Words can do that? Kill or heal? Absolutely.
Recently on Susie Larson Live, author and pastor Alan Wright joined me to talk about his fantastic book, The Power to Bless: How to Speak Life and Empower the People You Love. He writes:
When we bless, we partner with God to release the essence of His adopting love. Until we are blessed, we are like spiritual orphans looking for assurance. But when we are authentically blessed, it’s like being adopted—we know for sure that we are loved. When we are blessed, we become secure. When we become secure, we soar.
We live in a hyper-reactionary culture, and the Church has taken the bait. I sense that we speak words that hurt others when we’re afraid. We magnify others’ flaws when we’re scared. Yet, we have nothing to fear because we’re loved and cared for by our Father.
But when you think you’re on your own, you’ll jump to your own defense. You’ll build walls to keep others out when you think no one cares. When you believe that your future is in the hands of man-made systems, you’ll grow cynical and suspicious. But here’s what scripture tells us:
Psalm 34:4-8 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation, I prayed, and the Lord listened;
He saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
He surrounds and defends all who fear Him.
People are blessing-deprived. They’re desperate to know they’re loved, cared for, and covered in grace. Jesus knows that the wheat and tares grow side by side. He told us as much. But God charged us to see the best, believe the best, forgive, and love the most. Not to say we forsake discernment. But that we impart love as a way of life. We only see in part. God sees it all and He promises to sort it all out in the end. In fact, He said that when we extend love and grace to those the rest of the world discards, we are serving Jesus Himself.
You know how you feel when someone is disgusted with your weaknesses and put off by your mess-ups. What does it stir up in you? Shame and negative self awareness. And how about when someone calls greatness out of you based on the Word of God? You find yourself stepping into opportunities you never dreamed possible.
There’s no way we’ll live out the greatness of our calling without a community of faith around us, loving us, helping us heal, and calling us up to new heights. What if we learned to do that for each other? Pastor Alan further writes:
People don’t need your advice as much as they need your faith. Blessing is powerful because it doesn’t tell people that they ought to have more faith—blessing gives them faith.
I want to be a courage-dispenser, filled with compassion, abounding in love, fierce in faith, and prophetically accurate and true. I want to be more like Jesus this way. Instead of quickly reacting to talking points and trends, I want to step back, seek the Lord, and ask Him who needs a new word of courage today.
Romans 12: 9-13, 21 (NLT)
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Don’t let evil conquer you but conquer evil by doing good.