What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part One

WHAT IF THE PAIN DOESN’T GO AWAY!
Part 1 of 3

How do you handle chronic physical pain that hurts every hour of every day? Or, what if you have a life-threatening disease like cancer that has been prayed for by countless friends and it continues to slowly kill you. Or, you have prayed for a friend with some debilitating sickness believing that they will be healed and they are not healed but have died from that sickness. How do you deal with these situations?

YOU BELIEVE

You believe that God heals the sick. Maybe you have prayed for someone who was healed or heard stories of miraculous healing. As a result your faith is strong and solid. You do not doubt the existence of God and know that He loves you. But you have chronic physical pain that hurts every hour of every day. You believe in the power of prayer and have been prayed for countless times by friends, casual acquaintances, even the “big guns” in the healing ministry. You have attended countless healing meetings. At some of these meetings prophetic “words” were given specifically for the physical condition you were dealing with. You have worked harder and prayed harder and longer than you thought was possible. You have tried fasting, thinking maybe this was the key to your healing. You have named it and claimed it more times than you care to remember. You have ignored it and denied it but the pain is still there. You have knelt in front of the TV and placed your hands on the screen, as the healing evangelist looked you square in the eye and prayed for your healing. Nothing changes. You have begged, cajoled, pleaded, bargained, cried, screamed in frustration, and yet the heavens remain silent and the pain is still there.

The pain slowly eats at you, demoralizing you, breaking your spirit, and bringing with it a desperation that only those in chronic pain can know and understand. You will try anything to make the pain go away. Both medication and surgery have been tried and they do not help. The pain is unchanging. To cope you may turn to alcohol, drugs, pornography or some other escape to be distracted even for a short time.

This is unrelenting pain, which the doctors can do nothing about. Pain which prayer seems to be unable to touch, pain which causes your emotions to swing from anger to acceptance to despair and hopelessness. Perhaps you are emotionally and spiritually wounded by what has been said or done to you from well meaning friends. You have heard all the standard answers from your Christian brothers and sisters like; “You need to have more faith and claim your healing.” My question would be how much is more and how much claiming do I need to do? Some are fond of saying, “I think there must be some sin God is trying to reveal in your life and when you deal with that sin your healing will come.” My response, “Okay I’m ready to deal.”

If you have tried everything you know to rid yourself of this chronic physical pain and it still persists, what do you do? How do you cope? How do you continue to smile and go on with life believing that God will heal you? Is all this healing stuff just false hope? Are you kidding yourself? How do you hold onto hope? How do you keep from screaming, “God, are you listening, do you even care,” or “Why God,” and turning away from God for good?

The answer to these questions is critical because the message you often hear from the Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical church is that we worship a healing God, it is His will that we be healed, therefore you should not be suffering from pain. If you are there must be something wrong with you.

GOD’S SECRET PLAN

I’ve been told that somehow my pain is a part of God’s “secret plan” and I must endure it while hanging on to the hope that one day my healing will come.

Christianity is founded on the assumption that God can and does unilaterally intervene in the affairs of humans. If that were true the logical question is: why does God’s intervention in the world seem so arbitrary? Yes, God can heal blindness, but why does God heal one blind person and not another?

The reasoning goes something like this: If God can heal one blind man at one time, it seems he could heal any blind man any time. Thus it seems the reason many remain blind is because God is unwilling to heal them. And if he’s unwilling to heal them, it must be his will they remain blind. Hence whether a person is born blind or with sight and whether he or she remains blind or is healed is all part of God’s “secret plan.”

This line of reasoning is then applied to all diseases and personal tragedies. Therefore, it is concluded, whatever happens must be because God wants it to happen or at least because God didn’t want to stop it from happening.

WHEN I DISCOVERED PAIN

It couldn’t have been a better day to snow ski. It was a warm, spring day in the California mountains and I was at a popular ski resort, on the last run of the day, finishing up what had been a tremendous two days of skiing. As I headed down the ski slope and neared the end of the run I jumped over a small mogul. When I landed my skis came to an abrupt stop in the wet, sticky snow. However, my ski bindings released and my body did a somersault slamming into the snow with such impact that I momentarily lost consciousness.

I knew I was in trouble as I lay on my back in the snow. I didn’t fully understand how much trouble until I tried to reach for my ski poles. After the initial stunning blow, I realized that I had no feeling in my hands or legs. That realization brought fear like I have never experienced before as my mind very quickly translated all of this into, “you have broken your neck and are paralyzed.” As I lay there trying to comprehend what had just happened, suddenly the pain came like hot needles down my arms into my hands. After a period of time I was able to stand and slowly, painfully make my way down to the bottom of the ski slope where my friend was waiting for me.

After I told him what had happened we drove back to Bakersfield where I was admitted to the hospital. After hours of Xrays, probing and MRI’s the doctors gave me the diagnosis. This traumatic accident had broken my wrist, severely sprained both thumbs and seriously damaged three discs in my neck. The doctor told me that I was fortunate to be able to walk. The trauma to my neck could very easily have left me totally paralyzed.

As a result of this accident over twenty five years ago I have been dealing with constant pain in both hands due to the injuries to the discs and nerves in my neck. This pain is with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only way I can cope with the pain is through medication, which makes the pain tolerable.

IS GOD TO BLAME?

I do not believe that physical pain and suffering are from God. He does not send pain and suffering to build our character. He does not cause accidents to teach us lessons. If that were the case how does one explain to a mother whose child was run down in the street that this is something God allowed because He has a greater purpose for this child? This is not the God that I worship. He does not bring about the horror of a 9/11 because somehow it fits into His “secret plan” which we will one day understand.

We must come to a place where we accept that there are many things that happen in this universe that are outside of God’s plan. He created both us and other spiritual beings with a free will. We know some of these spirit beings made a choice to rebel, as man did, and that there are consequences for these choices. Because of His love for us he allows these choices to be made. Sometimes these choices clearly go against His will.

See also:
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Two
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Three

Coming In December 2014!

bygh-eng-book-cover.back-600My newest book is scheduled to be available in early December. Subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, it is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today.

Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, I Will Never, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies will be available at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com

The other thing that has been happening that you may not know about is a complete overhaul and redesign of our website. Jimmy Iaccino, the designer, has been diligently working on this for some weeks now and it has come together beautifully. It’s simple, readable, easy to navigate and showcases the heart of this ministry. In the whirlwind cyber world that we live in it’s important to be able to look fresh and current with a site that quickly catches people’s attention as they surf the web. I believe we at Wholeness Ministries have much to offer people, so check it out!

It’s hard to believe that this year is almost gone and we are heading into 2015! A lot has happened in the last year for which we are very thankful. Besides the new book and website we celebrated our 20th Year Anniversary!

mike-P1020072-txt-600To think all of this started with my attending a healing conference in 1984. I was on staff at First Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA. My boss and Senior Pastor Dr. John Lavender insisted that we go to a healing conference conducted by John Wimber at the Vineyard in Anaheim, CA.

What I observed at that healing conference and the encounter with God that I had, left me a changed man. I came back to First Baptist Church and began forming prayer teams to pray for the sick on a regular basis. Over the next ten years I went to every training event, and healing conference that John Wimber conducted. I read every book I could get my hands on that had to do with healing. This led to writing our first training manual, Learning To Do What Jesus Did.

God has opened many doors for us in various denominations, ministry streams and other countries outside the United States. There have been trips to Qatar, Kuwait, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Serbia, to name a few. Plus we have been to numerous churches around the United States.

God has been faithful in providing for all the needs of our family. Not once have we wanted for anything that we needed. Admittedly, I didn’t know how God was going to provide, but He always did. In addition, along the way He surprised us with gifts that went far beyond our needs. Much like a loving father would do for his children.

It has been an exciting journey and I cannot express how grateful that He chose me to walk this journey with Him. Indeed I want to give God all the glory and I look forward to many more years in this exciting journey. Thank you for your continued support. Without you we could not have done all this.

Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

God bless,
Mike

Before You Get Here by Mike Evans

COMING IN DECEMBER 2014

bygh-eng-book-cover-400The latest offering by teacher and ministry leader Mike Evans is scheduled to begin printing in a few days. Subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, it is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today.

Chapters include The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, I Will Never, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies will be available here at Wholeness.org and at fine bookstores nationwide.

Yes, I Am Excited!

Dear Friends,

mike-P1020072-txt-300Many of you know that for some time I have been writing a new book titled: “Before You Get Here.” It’s about all that baggage that God wants us to deal with before we get to heaven. All the editing has been completed and we just received the final cover a couple of days ago so we are almost ready to go to press. I am hoping this book will be out before the end of the year.

The other thing that has been happening that you don’t know about is a complete overhaul and redesign of our website. Jimmy, the designer, has been diligently working on this for some weeks now and it is coming together beautifully. It’s simple, readable, easy to navigate and showcases the heart of this ministry. We are hoping to launch by the first of November so that by the time you receive this newsletter we may be online with a completely new look. In the whirlwind cyber world that we live in it’s important to be able to look fresh and current with a site that quickly catches people’s attention as they surf the web. I believe we at Wholeness Ministries have a lot to offer people, so check it out!

WE GET TO CHOOSE!
The other night Jane and I were attending a mid-week service at Bakersfield New Life Center. Jim Ranger (the oldest son of James & Lydia), was speaking that evening from Psalm 89. In this psalm he talked about God’s creation and how all that God created belongs to Him. But then he said something that really caught my attention. We get to choose! We get to choose whether we want to belong to God or not! Think about that. Out of everything He created we are the only ones that have a choice whether we want to belong to God or not! That’s stunning.

WHY DO YOU LOOK SO SERIOUS, LIGHTEN UP!
In the nineteenth century, the atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche reproached a group of Christians. “You make me sick!” When their spokesman asked why, Nietzsche replied, “Because you redeemed don’t look like you’re redeemed!”

That’s a curious response isn’t it? And yet, must we not stop and examine how the unbelieving view us as we live out our life of faith? Countless times I have been around believers whose countenance is such that though they may be happy and joyful inside, they haven’t notified their face because they look as if they have been sucking on lemons.

I have heard people say, “If that’s what being a Christian is like I don’t want to be one!”

Perhaps part of the problem lies in our understanding of who we are and what we possess. Consider this, “Are you spiritually rich or spiritually poor?” Brennan Manning makes the statement that if we consider ourselves spiritually rich we begin to make demands on God for things that we think we deserve, often leading to anger and frustration. If we presume that life owes us the best and nothing but the best, then reality rarely lives up to our expectations. What logically follows is that we take for granted everything that comes our way and bear ourselves with the swagger of the executive who knows what is up and has all under control.

To be spiritually poor is to realize that everything is a gift. Salvation, mercy, grace, provision, protection, all that comes from the hand of God is a gift. That He would love us is, in itself, irrational and unreasonable. The spiritually poor experience genuine gratitude and appreciate the slightest gift. The rich in spirit devote considerable time to thinking about what they don’t have; the poor get right down to enjoying and celebrating what they do have.

As we stand before God with open hands, not clinging to anything, our life becomes a life of humble, joyful thanksgiving. When we begin to let go of our self-sufficiency and realize what it means to be the Beloved and that He is more than sufficient, we disappear into what Thomas Merton calls, “the tremendous poverty that is the adoration of God.”

I suspect that then the redeemed will look like they’re redeemed.

Eduard-and-Ibi-Rudolf-600Wholeness Ministries supports two missionary families in Eastern Europe. One of these couples is Eduard and Ibi Rudolf who live in Cluj, Romania. Eduard and his wife Ibi work with orphans, gypsies and children in the various villages around Romania. They have four children of their own. In addition to the outreach to the gypsies in many villages, they have established a significant work at the orphanage in Cluj and a children’s ministry in over 10 villages that reaches hundreds of children each week. Not only are they bringing them the Good News but also they are giving them hope and love and providing in tangible ways exactly what Jesus would do if he were there among them. Keep Eduard and his family in your prayers.

Thank you for your prayers and support of Wholeness Ministries. Without your help we could not do the things we are able to do. Keep us in your prayers as we try to faithfully listen to the Father and do what we believe He is calling us to do.

God bless, Mike

Thought For Today: I created you to be you. If you are not going to be you, who is going to be you?

Wholeness Ministries 20 Years

It’s hard for me to believe that as of July 2014 we will have been at this for twenty years. I guess it’s because we have been having so much fun that the time flew by. To think all of this started with my attending a healing conference in 1984. I was on staff at First Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA. My boss and Senior Pastor Dr. John Lavender insisted that we go to a healing conference conducted by John Wimber in Anaheim, CA. Due to my early exposure to the healing ministry I did not want to go, but because I dearly loved and respected Dr. John I agreed to go with him. If you knew John Lavender he could be a bit insistent.

What I observed at that healing conference and the encounter with God that I had, left me a changed man. I came back to First Baptist Church and began forming prayer teams to pray for the sick on a regular basis. Over the next ten years I went to every training event, and healing conference that John Wimber conducted. I read every book I could get my hands on that had to do with healing. This led to writing our first training manual, Learning To Do What Jesus Did.

From 1984 until early 1994 the ministry at First Baptist Church was running along fairly smoothly. In 1994 while up in Kern Canyon sitting by the Kern River God clearly said to me, “Michael, I want you to resign your position at the church and take this ministry out on it’s own. You can no longer do here what I called you to do.” That was a defining moment for me because I did not know how God was going to provide for our family. At that time I had a wife and three young children at home and from where I was sitting this was scary. A few of my friends even thought I was crazy.

However, I had enough faith in God that I was willing to jump out and give this a try. I went back home, talked this over with my wife and after much prayer handed in my resignation at the church. We then officially formed Wholeness Ministries Inc. and the rest is history. It has been an amazing journey and I expect it to continue for many years to come.

Francis and Judith MacNutt with Mike Evans

Francis and Judith MacNutt with Mike Evans

A man that God brought into my life early in this journey was Francis MacNutt. When we first met he took me under his wing and not only became my mentor but Francis and his wife Judith have become dear friends. Francis opened doors for me into the Catholic Church by taking me for thirty days on my first ministry trip with him to England and Belfast, Northern Ireland. That was a learning experience! Our friendship has continued over these many years and I treasure our times together. I remember thinking how God has taken this boy raised a Southern Baptist, then in his early thirties placed him in an American Baptist Church under a man who was a tremendous teacher, visionary, spiritual father and personal friend, Dr. John Lavender. He exposed him to the teachings of what I considered a radical charismatic, John Wimber, and then placed him with a former Catholic Priest to mentor and father him. This has been part of my personal journey during the last forty years!

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Bro. David Jardine with Mike Evans

Bro. David Jardine with Mike Evans

While in Belfast, Northern Ireland I met David Jardine who was at that time an Anglican Priest connected with the order of St. Francis operating out of St. Ann’s Cathedral. He now has established Divine Healing Ministries with headquarters in Belfast. David is a gifted teacher and a man of peace and reconciliation. In addition to the healing ministry his passion and heart is to bring together the Protestant and Catholic Churches in Northern Ireland. We became fast friends over the years. I have been invited back several times to minister alongside David and conduct training workshops and healing conferences in both Catholic and Protestant churches, with people from both denominations attending.

This was significant because when I first went to Belfast in the early 90’s it was a dangerous place to be due to the anger and hatred among various groups. Over the years I’ve seen significant change as reconciliation and peace has come to Northern Ireland. Now I would feel comfortable taking my family there. Over the years I’ve seen many miraculous healings and know that David, partnered with God, is doing a great work there. The Irish are a gracious and fun people to be around and it has been my good fortune to have been exposed to them and I look forward to future trips back to Northern Ireland.

Budapest, Hungary

Street evangelism with Adam Balogh in Budapest

Street evangelism with Adam Balogh in Budapest

The next significant point in this journey was in 1997 when I first went to Budapest, Hungary at the invitation of Bishop Robert Wise. While I was there I met Adam Balogh who was my interpreter and transportation. That gave me an opportunity to spend time getting acquainted with him and time to listen to him share his love for the Lord and his heart for ministry. Before I went to Hungary I was receiving prayer from our intercessors. During the time of prayer one of them shared with me this word regarding my trip to Budapest, “The Lord has shown me that while in Budapest you will meet a young man who will be the key to the doorway to what I am going to do in Eastern Europe.” So the whole time I was in Budapest I am asking the Lord to show me this young man.

On the last night just before I left Budapest, Adam and I had an extended opportunity to talk and pray together. While we were praying I asked the Lord, “Is this the man?” and He said, “Yes!” I shared this prophetic word with Adam and he had this stunned and surprised look on his face. After a moment he said, “Five years ago when I became a Christian a man spoke a prophetic word to me that was exactly what you just said, which was, “You will be the key to the doorway to what I am going to do in Eastern Europe.” Through Wholeness Ministries we have been helping to support Adam since 1997.

Adam is now married to Orsi and they have four beautiful daughters. I have been back to Budapest four times and over all these years we have been supporting them I have watched this prophetic word work out. Adam has traveled all over Eastern Europe evangelizing, training and equipping people in evangelism and how to pray for the sick using our material Learning To Do What Jesus Did, which is translated into Hungarian.

Cluj, Romania

Mike Evans at gipsy camp in Romania.

Mike Evans at gipsy camp in Romania.

Adam exposed us to others involved in ministries that had very little exposure here in the United States but were having a significant impact on people’s lives in Eastern Europe. In 2006 through Adam we met Eduard and Ibi Rudolf who live in Cluj, Romania. Eduard and his wife Ibi work with orphans, gypsies and children in the various villages around Romania. They have four children of their own. In addition to the outreach to the gypsies in many villages, they have established a significant work at the orphanage in Cluj and a children’s ministry in over 10 villages that reaches hundreds of children each week.

Not only are they bringing them the Good News but they are giving them hope and love and providing in tangible ways exactly what Jesus would do if he were there among them. After visiting Romania and seeing their work we felt that we also needed to help provide support for Eduard & Ibi and their work in Romania.

Whiteriver, Arizona

Fr. Ed Fronske with Mike Evans

Fr. Ed Fronske with Mike Evans

Father Ed Fronske works among the Apache and Navajo Indians on a reservation in Whiteriver, Arizona. Until 2007 I had never been among the Native Americans on one of their reservations. Fr. Ed invited me over to conduct a 3-day training and ministry work among the Navajo and Apache tribes. This man has been at St. Francis Catholic Church for over 26 years ministering among these people he so dearly loves. As I taught, it was exciting to watch the Holy Spirit move among them and bring them to a place of not only openness to Him but also an eagerness to take what they were being taught back to their homes and use it among themselves. Fr. Ed has an ability to meld together the traditions and teaching of the Church with the Native American culture. He has been able to speak the Good News in a language they understand, honor their traditions and be an example of Jesus that exemplifies love and humility.

Korea

Mike Evans at World Church Growth Institute in South Korea

Mike Evans at World Church Growth Institute in South Korea

Pastor Jae One Kim of One in Christ Healing Ministries has a heart for the Korean people and is the man responsible for my invitation to Korea. Pastor Kim is the man who translated our book, Learning To Do What Jesus Did into Korean. He is an excellent translator and great man to work with. We have become good friends and I look forward to other trips to Korea ministering together with him. Besides English, Hungarian and Korean the training manual is also available in Spanish.

India

Mike Evans with poster announcing his conference in India

Mike Evans with poster announcing his conference in India

I have done a great deal of traveling but nothing prepared me for India! The culture shock hit me when I walked out the door of the airport in Chennai, got into the car and rode into the city for the very first time. Chennai is a city of 7 million people. The sheer numbers of people I saw on my way in from the airport was mind-boggling. The traffic, the noise, the smells, the poverty, immediately had all of my senses on overload. Bill Chaney traveled with me to India and for both of us it was overwhelming. Not only the sheer numbers of people and the poverty, but also the miracles that we saw God do.

Mike Evans and Billy Chaney attempt to ride an elephant in India

Mike Evans and Billy Chaney attempt to ride an elephant in India

As you can see from this report God has opened many doors for us in various denominations, ministry streams and other countries outside the United States. This is just a glimpse of what we have been doing for the last twenty years. In addition to what is reported here there have been trips to Qatar, Kuwait, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Serbia. Plus we have been to numerous churches around the United States.

Looking back on these last twenty years God has been faithful in providing for all the needs of our family. Not once have we wanted for anything that we needed. Admittedly, I didn’t know how God was going to provide, but He always did. In addition, along the way He surprised us with gifts that went far beyond our needs. Much like a loving father would do for his children.

I would not trade this last twenty years for anything. It has been an exciting journey and I cannot express how grateful that He chose me to walk this journey with Him. Indeed I want to give God all the glory and I look forward to many more years in this exciting journey. Thank you for your continued support. Without you we could not have done all this.

God bless,
Mike