Skeptics are often concerned about exaggeration with healing testimonies. Exaggeration is a valid concern, and we should be careful about how we report testimonies. Bethel church has a great set of guidelines for reporting testimonies accurately and responsibly. I’m sometimes heard people who experienced the miraculous for the first time exaggerate somewhat. It wasn’t intentional, but they were excited and shocked.
Only One Out Of Ten Gave Thanks To God?
Sometimes stories have been exaggerated. However, the big picture truth is that what we hear of God’s miracles is far underreported. Let’s look at a story from the book of Luke:
Luke 17:11-19 (NIV) Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Isreal in the Old Testament repeatedly forgot God’s miracles and failed to give him glory for delivering them. Out of 10 lepers who Jesus cleansed, only one returned to give thanks. And he was a foreigner.
It’s funny how Isreal forgot how God saved them, but the nations around knew the stories of how God had delivered Isreal from Egypt. It was a foreigner who returned to give thanks to Jesus. And all too often today, it is Christians who forget to remember and to share how God has delivered them.
What if you’ve only heard a tenth of what God has done for people around you?
I like to ask Christians about what God has done in their lives. It’s amazing how much I would never have known unless I had asked. I’ve even heard stories of people’s children raised from the dead.
Some people are afraid to share these testimonies with just anybody for fear of ridicule. But they feel more comfortable after hearing me share testimonies, knowing that I won’t scoff.
My grandmother was sadly surprised at the cold reactions of some other Christians when she shared the story of her healing and her vision of Jesus. They seemed to think she was deluded or something. Some people don’t talk about what God has done for them because they are afraid of ridicule and rejection. I’m glad Grammy shared her story.
I’ve seen many people supernaturally healed who would not even ask for prayer when they faced another issue a few years later. They never told anybody about what God did for them. But if you remind them, they remember what happened.
You Probably Haven’t Heard Half Of It!
Decades ago, the Better Business Bureau did an investigation of John G. Lake’s ministry in Spokane, Washington. People had told them the reports of healing were so remarkable that they must be fraudulent. After looking into things, they sent a letter saying they had no desire to interfere in the good the ministry was doing. “Two members of the committee saw us privately and said that the committee was astounded. They said, ‘We soon found out, upon investigation, you did not tell half of it.’”
Some people think the testimonies of miracles at Bethel church, Global Awakening, and other healing ministries must be exaggerated. And I mean not only cessationists but also people who believe in miracles and believe some of the testimonies are true.
While I’m sure that you can find someone who has exaggerated something (probably unintentionally, thus the usefulness of guidelines for reporting testimonies,) I can tell you that you probably haven’t heard nearly half of what God has done. Even in ministries like Bethel that keep a written record or John Mellor who posts videos of many healings and testimonies.
How Much Goes Unreported?
One night after hearing Bill Johnson preach in Harrisburg, my heart was set on fire. It was late at night and I went to a gas station to fill up and get a snack.
There was a young guy there with a sling on his arm. He said he broke it, and I asked if I could pray for him. His friends started mocking and all walked away. But he let me pray.
Within a few minutes, he was moving it pain-free, without the sling. He had broken it the day before.
Even if you heard everything that happened at that meeting, so much more happens with people who were there, had a fire ignited in their heart, and then went and stepped out to minister to someone. There are multiple others who ministered to a neighbor because they saw a testimony video listened to a sermon on Youtube. God’s works are multiplying.
There have been a few times I’ve tried to keep a journal to record what God does. I’ve always fallen behind. But even if I had been more disciplined with it, there are always things we don’t even now. There are people who were healed and you might find out about it two years later.
Sometimes Facebook shows me memories of testimonies from years ago. I wouldn’t have remembered if Facebook hadn’t reminded me. Even then, I don’t always remember the specifics of what happened.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying Mark Heman’s testimony videos on Youtube, like the one I’ll share at the end of a guy being healed who was deaf and dumb from birth. There are enough testimonies online to keep you busy for hours. And sometimes I’ve spent up to three hours at a time reading and watching testimonies. Thank God for the internet! But for every video testimony of someone healed of deafness and muteness, how many do you think there are that aren’t on the internet?
Friends, many people still have no idea how real God is and how much he is doing in the world today. And people need hope. Don’t hold back in sharing testimonies of how God has touched you and others!
John 21:25 (NIV) Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Psalm 71:15 (NRSV) My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all day long, though their number is past my knowledge.