Healing Line

Healing Line

His Grace is Sufficient

by Linda Strickland
Jan/Feb/Mar 2013

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" — 2 Corinthians 12:9

Several years ago I had the honor of praying with a precious woman who had been diagnosed with a very aggressive and terminal illness. Although she knew her time was short, she was one of the cheeriest people I had ever met. In talking with her she told me something I will never forget. She said, "I know this may sound crazy, but I'm alright with whatever God has for me. When I first found out I was dying I was mad, so I begged and pleaded with God to tell me why. He didn't give me any answers, just His presence and His peace. So I decided that was enough — that His grace is sufficient." I remember thinking at the time that her words and attitude were amazing. I did not, however, completely understand the truth of what she said until almost a year ago, when I unexpectedly found myself in the position of helplessly watching both of my parents go through the process of dying — just three days apart.

My parents were extraordinary people who loved and served the Lord side by side for sixty-four years. My dad was a pastor, and in their corner of the world Dick and Grace Hoover were a power couple. Together they pastored churches, planted churches, built churches and discipled people. The number of souls they brought into the Kingdom of God is countless, and the number of lives they touched is incalculable.

In December of 2011, my mother suffered a debilitating stroke. The decision to place her in a nursing home, where she could receive the special care that she needed, was a difficult one for my family, but it completely broke my dad's heart. Being separated from his sweetheart for the first time in their lives was more than he could bear. Although he had many physical issues himself, my dad would make the forty-five minute drive to visit my mom every day, and nothing or no one could stop him. After three months of doing this day in and day out he completely wore himself out, became very sick, and had to be hospitalized. With no hope for recovery, we were advised to move him to the nursing home and call Hospice. On that very same night, my mother's condition deteriorated and we were counseled to call Hospice for her as well. The next day we moved them into a room together. A week later my dad went to heaven; and three days after that my mom joined him there.

During that precious week, my siblings and I sat in my parent's room and we watched and we waited. We cried and we laughed. We slept little and prayed a lot. We questioned how this could be happening, and we were amazed that it actually was. We were in shock and we were in awe. We were shocked that we were about to lose both of our parents, and we were completely awed by the fact that neither of them would have to live on this earth without the other. All of our lives we had heard our parents say that, when it was their time to die, they wanted to go to heaven together. Watching God grant their request was nothing short of unbelievable. It was also during this sorrowful and yet beautiful time that we came to understand and accept the sufficiency of God's grace, and His mercy and love.

Death is truly one of the great mysteries of life, and we will never completely understand it until we are in the fullness of God's kingdom. In CHM's School of Healing Prayer® Level III, we teach prayer ministers how to minister to and pray for people who are terminally ill. In this important lesson we teach how prayer ministry can be extremely valuable, not only to the person who is ill, but to the family as well. Most people who are seriously ill have spiritual and emotional issues that they need to resolve before they die. Prayer ministry offers a level of prayer that can help bring a person to the point of being ready to make the transition.

The Role of a Prayer Minister

  • One of the greatest gifts a prayer minister can offer someone who is going through the transition of life into death is to listen, lovingly and compassionately, to their needs. According to Hospice, 25% of the dying are afraid of pain and 75% have spiritual and emotional needs. There may be a need for confession, repentance, forgiveness and possibly even inner healing prayer.
  • Be a compassionate, loving presence, bringing a sense of worship, joy and peace. Often the dying person may be agitated for many reasons and need comfort.
  • It is important to pray a cleansing prayer over the room itself, especially if it is a hospital room, for whatever has happened there: pain, death, despair, depression or any darkness. All of these things can have an effect on the atmosphere of the room, and people typically notice a difference after this prayer.
  • Minister to the family. Pray with them as much as you pray with the one who is dying, especially during the permission and goodbye stages, and throughout the grieving process.

Death truly is a transition, a passing from one reality to another fuller reality. During the final days of my parent's life I was privileged to witness this beautiful truth first hand. On the morning before my daddy died I walked into their room to the sound of him singing a song I had never heard before. He was singing, "Between the earth and the sky" — just those words, over and over. I asked him if that's where he was — somewhere between the earth and the sky. He answered with a big wink and huge smile. I sat down on his bed and for the next hour he and I talked and sang songs about heaven. A few hours later he was there.

Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven
Of touching a hand, and finding it God's
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial
Of waking up in Glory, and finding it home
(
Finally Home, by Don Wyrtzen)

My mama said her final words that same day, but waited three days to complete her journey to heaven. Her last words were not directed at anyone in particular, but were the simple words of a promise from Jesus she had believed her whole life. Words I believe were confirmed by what (or who) she was seeing and hearing while she was "between the earth and the sky." Although the stroke had robbed her of the ability to speak clearly, in a moment of extraordinary clarity she simply said, "Whosoever will may come."

  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." — Romans 8:28, 38  

Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is CHM's Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Jan/Feb/Mar 2013