What happens when Jesus goes to the gym? If He followed after Joseph, and was a carpenter, he probably had rather muscular arms. I am sure Jesus would never skip leg day though… you can’t skip leg day. But maybe, He has other goals when He goes to the gym.
Let’s rewind. At the end of the year, I was praying and reflecting. I felt strongly that in the upcoming year (2015), God wanted me to begin to pray for the sick. This was both exciting and terrifying. C’mon. We all know why it would be exciting. Nothing tops off the day like seeing God do a miracle. However, many of us have prayed for miracles, and have seen nothing, and many times, faith has been shaken (not stirred.) No one enjoys that awkward moment of “Be healed!” <nothing happens>, “Welp, see ya later!”
Here is an honest moment. My faith is complicated. As a missionary, I wish I could tell you that I regularly commune with angels and I’m so close to Jesus, that He brings me my morning cup of tea every morning. Most of the time, it is expressed through a hearty dose of discontentment, frustration and wondering where on earth, or heaven for that matter, God is. Through it all, I try to remain faithful, and committed, trusting God, though I gripe a lot.
So, back to the gym… for about two months now, I have noticed a certain female trainer who has had a back injury. She walks as though she is on egg shells, but most of the time she is sitting or lying down. For about two weeks, I feel like the Holy Spirit has been prodding me…
Holy Spirit: Hey Nick
Holy Spirit: Go pray for her
Nick: Umm… but everyone will look at me, it’s probably not culturally sensitive, and I’m in the midst of a set of squats.
Holy Spirit: Yeah… so, go pray for her.
Nick: Ok, let me finish my workout.
Without fail, every day I am at the gym, she goes out to lunch, 5 minutes before I finish my workout…. kind of getting me off the hook, but knowing that I am delaying my obedience, which looks a whole lot like disobedience, though I don’t want to admit it. Still, I am praying, mostly for my own courage, and that God will not make me pray for 5,000 people before someone gets healed, as is the story of some.
Bringing Jesus to the Gym
So today, I go in, having requested prayer from others… mostly so I wouldn’t chicken out. My faith in God is pretty high at the moment, but I’m a shy person, and would rather not make a scene. Jesus wants to heal, I just have to get out of the way… or maybe, get in the way. No matter, I need to pray for this woman. Midway through my workout, it is apparent that she is not going to make this easy for me, by walking past me so I can casually ask, “How are you?”. She’s sitting down, with about 5 other personal trainers, and I’ve got to go with my incomplete Thai and try to communicate.
Yeah… this is long, but here comes the payoff.
I ask her brother if she has back pain, and he surprisingly responds “Yes!”. I ask if I can pray for her (probably the better thing to do culturally). He asks her and she is shocked at first, but is very ready to receive prayer. Naturally, everyone in the gym wants to come see why the white guy now has his hand on her shoulder (I asked first) and is seemingly talking to himself. I pray… and I feel no special feelings, that we would love to feel to let you know, “That a boy! You’re doing the right thing!” It’s never about us anyways.
Nick: How do you feel now?
Trainer: <A bit surprised, moving her shoulders around> Better, less pain.
Nick: Don’t try to make me feel good. I need to know. Is it any better or not? Do you have any pain still?
Trainer: It’s better, but still some pain.
Prayer, round 2.
Nick: How about now? Move around a little, see how it feels.
Trainer: <Moves around, doubles over in laughter and shock> IT’S GONE!!! NO PAIN!!!
She continues to test her back out and is shocked that Jesus has healed her. I told her that Jesus loves her, and has been telling me to come and pray for her. It was not me, but He who has healed her. The owner of the gym asks her in Thai how she feels, and she affirms she is fine. He is shocked, and gives me the coveted “double thumbs up.” I am pretty amazed myself at God’s work, thanking and praising Him, and naturally, go to finish off my workout.
The owner approaches me and asks where I got this special power. I laugh, “It’s not my power, it’s Pra Yesu. I have no power, but He wanted to heal, so I prayed.”
As I’m leaving, 15 minutes later, he calls me over, and points to the computer. “I’m learning about Pra Yesu now! I don’t know Him.” Amazed at this entire development, and just loving every moment of my existence, we talk for a few minutes about this. He draws the diagram seen below, asking if I can channel God’s power and pass it to Him (the 3 circles). I correct his drawing, with only 2 circles, and tell him, “Pra Yesu wants to deal straight with you.”
He is excited, wanting to learn more, but at this point, I can’t go forward with the conversation because of my language limitations. I told him next week, I would bring a Thai speaker, and we would discuss this more.
So this is what happened, when I brought Jesus to the gym today. It’s all too easy to turn the “spiritual” mindset on and off. I’m the chief culprit. At the gym, I’d rather stay in my own zone, but awesome things can happen when we listen to God’s voice and have the boldness to obey. My comfortable little zone does not account for the physical pain a young lady has been experiencing for 2 months, or her co-workers who don’t know Jesus. Today, God has opened up a door, and I can’t wait to see how 2015 continues to progress.