The Second Reason I Became a Christian: A Sick Man Sent Me Running to God

Four years ago, I started writing a blog/memoir to talk about the on-again-off-again relationship that sent me running to God in 2014. Before I finally tell that story, I thought I’d share the following excerpts from one of T.D. Jakes’ ManPower conferences because I’m not the only one who’s been involved with a sick man. #metoo #timesup

What You Need to Know About Dating/Marrying/Being a Sick Man

gold cup winner
Photo credit: cloudpassage.com

You think it’s about you. You think you’re up under attack. You think the enemy has come against you. You think you’ve become a target. But [the Bible] says it was never about you. … [W]e think about the [present]; God is concerned about the eternal. We’re concerned about the issues; God is concerned about his purpose. And if you’re going to walk with God … you’ve got to think like God. You’ve got to get God’s perspective on your situation and your circumstance. … [T]he battle is not yours, it belongs to God. You’re the spoils — you’re what the fight is about, you’re what the fight is over — but it was never about you. This battle is not yours, it belongs to God, and it is his victory, and he is going to get the victory in you, and he’s going to get the victory through you, and he’s going to get the victory, and you’re not going to get any credit for it. …

do your best and god will do the restSure, you want to work on your behavior; sure, you want to work on your character — you want to cure areas of defective behavior that are limiting you from becoming all that God [wants] you to be. That’s part of our responsibility. But you are not a magician. You can’t make things happen that are not happening. You can’t heal yourself or hire yourself or do things that are out of your control, and God is not asking you to do what is out of your control. …

Women Set Change in Motion…

[In the story of Lazarus], this whole change [started] with women who came to Jesus about an issue the brother was having. Most of us can identify [with this]. Some woman somewhere in our lives who prayed for us … either your mother, your grandmother, your auntie … or your wife — it may be your daughter — some woman in your life that brought you before God and prayed for you.

…But God Already Knew About the Sickness

[In John 11:3, the sisters go to Jesus, saying, “Behold, the one thou lovest is sick.” They say ‘behold’ because] they think they’re telling him something he doesn’t know. …

Today, Sick Men Send Women to Church in Droves

sick men send women to church in drovesNow, you can take this and apply it however you need to. But some kind of sickness brought you to God’s attention. … [T]he truth of the matter is — I’m just gonna be totally transparent — if we would have a women’s meeting, the women would be lined up out the door trying to get in here. They’d be wrapped around the curb outside … [W]hat is driving women to come to Jesus in double portions? Because women today are living — many of them — most of them — with a man who’s sick. And it is his sickness that drives her to Jesus. Whether that sickness led to rape, whether that sickness led to incest, whether that sickness led to neglect, whether he’s sick and can’t be stable, can’t hold a job, can’t love, can’t open up, can’t express himself, whether he’s sick and angry whether he’s sick and despondent. Some sort of sickness that goes on with us drives them to him. …

And Sick Men Won’t Let Women Get Away

sick men make promises they can't keep
Photo credit: The Modern Man

Mary and Martha love a sick man. And they are related to him. Connected to him. A bond [they] can’t get away from. … [Y]ou won’t let [your woman] get away. [I]f she tries to get away, you will do anything and everything to pull her back under your spell.

Mary and Martha Knew They Couldn’t Help Lazarus

So Mary and Martha come to Jesus because they love a sick man. … They say, you’ve gotta do something about him because we can’t. …

[H]ow many of you are fighting a devil you can’t beat by yourself? Okay. Lazarus can’t heal himself. He’s got two sisters, and they can’t heal him either. If they could heal him, they wouldn’t have brought it to Jesus. …

How Jesus Responded

there's still hope for the sick manJesus didn’t say he wasn’t sick. He didn’t say, “You’re wrong about him — you don’t understand him. [You’ve] got issues!” That’s what we do. When all else fails, and a woman’s got you cornered … [we] get mad. … [But Jesus] didn’t say that. He said, “Yeah, he’s sick. But this sickness is not unto death. He will not leave here like this. I know him. I love him. I made him. And I’m going to deliver him. This sickness is not unto death.” …

One Possible Reason Lazarus Became Sick

a sick man is a man without goals[Lazarus] doesn’t say anything important, he doesn’t do anything … he’s just there. He doesn’t write any books, he doesn’t prophesy, he’s just there. He makes no major contribution. He’s just there. Just existing. Just going through the motions. He’s just there. … Maybe that’s why he got sick. Without purpose and without vision, you’re vulnerable to sickness. In the absence of something to do and somewhere to go and somebody to see and an aim and a goal in your life, you’re kind of just there. …

Lazarus Shows That Even Christian Men Can Be Sick

sick man in churchLazarus gets the spotlight of scripture and when the light hits him, it is because he’s sick. … Here’s my problem with church. The church will not acknowledge that it is possible to love Jesus and Jesus love you and … [still be] sick. So what happens to sick Lazaruses in the church is that they have to hide their sickness to fit into the church and act like everything’s okay to be accepted into the church, because the church will not acknowledge that Lazarus is sick. Jesus acknowledges it, the women who live with him acknowledge it, but the church goes tone-deaf to the fact that you can have a functional relationship with Jesus and still have a dysfunctional proclivity in your life. …

Men Can’t Hide Their Sickness Forever

your sickness will eventually go public[E]vidently, when you first get sick, it can be private. But a sickness that’s hidden will eventually go public.

“Jesus, we don’t want to bring this to you, we don’t want to tell you this, but this thing is out of our control. It’s gettin’ bad, he’s throwin’ up, he’s got issues, and we’re comin’ to you now because Lazarus is sick,” and now they’re prayin’ about it, and here comes the trying of your faith: what do you do when you can’t heal yourself, and you can’t fix yourself, and the woman who loves you can’t heal you? Oh, I could spend all day on that. Because you’d think if you had a woman who loved you — we’d have to start ManPower all over again if I get into that. [Because men say], “If I could just find the right woman.” That’s like Adam [saying], “The woman thou gave me, she made me do it.” “It’s your fault I’m crazy. If you [were] the right woman, I wouldn’t be crazy.” We’re gonna tear all of that up today. We’ve got the right women; we’ve got the right God; we’ve got the right man, but still we have a sickness. Jesus knows it, the women know it, pretty soon, everybody’s gonna know it, and he doesn’t do anything about it.

Why Jesus Lets the Sickness Worsen

god will let a sick man get in a situation he can't get out of
Photo credit: Modern Luxury

Jesus says to them, “This sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God,” [but] he let him get worse, and he let him get worse, and he let him get worse, and he let him get worse, and he let him get worse, and he let him go down, and he let him die. … I want you to understand that bad sometimes has to get worse before it gets better. I don’t understand why it’s like this, but we have a God that only shows up when things have become completely impossible. … [Y]ou have a God whose strength is made perfect in your weakness. God will allow you to get yourself in a situation that you can’t get yourself out of and that nobody you know can get you out of so that when you do get out of it, there will be no confusion as to how you got out. You will know that if it had not been for the lord, you could never get out of this situation. …

[Jesus] doesn’t even come the day he dies. … He shows up on the fourth day, “Hi!” He does not get the warm reception that he’s accustomed to getting because now everybody in the whole picture has decided Lazarus is a lost cause. …

[You might be tempted to wonder], “Why didn’t you stop it? Why’d you let this happen to me? You brought me through it, but why did you let this happen? Lazarus was sick, dead, stinkin’. You could’ve stopped this.” And yet he let it happen anyway. And I began to realize that God doesn’t get glory out of what doesn’t happen. [Your sickness is your testimony.]

[I]t only makes sense if you understand that this whole test and the sickness and the pain and the tears and the problems and the issues and the disruption was never about you in the first place. …

hanging from crossThe Bible says that when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it set in motion everything that would lead to the crucifixion. If Lazarus had not been raised from the dead, the whole city wouldn’t have [gone] wild about Jesus. Lazarus’ [sickness] was Jesus’ opportunity to get the attention of the entire city. He needed Lazarus to be sick. He needed Lazarus to be messed up. He needed Lazarus to go through public disgrace so that when he raised him up, every unbeliever would say, “[There’s] gotta be something to Jesus. Look at Lazarus.”

hatersThe Bible says when [Lazarus] was raised from the dead, the whole city went wild [about] Jesus, and the high priest said while they were shouting — while they were shouting — the high priest … said, “We’ve gotta do something about this Jesus.” He said, “If we don’t do something about this Jesus, all the Jews are gonna follow him, and Rome is gonna come down and crush Jerusalem.” They said it is better that one die for all than for all of us to die for one. So they set Jesus up because of Lazarus. But what they didn’t know is that Lazarus was a setup. … The whole thing was a setup to put you in a position so that everybody could know who your God was that delivered you. And he meant for the haters to hate you because their hatred is a part of God’s plan. If they didn’t hate you like they hated you, your destiny wouldn’t work like it’s workin’. What I’m trying to tell you is Romans 8:28:

regardless of sick men and haters all things work together for good

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he got out of town. He got out of town because they conspired to kill him. He had to flee the city. Not because he was afraid of being killed. He didn’t mind being killed, but he had to be crucified. If a mob would’ve killed him, your sins would not be remitted. So, you’ve gotta go through the right thing at the right time.

God foreknew you so he had a seat for youSo Jesus left Bethany, and they said, “The feast is coming. … Do you think that he’ll show up at the feast?” So the Bible says that … Jesus came to the feast. And there, [at] his side, sat Lazarus. He had this seat prepared for you when you [were] coughing and wheezing and gasping and dying and struggling and faltering and stumbling and weak, when you were dead and decomposing and your blood was congealing and your eyes were shut and they were wrapping you in mummy clothes and wrapping you in frankincense and myrrh. He always knew that you would end up in the seat that you were in.

How Sick Men Help Build the Church

your sickness will help others overcome their sicknessNow, pastors … here is the key to church growth: get the worst, vilest, funkiest, stinkiest, dirty, deranged, publicly embarrassed, scandalized individual in your city and get him and snatch him out of his sins and bring him to the seat of justification in the presence of the lord and then put yourself right beside him. … And I want to tell every Lazarus in here, God has got a plan for your life. … That’s why every Lazarus needs to be a strong supporter of your pastor. It is not his preaching that’s going to build that church. It’s not the pastor’s preaching, it’s going to be your presence at church that’s going to build the church. … You are living epistles, read [by] men every day. You are the proof of the authenticity of my ministry, because when they see you, they’re going to believe me.

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