Healing Conversations Continued
Healing conversations follow the same pattern
looking back building community through listening
looking up building faith by sharing a healing story from God's Word
looking forward finding purpose in sharing comfort with others
You should know your audience well to determine which stories to tell. We suggest beginning with the story of Job for those from other faiths. You may choose to tell the Elijah or Joseph story next, or any of the other stories listed below. When an individual is ready to hear about Jesus, you may choose one of the Jesus stories. Never push people who are not ready to hear about Jesus.
Listen! Every time you enter into conversation with someone, listen to their story, whether it be what happened to them that week, how they are doing that day, or their story of pain from the past. Listen to whatever they want to share that day. As you listen, connect their story to God's story. At the beginning of a relationship you may find that the Job or Joseph story connects well with people who have been through continuing trauma. After you listen, connect them to the story in some way...
Can I tell you a story about someone else who encountered difficult situations?
Elijah Flees to Sinai
1 Kings 19:1-21
Based on the NLT (1996)
The prophet Elijah once had to leave his home area when he was in danger and really discouraged. He was a prophet during the time when the king of God’s people was following false gods and leading most of God’s people to follow these false gods too. And so Elijah challenged him and the prophets of the false gods to a competition to see which God would consume their altars with fire—which god was the true God. God rained down fire on the altar Elijah built and he proved that he is the true God. But the king of God’s people was angry with Elijah, and he went home and told his wife everything Elijah had done. So his wife sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods also kill me if by this time tomorrow I have failed to kill you...”
Even after Elijah had seen God work in such great ways, he was afraid and fled for his life…He went on alone into the desert, traveling all day. He sat down under a tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, God,” he said. “Kill me, I might as well be dead.”
Then he lay down and slept under the tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and saw some bread and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of God came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, because there is a long journey ahead of you.” So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God.
There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. Then God said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served you, the true, creator God Almighty. But the descendants of Abraham have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the God told him. And as Elijah stood there, God passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but God was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but God was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And God said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied again, “I have zealously served you, the true creator, God Almighty. But the descendants of Abraham have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” Then God told him, “Go back the way you came, I have things for you to do. And don’t worry, there are 7000 people in the land who do not worship false gods—they still follow me!”
So Elijah left and God sent him a helper—another prophet to work together with him.
1). What do you like about the story?
2). What do you find difficult to accept in this story?
3). What does this story show us about God?
4). What does this story show us about people?
5). If this story is true, how does it change your thinking?
6.) Who will you tell this story to?
7.) What can you do today to help someone else, even if it's just a small thing?
More stories you can tell
We see Joseph suffer through time, yet God is with him every step of the way. Many people relate to this.
The wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt through the efforts of a large community made up of many different types of people. What can the refugees do as a community to rebuild their lives and to make their new community a better place?
Elisha and the widow's oil
God hears the cries of the vulnerable and provides in miraculous ways. However, the widow had to obey and take action as well.
Hannah was mocked and shamed by her co-wife, and she suffered the shame in her culture of not bearing a child. God listened and showed her love.
Hagar was unjustly treated by Sarah and Abraham. She felt alone and abandoned, yet God saw her. Remember that Ishmael saw the final rejection also--what must that have been like for him?
Jesus calms the storm
We've all wondered at times if God really cares--we can all relate to this story of chaos and fear. The story ends with a hope that Jesus can make peace out of chaos.
The bleeding woman
Jesus did more than just heal this woman physically--he restored her to community and to relationship with God. Her trust in Jesus, and her boldness to get through that crowd is what healed her.
Jesus feeds the 5000
Jesus provided for the crowd, and he showed his closest followers that they could in fact do more than they thought they could. Jesus multiplied what they had when they gave it all to him. And...in the end...he provided them with all they needed.
The Healing Journey Overview
New Hope group
Remember that journeys are rarely linear, and they take time! Don't rush this journey, and be willing to move back and forth along the route.
Moving from healing conversations to healing groups
People may be emotionally ready for group when they can talk without breaking down to the point that they can’t stop crying, and may be willing to invite others to listen to stories with them.
Try telling stories like Nehemiah that remind people of the need for community and moving forward together.
Always "look forward" in your conversations, asking your listeners who they can share with and who they can do a small act of kindness for.
Remind them of the 3 Villages and the need for walking alongside others. Ask who they can walk alongside.
Find other ways to gather naturally. Do expressive art together, cooking, or an activity that everyone enjoys, and tell a story when you're gathered.
Offer for people to learn stories that help them heal and to walk alongside others who need healing.
Remember----never press people to share more than they want to or to gather with those with whom they feel uncomfortable. Lack of trust is an issue and we need to be gentle in helping people move forward in trust.