In Search of Jesus
by Judith MacNutt
As a psychologist, I have prayed with people for inner healing, the healing of emotions. And I’ve seen wonderful miracles take place. But the greatest healing in my life, and in most with whom I’ve prayed over the years, has been in coming to know the Lord in a personal way.
People who come to me for help come because they experience loneliness. Here are people whose souls have been twisted. Some have been abused as children. Others come because their marriages are falling apart. There’s something missing at the very center of their being. And I know that the only God that some people will ever see will be in me.
My father used to tell me our church would fall apart if he ever appeared there. But then, in 1986, my father was diagnosed with cancer. At first, we prayed at a distance, but nothing happened. So we traveled to Kentucky to be with him, and we laid hands on him. But, before we laid hands on him, there were many things in my father’s life that needed forgiveness.
So I said to my father, “Dad, do you know you’re forgiven? Have you asked God to forgive you?”
And he said, “I’ve asked God to forgive me. But, I just don’t know if I’m forgiven or not.”
I said, “Daddy, you are forgiven. Jesus died for that. You are forgiven.” After we worked through that forgiveness — and cried — his cancer was healed instantly. Three tumors disappeared, and they’ve not come back. He goes to church now. He even drives the church bus. And this came through knowing Jesus.
I lived in Israel for a number of years. I ran a house of prayer in Jerusalem. Palestinians, other Arabs, Orthodox Jews and international people traveled through, seeking God.
But this one day a young man of about 35 years came into the house of prayer. I’ve never seen anyone so full of rage, even in psychiatric hospitals. He had lost his farm to the Israelis, and he had lost members of his family — the same kinds of things that are happening there now. He had lost everything. He was a Moslem.
He said, “There is no God.” We took him into a room where we prayed. After a few hours of much prayer and listening, he was touched by God. The Lord Jesus truly came to him.
I’m not sure I would have had the grace to do what he did if my mother, father or sister were killed before my very eyes, or if my land was taken. But because Jesus came to him, he was able to forgive. And he accepted the Lord Jesus. Then we prayed for him, and he received the Holy Spirit.
We had large windows in the front of the room, and he saw an Israeli armored truck go by with several young Jewish soldiers in the back. The next thing we knew, he went running out the door. We weren’t really sure what he was going to do. So we ran after him, as he went tearing down the street after the truck. When it stopped at an intersection, he literally threw himself into the back with the soldiers.
Immediately, twelve machine guns were pointed at him because they recognized him as a Palestinian. They thought he had a bomb. There was much confusion, and it was very dangerous. Meantime, we were outside the truck crying. But they saw that there was something different about his face. Then, he shocked them by throwing his arms around them one by one.
And he said, “I love you because of Jesus Christ. You are my brothers.” And, you know, every single one of those Jewish boys started weeping. They held him and wept with him. From that day on, I knew what it meant to call Jesus the Prince of Peace, the one who came and said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
I understood that. And this is the answer for all relationships, isn’t it?
Not many of us have had the kind of experience the Apostle Paul had. He went around telling everybody he was an appointed disciple of Jesus Christ. Now, if you said that Jesus had personally appointed you as an apostle in a vision, they’d probably ask you to leave your church or else call a psychologist to talk to you. But Paul said that, and then said, “More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
I grew up in an evangelical church where they taught us how to witness and how to share the Lord. They taught us to love one another. But when I was in high school, I started looking around the church and realizing there were only a few people who I thought really seemed to know the Lord.
So I started on a journey. I literally traveled around the world, looking for God.
I met many people who said they knew Him. But they were still not what I was looking for. I never really saw too many people who looked Christ-like. I didn’t see that deep love.
When I went to Israel, I was on my way to India. The Lord apparently didn’t want me to go to India, so I met Him in Israel. The Christian population in Israel is only half-a-percent (or was at that time). Yet, in the three months I spent wandering around the country looking for God, I must have met the entire half-a-percent.
I looked everywhere. I went to Mt. Horeb, Mt. Tabor, the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes. I could sense His presence, but I couldn’t quite find Him. And I met many people who wanted to tell me about Jesus.
But, again, when I looked at them I didn’t see Him. And I knew the Bible. I learned it when I was growing up. I memorized it. I knew the words, but I’d never met the words.
But I remember this one time I went to the Garden Tomb. I went to a service there, and a pastor was preaching. He was the Warden of the Garden Tomb — some of you may have met him — Jon Willem van der Hofen. And while I was listening, I sat between two women who knew Jesus. This long journey I’d been making, and I finally felt I’d touched someone who knew Him. I can’t remember the sermon; all I remember is what I saw on their faces — that presence, that light, that countenance of God.
After the sermon was over, one of the women turned to me and asked, “Do you know Jesus?” Of course, I’d been asked that by the entire half-a-percent whom I’d been meeting. And my answer was always, “No.” And this woman said, “Would you like to know him?” I said, “On one condition: if I can know Him the way you know Him, then I want to know Him.” This woman had absolute confidence. She said, “You will. Let me pray with you.” Their entire tour group of charismatics from around the world came rushing over with their arms outreached to pray for me.
As they prayed, I knew they really knew Him. They were so happy and joyful. And as they prayed I had an experience that ended one journey and started another one, the one I’m still on now. And I felt myself lifted into the heavenly realms.
I’m still awkward trying to share this because it was so special. And I don’t share it often. I was lifted into the presence of the Lord. A great light was shining all around me. And I heard my name, “Judith.” I realized none of those people knew my name, but I heard it again, “Judith.” And I recognized Jesus’ voice and answered, “Yes, Lord.” I knew His voice even as the sheep know the voice of the shepherd.
And He said “I love you. You’re mine.” And something inside me was complete from that moment on. What I had longed to hear my whole life, I heard coming from His mouth to my heart. And then I had a feeling like liquid gold being poured over my head — that’s the only way I know to describe it. A warmth started at the top of my head and encompassed my body all the way down to my feet.
I don’t know how long I stood there. The people all had left. But I knew I was loved.
I share this with you because it’s so important. I still don’t understand God. There are great healings and there’s a great mystery involved in all healing. There’s a mystery involved in the love of God. There’s an even greater mystery involved in the healing that comes through the power of reconciliation and forgiveness.
But I know I never again doubted the Lord or His existence. I now know that I can say with certainty that He is here among us, that He loves us, that He’s on the side of life and wholeness. He desires that each and every one of us will come to know Him. That is the longing of His heart.