It was early August when I first heard Mike Guglielmucci's song "Healer" and the testimony behind it. This heartbreaking story of a young man with cancer strapping on his oxygen tubes, walking out onto the stage, and lifting up his emotional profession to God, "I believe You're my Healer," captured my heart and caused me to immediately purchase the Hillsong album This Is Our God. "Healer" is, in my opinion, by far the best song on the album. (Most of the others are not congregationally friendly, and/or are somewhat shallow, including one that is borderline unbiblical, but we won't get into that.)

I began losing interest in Guglielmucci's song a couple weeks after getting the album, when I watched the CCLI TV Song Story of "Healer." I expected what I saw: a flippantly emotional worship story. (I would link to the video, but it seems to have been annihilated from internet existence.) Mike told of how he had been diagnosed with cancer, and that he didn't have very much time to live. So he went home one day and began crying to God, and out came the song "Healer" from start to finish in one take. I admit my disbelief that that part really happened, but what was more striking to me was the story and footage of the night of the recording. If I recall correctly, Guglielmucci spoke of how particularly weak he was before going on the stage, which is why, I assume, he needed oxygen, and that if he was going to get through the song it had to be the sustaining power of God that would do it.

Forgive my skepticism, but the video of that Hillsong event, from Mike's passionate, shaky reading of Isaiah 53 over an eliciting keyboard pad, to tears streaming down many faces as they watched a dying friend, awestruck of his faith, wreaked of mere experientialism. I did not hear anything even remotely Christ-centered in all of the Song Story video, but rather was taken aback by the manipulative power of a moving story, an emotionally melodic song, and masses of people being touched by what they deemed to be the Holy Spirit, but what I suspect was something other than God. And then...

I have two comments:

1. Joy fills my heart even more than shock, and there is no disgust or anger, or feeling deceived or victimized, or anything like that. This song has become true, and especially for Mike Guglielmucci. Despite the lies and conniving that might have inspired him to write this song, God had other plans. Could it be that "Healer" was a prophetic cry from Mike's heart that God is now answering? It is nothing less than just that. Mike (and everyone) thought the song was about his physical healing, but it turns out it is really about a restored soul. My prayer is that Mike continues down this Godly path of healing and forgiveness that began with this God-led confession, that he would see the nonsense of experientialism, and that his eyes would be opened to the activity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in worship.

2. What does this say about the capacity of each and every one of us to manipulate, emotionally control, use words, actions, vocal inflections, tears, get caught up in the moment, be led by feelings, etc., whether we are on stage preaching or leading worship, or facing the stage being taught or led, or going about our relationships with one another in everyday life? Man is fickle. We are all fakers. The most seemingly honest, tell-it-like-it-is person is still putting on a show. We all give in to the illusions of this world and constantly struggle living and deciphering between what is real and what is worldly. This tension is the nature of the Christian life. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're immune to this problem. Humble yourself like Mike, and fess up. He is in the best place of his life right now, broken, despised by many, loved by God and closer to Him than ever before. Are you?

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