“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
Does God heal people in the world today? I once heard a British evangelist remark: The world says: “Seeing is believing”, but faith says “Believing is Seeing”. Several years ago I was approached by someone at my church, who said he’d heard I can speak German. The person who approached me was apparently a doctor and he told me that a patient of his, who was in a nearby retirement nursing home, was German and no-one could understand him. He also had terminal cancer (of the pancreas) and wasn’t expected to live more than another three weeks! (The Lord evidently had other ideas about that!) I asked if the man was a Christian and he said no. I went down to the nursing home the next evening and met the elderly patient, who’s name was Willy.
I spoke to Willy in German but got no response. I spoke to him in English, and still got no response. It occurred to me that the reason I got no response was because Willy was deaf. Having a profoundly deaf daughter myself meant that I was accustomed to this disability.
The next evening I went to visit Willy again – this time with lots of sheets of paper and a pen. The communication I wrote was always in German, and after introducing myself I asked Willy (in writing) if he believed in God. He nodded “yes”. I then asked him if he believed that God loved him personally. He shrugged his shoulders, apparently not convinced of that. I then explained to Willy that if we wanted to earn a place in Heaven with God, we would have to live a perfect life, from the moment we are born to the time we die.” Again Willy shrugged his shoulders and said “that’s impossible”. “Exactly” I wrote “But God has provided the means whereby we can count as being perfect, even though we aren’t, by being forgiven for all the wrong things we have done”.
Over the next few weeks I continued visiting Willy, and ministering to him, explaining what Christian belief is about, and took him some books, some in English, some in German. Willy was a very avid reader, and could understand books in either language. At the end of each visit, I would pray for Willy and asked the Lord to heal him. The turning point was when I gave him a Christian book in German, which explained salvation very clearly. When I returned, he had obviously been very encouraged by it. I also got Willy a German edition of the Good News Bible (Die Gute Nachricht) and gave it to him.
One evening Willy’s daughter was there and she thanked me for the trouble I had taken to visit him. Another evening I took with me a German lady who belonged to a church house group I was attending at that time. She also communicated through writing.
Over the next few weeks (far beyond the original three predicted) the illness seemed to take its toll on Willy. He started to lose weight, he became weak and couldn’t get into bed. His face began to look sunken and pale. As a result of my job situation, I was unable to visit Willy for a few weeks. One evening, a few weeks later, I went down to the nursing home to see him, fully expecting that he would have passed away. To my astonishment the nurse on duty said “Willy? Oh, he’s got a lot better and we’ve moved him upstairs”!! I went upstairs to see Willy and was confronted by an almost sprightly old man who looked a lot fitter and fuller in the face than my previous visit!
During the times that I visited Willy and prayed for him, I did nothing other than pray for him. That was all. I would not even suggest that his condition improved because I personally had prayed for him. Others could have been doing so. Even his doctor, who attended my church, reluctantly agreed (with some caution) that the Lord could have healed Willy. But four factors emerge: I have a deaf daughter and was able to understand Willy’s disability, I was able to speak Willy’s mother tongue, I worked locally and had the time to visit, I lived near to the home Willy was in. I fitted the bill and served the purpose at that time.
When my job changed, I was no longer able to visit, but I don’t believe in a God who wastes people’s time. There was a purpose, and I believe that one day I shall meet Willy again. I was even “warned off” by one of the nurses, who was clearly a non-Christian. She told me not to take Willy any more “religious books” to read. She tried to tell me that Willy was “not that way inclined”. Hopefully, by that time, the Holy Spirit will have worked a greater miracle in Willy’s life, as He had done in mine a few years earlier!