Yes, of course it’s real. I wouldn’t be writing this – and you wouldn’t be reading it – if it wasn’t. We’re part of a world eternally being healed, thank Christ. But for some people it will never be real; not even when it’s really staring them, slap-bang, in the face.
Here’s a true story:
The father and mother of my ex-husband described themselves as “non-church-goers”.
(They were stating a position. People who have no stance about church don’t style themselves non-church-goers; they say they don’t go to church). My mum-in-law once described their position thus: “We’re not do-gooders or God-botherers”. The family was accepting of people who went to church, although vocally puzzled about why anyone would wish to. They didn’t see God as relevant. Thus, whether God existed or not was also irrelevant.
So, it was highly unlikely that they and I were ever going to get on to the subject of healing – but we did. It was during one of the evenings when my mum-in-law used to recount the ups and downs of bringing up the boy who would one day be my husband. This time she began to describe the agony of a certain night when, already weakened by Polio, he was dying of rheumatic fever; how the doctor had made his evening visit, and had despaired of him lasting the night. She was visibly upset recalling such a terrible time.
“We were beyond hope, beyond anything,” she said. “Lad was asleep. We came downstairs and just sat each side of the fire and stared at each other”. My father-in-law- nodded. It was painful to remember.
“And then two flames came into the room here and sort-of stayed above our heads. We both noticed them; a bit embarrassed though, to mention it. And then, in the morning, the lad was completely well. Perfectly well! Doctor was amazed. And we talked together about the flames to each other, then. Funny wasn’t it?”
“And what did you do?” I remember asking, breathlessly.
I imagined myself rushing to some high hill, wide beach, open field, altar, to fall on my knees and weep my thanks.
“What did you do, to say thank-you?”
She looked at me as if I was rather odd.
“Well, what was there to do?” she said.
There are people who have seen, with their own eyes, the marks of nails, tongues of flame, the God-given second chances and different choices which every day brings, and still do not believe.
Commissioned by REFORM Magazine