My husband and I didn’t grow up in any Christian tradition that believed you could expect miraculous healings. We prayed for the sick, but it was just a hope that the medicine, the surgeries, etc. would make them better. It wasn’t with any thought that we might open our eyes and they would be healed.
The Lord first introduced us to the idea when we had been overseas for about a year. We were newly moved into Shutka, the Roma village my husband and daughter visited with the angels. 🙂 My daughter had recently given her life to Christ (very precocious for her preschool age) and her little brother was sick. He had a fever and was just a lump on the couch. My husband called our daughter over, saying that we were going to pray for her brother. She came running over but didn’t wait for us to pray together. She just came over and said, “God, please help Joshua feel better.” My husband and I thought it was the sweetest thing we had ever seen in our whole lives. Then we realized our son had slipped off the couch and was down on the floor playing. In an instant his fever was gone and he was playing. Within another year or two, we became part of a house church in Shutka where miraculous healings were a regular thing and it grew more into our lives.
Our family has gone years without stomach bugs at all, but we’ve also seen stomach bugs, colds, etc. healed within hours, even moments. But things didn’t always happen so easily. Our one son was born in Istanbul 7 weeks early after I prayed that he would come early (because of a hard time with the pregnancy) if he could be healthy. We left the hospital after 24 hours. They couldn’t find a reason to keep him. The next child was born on time and at home in my bedroom in America.
The next was born 11 weeks early by C-section in Gaziantep. The doctors told me the day after he was born that he would die. I repeated to myself, “You will live and not die,” over and over holding onto Life and keeping my mind on things above. He is seven now, but that’s not the end of the story. They said he had a hole in his heart and would need surgery. It disappeared. They noticed his body reacting as if he was having a brain bleed. Since they had no equipment to scan his brain, they moved him to the government children’s hospital. They saw he had bleeding in his brain. He needed immediate surgery. They didn’t have the part they wanted (we later learned it was never needed), so they postponed the surgery three days in order to get the part from Istanbul, all the while his brain was getting more and more damaged. I can trust God’s sovereignty over all that and it doesn’t get me upset and frustrated.
He has what’s described as “severe” brain damage due to this brain bleed. After two months in the hospital, I noticed one day that he wasn’t hooked up to any machines. I asked if we could take him home and was told no because he had lost his sucking reflex. The doctor said they had tried a pacifier and a bottle and to prove his point put his pinky finger in my son’s mouth and he didn’t suck on it, which would be the natural reflex. Now, I knew that I had defied orders and had snuck him out of his incubator a few weeks earlier, with my husband standing guard (we weren’t even supposed to touch him), and I had nursed him that day. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t know that I would have argued with the doctor to let me try and nurse him. I made myself a pest until he relented and let me try. He nursed for half an hour and we signed release forms to get him out of the hospital against doctor’s orders, since he refused to believe me that he really nursed. We agreed to bring him back the next day to show he wasn’t losing weight and I brought him back with a nursing blister (which is a good thing)!
Fast forward more than a year and he wasn’t eating anything, only nursing. He gagged on water. I couldn’t get him to eat even really thinned out rice cereal. This also meant he wasn’t talking yet. The lips, tongue, etc. are involved in both eating and speaking and he had lots of motor issues caused by the brain damage. But when he was around eighteen months old, one day he just reached for my chocolate milk like he wanted it, so I let him try it, and he drank it. And that was that. He could eat and drink normally from that day. He never did have rice cereal or baby food. He just went straight to regular food from not being able to even swallow water. That also means he started talking and has never needed therapy for speaking – he has always been able to speak clearly.
He is still in a wheelchair, but we do believe any day he could rise up and walk. But we still see God’s miracles in his body. In December 2018 we saw a miracle after his doctor told us he needed surgery on his hips. The one hip had deteriorated to the point of needing surgery and the other one was close, so he told us to come back in a few months so that surgery could be done on both hips at once. He told us the condition only worsens. He said it was “impossible” to improve at all. I knew that wasn’t true because I knew My Father. When we came back, both hips had reversed. He agreed it seemed like too huge a change to be accounted for by a mistake in the taking or reading of the x-ray.
I stand by my conviction that all we need to do is know God. If we really knew who He was, we’d love and obey Him, we’d love others, we’d live loved – at rest, knowing He’s good and for us and is unchanging and will never fail us. Holding firm in knowing who He is I call abiding. I sometimes think of it as being rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17). You can picture a tree with deep roots. Sometimes it’s a peaceful idyllic scene with sun and cool breeze. Sometimes there’s a storm that’s snapping branches, but either way, you, the tree, stand firm in your place, roots secure in your knowledge of God’s love for you.