Wow! It has been almost a year since my last blog post. I said it would be an occasional blog, but THAT wasn't what I intended.I want to share with you the column I wrote that will be published in our local newpaper, the Cook County News-Herald, this coming Saturday, April 6, 2013.
“Seeing is believing,” the old adage says, and that may work for science and skeptics, but in the faith based life, the opposite is true. Believing is seeing.
She was an elderly Haitian lady whose eyes had succumbed to age and the rigors of living in poverty in the poorest nation in the world. She came to the medical clinic led by the hand of a family member. They met with the nurse, got a few vitamins, maybe an aspirin or two, then she came and sat down in the chair behind me. She came for prayer.
Everyone who came to the clinics we held in Haiti was guided from the nurses to the prayer teams. No condition, no need, no request was left in the hands of mere humans. We took every person and their need to the Lord. The elderly woman sat before the two women from our team. They could see the gray film over her eyes. She asked that they pray for her family. They asked if they could pray for her eyes. She said, “Yes.” They prayed for her family and her eyes.
After they prayed, they asked the woman if she could see any better. She was hesitant. “No,” she said, “well, maybe a little more light.”” The women asked for permission to pray again for her eyes. Again, she agreed. Again, they prayed for healing in Jesus’ name. Again, they asked if she could see.
The lady said, “Yes.” The women said, “Really? Are you sure? Can you find my hand (which they raised to various positions)?” The woman found their hands wherever they placed them. She named her family members as she pointed to them. Still, it was the prayer team’s turn to be a bit hesitant. ““Are you sure you can see?” they asked. The once blind woman reached out and grasped the prayer team member by the face and drew her close. “Jesus has healed me. I can see!” The woman who had been led by family members to the clinic led her family members home.
A little girl came to a class on prayer. She came with her mother. For two years her knee had been frozen from an accident. She could not bend her leg and her foot was turned outward in an unusual angle. Her mother helped her to the chair in front of me and asked through the interpreter that we might pray for her daughter’s knee.
We kneeled on the dirt floor of that church made from sticks and mud, gingerly placed our hands on the little girl’s knee and asked Jesus to make himself known in power and wholeness so that those who believed in his love might see it with their own eyes. I did not realize I was praying for myself.
We prayed, trusting that whatever was going to happen would be the will and way of God our Savior. I opened my eyes while we prayed, wondering what God might do. I saw the movement with my own eyes as the girl’s foot began to move back to a normal position. We continued to pray and I saw this little nine year old girl bend a leg and knee, on her own, that she had not been able to bend for two years. I watched her leave that church walking on her own rather than being carried.
And I saw with my own eyes the Lord Jesus deliver a teenager from spiritual bondage to an evil spirit. I saw them drag her rigid and catatonic into the church. I lifted her from the floor, a human board, and placed her in a chair. I watched and felt it as we laid hands on her and spoke the name of Jesus. The more insistent we spoke his precious, powerful name, the more the spirit convulsed the girl.
I saw with my own eyes the moment the spirit yielded after attempting twice to throw her against the concrete wall at the back of the church. I heard with my own ears as the name of Jesus came from her lips and tears of joy came from her eyes. I saw her sitting up at the end of the service tying ribbons in her hair. And I saw her father, who, the day before had been unable to walk, dancing circles around the church waving his crutch in the air.
I have always believed. As long as God has given me faith I have believed that work of God I saw in the gospels at the hands of Jesus was real, genuine, and trustworthy. In Haiti, I saw what I believed, and I believe what I saw. When God gives faith, we do not need to see in order to believe. We do not need to have been standing at the door of the tomb the morning Jesus rose from the dead in order to believe He is alive, but oh! how we love it when he proves it before our very eyes. There is no real faith when “seeing is believing.” But great is the faith and great is the joy when believing is seeing. So do not ask today to “see,” but to believe, and let “seeing” come on the heels of faith.