My visit ever visit to hospital as a patient was in 1990 when the cause of the debilitating pain I was suffering was diagnosed as diverticular disease of the colon. The ten years that followed saw the symptoms controlled with drugs, although the pain never fully disappeared. There were increasing visits to the doctor because of infections, and occasional visits to hospital when intravenous antibiotics became the only way to tackle the regular painful infections of the diverticula inside me. After a stay in hospital late in 1999 a barium enema showed just how far the disease had spread. Surgery was recommended, and in March 2000 half of my colon was removed.
In early 2002 I was in trouble again. The pain had returned with a vengeance and I did not know what to do. I told nobody, not even my wife. I dreaded the thought of another long stay in hospital and the prospect of having the remainder of my colon removed. The one thing I do not understand is that in all of this sickness I never once asked God for healing, and nobody at church ever suggested that I should.
By July 2002 things were getting serious, but life was also very busy and stressful. I was due to attend an Alpha Training Conference at Coventry Cathedral with five other folk from church, directly after a business trip to Guernsey. Fog messed with my travel arrangements, and plans to arrive in Guernsey early and spend time chilling on the beach where I spent much of my childhood never came to fruition. After a busy three days I landed back in Birmingham late Wednesday evening and went straight to QE Hospital to visit my mother-in-law who had just had a brain tumour removed. The last thing I wanted to do on the Thursday and Friday was to attend a religious conference.
Something made me attend that conference. On the second afternoon Rev Sandy Millar, Vicar of HTB paused in his session to tell those present that God had revealed to him that about twenty of those present had just received the gift of healing. “Yeah right!” I thought. Sandy invited them to come to the front of the cathedral. Then he started calling out people with various ailments.
Suddenly I heard the word colon. At this point I found myself unable to control my body. My legs took me into the aisle where I stood in front of Rev Millar. “Is it you?” he said. “What a stupid question!” I thought, but I found myself unable to speak or move. After what seemed an eternity a man walked over and asked me what was wrong. I was able to speak again and told him. He placed his hands on me and prayed. And then he was gone, and I went back to my seat. I felt nothing. No thunderbolt. No warm fuzzy feeling. Nothing!
It was only during the journey home that I realised that all the pain had gone. Ten years have passed and I have never been back to hospital. There have been no further investigations to confirm that I was healed; all I can say that I continue to enjoy a pain free life. Do I believe that God heals today? Most certainly I do. What I don’t understand is that I never asked God for healing, and I never thought to ask Him. I know that not everyone who asks God for healing receives. But what happened to faith like a mustard seed?
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke8: 40-48 NIV)