My story today is old, but it’s one of my favorites, so I want to tell it. Tomorrow I’m going to ask the wife to remind me of some more recent ones. There’s so many that they don’t stand out as awe-inspiring any more. It’s funny, I’ve been in arguments with atheists (and even one Christian!) on the internet about answers to prayer, and as my stories multiplied they started suggesting I was lying. At the start, they told me that the prayers of Christians just evaporate and are pretty much never answered in any meaningful way. I don’t think they were used to a Christian giving them the kind of stories I was giving them, and so many.
This story happened in 1986. Sorry it’s so old, but it did happen to me, and it was pretty amazing. I was in Germany, in the military, and I got a letter from my sister asking for prayer for my nephew, her son, Joseph. He had gotten an infection in his eye, and the doctors couldn’t stop it and didn’t know what it was. It had spread slowly over a year and a half, and the Air Force (she was military, too) had moved her to Andrews AFB so she could be near Bethesda hospital for treatment. By the time she wrote me, my nephew was blind in one eye and had 50% sight in the other.
When I got the letter, I rushed over to a couple’s house (Dan & Melcy Kanitz–Dan, if you find this post, I’d love to find you!) to pray. We prayed, and it was one of those times we could feel the Lord’s presence powerfully. I knew our prayers were being answered. I just had the nagging feeling that we weren’t quite done. We prayed on for quite a while, but I couldn’t get that feeling to go away.
Two weeks later–which means my sister sent the letter a week after we prayed, since mail took a week to Germany at that time–my sister sent me a letter saying that the infection had receded tremendously and that my nephew had all his sight in both eyes. The doctors said he just had a small infection left in one eye, and they believed they’d be able to treat it.
My sister’s letter had held out no hope of finding a cure for my nephew’s infection. A week after we prayed, he was almost entirely cured. I have always believed God left that nagging “not quite done” feeling so that when the infection receded “not quite” all theÂ way, we’d be all the more certain it was prayer and not coincidental timing that had resulted in my nephew’s healing.
The atheists and agnostics on that internet message board I mentioned had no problem writing this event off to coincidence. Of course, once I started adding the myriad other answers to prayer over the twenty years since, coincidence started sounding more and more ridiculous as an explanation. It didn’t matter how much they said “you can only know anything for certain if you conduct a double-blind study.” Yeah, right.
I don’t believe God wants to prove anything to the world by answers to prayer. He wants to prove his power to the world by filling us with an other-worldly love and righteousness, and binding us together in the unity that only a heavenly family can have (Jn. 17:20-23 & 13:34-35). However, it is good for us to be encouraged and our faith built, especially in the midst of a country as unbelieving in the supernatural as America is. That unbelief limits and offends God, who created everything. Let us remind one another of his deeds and proclaim his glory!
Remember, you can add your prayer stories to this series by emailing me.