a gorgeous North Dakota day. The air around my native Jamestown
had just a hint of chill in it. It was one of those great-to-be-alive
times, with the smell of smoke in the air from a neighbor burning
leaves, and children playing together. In our backyard, I spied
my mother hanging wash out to dry.
5 years old, the youngest of five brothers. I idolized my brothers
and was always eager to please, so it wasn’t unusual, when
my oldest brother threw a boomerang out in the street, that I
ran excitedly out to pick it up. We were laughing and yelling
at each other, so I didn’t hear the old black Chevy bearing
down on me as I darted out in the street. As I bent down, the
car hit me with such impact that my clothes caught on the front
bumper pushing me half a block down the street.
heard me screaming. She ran out in the street and yelled, “Stop!
Stop the car!” The teenage driver stopped the car, bewildered.
He had obviously been distracted by all the kids playing near
the street and hadn’t seen me jump in front of him.
went to the front of the car and picked me up, an almost lifeless
form. My left ear was hanging by a thin strand of skin. Like a
parade of mourners, my brothers followed her into the kitchen,
where Mother laid me on the table.
was away preaching. There was nothing like 911 then. Mom had to
handle the situation alone. I wasn’t really aware of what
happened, but I’m told that she took my bloody ear, put
it back where it should go, then wrapped a big bandage around
it. She put more bandages on my other wounds, then stopped and
prayed. “God, I asked for this boy. You gave him to me.
I called him Samuel, the prophet. I gave him to You. Now I ask
You to heal him.”
1944. Mother had no transportation, so she left my oldest brother
in charge of the family, picked me up and carried me almost a
mile to the doctor’s clinic.
arrived, the doctor said to the nurse, “Come, take off the
bandages.” The nurse unwrapped the bandages, and the doctor
began the process of examining me. Finally, he looked at my mother
and exclaimed, “Mrs. Johnson, there’s nothing I can
do. The healing has already begun.” Healed by the power
I know the power of strong faith in Jesus Christ. But I also know
that life deals an assortment of hurts to everyone — even
to people who grew up in a household of faith. I have been hit
by a car, faced the guns and threats of Communist guerrillas in
Portugal, endured life-threatening hepatitis in a remote area
of the globe and been diagnosed with cancer. I believe deeply
in God. I know firsthand that life is often difficult and sometimes
filled with pain. That’s why it is so important to understand
a vital biblical principle: You can plan your own deliverance.
Luke records an incident that makes this clear:
it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him,
for they were all waiting for Him. And behold, there came a man
named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell
down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house,
for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she
as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having a
flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood
on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind
and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow
of blood stopped.
Jesus said, ‘Who touched Me?’ When all denied it,
Peter and those with him said, ‘Master, the multitudes throng
You and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’
But Jesus said, ‘Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power
going out from Me.’
when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling;
and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence
of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was
He said to her, ‘Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith
has made you well. Go in peace’” (Luke 8:40-48, NKJV).
were waiting for Christ. Something always happens when people
wait for Him. I’ve been in services where people stop everything
else and just begin waiting and expecting Jesus. I feel sorry
for churches that feel like praise and worship is just an exercise,
a preliminary. It is an integral part of ushering in the presence
of the Lord. I don’t understand it, but I know it works.
happen in the presence of Jesus. Can you imagine the time when
He was on the hillside teaching, and lunchtime came? Someone asked,
“What are we going to do to feed all these people?”
Someone else probably suggested that they be sent home, since
the only food around was a boy’s lunch. Jesus took the lunch,
blessed it, broke it and fed the thousands.
the excitement among the people in the procession on the way to
Jairus’ house. You never knew what was going to happen next.