I’ve always mentioned that I thrive in drinking in God’s testimonies as much as I do with His Word. In my book Walking Along the Narrow Path, I used up a whole chapter discussing about testimonies. I am so blessed listening to testimonies after testimonies for hours each week in our church’s worship services. These are so precious that I created a blog to share just a fraction of everything I’ve heard. There are many amazing testimonies (we call them major testimonies) and just to have a taste of what I’m talking about, I invite you to visit Minister of Mercy.
Last Friday overnight service, I heard another extraordinary (aren’t they all?) testimony which reignited fresh new hope within me. That is what I want to share with you and by God’s grace, be able also to dissect the precursor of such wonderful blessings, the Lord’s answers to the prayers of faith.
Sis. Elizabeth C.’s only wish was to marry a man who is good and doesn’t have any vices. But she found out later that she did not only marry a man who was full of vices (cigarettes, liquor, women) but she also felt unwanted by her husband’s quite prominent family. And to add to her misery, she remained barren for more than a decade. She was “looked down to” by her in-laws. But she prayed to God to help her. This was before she came to know her Savior.
One day, her mother-in-law figured in a vehicular accident and sustained a broken hip. She needed to undergo surgery without delay, otherwise her badly fractured hip bone would rot and she would die. The problem was, she had heart disease. The doctors were in a serious dilemma: the mother-in-law may not be able to survive the grueling surgery. In either case, her life was at a great risk.
But the family gambled on surgery. Sis. Elizabeth was so afraid for her mother-in-law. But in that same hospital, she met a lady from Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry (these are the ones who visit hospitals to share the Gospel, give out invitations to the worship services, and pray for the sick). That Christian woman comforted Sis. Elizabeth and assured her that her mother-in-law would be prayed for by the beloved Hon. Pastor Wilde E. Almeda together with the prayer warriors and preachers in the Pastoral House. Sis. Elizabeth was greatly comforted knowing that there was a true servant of God who would be praying for her mother-in-law’s safety.
After surgery, the doctors were amazed at how the procedure went on smoothly without any problems. They couldn’t stop talking about it. But they said that they couldn’t assure a complete recovery for the patient and how long she would recover.
As Sis. Elizabeth had promised to the JMCIM sister, she and her husband attended worship service. She was so elated to have found that church. She believed she had found what she had been looking for. On that first day that she fell on her knees at the feet of Jesus, she asked three things in her prayer: first, her mother-in-law’s complete recovery; second, that she will bear a child; and third, that her husband will change.
Notice the arrangement of her prayer requests: she didn’t ask for herself first, but for her mother-in-law, a member of the family where she had always felt small. And this was even when she had been barren 11 years (I would think that should have come first). I think about Ruth, how she loved and clung to Naomi, her beloved mother-in-law (for Naomi had loved and accepted her completely). And God honored Ruth beyond her wildest dreams.
I pondered deeply on Sis. Elizabeth’s story and I arrived to this conclusion: the Lord honored her for her faith and humility (accepting Him without doubts and hesitation), and her love (she believed that this was the One who would accept and love her completely and make her happy, so she poured out her love to Him, for doesn’t the Lord marvel at the one who loves much? See Luke 7:47).
It is this:
…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal. 5:6 NIV)
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful… (Psalm 18:25)
Her mother-in-law recovered completely in less than a month. But because Sis. Elizabeth continued to be faithful to the Lord, attending services regularly and praying incessantly, she began to notice that her belly was growing. She went to see an ob-gyne but nothing could be seen through ultrasound. There was no baby growing inside. She went to different ob-gynes and clinics – the same result. They all concluded that her growing belly is caused by a myoma.
She sought counsel in church. The sister who brought her to the Lord told her to claim God’s answer to her prayer: she was going to have a baby. She was prayed over and laid hands on by the beloved pastor and was told that in nine months’ time, she was going to give birth to a healthy baby.
But because she didn’t have ultrasound result, her brother-in-law brought her to the Philippine General Hospital to be examined. The family’s cousin is a doctor there. She underwent ultrasound and other tests repeatedly, but they found nothing. NO.BABY.GROWING.IN.HER.WOMB. She was scorned by her in-laws and called her crazy for dreaming that she was pregnant. But Sis. Elizabeth held on to the words of the man of God.
We”ll pause and consider how God sometimes makes things so hard, complicated, and painful to test our faith: the words of the specialists against the words of the faithful. No baby was consistently seen, but doesn’t faith teach us to believe to something that is not seen anyway? At this juncture, I’m reminded by how the Bible defines faith. Read this:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1, emphasis added)
On a glorious December day before Christmas, Sis. Elizabeth gave birth to a bouncing baby boy! Halleluiah!
And it didn’t take long before her husband was completely changed by the Lord: a new man, born of the Spirit.
We read all four of the gospels and we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ operates through our faith. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).