Mr. Berg had left the house to be gone for several hours. The trained nurse who had been on the case had quit unexpectedly a few days before, saying it was utterly ridiculous to expect the Lord to work a miracle in these days and that she was not going to have a part in any such foolishness. There are some folks who are always so determined to bury you, but who are not willing to give God a chance to keep you alive. A dear Hawaiian woman, who now had to be both nurse and housekeeper, often came to my door to sweetly inquire if I needed anything, but for the most part I was left alone with the Lord. A bell was suspended in such a manner that I had but to lift my hand and I could tinkle it, calling for help. I was glad to be alone—I wanted to think it all over. I would never be satisfied until I knew why the Lord had not answered Mr. Berg’s prayer. There was no bitterness in my heart, but there was a deep hurt. since the wonderful change had come into my heart and I had grown to know the Lord, I had many seasons of sweet communion with Him. These seasons were just as real and precious as talking to one’s dearest loved one face to face. I positively knew that the Lord heard me when I prayed. No earthly conversation had ever been more natural—more genuinely real than our little talks together, and so I determined to talk this matter over with Him, and ascertain just where the trouble was. So I prayed thus: “Dear Lord, we obeyed Your Word to the very letter; we claimed Your promises and believed them; my husband prayed the prayer of faith and he really expected me to be healed, but not a single thing has happened; I am just as ill as ever, if not worse. Now dear Lord, tell me just what is the matter; tell me where the trouble lies. I am not only concerned about myself, but Your reputation is at stake. Five of the different churches had prayer meetings for me when I was prayed for and You know about that ministerial meeting, also; and here are these other preachers that have prayed for me—Oh, Lord, it will hurt Your cause; people will lose faith. Please talk to me as You have before, and I will try so hard to understand. Amen.” (It is strange how concerned we get about God’s reputation. I have found since then, however, that He is perfectly able to take care of His own reputation.) I committed the matter definitely to the Lord and felt in my heart that He would not leave me in the dark, but would answer my prayer and let me know in some way why He had not healed me.
I was resting quietly, almost sleeping, when suddenly there came to me a verse of Scripture in the most peculiar and unexpected way; I say peculiar because it was in an entirely different manner than any Scripture had ever come to me before; it was not like a verse; it was a voice, and it did not seem to speak to my mind at all, but from within my heart. God’s Word tells of the “still small voice” that speaks within us and I surely heard that voice. It was only a verse of Scripture and I had heard it for years, but it instantly became a new verse as if I had never heard it before, I have, since that time, had very consecrated Christians tell me that they have had Scripture illumined for them in the same manner; Scripture verses which had never particularly appealed to them, would, after seasons of prayer, open like a book to their understanding, and be ingrained into their consciousness as if written in lines of fire, making the message as personal to them as if it had come directly to the individual from the Throne of God. How this verse came to me so illumined, poignant, and personal, is one of the hardest things of my experience to explain. As I look back over those days of God’s dealings with me, there is still the lingering, deep impression that the way in which that verse came was just as miraculous, as that moment when I was raised instantly from that bed. As I have said, it was not so much a verse as a voice, and clearly, tenderly, but authoritatively it spoke to my heart these words: “Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). The words “Believe that ye receive” stood out above the rest, as if the verse contained only that one thought, “believe that ye receive.” Instantly it gripped me; I saw exactly what the Lord wanted me to see. I had not believed that I had received! Surely I had positively believed that He had heard our prayer, that He was concerned about my suffering, and that it was His Will to give me the desire of my heart, but I certainly had not believed that I had received it. There came to my heart a little rebellion, and I answered the Lord in a really perplexed spirit: “Why, Lord, I can’t believe that You’re asking me to do this; that a great loving Father like You would ask a poor creature like I am, to believe that I have received something I haven’t the least evidence of at all. You are omnipotent and omniscient, but I am only a particle of dust. How can You expect me to believe that You have given me something that I have received it, when not a single one of my five senses testify to it, and positively know there is not the least change in my condition? This is asking too much; I cannot understand it.” Then in the very same manner in which the first verse had been spoken to my heart, came these passages of Scripture. I cannot remember having committed these verses to memory, for I only had a faint recollection of them, but now they came just as clearly as if I had been reading them from His Word: “Even God who quickeneth the dead and calleth those things which be not as though they were,” Abraham “being not weak in faith, considered not his own body now as good as dead,” “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:17, 19, 20). Over and over I repeated this thought, and I knew exactly what the Lord was striving to reveal to me—that Abraham, though his body was as good as dead, looked not at his body but at the promises of God, and so sure was he that God would keep His Word, that he did not stagger through unbelief, but thanked the Lord, for he knew He was able to perform that which He had promised. Like a flash I saw it all. I was looking at my body as good as dead; looking at my dying condition, the sickness, suffering, symptoms, and taking them all into account, when the Lord wanted me to count only on His Word. Now I saw plainly that the Lord expected me to believe Him, whether I saw a particle of change in my condition or not; He expected me to walk by faith and not by sight; to believe that what He said was true, just because He said it, even if there was not a particle of evidence in sight—He said so and that was enough. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” It came like a mighty revelation, and my heart cried aloud as I grasped exactly what He was saying to me and the lesson He wanted me to learn. “Oh, Lord, I see; I understand; You want me to believe just because You said so, not because I feel it or see it. I do believe Your Word, just because it is Your Word; I believe it above everything else; it cannot fail. I do believe, Lord, that the very hour they prayed for me—at that very minute You gave me exactly what I asked for, but I did not receive it, for I was expecting to receive it some time in the future. Now I see, Your Word says that ‘when ye pray believe that ye receive it,’ but I didn’t receive it when we prayed. I just waited, hoping You would give it to me at some future time, when it would suit Your good pleasure. But now I know I did receive it back there, when they prayed, but I did not believe it because I did not see any evidence. Now, Lord, that I understand, I am willing to trust just Thy Word alone. Thank you, dear Lord, for revealing it to me, and forgive me my lack of faith.”
At that moment there was perfect wonderment in my heart that I could have been so blind as to have wanted some evidence before I believed—which is really wanting to walk by sight and not by faith; wonderment that I did not see before that it was simply so because God had said so and that was enough. My heart leaped with joy and there was born something in my soul then, which has never changed one fraction from that day to this—an abiding, unshakable confidence in the Word of God. Again and again I whispered aloud: “It is the Word of God; it cannot fail. It is God’s Word; He cannot lie.” I seemed to see this marvelous Word of God marching down the centuries of time, indestructible, though so often assailed; torn by critics and burned by enemies, yet standing the test of time and persecution, still unchanged—indestructible, infallible, inexhaustible, wonderful Word of God. What a joy came into my heart—an ecstasy unspeakable, for I was healed, so far as God was concerned—and it had to be so, because He said so. Oh, it was unmistakable; I could not, would not, doubt His Word. He said, “Believe that ye receive it and ye shall have it,” and I did that very thing—I believed that I had received it and I did have it! Nothing could make me believe otherwise! At that moment it did not strike me strange at all that I could neither move nor see; that I was utterly helpless, dying, yet I was rejoicing that the Lord had restored my life and health and made me every whit whole. Then the thought came to me according to the passage in Romans: “Abraham gave glory to God, knowing that He was able to perform that which He had promised.” I would do likewise. This seemed to be, according to the Scripture, the next thing that I ought to do—just simply praise God for His wonderful answer to prayer, and the marvelous gift He had given me. So I whispered: “Glory to God; glory to God.” Over and over again I repeated this phrase. This is what Abraham had done. The familiar phrase, “Praise the Lord,” never entered my mind. If you received a telegram saying that you had fallen heir to a vast fortune, which would solve your many problems and the needs of your loved ones, you would hold that telegram to your heart and rejoice beyond words. Well, I had received such a telegram, and I held those promises of Scripture to my heart and rejoiced with a “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Then—wonder of wonders! I suddenly noticed that both arms were lifted! That arm that had been helpless was really raised, praising the Lord; raised to its full length up in the air! I looked at it as you would look at some strange thing; felt it with the other hand; put it up and then down, back and forth. It was just as good as the other arm! And I could see perfectly! The dimness had vanished from my eyes! I was turning my head from side to side without thinking! I also moved on the bed without any one to help me! I was laughing and crying at the same time—weeping with joy! Quickly I turned and rang the little bell that hung by my right hand, and Mary answered immediately. She stopped in the door and stared as if she could not believe her eyes. “Quick Mary,” I said, “get some pillows and prop me up. I am going to sit up right now. Please hurry.” I do not know why I did not make the effort to rise from the bed that moment and walk, as I did a few minutes afterwards, unless it was because of a lesson the Lord wanted to teach me, which I tell you of later in the story. The dear woman, not understanding at that minute, frightened and anxious propped me up on the pillows and then went to the phone and called the doctor.
We had two physicians on the case; one an osteopath; the other a regular materia Medica, Mr. Berg had felt impressed to go to both of them and tell them frankly just what he was expecting the Lord to do for me. The osteopath and his wife listened to what he had to say earnestly and signified their faith that nothing was impossible with God. The regular physician, however, was quite skeptical about the matter and informed Mr. Berg quite definitely that there was not the least hopes for my life, and he trusted we would not do anything foolish. And now he was talking over the phone; “You say that she wants to get up and walk; that she is sitting up in bed now? Well, I am on an obstetrical case and cannot come now. Just keep her quiet and I will be there later.” Mary came back into the room, her face tense, and made a move as if to put me back down on the bed. I said to her: “Mary, God is working in this room, and you mustn’t get in His way. You may as well get on the track in front of a fast-moving express train as to get in the Lord’s way, when He is working as definitely as this.” “But it is doubtless the ‘death walk,’” *(see note below) she answered, “and I must keep you quiet, the doctor said.”
* NOTE: “The death walk” is an expression used by some people to designate that peculiar influx of strength that sometimes comes to a dying person. People have been known to sing, pray, give parting messages to loved ones, etc., when a few hours before, they had been unable to speak above a whisper; even unconscious.
But when she saw how desperately in earnest I was and that the Lord was really working in that room, she went out and closed the door, but I could hear her just outside, and I believe that she was crying. My discussion with Mary had gotten my eyes off the Lord for a while, and something of that fear that was in her heart and the doctor’s, touched mine for an instant. I have not space to tell of the terrific test of faith through which I passed for a few minutes. Peter said: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). Now after these many years I can understand why He let me pass through that trial of faith, but then it was very severe and I did not understand. One thing I did understand and that was that God’s Word was true and it could not fail, and with each testing I would say: “It is God’s Word; it cannot fail. It is the living Word of God and I need not fear.” When the fire of testing was at a white heat, so severe that I could hardly stand it, doubts and fears assailed me as if the legions of hell had broken loose and determined to tear down the testimony of God’s Word. Some months before, I had laughed at a friend’s conception of the devil as a real person, a leader of the forces of darkness, but at that moment I was convinced that those forces were determined I should not receive the blessing I sought. I knew that my fight was “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,” but there was in my heart such a deep settled confidence in the veracity of God’s Word that nothing in the world could shake it. To every temptation, every test, every fear, my heart answered: “It is God’s Word; it cannot fail.” And when the thought came to me at last, as though from the very pit of hell, (the testing had become so severe), “Just how long are you going to believe God’s Word without seeing any evidence?” I answered in substance: “It is the Word of God and I will believe it—even though I never see any evidence. I will believe it simply because God said so, and that’s enough.” I could not help but think of that verse of Scripture where Jesus said to Peter: “Satan hath asked that he might sift thee, but I have prayed that thy faith will not fail thee.” and at that very moment I was healed! At that very moment the Lord let me see that for which I had been believing. The paralysis had gone from my body! I felt cool and rested and sat upright in the bed.
The door opened and in walked Mr. Berg He knew at once what had happened and began to thank the Lord, but I interrupted: “Please, get a kimono, some slippers—some clothes from somewhere—I am going to walk.” I slipped over the side of the bed and touched my feet to the floor, standing upright, and without a particle of help began to walk the floor, No one touched me; no one needed to, for I had touched Him. I walked into the other room and leaned over the bed and kissed my dear little son whom I had been unable to care for, and my mind went back to that Christmas day when that awful accident had torn us apart and broken my heart. It all passed before my mind in swift review, and I said in my heart: “I can understand it all now; just why it happened. God had to break my stubborn will; He had to crush me in order to create my life anew; He had to cripple me in order to crown me with His love and blessings.” I walked that floor, it seemed, that happiest woman in the world. The burden of sickness, sorrow, and sin had all been lifted from my life! I had not only been born again spiritually, but I felt as if I had been made again physically. As the prophet of old says: “The vessel was marred in the hands of the potter, but he made it again.” As I turned to walk back into the other room where my husband was standing watching me, there came to me these few lines of a poem, which I had heard somewhere, but was unable to recall in full:
In vain I long for music,
That will be mine nevermore.
Just the sound of footsteps,
My own footsteps on the floor.
Dream I of the days now vanished,
When my lips first learned to talk,
Of a mother’s love, that fondly
Taught a little child to walk.
In vain I long for music,
That will be mine nevermore.
Just the sound of footsteps,
My own footsteps on the floor.
But I did hear that music; I was walking; I heard “my own footsteps on the floor.” Of course I kept my heart lifted to the Lord every moment, for I felt that like Peter of old, if I took my eyes off Him for one moment the waves would engulf me. So many loved ones asked me at the time: “Just how did you feel when that happened? Tell us exactly how you felt.” There was nothing really unusual about the way I felt physically; I simply felt happy and normal, but there was one thing that stood out in my consciousness above everything else—and that was the “nearness” I felt to the Lord. That I cannot describe—I simply felt His presence so real, so near, that I would not have been the least surprised had I seen Him with my natural eyes.
The supper bell rang and I said to Mr. Berg: “I’m hungry. What can I have to eat?” And smiling at my earnestness he answered, “Well, I should think that you could eat anything a normal woman could.” “All right,” I said, “I am going to eat a real supper, because I am sick of just ‘nourishment’“; for at that moment Mary brought into the room my glassful of liquid “nourishment” and the glass tube, through which I drank it. I looked at it for a moment, in my heart saying good-bye to it, and said aloud: “There’s a lot of difference between real ‘eats’ and ‘nourishment.’“ And what do you suppose they had for supper?—fried hamburger, fried sauerkraut, and potatoes fried in pork grease! I ate heartily, and every bite that was set before me, and did not feel the least ill effects as a result. That night I slept all night on my left side—slept like a child. Mr. Berg said he came to my bed a number of times in the night, only to go away praising the Lord more intensely each time, as he saw me sleeping restfully and quietly on my side for the first time in years.