Chapter 9 Print
The Light of God Shines brightly into my life
It is not very clear to me how I came to be dealing with the unpleasant side of human existence. The change in me has been for the better because I now stand on firmer ground in my faith and knowledge. I now understand what is in the world, and I do not superimpose on reality the image of what I want the world to be. I will describe myself. I'm ordinary, short; I have an international face and an English accent. I am a mother and grandmother. In fact I am very ordinary.
For the first 50 years of my life, I was a true product of my century. As far as I was concerned, science had the answer to everything; all we needed to do was wait for answers to be discovered, or developed. I believed that evil was the absence of good. I truly considered that the evil mentioned in the Bible was a medieval construct of reality, where the people of earlier generations made up a plausible story to satisfy their observations of sickness, and things going wrong. I surmised that they did not have all the answers that we had, or could look forward to knowing. I thought we had come a long way.
It is a fool who does not learn from history, and there I was relegating major parts of the Bible into fables instead of history. In my unknowing I felt that I knew everything there was to know about the Bible. Yet, from my own observation of humanity, I could see that it is the ignorant who think they know everything. As soon as we start to search we find that the unknown is too vast for one lifetime to take in.
I took another good look at the Bible. The Bible is a book about God's relationship with mankind. The people of Israel were chosen to serve God Almighty and be his people, and He would be their God. It is a book of love and compassion, by the God Almighty who forgives mankind for calamities in their relationship with Him. The Bible points to a multidimensional world where we are participants in our three dimensional existence. It is a book where the loving God pulls us out of chaos, if we only ask Him. In it Jesus shows us how to be free to live life in the promises of God. We read how Jesus saves us, (in the ancient tradition of the Jewish nation); by becoming the sacrificial lamb that cleanses the world from sin. In that cleansing he builds a pathway back to God for all mankind who want to walk righteously before God. The Bible is an awesome book and I knew this, but I went along with the current thinking of non-Christian and lapsed Christian opinions, in relegating unknown parts of it to be fables.
The Bible was written over a period of about a thousand years by various people who usually wrote down information many years after the event. I assume that the Bible cannot be the inerrant word of God, since most of it is written in retrospect; the stories bear the mark of time, and have probably been written as a guideline rather than a pathway. The path of Jesus follows a man who had the courage to show love and compassion and mercy to his fellow men. It is his physical walk in his spiritual life that created a life of love, mercy, and compassion on all humanity, which is the path we follow. The Old Testament showed Jesus glimpses of God, the same way that today it shows us glimpses of the relationship God has had with His people, and will continue to have with all the people who come to know Him as their God.
Much of my experience of closeness to God was established during my childhood. I had near death experiences, and at a young age, I became very aware of my spiritual life. Over the years I have had dreams which have strengthened my spiritual life. However, I love life, and I was so happy to be alive and in this world that, as I raced to enjoy life, my spiritual life was hidden within me. The ethics I lived by were formed by my childhood study of the Bible, and I did consider that any personal break in my ethical code was a sully (blot) on my soul. I follow the ten commandments to the best of my ability.
I was an ordinary Anglican Christian. I did a lot of charity work, mostly in the Church and its social programmes. I looked after children, my own and foster children. And I did my share of baking cakes and driving kids. So what happened to me?
When I was nearly 13 years old I was confirmed and the Holy Spirit entered me. (see chapter 6) It was amazing and I spoke in tongues and found that I simply had to lay my hands on people and say a prayer, and their pain would go away. However I was not ready to use these gifts of God's healing power, and I was in danger of being sent to a mental asylum, so the healing gift of faith in God's desire to heal everybody went into hiding in my life. I admit I brought out the gift of faith in God's healing when my children were ill, it was natural to touch my children and pray, but I did not pray for my own body to be healed.
I did not understand the healing gift of God, and being human and humanly ego centric, I accepted the illness into myself then healed myself. At one stage a girl came to visit us who had stomach cancer; and I joined my husband as he did yoga exercises with her, I felt compassion for her. When she left I believe she was cured but I felt a growth in my stomach. I prayed for it to go and it went. This was a warning to me to be careful of the people who were sick. I knew I was getting the healing ministry wrong, but I did not know where I was going wrong. I needed to protect myself for the sake of my children as well as for my own sake, but I had not got a clue about what was going on; as I have said, I really thought that evil was the absence of good and it had no power of its own.
I resumed studying the Bible in my late thirties. I read it on my own, but I had learnt by heart a lot of bible verses as a child, and have had years of sermons in Church services that were based on the minister's studies of the Bible; much of the Bible was already familiar to me. It was when I decided to study the Old Testament to find out where Jesus got his philosophy in life from, that the Bible opened up to reveal the power of God's love. Jesus was thirty years old before God openly proclaimed him as His Son, and Jesus must have built up a very strong relationship with God before that.
For a while my own health became a concern to my friends and they sent me to Billy Smith's healing rally that was taking place in a nearby town. My body was in constant pain. My breathing was difficult, and I had suffered for a few years with chronic fatigue, (although it had been greatly alleviated by boosting my immune system with vitamins and minerals, and eating organic vegetables and drinking very clean water, and to be honest I usually prayed for those items only.)
When Billy Smith asked for people with back-ache to come to the front for healing, I concentrated on my back and found that I was without any pain, even though I normally had constant pain. Billy kept on calling people to the front and hundreds went to be healed. He mostly worked on the leg length and scoliosis of the spine. Eventually, he asked for people who have had back-ache in the last few weeks to come to the front, so I went to join the line up. I was one of the last ones to join the line.
I had completely forgotten that I had one leg shorter than the other, but when I sat down on the chair in front of Billy and held out my legs, the difference in leg length became obvious. The audience could see it. Billy first asked me if I believe in Jesus Christ as my Saviour and I answered yes. Then he began the prayer for my leg to grow. Immediately the leg grew in the knee to the ankle section. It took seconds; the bone and all the muscles lengthened. Billy finished his prayer and turned to the audience saying "Did you see that! I had hardly begun to pray and the leg grew like it was waiting to happen."
Over time, once my leg had grown, the pains in my back diminished to nothing because my muscles were not being pulled out of shape by the crooked way I held my body. I also realized that to finally get rid of chronic fatigue I needed to pray it out. I did. From then onwards, I did not have to worry about the chronic fatigue returning.
For reasons, cited in chapter 6, I had not done healing by laying on of hands, or prayed for anyone outside of my immediate family for thirty-five years. But when I walked out of the Billy Smith meeting, there was a man standing there with a beautiful baby in his arms. The baby was asleep and she looked so beautiful; I could see part of her face but not her mouth and her right ear, which was held against her father's shoulder. I stood looking at the baby and started to exclaim over and over again, that. "She is so perfect, so absolutely perfect." As I gazed at the sleeping child, I could not help saying it. I had been repeating this for quite a while when the father, who seemed to spend his time trying to ignore me, eventually pulled the blankets down so that I could see her mouth and right ear. She had a thick flap of skin where her right ear should have been, and her mouth was stretched up towards it on that side. I asked if Billy had prayed over her and the father said he had; then he put the blanket back and I still stayed there and repeated how absolutely perfect she was, and the father got back to studiously ignoring me. I was not saying the words to him I was exclaiming the words to the world. After a while, the mother and grandmother came over and looked at the baby and then at me. The father said, "I know I have been watching it," and the grandmother took the mother away again. After a while the mother came back and I asked to see the baby's lips, her beautiful rosebud lips. And that was what they were. The deformity had gone completely from around the mouth, and the baby's lips were beautiful and rosebud formed. I lovingly said, "How can anyone not love those lips?" and the mother earnestly said, "I do love her lips. I love her in every way." Again, I gazed at the baby and repeated how beautiful and perfect she is. Then a voice said, in my head, "Put your hand at the right of her face." (That would mean over the skin growth that was where her ear should have been.) To my shame I thought, "What will happen, what if the skin comes away in my hand?" I said to God that I can't do that, and went on saying how perfect she is. Then the voice said, "Now, will you put your hand on the right of her face," and this time I was used to saying no, so I refused God. I went on saying how perfect the baby is and then, since most people had left, I assured the parents that because Billy Smith had prayed for her, the skin would come away from her ear and she would have a perfect ear. And that is what happened. A year later my friend saw the child and said she is the most beautiful child she has ever seen.
On my part, I had a view of myself that was full of shame and remorse. I had refused God. (Am I ever lucky that God does not hold a grudge) I also felt very bad that I had refused God's immediate help to a baby, and I prayed almost constantly for the baby for weeks. I am still ashamed of my weakness in not helping the baby when God asked me to, but I cannot go back in time; I can only move forward and get braver as I go.
At the beginning I thought that evil was the absence of good, but in fact good reveals itself in the absence of evil. I had thought of good as bringing light into a dark situation, rather like the stars shining at night. I had it the wrong way around. The Light of God is in the world already, and evil blocks it wherever Satan and his hoards and allies can get a foothold in mankind and society. Move evil out of a situation and God is there. Just as light brightens everywhere, even the dark corners, so God is everywhere and active, lighting all the world with His love and faith in our innate goodness. However a few years ago I did not believe evil existed in any form that was organised and directed specifically at mankind. I had a lot to learn about how to combat evil in people and in the world.
Copyright © Cheryl Shepherd - Canada