It’s hard to explain exactly what happened to my wife and I over the last week or so – so to stay true to the story I’ll keep things as factual as possible without embellishing it.
Last weekend my wife and I were at our local vege market doing our usual weekly vege shop. As we were leaving the market I passed a man begging for money sitting on the concrete by one of the market exits. I was happy to pass the man sitting on the ground – turns out my wife wasn’t.
As my wife, Jen, sat next to the man and listened to his story, I sat in the car (which was parked close by where I could see them talking) waiting for her to finish her conversation thinking, ‘My wife is awesome. I married up’.
Jen then got up from the ground beside the man, whose name was Anthony, and came toward the car – I thought we were on our way for the rest of our day’s errands – I was wrong.
‘Hunny I think we should pray for that guy’, she said. Confidently I agreed and opened my car door without delay to go and join Anthony sitting on the ground – but my heart had fear in it, fear of failure (what if the prayer doesn’t work?) and fear of people (what if someone thinks I’m weird?). And my mind was sceptical.
So I knelt down next to Anthony and started some light conversation with him before getting into what physical ailments he had. Anthony’s face was scarred – the remnants of past fights he’d been involved in and one of the most telling signs of this was he had lost sight in one of his eyes. It lacked the ability to focus, was partially closed and looked dysfunctional.
I asked Anthony if Jen and I could pray for his eye which he willingly agreed to briefly sharing with me his family had prayed for him before. So Jen and I prayed for him.
I put my hand on his eye, Jen put her hand on his shoulder and we prayed for him. It wasn’t a long prayer, it wasn’t a super spiritual one either – we just prayed that his blindness would be gone and that God would restore full sight into his eye.
Once I’d finished praying (we’re talking like a 30 second prayer) we asked Anthony if there was improvement in his eye and he said that things were starting to become clearer in that eye, but there was no full recovery. So we briefly prayed for him again. Again after asking him how it felt he said again he felt like his eye was clearing.
On that I told him I felt like his eye would be healed by the end of the day – and these weren’t empty words, I truly felt like something was happening in Anthony and the healing happening within him wasn’t done. After that we said our goodbyes and moved on.
Once at the car, Jen and I put an appeal out on Facebook inviting others to pray with us for Anthony in the belief that God was doing something here but we were unsure what. People generally responded well indicating they were praying from wherever they were in the world for this guy, at our local vege market in little old New Zealand.
Fast forward a week…
I am returning from some work I was doing further north in New Zealand when I get a call from Jen. She is beyond super excited on the other end of the phone. What she is about to share with me is something I’ll never forget…
The guy we had prayed for, Anthony – his eye was healed.
She had bumped into him that morning and she said his eye looked unbelievably better – clearer, brighter, with the ability to focus. He told her that he could see out of it again – that it had been 5 years since he’d seen out of it last. Our brief phone conversation was filled with excitement, awe and disbelief. It’s fair to say the rest of that day was one of thankfulness – and hope.
The above story is amazing on so many fronts. It’s amazing that Anthony’s eye got healed (and I believe is still improving as I write this post). It’s amazing that God involved two everyday people like Jen and I in what he wanted to do in Anthony.
But above all this, to me, what makes this story amazing is that God used this prayer, Jen and I, the prayers of our friends and family and the healed eye to show Anthony that He loved him. Regardless of my unbelief, regardless of my fear of people, my fear of failure that the prayer may not work. God’s love for this guy wasn’t contained by my lack of faith or sin or knowledge about how this sort of stuff should work – because His love can’t be contained. God’s love trumps our fear – and this is something we all need to remember next time we have a sense to help someone else in need.
To end this post I want people to understand Jen and I are not the heroes in this story – God is. Love is.
I want to sign off this post with the prayer we prayed for Anthony’s eye:
God, thank you that you love Anthony. I pray that blindness would go – and that full sight be restored into Anthony’s eye. In Jesus name. Amen.
God – thank you for answering our prayer.
photo credit: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7083/7192839330_06a7ea2d38_z.jpg