How on earth did THAT happen?

The entire auditorium with 4,000 people including myself and Jane, gazed in wonder at Elijah, a beaming 4-year-old boy who was standing on a chair with his mum beside him. What an amazing night they’d just had, as – for the first time in his life – he’d heard the whispers of his siblings as they lay on their camp beds. Up until then, his hearing had been so restricted that he couldn’t even hear his mum calling. The whole venue erupted in rapturous applause.

Ear diagram, published by the Mayo clinic

What had happened? The children’s leaders at New Wine (and probably some children as well) had laid hands on him. Quite simply they’d done as Jesus did, commanding his ears to function in His name.

And this young man wasn’t alone; the previous evening, a completely deaf adult was able to hear for the first time in their life. It was a good week for ears!

-o-O-o-

We love hearing stories of God’s amazing goodness to people. It raises our own expectations and our confidence to share what we believe. But we didn’t go to New Wine to be entertained. We came to learn, because we want a slice of the action here back home. Speaker after speaker featured stories of remarkable healings, both physical and emotional, of pain, hopelessness and despair turned into wellbeing, hope and joy. The common factor was that people of faith had learnt to hear God speaking to them.

“How d’you do that?” we asked. And there isn’t a definite formula! Each of us is different, and we have to learn to communicate with God individually. The bible provides examples galore which it’s important for us to study, and there are general guidelines. But here’s an example that we saw in a video about Mark and Jeanette, a respectable-looking middle-aged couple from East Sussex. Mark, the church treasurer, isn’t someone given to the weird and wonderful.

For some time, Jeanette had suffered from metatarsalgia in one of her feet which made walking extremely painful, as if she had a pebble in her shoe under the ball of her foot. They’d attended their church’s Lent courses which were about healing, but despite receiving prayer, nothing had happened. One night, Mark awoke from a bad dream. He asked God to instead give him a good dream. He fell asleep, and saw himself pouring holy water over Jeanette’s foot, which was healed; it was as if the whole scene was bathed in love, glory and rejoicing.

The following morning, Mark took a jug of water and did exactly what he’d done in the dream. The effect was immediate, and two days later, Jeanette’s foot was completely restored. Wow!

-o-O-o-

 So, what’s so special about these people and churches who see God move in such a powerful way? What marked out the speakers was the way they were ‘sold out’ to putting Jesus first in their lives, wanting to see Him acting today just like in the book of Acts.

Johnny, a young pastor from Germany, told us how he and his wife Jana had travelled the ‘hard miles’ of living and working in a challenging community with teenage drug gangs, seeing little fruit. People warmed to their servant-hearted, sacrificial ministry but it was when they, or the members of their newly formed church, heard God speaking into people’s lives that breakthrough finally came.

Most of the speakers testified that they’d needed to take risks which might make them look foolish. During the pandemic, Johnny’s church met outdoors. A lady came to the Sunday service with a letter that she’d felt compelled to write to ‘Julia’ – only she didn’t know anyone by that name! Would you believe it – a wayward young woman called Julia just happened to turn up ‘out of the blue’. Johnny and Jana had known her as a difficult teenager, before she disappeared onto the drug scene. Julia opened the letter and read about God’s love for her. She was so moved that she came to faith and has embraced the process of putting her life back together.

-o-O-o-

Jesus said to Nicodemus,

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ (John 3 vs 8).

 Each of the speakers gave examples of how the Holy Spirit had worked in random, unexpected ways, not just for themselves but for their church members.

We have returned home with much to digest, much to share, and we look forward to some new adventures!

3 thoughts on “How on earth did THAT happen?

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