When circumstances are the most challenging, a fresh encounter with God's Spirit can be the prelude to a miracle.
In 1973 I was working as the head nurse of an orthopedic unit at Chicago General Hospital. It had been 10 years since I had left my Christian home in Ontario, Canada, to enroll in Bible school after finishing nurses training.
My purpose had been to become a missionary nurse. But after studying for more than a year, I decided to drop the word "missionary" from my goal.
Feeling that I had disappointed my family, I did not return to Canada. Instead, I put my faith "on hold" and pursued my nursing career in Chicago. Nursing became my life, and I enjoyed my work immensely.
Little did I know that my life was about to drastically change.
That year, in a car accident, I sustained a severe neck injury that left me in terrible pain. Doctors performed neck surgery, but a few months later I was faced with the prospect of another surgical procedure to fuse more of my neck.
I was terrified. At the same time, I felt that I deserved to be in this predicament, because I had forsaken my family and the Lord.
That's when a good Christian friend challenged me to ask God to show Himself to me and to prove that He still loved me. I was desperate, so I took the challenge and prayed.
Amazingly, when the doctors checked me the next day, my symptoms were gone. The surgery, they said, was no longer necessary!
I left the hospital with no explanation for what had just happened. I knew nothing about miracles or divine healing at the time.
All I knew was that there was a God, and He still loved me.
TOUCHED BY THE SPIRIT
As soon as possible, I went to visit my family in Canada. I asked my father for forgiveness for rebelling against him. What a wonderful family reunion we had!
I was surprised when Dad asked me to return home, but somehow I knew it was the right thing to do. I resigned my position in Chicago and took up residence in Canada once again.
I was home for only a few weeks when I began to experience a series of colds, flues, headaches and serious lung infections. Then, suddenly, I was overcome by weakness and symptoms that the doctors couldn't diagnose at first.
After much testing, it was determined that I had a serious immune deficiency. For some reason my immune system had been weakened and was unable to fight infection of any kind. According to the doctors, I had only three or four months to live.
What followed was not death, however, but 20 years of fighting for survival through miracles and much prayer. I was bedridden for most of two decades.
By the end of 1993, the physical challenges were so constant and so severe that I decided to give up. I was suffering with terrible headaches, muscle pain, difficulty breathing and one infection after another.
I wanted to be with Jesus. I simply did not have any more energy to fight. That's when everything changed.
In January 1994 some friends took me to a meeting at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF). The church was just experiencing the beginning of what would become a worldwide movement called "the renewal."
That night God powerfully touched me. I ended up on the floor, where I had an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit. I experienced the incredible love of Jesus and the embrace of my heavenly Father.
When I tried to get up, I discovered that I was completely overwhelmed by God's love, and I could not walk or talk. I was filled with joy and laughter—a state that people referred to as being "drunk in the Holy Spirit."
I had never been drunk before, and I had certainly never heard of being drunk in the Holy Spirit. All I knew was that I was overwhelmed by the love and joy of God. My friends had to carry me out of the meeting.
It took me a few days to realize that the pain I'd had for so long was gone and that I was sleeping through the night—something I had not been able to do in years.
I continued to go back to the renewal meetings at TACF. I was filled with such excitement and expectation that I could hardly wait to see how the Holy Spirit was going to move each night.
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