One of my favorite stories about the life of pastor Surprise Sithole from his book, Voice in the Night, is when God raised a 6-year-old girl back to life through Him.
Surprise had begun to minister in an area of Africa. After a first night gathering of 50 to 70 people, on the second night, that number dropped to about 20 people. A local chief came to Surprise and told him a child had died, and that is why there were many fewer people coming. The chief also told Surprise that he needed to stop his crusade.
This seemed like a respectful idea on the surface, but Surprise asked if he might visit the family and minister to them. The chief agreed and led the pastor to them. Then, he left.
In the small home, six women were present, keeping a vigil over the 6 year old whose body was totally wrapped. Surprise asked if he might pray, and the women agreed. Perhaps they were deeply tired from their attending to the little girl or perhaps God mercifully caused them to slumber, but they fell asleep as the pastor began to pray. He had never seen a resurrection, but he acted on what the Bible says is possible.
With faith rising, he began to unwrap the little body and to worship, pray and call on God for help. With one of the girl's hands unwrapped, Surprise kept his finger on her cold, lifeless hand as he called out to God.
Suddenly, the little girl seized his finger, shocking the pastor, who jumped back in amazement. She spoke to him and told him she was hungry. He poured a Coke for her. She was alive! This was a resurrection of the dead! His first experience of it.
Surprise awakened the women, and they became overwhelmingly joyous and animated, running out to let others know, "She's alive." The revival meetings started up again with huge crowds.
It is a wonderful story. You can see Surprise tell it himself on YouTube here.
I am struck about what happened next though. As word spread of this resurrection miracle, other local Christian leaders immediately began to have the same experience. They, with faith rising and belief encouraged, also had resurrection events in their ministries.
Matthew 10:1-8 is a passage about Jesus sending out His disciples to do great miracles. In verse 8a, He says, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons." Jesus tells them to "freely give as they have freely received." These words are not just for them in that ancient time, but they are also for us, those who follow Him now.
Rather than feeling this is too high a standard we cannot possibly meet, it is good to hear Jesus' words as a wonderful possibility that all who believe can pray and live into. "Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief. Help me to become all that you have envisioned for me, day by day, step by step. Come, Holy Spirit."
To hear more about the wonderful possibilities of life in union with Christ, listen to this episode of Rooted by the Stream on Charisma Podcast Network.
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