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HOW I DISCOVERED THE POWER OF WHAT YOU SAY
The year I discovered the importance of what some people call "mere' words was the hardest year in my entire life: the whole year was filled with heartache and trouble. August came and on the fifteenth our daughter, Jeanne Michelle, was born. It was a very difficult delivery for my wife. Our regular doctor was away. His replacement, a confirmed alcoholic, came to see my wife when she first entered the hospital, but his compulsion to drink caused him to be away when the actual time for the delivery arrived. My wife was kept in the delivery room for a long time, while the nurses tried frantically to locate a doctor. I realized there was some sort of crisis going on, so I prayed earnestly. Finally, they found a doctor, and Jeanne was delivered. However, it was immediately apparent that she was neither as well nor as strong as our other babies had been. The doctor told us that my wife had apparently developed a severe calcium deficiency while carrying the baby. Calcium had then gone from baby to mother, causing the bones in the baby's hands and feet to be soft and malformed. He told us the hands could probably be massaged gradually back into place, but that clubbed feet-the kind Jeanne was born with-were generally irreversible even with surgery. On top of that, the baby had developed respiration difficulties, and he could not promise that she would live. She was in critical condition. Casts were placed on Jeanne's feet, she was placed in an incubator for her respiration, and a special nurse was assigned to massage her hands daily. We had to leave her behind in the hospital when I took my wife home. Because my wife was still quite weak from giving birth, I was the one who went to the hospital every day to visit the baby. I would sit beside the incubator and watch her kick her tiny feet, knocking the plaster casts together. I was only allowed to hold her for a few precious moments each day, so I spent most of the time praying, asking God to touch this little one and give her health and strength. Finally, we were able to bring Jeanne home. It would almost break my heart to hear her casts bang together when she would kick her tiny feet. It seemed as though God was permitting Satan to test our faith and dedication to the limit. During this time, my wife was stricken with rheumatic fever. Our doctor told us that her illness had been caused by the same calcium deficiency which had caused the baby's clubbed feet. I had to leave the field of evangelism and devote my time to caring for my wife and our three children. Besides Jeanne, there were also our two-year-old son, Michael, and our one-year-old daughter, Judy. Since I had three babies to care for, I would often prepare bottles for all three of them at the same time. In spite of Jeanne's condition, I often thought what a beautiful sight it was to see all three of the babies that God had given us! During this time, our troubles caused my wife and me to grow closer to the Lord than ever before. We studied the Bible extensively and read many good faith-building books, pamphlets, and magazines. Some weeks after we brought her home, Jeanne's feet had grown so quickly that it was time to remove the casts and replace them with larger ones. When Dr. Graham, our regular doctor, removed the casts, Jeanne's feet were perfectly straight. Doctor Graham told us that he had never known of a case in which clubbed feet became completely straight. In fact, he said, "She was not well when she was born, and there wasn't a lot of hope for her survival. Now she is completely well. Both her feet are perfectly normal. Her respiration is fine. All I can say is that I'm glad it happened." Although we knew that we had seen a miracle, we were saddened by the fact that my wife continued to suffer with rheumatic fever. She grew much worse, and suffered from excruciating pain day and night. It seemed likely that our miracle baby would lose her mother.
Weeks passed, and I had no income at all. I mortgaged our furniture, but the money went very quickly. Because of her condition, I couldn't leave my wife alone, and I had no money to hire someone to stay with her. Again and again I asked God to see us through. One unforgettable evening I was reading Psalm 27 to my wife, when suddenly the Holy Spirit quickened this scripture to me. I turned excitedly to her and said, "Honey, did you hear that?" "Hear what, Don?" She had allowed her mind to wander as I had been reading. I couldn't blame her. She had lain bedfast for months with rheumatic fever. Her skin was discolored, her feet and legs were swollen twice their size, and her strength was slowly and surely ebbing. Despite the fact that many of our friends had come to visit and to pray for her, there had been no permanent improvement. The outlook was so dark that we feared the Angel of Death was at our door. We were undergoing a real trial of faith. That night, as she looked up questioningly, I leaped from my chair, repeating the first verse of Psalm 27: "The Lord is the strength of my life!" As these words came alive to me, I hugged my wife as I said it again, "Honey, did you hear that scripture? The Lord is the strength of your life!" Quietly she repeated these words aloud: "The Lord is the strength of my life." As the Spirit brought these words to life for her, the listless took faded from her eyes, and with a vibrancy that I had not heard for a long, long time, she exclaimed, "Yes, I do see it! The Lord is the strength of my life!" A joy such as I had not felt for months surged through me. I could hardly stand still as I shouted, "Honey, if the Lord is the strength of your life, then you don't have to lie there in that bed! You don't have to stay weak and sick! In Jesus' name you can get up and walk"' "Get up and walk, after all these months in bed?" Her face looked puzzled. Then, trustingly, she slowly drew herself up. I began to see an expression of belief replace the doubt and distress on her face. As she struggled to her feet, she cried out exultantly, "The Lord is the strength of my life!" I could clearly see that she was aching as much as ever, and that her feet were still swollen as she put them on the floor. But now she had forgotten herself. She was not going by how she felt. She was thinking of, relying on, the mighty, infallible Word of God. And now she was calling out boldly, "The Lord is the strength of my life," claiming God's strength to heal her own weak body. She stepped out from her bed. As she began to walk across the room without wavering, she continued joyously to repeat, "The Lord is the strength of my life! The Lord is the strength of my life!" The more she repeated God's Word, the more my wife received God's strength. Right before our eyes, the pain left, the swelling receded, and the discoloration faded. Two medical doctors would verify that she has been completely healed of crippling, killing rheumatic fever. Never from that joyous day until this has she ever again suffered from that horrible disease.