This post will relate the story of an agnostic lady who became a Christian and believed in Jesus and his ability to do miracles.
Emily Gardiner Neale was not raised in a religious environment, but as time progressed evidence caused her to change her belief. She said in her book, A Reporter Finds God, ” I came to scoff but remained to pray”. The emphasis in this post is not meant to be so much about miracles but about the question whether God exists and does he care about us.
Ms. Neale was a journalist during World War Two. After the war she wrote articles which were carried by periodicals such as, Look, Redbook, McCalls, Woman’s Day and Readers Digest. However, her writing was to change to a new emphasis.
In her book, The Reluctant Healer, One Woman’s Journey of Faith, she says that her neighbor asked for a ride to a local Episcopal church. The neighbor explained that his wife was in the hospital with their sick daughter and he wanted to go to the church to request prayer for the daughter. She provided the ride to the church and was invited to stay for the church service which she reluctantly did.
After a hymn and a prayer the minister explained that Jesus told his disciples to spread the gospel and that healing was part of the gospel. Ms. Neale says, “I was far from sure that he was the Son of God, and I had never pretended to believe in the so-called miracles of his earthly ministry”. (p. 13 Reluctant Healer).
The minister asked those who sought healing to come to the front for prayer. A lady next to Ms. Neale with a swollen neck went to the front. When she returned the swelling was gone. A young boy, with a mass of warts on his hands, went to the front for prayer, returned and all the warts were gone. Neale says, “I had the uncanny feeling that all this was a dream or I was loosing my mind”. Originally, before this, she had thought of writing an article to show that claims of healing were not true.
She decided to visit other churches where prayer was offered for those with health issues and found that people were being helped. She continued her research and spoke to clergy, families and physicians. In time she accepted the Christian faith and prayed for others. She lead weekly healing services for 10 years at Calvary Church in Pittsburg. She later moved to Cincinnati where she also conducted weekly services. Neale wrote several books about her spiritual journey and answers many question that non believers undoubtedly have. Her books may be available in libraries and used books available on the internet.
David Hume (1711 – 1776) was a prominent philosopher who wrote against miracles. Many today still hold to his reasoning. From his perspective a miracle is impossible because it would be a violation of the laws of nature, which never change, so for him there never could be a first miracle. Clearly from what Neale experienced, there is a God who operates under laws which supersede the laws of nature. Hume also argued that if someone gave testimony of a miracle it would not be believable because a miracle has never happened.
It would have been an interesting event to see Hume and Neale at the same healing service. What would his reaction have been to see the boy with the warts on his hands, before and after prayer. What would Hume’s testimony have been? How would he have explained what he saw? Would he have believed his own testimony ?
The purpose of healing miracles in the past and in the present, was and is, to get our attention to think about God. In past posts it has been explained that Jesus existed and was deity. Also, he died and resurrected so he is qualified to deal with our sin issues. No matter where you are or who you are, you can talk to him. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. (Mathew 11:28).
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