What was she going to do? What was I going to do? I was out on my route. I couldn’t leave. I felt helpless. She was at home taking care of our two young children and she could barely walk. Besides, I could hear the fear in her voice. I worked extra hard to get home as quickly as possible.
When I got there, my concern turned to alarm. Both of her legs were bent at a 75 degree angle. She could neither sit nor stand comfortably. I’ll never forget the sight of her hobbling up the five stairs ascending from our den into our kitchen. As she ascended those stairs, I descended into despair. “What could this be? Some degenerative disease? Why would it come on so suddenly?” All of these questions raced through my mind. I considered taking her to the doctor, but I had absolutely no faith that they would be able to help with such a strange problem.
We had plans that evening to eat at the home of our close friends and fellow believers, so I gingerly loaded her into the van and away we went. After dinner, I related to my friend that I had been reading a book by Smith Wigglesworth on divine healing and I suggested that he and his wife join me in praying for Jamie. We put her on the couch and I prayed like I had never prayed before. Instead of asking that she would be comforted in this difficult time or that the doctors would discover the cause of the problem or even asking if God might be willing to heal her, I said, “We speak to these knees and in Jesus name we command them to be healed.” When she stood up, she announced, “I’m better!” The next day my family went for a hike at a local state park. She’s not had any trouble in the eleven years since that evening.
That day I got to peer behind the veil of the material world to see what’s going on when we pray. We’re involved in a high stakes poker game with the “father of lies.” Jesus has told us that we have a winning hand, but as we look across the table at those mirrored glasses and that look of derision, our nerves can get rattled. We push a few chips to the middle of the table – a five minute request qualified by lots of “if it be thy will.”
Satan responds, “It will take more than that if you want to see my cards.”
Our palms begin to sweat. We wonder, “What if I stake all my faith on this hand and I’m beaten? What will happen to all that I claim to believe? What will happen to the faith of other people if they observe God’s promises fail? Do I dare to stand? Wouldn’t it just be safer to fold and cut my losses?” So, we fold. We walk away from the table with slightly less faith than we came with but at least we didn’t risk it all. Meanwhile Satan sits at the table with a smug smile, holding a pair of deuces.
To all of us who too often fold in prayer, I commend the words of the apostle Paul, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:10-11 ASV)