(October 15, 2022) Maureen McQuillan recalls a childhood experience of the goodness of our miracle-working God…
Now that title may sound like the beginning of a ghost story, but it’s not. Although I could say the beginning of a Holy Ghost tale.
My husband, Robert, had seen sharing my childhood miraculous healing experience with some friends recently, and felt I should write about it as an encouragement to others. Especially as over the past couple of years we’ve been hearing of several committed Christians, particularly ministries, becoming seriously unwell.
As regular readers know, we strongly believe that our loving heavenly Father is the healing and miracle-working God; that in times of illness we pray to Him, asking with confidence for His help; reflect on scriptures such as 1 Peter 2:24 – ‘By His stripes you were healed’; leave it with Him, trusting Him; and then do the sensible thing – see a medical professional.
Over many, many years we ourselves have prayed over the sick and, by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s anointing, have witnessed several healings and miracles. (I say this humbly because all thanks, praise and glory are God’s alone!).
And in sharing this incident from my childhood back in a country town in Northern Ireland, I trust I may encourage all who are unwell at this time.
Knowing Jesus from childhood
Deep down I’ve known about God from I was so young, and I mean very, very young! I praise God that I was brought up in a Christian home, taught to pray believing for answers if I happen to ask for help for someone, to say mealtime thanks, and when I starting reading to read God’s word.
One day – and I remember it so well – I asked Jesus to be my Saviour. Yes, I was only a little kid… but I was very much aware of what I was doing and oh, the amazing feeling that immediately came into my little heart.
I was so happy, indeed joyful, that I ran all the way to our nearby local country railway station to meet my daddy coming home from work in ‘the big city’ and tell him what I’d done.
Somehow I knew that I knew I could always trust Jesus. How I loved going to Sunday school and church, and singing those great old hymns.
Afflicted by an incurable illness
One day, when I was only six, my body felt unusually itchy and I naturally started scratching. I must admit that I got a little scared when I suddenly realised I was itching all over and had strange reddish marks across my body!
I would very humbly tell you that people used to say that I was ‘a pretty little child’ with my very long black hair down to my waist and my dark brown eyes.
But now the marks on my little arms and legs turned to weeping sores! And then my back and tummy. My head would ‘drive me mad’ at night as I’d be scratching at it. At school, other kids laughed and teachers were concerned about me. Little me was too!
All this had happened out-of-the-blue and my mother took me to see the doctor. She was told to keep me at home until some investigations had been followed up, especially calls to specialists in London. Then came the bad news… Mum was told that I had a very, very bad case of psoriasis, an illness for which there was no cure (and still isn’t!).
Something else… the pressure to scratch really only began around teatime. Mother had to apply a particular ointment all over me and bandage me up each evening to prevent me scratching my skin to pieces! Oh the misery I suffered, especially at night-time! I wanted to scratch and scratch, but couldn’t! And that ointment had the most putrid smell!
If I was upset, Mother was too! Oh… not just about me, but our home!
Mum’s great joy was baking. She would bake so many yummy cakes, even Ulster soda bread and farls. She was known in the neighbourhood for her baking skills and so many people would arrive at our doorstep for creations that she freely gave away to delighted friends.
But… now she wasn’t happy because of the awful smell in our home due to that foul ointment! She couldn’t bring people in!
Now we happened to attend a Pentecostal church and preachers taught that God is a healing and miracle-working God, and there is power in Jesus’ name. In the end, after trying everything else and nothing was working, when I was nine-years-old Mum made a decision… she contacted the elders and requested they would anoint her little daughter with oil – representing the Holy Spirit – and pray that I’d receive a miracle.
Mum even quoted James 5:14, ‘Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.’ She was told to bring me to the church the following evening.
That dark, wintery night…
Mother walked me several miles to the church. (Only the local lawyer and doctor, it seemed had a car back then). It was indeed a very cold and dark wintery night and we had to put on warm gloves, overcoats and scarfs before leaving home!
Now I’d like to tell you that the church was so warm with the heaters on – but not even one was on!
I’d also like to tell you that someone had switched the lights on to give some kind of warmth but no, they hadn’t, not even one! We were brought into the auditorium where the only light was from outside, shining faintly through a stain glass window. To little me, the church was so dark and cold.
And I’d like to tell you that the church choir were there singing inspiring faith choruses… but no, not even one soul to sing an uplifting refrain. No music whatever: no CD players back then!
There was no backup praying team either, only three elders! I would also like to tell that they read several healing and miracle-based scriptures, prayed resounding prayers calling angels down to join us and scaring every demon nearby, and that I was instantly healed!
But… I can’t. Those elders just quietly encouraged me and Mother, anointed me and one prayed a simple prayer and that was that! No flashing lights from heaven, no angelic voices singing Hallelujah. No…
And I was still itching!
What I can tell you is this… Sincere prayer is meaningful wherever it is uttered, whether simple or dynamic, whether in broad daylight or in a darkened room! And it is heard by our loving God and something happens either immediately or sometime later.
It was all over in minutes and Mother and I went home, wondering. The rashes were still there. I was still itchy all over. Once again, she applied that horrible smelly ointment and bandaged me up. I fell asleep, just trusting God in my childlike faith.
But oh what joy the following morning when Mum removed the bandages – my body was totally clear of the psoriasis marks! God had answered the elders’ prayer and overnight the Lord had healed me! Later I would understand that we had all been trusting God, standing not in a dark, cold church but on the Rock, the Lord Jesus! (I Corinthians 10:4; Matthew 16:10).
I was so happy!
The disease had vanished, all of my damaged skin was like a newborn babe’s… and psoriasis has never returned!
Like David, I too can say ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock’ (Psalm 144:1).
Stand on the Rock!
There have been other miraculous incidents in my life since, and I praise God – His hand has always been on me bringing me through whatever.
Are you presently suffering from something? Trust God, stand on the Rock, our Saviour Jesus! Let Him work it out for you… whether an overnight miracle or His hand guiding the medical profession. Prayer works! Your own, or an altar call one that you can hardly hear due to loud musicians and singers behind! Or a simple prayer from a godly person sincerely caring for you.
I’m older now and still standing on God’s word, depending on Him. I admit that I’m currently going through another unexpected health incident, but like David wrote in Psalm 28:1 ‘To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock…’ You can too for your need.
I still know He loves me and cares… He always works things out!
Pastor Maureen McQuillan’s link for questions and encouragements is OnlinerConnect@gmail.com __________________________________________