February 16, 2008
Tom whispered into the little girl’s ear in front of a crowd of about 4,000. Everyone watched and waited to see what would happen. The 8-year-old girl had been deaf in her left ear for years. I could only imagine what her diminutive mother who stood behind her was thinking. The crowd grew silent. I could see Tom’s lips moving as he bent near the girl’s left ear. As he whispered, the beautiful 8-year-old turned her head quickly toward Tom with a look of sheer delight and surprise! Eyes wide open. Eyebrows lifted up. Her hand covering her mouth in disbelief, just like the people who are interviewed on their doorstep when Publishers Clearing House presents them with a check for $10 million.
She looked back at her mother, and then back at the crowd. Could this be real? What was happening to her? “Who cares! I can hear!” Tom put his microphone up to her mouth. She began to speak the English words that she was hearing for the first time as he continued to whisper in her ear… “Hallujuah.” “Jesus.” “Amen.”
What DO you say when the hand of God touches you, and heals you?
Each night I witness the hand of God being poured out upon people who come, searching for a way out… looking for mercy from any one of the 330,000,000 gods that the Hindus worship. Maybe they’ll find the “healing god” here, at this Festival. Many do. But surprise!—it’s not one of the 330,000,000. It’s Jesus who they encounter when they come forward in faith, wanting to be touched by God. And… God pours out his love. Lavishly. Without regard for religion or nationality, culture or ethnicity, color or gender. This is God’s way of inviting His people into a relationship with Him. To know Him. And to walk in the way of Truth.
Some are healed immediately of back pain, knee pain, deafness and blindness. Those healed of knee pain are invited to bend their knees and check it out. Those healed of back pain are invited to bend over. Those with leg pain are invited to jump up and down. One person even chased Tom around on the platform. Healing feels good.
Some pray to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives and begin a new life. Many are blessed by the music, the dancers, and the puppet show. All leave having witnessed the Living God at work, whether they believe it or not.
Each night I pray for the sick, after people come forward to commit themselves to following Jesus and receive the Gospel of John to begin their Christian journey. As Tom finishes up, Dave and I move off and away from the platform. We are immediately surrounded by a mob of people. They’re polite, but assertive. Each wants to be touched. Healed. Blessed, Prayed for in some way.
Sudukar is my interpreter and we begin our work. He speaks to them in Telegu, then tells me what their need is. As I pray, he turns to another and hears their need. On and on it goes. Until the very last one.
I can feel the crowd pressing in from all sides. Everyone is eager to be touched. I have a better sense of what Jesus experienced when the Gospel writers record that “the crowd pressed in around him.” There’s no way out… except to pray and release, one person at a time. After 20 or 25 minutes the crowd dwindles down to the very last person. I walk to the waiting car. One more person catches me. Even though all you want to do is go home and rest and share the joy of the evening, how can you say to someone that God doesn’t have time for you? You can’t. Not when you look into their eyes. It’s the King’s pleasure to touch everyone who asks. So we continue until the work is finished since we’re on the King’s business.
Last night 1,106 people turned in commitment cards, indicating that they had prayed to follow Jesus as their Lord… and to switch their allegiance to Him as their one true God. Imagine… over 1,000 new believers in the Armur district today. That’s something to write home about.