Every so often one hears a story that shouts out the fact that Jesus is real and alive – stories of hearts that you would think could not possibly be healed, and yet were. Last week I watched on video the testimony of a young man who was in Luanda. At school he was bullied and then raped by another older pupil. When he told his father that he no longer wanted to go to that school, his father, in a rage beat him to within an inch of his life. It was only the intervention of his mother that saved him.
That night, and for many nights afterwards his father, too sexually assaulted him.
He fled and lived on the streets for a number of years, but spoke to his mother often by phone. On the streets he gave his heart to Jesus. One afternoon he had a call from a distressed relative to say that his mother had been killed. As he rushed to his house, he learned that his father had turned a shotgun on her. Then he stabbed himself many times with a machete and was in the Intensive Care Unit. He went to the ICU to see him. He was desperately ill and unlikely to survive. In spite of all that he had been through, he told him, “I love you, Dad. I forgive you. There is forgiveness for you in Jesus. You are precious to Him.”
His father broke down, received his forgiveness and that of Jesus and gave his life to Him.
As I watched the video of this young man who is now a pastor in the USA it was difficult to imagine that he had gone through what he had. He had a deep peace about his demeanour and he radiated an inner joy. Only Jesus can do that. That is true healing – healing of the soul. I have tried to express something of that same dynamic in some of the patients I describe in God in the ICU, but as I looked into that young man’s face I realised that no words can adequately describe the transformation that the Spirit of God can bring. How I long for those who are hurting and do not know where to turn, to discover the reality of a God who truly is alive and closer than breathing – as real as the people we can physically touch. To know Him is to be healed, even though physically we might have to wait for our new bodies in heaven!