A True Hero in the Faith
by Scott MacLeod
She is an unsung hero, an overlooked widow living on the "wrong side of town," who for decades has been carrying the intense burdens of her family, not to mention the poverty, loneliness, pain and sickness that she has had to bear. That afternoon in the brilliant sunlight of an inner-city park, God allowed me the privilege, if only for a few moments, to enter into a bit of her life and suffering. I was able to help her carry her heavy load. What an honor.
Some amazing things are happening in our inner-city community! We're having a super-encouraging summer sharing Jesus with the poor and the lost and, as always, with an abundance of wonderful children. There seems to be nothing as amazing or exciting as sharing the gospel of Jesus with people who are hopeless and helpless!
I want to zoom in on one story about a woman named Lois. The first week of Saturday Night Live in the Park (an outdoor outreach), I met a woman who came up to receive prayer and to boldly take a stand for Jesus. At the end of this prayer, she had tears shining in her eyes and asked if I would pray for her knees. I looked at her swollen knees and asked her what was wrong with them. She said she suffered with lots of pain because of arthritis.
We gladly prayed for her, believing Jesus would do a miraculous thing...and He did! The next Friday, during food and clothing distribution, she called me aside and said, "I have no more pain in my knees! I have been healed!" We both gave glory to Jesus! She had suffered from arthritis for ten years!
I asked Lois if she would testify about her healing at Saturday Night Live. She said she didn't think she could because she stutters and has a hard time talking in front of people. I told her I believed that when she testified God would help her and speak through her. So the next Saturday she got up on stage--something she couldn't have done before without severe pain. She spoke boldly in front of everyone in the park, with wonderful clarity, giving all the glory to Jesus for her healing. She did great!
The next week, as we were delivering invitations door-to-door for SNL and the upcoming Youth Camp, Lois came running up to me with a radiant smile on her face, saying, "Pastor Scott, this is where we live. My mother and sons are inside; please come and meet them." She had told me about her disabled son and mother the previous week. And as she tearfully gave her testimony, she publicly asked everyone to please pray for her family. Now was my chance to meet them.
As I entered their dimly lit and odorous housing project apartment, my eyes fell upon her son. He was in worse condition than I had imagined. His name was Steve, and his body was clearly physically deformed. He launched into spastic convulsions about every two minutes. He could not talk. His eyes rolled back in his head continuously, and he was mentally impaired. I noticed another young man sitting quietly in the corner, looking down. Lois said this was another son, and he too, was disabled. He barely looked up as I greeted him. My heart broke for these young men, and I wondered how Lois had survived all these years.
Lois asked me if we would come by and pick up Steve and her mother, whom I had the privilege of meeting also, so that they could come to SNL. We said we would, and we did.
After a powerful worship and preaching time in Watkins Park, Lois brought her family up for prayer. To my right, her mother received prayer from other members of our team. Steve stood, shaking, in front of me. I mustered up faith as I prepared to pray for him. I must confess that I was concerned about his drastically impaired condition, but I was also excited to pray for him because I know nothing is too hard for my God, and He has commanded us to lay hands on the sick and pray for them. What an opportunity... what a challenge!
As I lay my hands on Steve and prayed, his body convulsed greatly, and I needed a couple other people to come help hold him still. As I spoke the name of Jesus over him, for a few moments I could see an amazing supernatural peace of the Lord come over him. He quieted, and I sensed it was a peace he might never before have experienced. Peace like a river was washing over him. I am not sure what all was happening in him at that moment, but I do know that Doctor Jesus was at work in his troubled body and mind.
Although it was apparent that Steve was not totally healed at this time, I saw the power of God begin something strong in this young man--a deep healing that I believe is going to increasingly unfold. Please pray with us for Steve's full liberation!
As soon as I had finished praying for Steve, his mother jumped up and gave me a hug that I will never forget. As she clung to me, she was shaking and crying, thanking me profusely with tears of joy and relief. At that moment, I felt just a touch of the unimaginable heaviness of the burden she had carried all these years as she had persevered, personally caring for her disabled sons.
Then I prayed for Lois. As I did, the Lord spoke to me and said that she is a true "hero in the faith." She is an unsung hero, an overlooked widow living on the "wrong side of town," who for decades has been carrying the intense burdens of her family, not to mention the poverty, loneliness, pain and sickness that she has had to bear. That afternoon in the brilliant sunlight of an inner-city park, God allowed me the privilege, if only for a few moments, to enter into a bit of Lois' life and suffering. I was able to help her carry her heavy load. What an honor!
What a great feeling it is to know that Lois and her family are counting on coming back to church in the park all summer long, and to have the opportunity to walk in relationship with them. What an honor it is that the strong are called to help the weak. In doing so, we realize that, many times; it is the weak who are really the strong.
"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?" (James 2:5)
We are humbled that God continues to use us to advance His glorious Kingdom and to spread His unfailing love in spite of our weaknesses and flaws. We invite you to come down any time to be a part of what the Lord is doing in the inner city. You will not be disappointed! The harvest is plentiful... and you may have the honor of meeting a true hero in the faith!
The names have in this story have been changed to protect privacy.