MIRACLE OF FAITH
is it so difficult for us to have faith? The answer is simple enough.
We are so weighted with experiences that contradict faith. It is not
easy to turn from negative conditions to a positive faith in God. Carefully
we should cultivate the smallest spark of faith and we should always
be reminding ourselves that there is a power upon which we may rely".
" That lump on your back is a lipoma," said Dr. John Strobis
my primary care physician that I see every two years just to know that
I'm fine "If it starts to get bigger and hardens, that would be
reason to be concerned."
Those were some of the words that I thought about as I lay on the gurney
in Abadiânia, Brazil awaiting "surgery". My lipoma,
which I had for 23 years, had grown from the size of a squishy marble
on my lower back just to the left of my spine, to an ever spreading
mound which had started to harden. In the two years I had seen Dr. Strobis,
the lipoma seemed to have doubled in size and hardened. The lipoma,
even in its early stages was dangerously near my spine, and that had
been the reason why I had never had what was then an elective procedure.
Now the words "inoperable" and "potential paralysis"
wandered in and out of my mind, like clues in a TV game show. My intuitive
diagnosis was later confirmed by a Canadian physician who witnessed
the entire procedure.
So here I was in a relatively obscure place in central Brazil, two hours
away from the nearest big city, Brasilia, and in the middle of the Brazilian
jungle. The "surgeon" had never had more than a second grade
education, didn't plan to use anesthesia, and had instruments that were
nothing more than a possibly sterilized scalpel and unsterilized forcepts.
There were no IV's, no white clad nurses and interns with clipboards
no blood pressure readings or pre-op preparation. Indeed I wondered
when I volunteered to have this "visible" surgery, whether
I would feel the pain.
But the "surgeon" who had come to be known as John of God,
had healed more than 13 million people. John of God, born Joao Teixeira
de Faria, nearly 62 years ago, is a trance medium whose consciousness
is literally taken over by Spirit. In this case, Spirit expresses itself
through the more than 33 different energies ranging from St. Francis
Xavier (my surgeon) to Dr. Oswaldo Cruz (a pioneer in the cure of yellow
fever) to Dr. Valdevino (a bone surgeon). John of God never claims to
heal anyone - but firmly states in his conscious state that "it
is God that does the healing, not I". And he has never charged
a penny for his work.
The surgery took less than 10 minutes, and a month later I had the opportunity
to watch it on the videotape that had been shot. I watched as he made
the incision and remembered I that I could feel a bit of a "razor
cut", but afterwards, all I could feel was a tugging and a probing,
which I later saw was John actually putting two fingers and his thumb
into the wound, and appearing to break up the adhesions which seemed
to bind the tumor to the spine and body. As I watched the videotape
later, I saw that he began cutting out small pieces of the tumor, and
then eventually pulled the remainder of it like some fleshy root - as
it came out in one long thick piece. I could see that what he had removed
would have filled most of a coffee cup.
Throughout the entire procedure, I felt no more discomfort than what
I might experience with a mild sunburn. As I lay face down on the gurney
with the surgery being done, I felt total peace. I had known all along
the reasons I had come to Brazil - to deepen my relationship with Spirit.
Yes, there had been the removal of the tumor, but the most important
message I received that day was the deepening of my faith in Spirit.
After all, it is the Spiritual body which creates the physical, and
as what was is said in Hebrews - "things that are, are not created
by things that do appear."
The operation was over quickly and it was strange to have been awake
and imagining what was going on. I lay face down with the wound draining
for about an hour - with nothing more than "holy water" used
to cleanse it. It was as if nothing had happened - my back felt perfectly
normal, and I wished I could jump off the table and celebrate. It was
then that the Canadian physician came and explained what he had seen,
and indicating that John of God would not "stitch" the wound
since it was so close to the spine, but rather it would just drain and
a dressing put on it.
hours later, I was back in my pousada, feeling elated, grateful and
in wonderfully radiant health. I periodically remembered that I had
just had a major operation, and that I should continue to put holy water
on it. The next day, they changed the dressing, and the wound had almost
healed shut. Two days, with continued applications of holy water, it
had healed to what appeared to be a small scratch.
I sat with others who had come to Abadiânia for both spiritual
and physical healings, I shared the miracles of life and spirit. There
was a woman from Boston with stage 4 pancreatic cancer who began to
reverse it, another from Vermont with systemic sclerosis that had virtually
shut down her kidneys and attacked her heart. A third woman on the brink
of death who had recovered from AIDS.
I also saw God's miracles with my friends as well. A young parapalegic
woman who I knew for years, on her final day, was able with assistance
to take her first steps. She had been thrown from a car when it hit
a tree, and it had bounced off and run over her lower back. Dr. Mary
Jo Van Dam, who had a "hunchback" condition for 60 years,
because of childhood scoliosis, in a divine instant found her back straightened.
Rev. Jerry Rance could take his first deep breath since his open-heart
operation, as the minute leaks in his heart valves seemed to be sealed.
And more importantly, he experienced his first week of having a deep
sleep in more than 5 years since a possibly enlarged prostate required
him to make hourly trips to the bathroom.
experience of Abadiânia underlines the importance of faith. We
see miracles even in the most humble blade of grass, the insects we
consider pests, and the sunshine which we often complain is too hot.
These miracles are so incredible that we often can't relate these to
the rest of our lives, and we sometimes have to see physical healings
in people to understand the magnitude and wonder of Spirit. In Abadiânia,
faith and awareness of Spirit seeps into you.
someone asked me what was the most important gift I received from my
trip, I unhesitatingly answered, "before I went, I would consciously
remind myself to 'practice the Presence'. After I returned, I didn't
have it - it had become an integral part of me without even having to
wonder about it."