I have a new friend named Anna. The first time I met Anna, we were in her home. A small, one-room house with a bright orange curtain strung down the middle to create a separate space for the bedroom.
There are no windows in this house, but there is a door that seems to let in the Light of the world. Her family has a few things, but most of their things were recently sold so that they could keep their house, eat, and pay for transport to and from the closest clinic.
Anna and her family live near Anita, a wild minister in our church family. Anita’s family, along with another family in our church, had been helping Anna’s family when meals were scarce. They were being the Church, how I believe God intended His Church to be, full of love, and sacrifice and response to those around them.
My friendship with Anna started through her 13-year-old brother, Elias. He is a wiry boy and has a quiet resilience about him. He doesn’t seek or attract your attention, but once you’ve noticed his kind heart and his charming smile, you cannot forget him.
Elias had been a part of our church family for several months, coming by himself to our Sunday Worship services, our weekly
kid’s programming, and whatever other events or gatherings we were hosting as the Church. He believed this God that he was hearing about could help his family. He believed this God could heal his mother.
With bold faith, Elias invited Anita (who then invited me) to come to visit his mother at home and pray for her. I didn’t meet Anna that day because she wasn’t home, but we listened as her mother Bridget shared some of their difficult story.
That day, we learned that their family had faced some extreme hardships over the last few months. They had to move from a bigger home to the one they are currently in. Bridget recently had a baby and contracted an infection due to the delivery which was causing her health to rapidly plummet. There was a darkness that was weighing the family down as they feared for their mother’s life. And, amidst all of that, Anna herself was 9 months pregnant and was desperately unsure of her future- both for herself and for her unborn child.
We saw just how ill Bridget was and we learned that she had already been to the clinic but they could not help her.
Their entire family was afraid for her life.
That night, Bridget remembered the Lord again and she cried out to Him to heal her. The next morning she woke up. The infection was completely gone. She went outside and began to work; she washed clothes, worked the garden, and cleaned her yard. Her neighbors were bewildered. She rejoiced and testified to all around her, and gave her whole life to Jesus!
So, the first time I met Anna she was waiting for me. She was anticipating my visit so she could tell me this story about how God healed her mom and saved her family. She began to read a Psalm that had come to define her reality of life, and the power and love of God. I sat still with awe and wonder as she read and declared the character of God, not in word, but through an experience of Him, that changed everything.
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor!”
Anna proclaimed.
“In the day of trouble the Lord delivers Him.
The Lord protects him and keeps him alive,”
she recited the scripture as she remembered the nights her mother was crying out for her life, desperate and hopeless in her own strength and feeling overwhelmed that the clinic was not able to revive her life.
“He is called blessed in the land. You do not give him up to his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed, in his illness, you restore him to full health.”
Anna finished with a depth of gratitude and assurance of this God she had come to realize
was better than she had ever been led to believe before. This was the same God, the one
whom she had been hearing about since her childhood, but never knew Him to be good, or real,
or more powerful than the darkness, until now.
As Anna finished reading this Psalm, I looked up at her mother. Her eyes were full of tears as they met mine, and then she smiled as she said to me, “Jesus healed me, and I will follow Him for the rest of my life.”
Both Anna and her mother found their faith and salvation in Jesus as a result of miraculous healing. This was only possible by faith, as her younger brother Elias believed that God could heal his family.
Following Elias’ lead, the family has become a part of our local church family and Anna has given birth to a beautiful baby boy. They are regaining their strength as a family and learning to stand firm in their faith. And my new friend Anna, she has been pestering me to teach her everything I know about God because a fire has been lit inside of her and she must know this God.