So, I have a story to share about God’s intervention in my family’s life. It’s not a story that I often share at all, but when I do, I share it so people will realize that the God in the Bible, the Jesus in the Bible –still heals and still performs miracles.
I am not here to share the story to bring attention to myself or to imply that I might have some extra insight into why people get sick, and why some are healed whereas some are not.
All I know is that what we went through showed me in intimate detail what our Father God’s heart is towards his children—in their physical brokenness–which I know he also has for our spiritual, emotional, and mental brokenness.
It was 1998 and Jesse and I were living in Hong Kong at the time. We were first- time parents with our daughter, Jocelyn. She was 18 months old at the time. We were utterly in love with her. I loved, loved, loved being a Mom.
I grew up in an evangelical church and there was no teaching there about God healing the sick. As a teenager, I remember that a few times during the year, the Pastor would stand in front to pray for someone who was sick. He would read the scripture in James about anointing the sick with oil and then anoint the person’s forehead with oil. We would pray for the person as a congregation. And that was it. We never heard back what happened to that person and it was never referred to, ever again.
What did this teach me, by example? It told me that God doesn’t directly intervene to heal anymore. In my mind, that person obviously hadn’t been healed or the news would have been shared I would have thought. The message I received is that God doesn’t heal anymore, as these people had probably died.
So, this is the story of Jocelyn’s healing.
God used this event in our life to teach us that he still intervenes to heal the sick. He also used this event to put in me a heart of compassion for the sick and especially for those who feel they are in hopeless situations.
I should tell you that prior to Jocelyn falling ill, I didn’t know a thing about the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. I had no idea that God still speaks a specific Word, still heals, still performs miracles. So, you could say that God also used this event to teach me about the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So, it was March 1998. My mother-in-law telephoned us one day and she was very anxious because she had just had a nightmare that we had lost Jocelyn. At the time, I passed off her worries as paranoia. Jocelyn was just fine at the time. We didn’t know it, but God was sending us a warning about the battle that was just ahead of us.
It was only a few weeks later that Jocelyn developed her first fever in her young life. It seemed like a regular viral thing until one evening while she was lying in bed with us. She took in a breath and made a sucking sound. I knew it an instant that she had pneumonia.
We ran to the hospital. She was not that unwell so she was put in pediatrics, but I had an ominous feeling because the pneumonia didn’t seem regular to me. The doctor said that there was an infection in her left lung and the fluid had consolidated (congealed) so it couldn’t be tapped out. Tapping out the infection would have been the normal procedure for pneumonia.
48 hours after being admitted into pediatrics, Jocelyn had a diaper full of blood indicating internal bleeding & everything went downhill fast from there.
Jocelyn was admitted into ICU and put on full life-support, including a ventilator. The details about what was happening to her sounded terrifying:
- Her body systems were all shutting down due to some massive infection but they weren’t able to find the bug
- Her liver was swelling up and failing
- Her kidneys were failing
- Her hemoglobin was dropping
- Her platelets were dropping which caused her to bleed internally. This is why she had had a diaper full of blood.
- White blood cells were dropping. This was unusual. White blood cells usually go up during an infection but they were dropping. As a result, they took bone marrow to check for leukaemia. It wasn’t leukaemia.
- Her blood was useless. They were transfusing bags and bags of blood into her.
- Her spleen was enlarging
- Her heart was beating over 200 beats a minute.
- The doctors felt that she had septicemia, which is also known as “blood poisoning”. Septicemia is when bacteria has gotten into the blood and is overwhelming the system. She was going through sepsis, which is a massive immune response to the infection, leading to organ failure as the immune response injures the body.
It didn’t take a degree in medicine for me to know that, unless God intervened, she was going to die. Chinese doctors are very conservative. They’re not going to go out on a limb to give a prognosis unless asked and I was too terrified to ask. I was terrified that they were going to say that she was going to die.
The doctors never did find the source of the infection, so once she stabilized, she had a CT scan to check for tumours but there weren’t any tumours.
The doctors said that there wasn’t anything they could do but to give her life- support with machines (a ventilator and kidney dialysis). It would be up to her to fight to live.
Our home group ran to the hospital to support us that first night. The hospital gave us a room to sleep overnight which was highly meaningful to me. It was a sign that the doctors felt we might lose her so we had to stay nearby.
During that time, how were we doing? We were doing terrible. I was fighting feelings of terror that were overwhelming me. I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like I had fallen into a black hole and was falling and falling and desperately wanting a ledge to grab onto even for a minute or so, just to catch my breath. But there was no ledge. I went back and forth between wanting to catch my breath and to survive just in case Jocelyn made it and she would need me; and wanting to just stick my head in our gas oven to end it there and then, because I couldn’t bear the pain a moment longer.
My home group was in shock and grief too. One of my friends, Katherine, has a prophetic gifting meaning she can hear very clearly from God about things. During prayer, God told her that we had to give Jocelyn back to God, just as Abraham had given back Isaac. My first thought upon hearing that was, “Does this mean she’s going to die?” I was terrified asking this question but I had to ask it. My pastor, who had come to pray with us that night, said, “No, it didn’t mean that God was going to take her.” I don’t know how he knew that. I’ve always wanted to ask him that question but never got an opportunity.
It was Easter Weekend 1998. Prayer chains were going around the world as we phoned our home churches back in Canada and our home group friends phoned their churches.
What was God saying to us, during that time?
Well, God had given Jesse a Bible verse before she went critical and while she was still in pediatrics. It was Jeremiah 33:3, 6-8
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know…. Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before…”Jeremiah 33:3, 6-8
I heard the verse, but didn’t know what to make of it. Jocelyn was clearly dying, unless there was a miracle.
The morning after Jocelyn became critical, God took pity on us and sent us a message of hope. Jackie, a friend of ours, brought a lady to pray over us. This lady had a vision while she prayed. She said that she saw a small family in a boat being tossed up and down in a huge storm. Suddenly the whole family got off the boat.
When I heard this, I questioned, “the whole family?” The reason is that we had to take a ferryboat to the hospital. Would Jocelyn really get off the boat with us, meaning that she would return home with us?
God had sent us a message of hope but the reality of how terrible the situation was, made it difficult for me to hope. I thought to myself, “How do I know this vision is for us? There are no names. Maybe this vision was for someone else? I can’t put hope into this. ” (Remember, I had had no prior experience with the supernatural part of God, before.)
Well, God heard my complaint that there were no names attached to his message and so he sent another message and this time there was a name!
The next morning a friend of someone in my home group came to see us. Her name was Brenda. She was a Baptist missionary in China and she had travelled several hours to the hospital to speak to us. She had a 4-year-old son named Ryan. Ryan had almost died of a lung infection when he was a baby too. Ryan didn’t know Jocelyn but while they were praying for her, Ryan said to Brenda, “Did you hear that?” Brenda hadn’t heard anything and asked him, “Hear what?” Ryan replied that, “Jesus says that Jocelyn will get better later tomorrow.” That evening he repeated the exact same thing to his father, unprompted.
Brenda had travelled several hours to the hospital to tell us this. When I heard Jocelyn’s name, a teeny tiny thread of hope appeared in my heart. Only God could have known my complaint that there were no names attached. Now, here was Jocelyn’s name. If God went so far as to mention her name, would he not save her?
Up until that point, every time a doctor came into the room to give us any news, I didn’t want to hear what he had to say. It was always some terrible news that kept getting worse and worse over time. When I saw him coming, I wanted to run out of the room screaming.
After Ryan’s message, I was more willing to hear the doctor’s report. I took up a pen and notebook to write down everything he would say and this was my first act of faith, before he even opened his mouth, believing it would be good news.
It was! I filled a little notebook page full of small improvements. It was the first sign of anything positive but we were still a long way off from safety.
We alternated between times of feeling great faith and peace, with times of feeling sheer terror.
After 3 weeks in ICU and 1 week more in pediatrics, Jocelyn recovered. Her lung cleared up from the infection. Her organ systems returned. Her kidneys were last to return and they finally opened up. We had spent 33 days in hospital.
Remember that verse that God had given us from Jeremiah? We were going to have to hang tightly onto that verse for more days to come.
Right before discharge, Jocelyn was sent for another CT scan. It revealed that her left lung had been eaten away. It was gangrenous. It was dead. This was irreversible and her lung would need to be removed as soon as possible, due to fears of re- infection.
Everything collapsed underneath us again. Removing her lung would mean putting her onto the life-support machines, again. It would mean breaking her ribs. What now? Had we gone this far just to lose her like this?
Worst yet, the doctors themselves were not too sure what to do. They called the situation “Ma Fan” which in Cantonese sort of translates to, “This a big headache”. It was a big headache trying to figure out what best to do. Jocelyn was sent home for one month to rest up for surgery. We went home to pray!
I was very confused and I didn’t know what to think at that point. I decided to go back to my journal to see if that would help. I didn’t want to be influenced by this recent turn of events and I went back to my journal to see if God had said something to us before everything had been tainted by this turbulent news.
I read our verse in Jeremiah again. Something just leapt out at me. It was the part of the verse that said God would rebuild us to the way we were before: “I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before…”
Well, this was exactly what Jocelyn needed. She needed for her lung to be rebuilt. This was asking for something on a miraculous level because the lung is not able to heal itself, like the heart, for example. I felt God telling us that he wasn’t going to stop there. He was going to rebuild her lung too.
I didn’t want to be a quack but it felt like it would have been a slap to God’s face if we rushed into surgery.
What were people’s reactions to us praying for a miracle? I was afraid that they thought I was in denial. Katherine and Jackie, from our home group, supported us. As for the others, I didn’t say much to them because I doubted they would understand and they would probably think I was crazy.
God gave us the Gift of Faith for that situation and it was the ability to believe for something on a miraculous level. Honestly, it would have been easier to go with ration and logic and just agree to the surgery to remove her lung. But, I had this conviction that God was going to heal her lung, though I did feel constantly assailed by people’s opinions and my own self-doubt that crept in occasionally.
I waited on Jesus, daily, to free me to say, “Yes” to the surgery but he never did. It just felt like it would have been a slap to God’s face after all he had done and said to us, if we rushed into surgery.
If push came to shove and the doctor was handing me a pen to sign for the surgery, I would have signed. I felt the weight of the responsibility as Jocelyn’s mother to do the right thing. Heaven forbid that she would die because of me, and I would bring disgrace to the name of God who had just saved her from death’s door. I believe God would have honoured our decision to go for surgery. But until that pen was in front of me, I was praying for a miracle that God would rebuild her lung!
During that month, people would give us advice. They would tell us to talk to this doctor or to that doctor. They would tell us to search the Internet (a very young Internet in 1998!) People would ask about the impending surgery. I felt weird trying to come up with an answer that didn’t sound like I had lost my mind. I would mumble something back like, “Uh, we’re praying about it”. Truth be told, I wanted to say to them, “I think God’s going to heal her lung!” But I never did. I didn’t want to tarnish the name of God if I was wrong.
Life that month felt extremely weird. We were living against all logic and it was the opposite of what you would expect. You would expect that we would be feeling that her lung would not be healed and were psyching ourselves up to believe it would be healed. Contrary to what you might expect, it was the other way around. It was easy to believe that her lung would be healed and occasionally when the thought crept in that it might not, I could shake off the thought quite easily.
It was really an amazing experience living against logic like that. I would try to analyze it in third-person, as if my faith was a tangible object in front of me. How is this working? I couldn’t figure it out. It was just “there”–this faith that believed that God was going to heal Jocelyn’s lung miraculously. Well, Jesus does say that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
We had a few follow-up check-ups. There were no changes. I was terrified about the moment the doctor would ask for our final decision. The doctor didn’t know what the best course of action was. How could we make the decision, if he couldn’t?
I didn’t want to grieve God and disobey him but I questioned the nature of God. Would he be so cruel— make me choose between obeying him and the life of my daughter? The devil was torturing me with the thought that I would be forced to choose between obeying God and saving her life (It echoed the dilemma that Abraham went through with Isaac. I think that this is why God has told us to give Jocelyn back to Him, just as Abraham had given Isaac.)
Praise God, He was merciful and never allowed events to reach that point of having to choose between obedience to him and Jocelyn’s life.
One month after discharge and the day before one of her check-ups, I felt fear well up in me. I started reading the Bible and came across Zephaniah 3:14-17.
“Sing O Daughter of Zion, shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your Heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has turned back your enemy…Do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save.”Zephaniah 3:14-17
The part that said, God had “turned back the enemy” jumped out at me. Could it be true? Had God really turned back the enemy? Was it done?
I felt that the Bible verse was telling us to rejoice and sing because the enemy had been thwarted, meaning Jocelyn’s lung had been healed.
So, Jesse, Jocelyn, and myself put on a CD of praise music. We sang and rejoiced. That was not hard to do, considering what God had brought us through. I tried to obey all parts of that Bible verse but I didn’t know what “Do not let your hands hang limp” meant. So, I skipped over that part. At one point, I spontaneously lifted up my arms in praise. I suddenly felt a surge of heat zap my hands. I was stunned. Was this from the ceiling lamp? No it couldn’t be. The ceiling lamp was way too far away. Then it hit me. That’s what the Bible verse, “Do not let your hands hang limp” meant. It meant to lift up my hands and when I lifted up my hands, the Holy Spirit fell on them! At that moment, I knew it. God had given us the miracle! (Jesse, however, was unsure because he hadn’t felt anything.)
My conviction was so strong that the first thing I said to the doctor as I sat down in front of him the next morning was, “Can we have an x-ray? We believe that God has healed Jocelyn’s lung.” The doctor was reluctant to give Jocelyn another x-ray, as he said that Jocelyn had had so many x-rays already. I insisted. The doctor then said he would listen to her lung first and see. He listened for a LONG time. The longer he listened, the more excited I became. I knew he was hearing something that he had not heard before. There was air going through that lung!
So, Jocelyn was sent up for x-rays.
I remember pacing outside the doctor’s office like crazy, as we waited for the x- rays to return.
We were called into his room. The first thing the doctor said to us was, “What side did the technician x-ray?” As soon as I heard him ask this question, I knew that we had received our miracle! I didn’t expect the doctor to ask us which side of Jocelyn’s body was the x-ray taken. Usually doctors don’t ask technical questions of parents! My guess is that he thought that the technician must’ve x- rayed the wrong lung because this lung didn’t look like what he expected. He was looking at a working lung, not perfect, but it was working whereas it was gangrenous and dead, before. The doctor quizzed us several more times about what side did the technician x-ray? He didn’t believe me! The x-rayed showed that many of the cysts and most of the fluid had disappeared. Only one month had passed since we had been discharged.
We ran out of there very excited. I made a quick phone call at a public telephone to tell Katherine and then we rushed up to 10 floors to ICU to tell the nurses. Before we opened our mouths to tell them, they were congratulating us. They knew already! Only 10 minutes has passed…The doctor must have picked up the phone to tell ICU as soon as we had left his room.
We never went back for a check-up. The doctors were so gob-smacked they didn’t give us another appointment and we didn’t think to ask for one. That was June. In August, we moved back to Canada. Jocelyn had a check-up in Canada that autumn (only 5 months after we discovered her lung was gangrenous). The x-rays & CT scans showed a perfect lung. Two years later, Jocelyn had a lung- function test to test her lung-performance. It was perfectly normal. The pulmonologist said that if she didn’t know what Jocelyn had been through and had seen her old scans, she would never have guessed that her lung had ever sustained damage.
Jocelyn had been restored to as she was before, just as God had promised us in Jeremiah.
So here, we have before and after CT scan pictures of Jocelyn’s lung:
Photo 1 above: CT scan of Jocelyn’s lungs “before”. This is a view of multiple cross-section layers of Jocelyn’s two lungs. Her left lung (the part on your left, too) should look like her right lung, but everywhere you see white amongst the black blobby bits, is missing lung tissue
Photo 2 above: another picture of Jocelyn’s lungs “before”
Photo 3 above: This is an “after” CT scan (taken in Canada about 5 months after the revelation of her gangrene). Her left lung is obviously restored and the remaining white areas are the only signs of damage. These white areas would eventually disappear (heal completely) months later.
Photo 4: before & above (side by side): The left lung is smaller than the right lung, but this is normal in order to make space for the heart.
Jocelyn’s lung was perfectly healed. God miraculously rebuilt it. If a doctor looked at x-rays or CT Scans of her lung now, they would never know anything had ever happened to it.
Katherine said that God gave us that extra challenge to show us that He was the one who healed her from the beginning to the end and He wanted all the glory for it.
So you can imagine that this experience transformed me completely. Through that experience, I learned that God still speaks a direct word to his people; speaks through prophetic people; he still intervenes with miracles. God still heals. I don’t know why it had to happen this way, but I learned about the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit through that experience. For whatever reasons, God wanted me to learn through “on the job training!”.
So, what about today? I wish I could say that I now know the secret to God healing the sick. Unfortunately, I don’t. But because of what we went through, I have a real heart of compassion for those who are sick, and especially for those in hopeless situations. I understand quite well what they are going through. I’ve seen my daughter hooked up to everything in ICU,—looking as if she was already dead; therefore I’m not afraid to step into similar situations to offer prayer and support. When I pray, I don’t neglect to envision the possibility of the miraculous. This experience has enabled to believe for “more” than what the average Christian would expect from any situation. As such, if you spend any time with me, you’ll find me a rather “a-typical” kind of Christian. Let’s just describe it at that. If you know me at all, you’re probably nodding your head and smiling. If you’re my family, you’re probably wanting to pull your hair out hearing this comment, because you just plain know that I’m just WEIRD and wish their Mom would just “quit” being so weird and embarrassing. Well, I can’t help it–
I’m looking for the Holy Spirit to intervene again in my life in the same big way but this time for someone else, for the people around me. I’m looking for another outpouring of the Holy Spirit and this time, for the healing, restoration, and deliverance of the entire Body of Christ (his church!). Some call it “revival”. I call it, simply, —“God showing up”.
In the recent 15 years, I’ve come to call it “Elijah”. Malachi 4 says:
But for you who revere my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise withMalachi 4: 5-6
healing in his wings. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves!… See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the Fathers to their Sons, and the hearts of the Sons to their Fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction…
Yes, not a day goes by when I don’t look for Elijah, and each time he doesn’t show up, I’m disappointed, but I keep on waiting. Jesus has promised me that I will see Elijah, one day. Each time I pray for someone’s healing, for someone’s deliverance, for someone’s Inheritance,–I’m expecting the “more” from Jesus; I’m looking for Elijah.
My kids, despite how much they wish their Mom wasn’t so weird, also believe for “more” from God. Recently we were praying for comfort for a family who had lost someone to an early death. Micah, my son (13 years old at the time), asked us why we didn’t just pray that she would rise up from the dead? Well, my faith isn’t quite that strong–yet, but I am challenged to be believing God for more and more as time goes on, instead of less and less.
If I have a task to do today, I’m here solely to be an Intercessor to point you, his beloved child, back to the Father’s heart, as Elijah does in Malachi 4. We are in terrible times on earth. It’s so easy to feel that the church is terminal and its end is near. But, God taught me that when I thought things were terminal, it was only days before resurrection, actually! Things will turn around, and it may only be tomorrow. If I have one thing I want to accomplish today, it would be to let hope arise—in your heart, in your life, in your seemingly hopeless situation.
I see sickness and disease as a battle between the Kingdom of Heaven where there is no more sickness, no more tears, no more death; and our enemy, satan, who seeks to steal, kill, and devour. Your Kingdom come, God! Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!
The heart of God for the sick, broken, wounded, and bound beats in my heart. God knows what we go through and He cares and He is going to arrive and to arrive at just the right moment. He’s running to answer our prayers, in fact, –he told me, so!
I often think about the account of the Widow of Nain in Luke 7. She had just lost her only son and the funeral procession was passing by Jesus. I believe that when Christ saw the procession that his heart broke with grief. Being the Son of God and knowing the glories of heaven, isn’t it interesting that he felt grief at death?
Jesus could have let the funeral procession pass him by, but he couldn’t. Perhaps Jesus envisioned his own mother who would soon lose her beloved son walking that funeral procession. He couldn’t help himself. He had to step in …and He did.
He didn’t step in to show-off his power or to offer proof that he was the Son of God. Some people believe that healing no longer happens now because it only happened in the Bible because Jesus needed to give proof that he was the Son of God to the people around him. Oh no. This isn’t why Jesus healed. He stepped in because his heart feels pain, compassion, and love for the broken.
He could not not try to help! And the result of heart-ache and love put in action? It raised the Son back to life!
How should the story about Jocelyn’s healing and this account in the Bible of Jesus raising the son of the Widow of Nain, change us? It should push us to come out of our comfort zones and to lay hands on and pray for the sick, for the diseased, for the bound, for the broken, for the wounded, for the destitute, for the immoral, for those mixed up about their identity, for the hopeless, for the guilty. And to pray with faith and compassion, and not just out of a religious spirit! Why do we need to lay our hands on people when we pray for them? Let’s not do it out of a religious spirit because the text in the Bible tells us to. Love isn’t a formula, is it? We lay our hands as an expression of connection, love, and care —-not as a legalistic rule to be followed when praying for the sick.
Real empathy doesn’t come without a cost, though; we have to go through difficult times in order to have the empathy that is needed. This is in line with 2 Corinthians that says that we go through trials so that we can comfort others. What has God bought you through so that you can be a conduit of his resurrection power?
I believe that if only our love, compassion, and courage could match that of Christ’s, I feel that the church would see more displays of God’s power and the miraculous.
Love is the conduit to God’s power. Our home group loved Jocelyn and their love was the channel for God’s prophetic word and healing power to reach us. I didn’t know that God still speaks and that he still intervenes to heal, before this happened to us,– but there were friends in our home group who did–Katherine and Jackie– and they were bold enough to speak God’s truth to us. Will you do this for someone in your life?
Love is the conduit to God’s power. The church body may not fall short in knowledge about the power of God, but we fall short in our love for others. Love is caring more about someone else’s welfare than for ourselves. If we could get all that put right, I believe the church walls would be bursting for all the people who would come for a touch at Christ’s hem.