As I was helping my wife with breakfast this morning I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the brightness that seemed to glow from her beautiful brown eyes. That gleam in her eyes was one of the things that attracted me to her in the first place those many years ago! With the onset of Alzheimer’s that gleam has not always been there in the morning but today was one of the good days where the old spark of life in Piper was trying its best to re-exert its presence in her.
My immediate thought as I looked into her countenance today was the truth of how she always exhibited a zeal for life coupled with a strong child-like faith in God. Matthew 18:4 tells us that: “Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom.” (The Message) But don’t get me wrong here, while her faith may have been child-like it was far from childish or naïve. From the earliest days of our relationship she always seemed to be beyond her years in her Christian maturity. I believe her child-like faith was predicated on her ever-increasing knowledge of God’s Word. To be perfectly honest, she has always had a greater understanding of the Word of God than me.
She had a knack of memorizing scripture verses. It just seemed to come easy to her. When she would hear or study a portion of the Word that spoke to her heart (ie; received a rhema word from God – see last week’s blog posts) it was like she would automatically memorize it for later recall, for teaching purposes or to simply enfold it into her life. Piper was always excited about the things of God and lived to obey Him in whatever she felt He was calling her or us to do for Him.
When I completed Bible College and we returned home, I got the definite idea through things that were said and done, that there were some folks in her family who we’re under the impression that I must have coerced my wife to move to Oklahoma. At that time there was a lot of blame for Piper’s health situation directed to me and the school and church that we attended back there. But in reality, the opposite was true!
Piper’s immediate reaction when I shared that I felt that the Lord was telling us to go to Bible school was one of excitement and total agreement… and believe me… if there was any question from her about moving, I would have drawn back and re-evaluated everything I thought I was hearing from God! If she wasn’t in total agreement then we didn’t go! Over the years I have grown to greatly respect and honor her wisdom and thought on any and every decision we have ever made.
But once the decision was agreed on… watch out! For from then on, we were standing on the Word of God for every jot and tittle of the faith adventure we were following God into… and for anything we came across along the way, if the Word said it… then we believed it as so! One of Piper’s favorite sayings was “God said it, I believe it and that settles it!” That’s what I would call “Child-like faith!”
Over the past few weeks Piper and I have been reading from T.L.Osborn’s classic book on healing entitled: “Biblical Healing.” In it the great evangelist to Europe and Asia tells the story of his wife’s and his hunger to preach the gospel and pray for the sick. After initial efforts ministering to the Muslims overseas resulted in almost zero conversions they returned home to the US greatly discouraged. But even though they felt the sting of failure, the hunger inside of them still prevailed and they began to seek the Lord in earnest for answers.
Then when a well know healing evangelist came to their town they began to see the light as hundreds of people were instantly healed by the power of God in his crusades. As they pressed into the Lord in prayer and dug deeper into His Word they began to realize the reality of Hebrews 13:8 where the writer of the letter declares that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (God’s Word ©) They saw that this Word was in line with Mark’s words at the end of his gospel when he boldly recalled Jesus’ words and reported on the believer’s activities following Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of God stating: “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (KJV)
And that did it! With the child-like faith that God would do what He said in His Word, they set off again to China, Russia and other countries and began to see the results of their simple faith in God and His Word. Since then, T.L. Osborn and his Wife Daisy became “known for their mass-miracle ministry to millions.” They were “also the first missionary evangelists to attend open fields or parks, in non-Christian nations, to proclaim Christ and to pray for miracles as proof that ‘He is Alive.’” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._L._Osborn)
Brother Osborn would preach a simple evangelistic message concerning the need to except Jesus Christ as Savior, pray a salvation prayer and then share examples from Jesus’ healing ministry in the New Testament and conclude with a group healing prayer over the hundred’s in attendance… and the miracles would begin to occur all around the crowd. It was amazing… and it was all based on two people’s simple, child-like faith in God and His Word! But like Piper, they first had to KNOW what was in the Word before they could respond in child-like obedience to that Word!
That’s probably the biggest reason for “hearing” God’s Word on a personal level! (See: Luke 2:18) From there it only takes Child-like faith to see Him work in your life. Have a great week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to learn about God and His promises to me in His Word today?”