At least that’s what Simon Holley said.
As a Newfrontiers church leader he was no stranger to the idea that God sometimes works in ways that can’t be explained away.
The Newfrontiers family of churches were founded on the idea that God may intervene into our world. And Simon had read about God’s intervention in parts of the Two Thirds world – churches in Africa, Latin America, south east Asia spoke of God’s healing and his miracles. Trouble is, Simon had concluded that God was not probably going to intervene in the town of Bedford, where his church is located.Until, that is, Simon heard a story.
The story was of a 23 year old guy shopping for a doughnut in a grocery store in Redding small city in northern California. As he passed a check out aisle he noticed a woman with hearing aids and asked her how long she had had hearing problems. He learned she was 90% deaf in her left ear and 85% in her right over 30 years. So he asked if he could pray for her. She was surprised to discover that he meant there and then. Asking permission, he placed his hands on the ears, and asked her to take the hearing aids out. He then prayed for God to heal and after a short prayer tested out whether she could now hear by first whispering into her ear and then speaking 30 feet away. The woman was able to repeat everything he said.
A young check out clerk was watching astonished and both women had tears in their eyes as they realised what had happened.
He then told the checkout clerk that this must have been God. She nodded in agreement. He explained that he believed God wanted to heal more people in the store that evening, and noticing the intercom microphone asked if he could use it to tell the people in the store. She said yes and so he was able to announce:
‘God is in the building! He has just healed a woman of deafness! ‘ He then asked the woman who had been healed to briefly share her story. He sensed words of knowledge for wrist, hip headaches and stomach pain and invited anyone with those symptoms to come to aisle 10. After a while a small group gathered and God healed those who came, including a woman with a hip problem who was in the store in her motorised cart. As she tried out her hip following prayer, she was able to walk and then riun and started screaming, ‘Jesus has just healed me’.
This story had a profound impact upon Simon. If God was healing people in a ‘small town America’, why not in a relatively prosperous town in middle England?
And at the start of 2008 he announced to the church that he was looking for God to heal 100 people on the streets in the next five years.
There was an intake of breath at this point. They hadn’t seen any at that point.
January passed, nothing and in February nothing. Then a guy on a train had the courage to pray for a woman’s neck condition and saw her completely healed.
By the end of the first year, 69 had been healing in one year out on the streets.
All of which might cause us to ask the following:
- What stories have we heard that might inspire us to change?
- If we want to see change but are discouraged, who can we talk to who has been where we were and seen progress?
- What stories do we need to be telling to inspire others?
You could be one story away from a real and genuine breakthrough.