A few years back I started posting the highlights from my morning Bible reading on Facebook. It has become my public daily diary of scriptures that God is speaking to me about. One of the cool things about Facebook is the response of people to those Bible passages.
Recently, Hope Fleming posted her testimony in response to the scripture I posted ‘of a man that was lying at the pool of Bethesda…He had been sick for thirty-eight years.’ (John 5:1-24 NLT). Hope’s testimony is so profound, that I asked her if I could share it.
Hope’s Testimony: I am that woman that was at the pool of Bethesda. I was born with cerebral palsy. I was healed at the age of thirty-three years old. It is how I know of grace, God’s amazing grace. The night I was healed, I was in a bad mood, I never asked to be healed and no one prayed for me… and I was pretty scared too. But it is not about me but about Him.
My daddy changed my name to Hope when I was several months old. It was shortly after I was brought home from the hospital. My parents were told I would die…there was no ‘Hope’ but God….
My Dad was a new Christian. He had come to the Lord out of alcoholism but my mom’s family were part of the founders of PAOC (The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada). Dad believed everything the Bible said, but my Mom ‘knew’ differently. She had never seen people healed of cerebral palsy. But, she did not challenge my dad’s child-like faith. She had a fear that he would go back to alcohol.
I was diagnosed at a year old and my parents were encouraged to institutionalize me…it was the 50’s. My right side was crippled. I was told I would never walk. I was also diagnosed as being mentally retarded (politically correct then). I have learned from music that ‘retard’ means slow…that was a relief because I truly was slow at most things. My childhood was ‘surgery one year’ with a ‘break the next year’. I had physiotherapy every day from the age of ten.
We often know God by how we experience Him. On October 1, 1989, my husband and I went to Sunday night church, it was the same as any other Sunday night. The only reason I went was because a lady wanted a ride to church. I was planning on leaving after a few songs. I was tired and there was a good movie on TV that night. Besides, I knew more about God than that new youth pastor that was speaking that night.
That evening, I was at the back of the church and saw three prisms of light. Now, I was not one who normally saw anything different, but those prisms of light stopped me from exiting the church. As I continued to watch, the two prisms further away merged together and went into the one in the front. And then, they were gone. It stopped me in my tracks!!!!
A man, that I know and love, gave a prophetic word (word from God) that night. He said that there was someone with paralysis on the right side of their body that God wanted to heal. The Lord wanted to show His power in an unusual way. I knew who it was, but I had never signed up for this or even asked to be healed. I knew my daddy had prayed for my healing before he passed away, but I was just fine the way I was. I was truly scared.
When I was in my early thirties, the Lord had showed me that I was pretty judgemental. God reminded me….Don’t judge the drug addict … You did not do drugs because you already had enough brain damage! …. Don’t judge the woman who has been unfaithful to her husband…. Don’t judge those who do not know the word of God the way you do… You have had a lot more time being cooped up…. You get the picture!
God showed me that it was His love that had hemmed me in with my limitations. I probably would have made many poor choices if I had all the options available. I could see God’s purpose with this little crippled body and I knew I was blessed.
The last thing I expected was healing….I argued with God as I was sitting in that pew… “I never asked You for my healing. I can’t trust me”…. But, I heard God speak very clearly to that protest. God said, “I didn’t tell you to trust you, but can you trust Me?”
There were thirty-eight people that went forward that night. I do not know what the rest of the prophetic word was that night but I was quite sure they did not have paralysis. All the pastors were busy praying with everyone else when I came forward. All I knew was, my life as I knew it, was changing forever.
The pastor asked everyone to put their hands up to worship the Lord, to receive from Him. But I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and simply bowed and wept. No one prayed for me! But I left the alter that night knowing I was healed.
The next part of the service was challenging. I wanted to try out my new body. My little foot was upright instead of hanging. My toes could move. The ‘freezing’ was coming out of my right side. I started to take off my layers of clothing until my husband, Don, told me to stop. The right side had feeling, but it took two and a half days for the full numbness to come out of my right side.
At the end of the service, I knew I had to tell Glen and Bev Taylor what was going on in my body. (They have a son with severe CP) I remember Glen shaking the pastor and telling him ,’You don’t understand, she was born with cerebral palsy!”
I was afraid to go to sleep that night just in case it was a dream. Eight years later, at forty-one years of age, my doctors from Toronto flew out to interview me. They said they would tell me what they found in my body and then I would tell them my story.
I also wanted to challenge the doctors for telling me, as a little girl, that I would never walk. In my mind I have always walked… just different than most. It was that day that I learned that the Lord had given me a brand new spine that night and a new right hip. Ha… I did not even know the Lord did that kind of stuff! It was God’s amazing grace…. so amazing!
I learned, two years after being healed, that it was my dad’s dying prayer that I would be healed in God’s perfect timing. Eighteen years after he died, his prayer was answered…. maybe my dad bothered the Lord continually for his little ‘Hopey’. The faith and prayers of our father’s never die.
Shortly after I was healed, I asked the big question, “Why?” Although I did not think that God would have an answer for me, but He did!
My husband and I have a cottage that sits on cement blocks. God asked me, “How deep is that foundation?” I replied, “Oh Lord, a good wind would destroy that building…it has no foundation.” Then God then asked me to do something unusual. He asked me to go downtown to where they were constructing a high rise building. Now… I know nothing about buildings except about how to live in one.
The builders were digging the foundation. I would wait a few weeks and go back downtown and then a few months and then a few more months and a few more…. it took forever. When they finally started on the construction above ground level, the building finished quickly. God spoke to me… your foundation is in cerebral palsy…that is how you know Me. There are no other answers. Rest in Him… He knows what He is doing!
What God has done for me, I pray He will do for you and more!
What an amazing healing!
Comments from Facebook:
Hope Fleming: Wow Mark thank you for taking all those pieces posted and making them one….you are my FB pastor. That is what I call making the most of every opportunity! Hope Fleming
Bev Taylor: “Mark, Glen and I were at church the night God healed Hope. I will never forget it. I know that God does all things well, He heals, and He does things ‘in the fullness of time’. I also know God doesn’t heal everyone, but He is sovereign. Darren has been a blessing to many people through the years, in spite of his disability. We can’t understand God, but we know He does His will…. thank you Mark, for putting Hope’s testimony in print – it is a wonderful to read.. Bev”
Hope Fleming: I will never forget either of you (Bev & Glen Taylor) that night… I had to tell someone who understood what CP was. You and Glen were number one in that department. Watching Darren worship is probably one of the purest pictures of worship for me.
Georgia Martin: Thank you sweetheart!, I have heard this before, but even more impacting now to see it in print and encouraging, all over again!!!
Dawn Anne Brown: Still brings me to tears, always will… so blessed to have been a witness to the impossible, to know your journey from my earliest memories and on through the years of being your sister. Can’t imagine my world without you. God has given us all so much in your healing, the best gift ever!! Thank you Jesus!!
Hope Fleming: alright now I have tears… The Lord knew I needed all the help I could get, so he sent you straight from heaven eleven months after I was born. You did everything before me and cheered me on my whole life. ‘Come on Hopey, you can do it!’ echoes throughout my life. You are my gift straight from The Lord ….. forever, for always!
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