In relating this experience, which came to me recently, I do so, trusting that it will give help and encouragement to others who may have a desperate encounter with the enemy. For a quarter of a century, I have enjoyed almost uninterrupted health, and on several occasions when sickness has attempted to secure a foothold in our home, God miraculously intervened and delivered us from all the works of Satan. I say this not boastfully, but as one who is humbly grateful for God’s grace and mercy, which He has always seen fit to extend to us.
A few weeks ago, I was engaged in some important business in the East. It required my being up ’till very late hours, and on some nights, I secured very little sleep. This was nothing new to me, since ordinarily, two o’clock in the morning his been the time I usually retire.
THE DEVIL STRIKES UNAWARES
About a day or two after I began this business trip. I became aware that a boil of some kind was forming on the back of my neck. Boils are usually inconsequential incidents, and I hardly gave the matter a passing thought. The next day, however, I noticed that the swelling was not the same as that of an ordinary boil. Had I been at home, I certainly would have followed my usual pattern of action when any kind of sickness has seemed to threaten. I mean by this that at such times I always wait upon God until I feel that I have dominion over what may seem to be portending trouble. But I was at the busiest part of my journey and matters I was dealing with were of such nature they were occupying all my attention and time. My mistake was a common one – people usually do not get in earnest when an affliction threatens, until the thing becomes securely entrenched.
Concluding my business on Friday, I found myself at the great Washington, D. C. airport, a little after midnight, standing by for possible space on an airliner headed west. It was at this time that I realized something was seriously wrong. The boil now extended over a space of several inches in width and was quite painful.
I was fortunate to get a plane that took me as far as Memphis But arriving at the city, I was too weak to proceed further, and so remained overnight in a hotel. By morning, I found that the infection had spread across my entire neck, and was extremely hard and painful when touched.
I LEARN THE SERIOUSNESS OF MY CONDITION
While waiting for a plane, I determined to find out just what the trouble was, and made an inquiry of a local physician. He took just a brief glance and his face paled. Looking at me earnestly, he said, “Sir, I am sorry to tell you this, but this is a most serious infection – it is a carbuncle, and has developed to the point where it is going to give you great trouble; such things often result in – – – ” his voice trailed off, and then continued, “the infection is near your spinal cord, and can result in spinal meningitis.” He spoke decisively, “You must have medical treatment at once.”
I was weak and exhausted and in no condition to argue. So I said, “Doctor. I thank you for this information, but I will do nothing until I reach Shreveport. My plane leaves shortly.” The physician was a kindly man, and he was convinced I did not realize the gravity of the situation, He admonished, he urged, he cajoled, he begged, he almost threatened. But I was adamant. If this was a matter of life and death, then I must throw myself on the mercy of Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer; and weak as I was, I did not feel that I could convince him. He looked at me again and, almost with tears in his eyes, said, “If you do not have the money, don’t worry over that. Your life is more important than money.” Of course, the money was not the object, and I could not but appreciate the kindly solicitude of the physician.
When the doctor saw that I would not undergo medical treatment in Memphis, he turned to me and said, “I’ll let you go on one condition – that you will call your physician as soon as, you reach Shreveport.” I replied, “Doctor, I promise you that the moment I get to Shreveport I’ll call on my Physician.” I kept that promise, even before I got to Shreveport. I most earnestly called on my Physician – the Great Physician, the Sympathizing Jesus.
THE BATTLE BEGINS
In Shreveport, the battle began. I believe that an answer from heaven came the first day, but due to an organized attack of the powers of hell, the result was not manifest immediately.
Because of the peculiar part The Voice of Healing (TVH) plays in these great salvation-healing revivals the devil evidently believed he could effect a damaging blow, if he could get its editor out-of-the-way. No man is indispensable, yet each of us is given a task that is peculiarly our own.
Having great confidence in the prayers of others, I sent out telegrams to several of my brethren containing the following words:
“The devil has struck me with a serious infection. I am convinced as with Daniel, the answer has already been sent. Undoubtedly this attack is tied up with the devil’s attempt to frustrate the rapidly growing work of TVH. Please hold on to God with me for the manifestation of complete deliverance.” Gordon Lindsay
At this point, I wish to express my deep appreciation for all those who held faith with me, and some who visited and prayed with me. We are members of one Body, and the prayers and faith of others are of great significance and importance.
I asked my wife to bring me a medical dictionary from the office. I wanted to find out just how bad a carbuncle was. Although she has a good memory, each day she “forgot” to bring it. Later, when I was back at the office, I read what it had to say. It was as follows: CARBUNCLE: A name applied to a very painful-and dangerous affection – the skin gives way at several places, and through these openings, the core of the carbuncle is seen as a grayish-white slough – it is accompanied by severe general disturbance, due to the absorption of poisons produced by the microbes in the carbuncle — the process causes great exhaustion to the patient, and from this exhaustion, or more actual poisoning, death often follows. It is customary to open the carbuncle with a cross-shaped incision…”
After I read this doleful obituary, I had a suspicion that my wife “forgot” to bring the book on purpose.
THE BATTLE RAGES
For three days the battle raged. I could feel the terrific impact of spiritual forces in action, in which the carbuncle seemed to be the nerve center of the battle arena. In the natural, the issue seemed in doubt, But in the spiritual realm, God gave me peace, and I could feel that the Spirit of God was raising up a standard against this menacing power that was searching for my life. The struggle went on for hours. Sometimes in the middle of the night. After I had prayed for healing I ceased begging or crying. I have often seen this method used and it is worse than useless. I just kept praising God for the victory that I knew was surely mine.
One other thing I did. I searched my life carefully, and asked the Spirit of God to turn the searchlight on anything that was displeasing to Him. An attack by the enemy should always be a means of drawing us closer to God. A great mistake, and one alas made too often, is that when Satan strikes, people begin to whine and say, “I don’t know why this had to come on me.” An attack by the enemy, may not indicate any out broken sin, but it often indicates that we have let the devil break down the hedge of Divine protection somewhere, if only that we have failed to obey the laws of rest, diet, health, etc.
When one is in severe pain, the greatest battle is to reject the false sense knowledge that denies the promise of God. If not properly taught, one is almost certain to accept the verdict of the pain, rather than to praise God for this sure promise of healing and deliverance.
A PREMATURE VICTORY
On Tuesday afternoon, I felt that victory had come. Simultaneously the great swelling opened and the poison began to drain out. Every hour or so, my wife would put a fresh hot pack on the place of infection, and the draining continued without cessation. The pain had ceased, and at last I could fully relax. God had graciously prevented the affliction from passing to any other part of my body – a remarkable exception to the normal and usual course of a carbuncle.
A DIABOLICAL TRICK OF THE ENEMY
I will admit that I was not prepared for the next development. Apparently Satan considered that there was much at stake in the outcome of the battle and had no intention of retiring from the field until he had played his last card. My father and mother were visiting us at the time. Father, who is seventy-eight years of age, had never been really sick once in his life. He has led a very temperate life, and has hardly known what sickness is.
At one o’clock on Wednesday morning, my wife was applying cloths, for the poison was flowing out very rapidly, and every couple of hours, she would apply the cloths. I had completely relaxed, and was enjoying the rest that was stealing over my body. At that moment my father came into the room. I thought perhaps he had come to see how I was, but one look at him and I knew something definitely was wrong. His face grimaced with pain.
He informed us that his kidneys had locked, and I could see that he was in great agony. I also perceived that he was suffering so much that he would not be able to get victory himself. Satan, frustrated, had apparently lashed out against him.
I was distressed. There was my poor old father, whose hands had soothed my brow many a time. When, as a child, I was in need, he had waited on me more times than I can remember. Now there he was in pain and suffering, begging me to pray for him. It was almost more than I could bear. I arose from my bed, and with all my strength began rebuking the enemy. But soon my strength was exhausted, and I had to fall back on my bed. Five or six times, I arose to rebuke the enemy, but at last I fell back utterly exhausted. (Father recovered, for which we are thankful – Praise God!)
HAD I LOST MY HEALING?
As for me, I fell into a fitful sleep of exhaustion. I would see hallucinations and time-after- time I would wake with a sudden start. At length in the afternoon my wife came and looked at the carbuncle. It was red and angry, had increased in size, and worse – it had completely closed up. She had little to say. Her face was solemn, and the thought came to me, “Had I, through this overexertion, lost my healing?” Temptations, which are nothing at all in normal times, loom large when one’s strength is completely exhausted. Yet, in my extremity, God helped me. I grimly determined to refuse to accept anything but that God had healed me. That was my decision, live or die, sink or swim.
Having no strength to pray, I picked up the Bible and read the story of Hezekiah’s sickness unto death. He too had been afflicted with a terrible boil or carbuncle, and when he had inquired of the Lord, the prophet had brought him word, “Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live.” I read on. I saw how Hezekiah had turned his face to the wall, and had plead with God to spare him and give him additional years of life. As a result of his prayers. God sent him a message that he should recover, and have fifteen additional years.
I read further. Though Hezekiah had been told of his healing, yet apparently the symptoms were still there – the hideous, terrible, death-dealing carbuncle was still on his body.
The pain was there, and nothing apparently had changed. To stimulate his faith, he asked God for a sign. He was given his choice of whether the shadow would go forwards or backwards ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. Looking objectively at Hezekiah we would probably think that the miracle of the shadow moving on the sundial would be far beyond the mere healing of a carbuncle. But as I lay there in bed, I could understand how that terrible, painful, nervewracking boil, loomed larger to Hezekiah than anything else. He asked that the shadow go backward ten degrees, in order to give him faith for healing of his affliction, of which as Yet he saw no signs of abatement.
Not in a moment, but gradually, I realized that God had given me a greater sign than He gave to Hezekiah – the sign of the Son of Man, “by Whose stripes we were healed.” And “Who took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” And when He did this on Calvary, the sun did not just retreat ten degrees, but it withdrew its shining altogether! When Jesus died, darkness came upon the face of the entire land! Calvary is a sign to every sick person that Jesus has borne his sickness.
As I lay in bed, praising God for the healing, it seemed that a new strength came tome, and a voice seemed to say, “Do not doubt your healing.” I fell asleep believing that victory had come, and Satan was defeated. When I awoke in the morning, I found that the swelling was going down rapidly, and the poison was again flowing from it. That was Thursday. By Monday, I was back at the office working, and. that evening I attended a church service.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord on the third day. I believe that I could have gone on the third day also, but friends told me I had better wait another day.
After Isaiah pronounced the healing, be also recommended that a special poultice should be placed on the boil. (II Kings 20:7) The poultice had nothing to do with the miracle of healing, but its use demonstrates the fact that the Bible teaches that sympathetic care of the sick is in harmony with and not opposed to Divine healing. The external application of it fig poultice was applied to the swelling to draw the poison out. We didn’t have any figs, but we obtained qualified advice as to what kind of poultice should be applied (Isa. 38:21).
My testimony is that of Hezekiah after he had been healed. “The Lord was ready to save me, therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.” Isa. 38:20.
Voice of Healing, November, 1951 page 4