Long thin fingers waved through the air, like she was striking the strings of an invisible harp. Arms extended high above her head, white flowing sleeves caught a breeze and gave the image of angel wings. Her hair was red, long, curly long, and a little frizzy at the ends. A face, pale except for red lipstick, was raised up, toward the sky, the lights of the arena shining down on her, as if God Himself were smiling, and blessing her, right there in front of everyone’s eyes.
“Sing” her voice called to the giant choir behind her. “My favourite hymn,” her voice was melodic, smiling, and the makeshift group behind her stood, five hundred in number, and began to sing “How Great Thou Art”, voices rising to the ceiling and beyond. To the very throne of God, we were sure.
I was one of those singers, so many years ago. I stood on those makeshift benches, my voice blending with the others, caught in an excitement that ran through us all as we watched this woman begin to exercise the gift God gave her.
Now her fingers moved from the air, down to her sides, as people started to file up to the platform to get close to this solitary angel. Her smiling words could be heard through a squealing microphone, could be heard up above the noise of the packed room, as if she were in a theatre, the star performer.
One child in particular stays in my mind. He started out with a brace, and one leg shorter than the other. By the time this woman was finished praying, her voice again dramatic in the brightly lit room, his little legs were equal length. He ran back and forth across the stage to prove it to everyone. His mother stood and watched, and like the rest of us, wiped tears from her eyes before catching him in a giant hug and yelling “Praise the Lord, over and over.
People with diseases, and tumors and bad finances. They all came, one by one, and she touched them, with those long slender fingers, ministering the healing of a loving God. She pulled cigarette packages from their pockets and stomped them on the stage with a boisterous laugh. We laughed with her. She touched bowed heads with those hands and down they went, slain in the spirit, and came up again, smiling, a little dazed, but filled with new faith.
And then, when she was finished, she walked off the stage, leaving it empty, as if somehow God Himself left with her.
I used to want to be the theatrical woman. I dreamed of healing scores of hurting people, and I prayed constantly to God for this very special gift. I told Him I could live without the red hair and long white robes. I don’t know what my real motives were back then. The fame? Maybe. The adoration? Probably. But needless to say, God didn’t answer that prayer. Not in that way anyway.
The woman of the slender fingers and long white sleeves was an inspirational figure that I haven’t seen since. Maybe her MO wasn’t traditional in any sense of the word, but when she left,she left behind a crowd of people who felt they’d seen the power of God right there in front of them. To feel Him touch them as if He were standing at their side. Not everyone was healed, and I don’t know if the healings that did happen, all took, so to speak. But I do know that the desire for this gift still nudges its’ way into my prayers from time to time.
Did Kathryn heed the nudge and grow a gift into a worldwide ministry? Does God choose our gift, or do we? And just how much creativity does He allow us to use in developing it?
I guess whether the gift is quiet, unseen, moving behind the scenes, or on display for all to see, the responsibility is the same.
“...I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands...” 2 Tim.1:6 (NIV)
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