Illustration: Christina Wong/ Thir.st
Sometime ago, my mother had a minor health scare.
She discovered a tiny 2.6cm lump on her thyroid and was shaken by it. So she went to the doctor and booked a couple of scans and tests to have a better look at what the little lump was.
My family and her cell group were praying for her during this period. We were praying that God would give my mother peace in an anxious time, but also for Him to bring healing and peace to her body. We prayed that the lump would be just a harmless lump and fade away if possible.
In due course, the results from the medical scans and tests came back, and “not suspicious” was the verdict.
We cheered and gave thanks. I knew clearly that God had chosen to preserve my mother’s life. But what I didn’t know was the incredible way with which He answered that prayer.
As it turned out, my mother didn’t give us the whole story beyond the test results when she received them.
I had noticed, since discovering the lump, that she’d once again started reading the Bible nightly. It seemed like the health scare had reignited a new spark within her to pick up her old spiritual disciplines again.
I didn’t think too much of it: Crises have a way of pushing us closer to God. So I wasn’t surprised to see that she was looking to God for help and encouragement.
Now, what actually happened was that when she was having a lot of negative thoughts, her friend texted her to remind her not to believe in Satan’s lies and discouragement. That got her back onto the reading the Bible diligently and to replace the negative thoughts and doubts with God’s words and promises (Mark 11:22-24).
She also revealed another fascinating thing about her Bible reading much later on: She said that in the past, whenever she read the Bible, she would frequently have dreams and visions.
She told me that for the first time in a long time, she had had one such dream again two days before she collected her test results.
This dream was a vivid one, it felt real.
My mother was sitting at a table at in a restaurant, which looked something like a luncheon room at Fairmont Hotel.
There were some friends whom she recognised sitting at other tables, but she was by herself at her own table.
Just then, a gust of wind rushed into the restaurant from behind.
Before she could turn around, she felt a hand holding the back of her neck. She couldn’t see the face of the man who was doing this, but he was wearing a white shirt. None of this was threatening. Then she started shaking and felt a sensation in her toes, like some adjustments had been made to her body.
She wondered if it was God healing her in the dream.
Immediately after, my mother heard another person telling the one who was holding her neck that he was required to look at another person: “You are required elsewhere.”
Then the man left her and the dream ended, and my mother woke up feeling encouraged.
I’ve already told you how the story ends: My mother’s test results came back all clear.
She had only told one of her church pastors about the dream she had, not even us, almost not daring to believe that God would deliver her out of trouble in such an incredible way.
The dream was no nightmare; its specificity and mum’s good test results tell me that she had a miraculous dream where she was healed by God that night.
God or one of His angels had appeared to my mother in a dream — in a time when she was anxious and in need — and gave her peace and healing.
She sees the dream as a culmination of a process of repentance and dispensing forgiveness. And she tells me that through this episode, God reminded her how real He is. He reassured her that He is near and can be found when sought with a sincere heart, ploughing the Word.
All glory to God for His grace and mercy!
But I couldn’t let this episode end there.
As I reflected on what God had done, I realised that I didn’t really grasp the power of prayer and God’s miraculous nature.
Though I prayed fervently for my mother, I didn’t expect enough of God. That is to say, while I did expect healing — a miracle in itself — I didn’t expect it to turn out quite this … Miraculous.
I just assumed things would turn out alright in a composed manner, like words on paper or a chart indicating healthy patterns in my mum.
I honestly didn’t expect such she would end up having such an incredible testimony to share. And that tells me that either I need to pray more faithfully, or I need to have a right view of God.
My mother’s dream sounds pretty miraculous, but the truth is God can use dreams to speak to us or to impact us. She tells me she receives dreams and visions when she’s walking closely with God.
Early examples in the Bible of divine dreams include Abraham’s dream (Genesis 15) and Jacob’s dream at Bethel (Genesis 28:10-22). And in the New Testament, we read of the angel appearing after Herod’s death to Joseph in Egypt (Matthew 2:19).
So we know that this is one way that God speaks to men; one way He also warns them and pronounces judgment (Daniel 2:45).
This is also what the Bible says about dreams: “For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword” (Job 33:14-18).
In my mother’s case, the dream did many of those things. Encouraged, she has turned back to God in repentance and had that dream of deliverance.
So what do we you really believe about God?
When we pray to Him, what do we actually think He’ll do? And what do we expect Him to?
Our expectations of what God will do reveal how much — or little — we really know about Him.
I have realised that the God of miracles all those thousands of years ago in the Old and New Testament — He’s still the same today.
We worship an unchanging God who is the Creator!
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)
When we pray, we are calling upon a Father God who has worked awesome wonders for us in the past (Deuteronomy 10:21) — a loving God who can do the same in the present if He so chooses.
But answered prayers and miracles are never the ends. Think of the woman at the well who could scarcely contain herself, having to tell every soul in town of the miraculous Messiah she had met (John 4:28).
Think of Mary and Mary Magdalene who found Jesus’ tomb empty and met an angel of the Lord in a violent earthquake (Matthew 28:1-10) — their response was to tell the world about Jesus.
What would life look like if we made that our first instinct? If every “small” or miraculous thing the Lord did for us became something we couldn’t wait to tell the world about.
If there be miracles, let them glorify God. Signs and wonders be ever to His glory!