by Rochelle M. Gibler
Here is a book that should be on every Christian shelf. In 1987, the author Rochelle M. Gibler received a miraculous healing. Since that time, she has traveled the world documenting miracles.
The Power of Miracles is a collection of stories of people who have been healed of Aids, cancer, madness, allergies, blindness, depression, paralysis. The book is about miracles but it is also a study in discernment. Because “fraud and spiritual deceptions are everywhere.
She tells us early in the book what we already know. People are sick and dying and hospitals can’t help them. The church in the western world is no help either. Many priests and pastors are embarrassed about miracles. And many pastors, disregard the historical healings throughout the ages -The Scottish Covenanters, the first Baptists, Martin Luther, the early Methodists– and repeat the old lie that “the age of miracles is past.” This leads people and many brave doctors who believe in alternative medicine to turn to questionable means of healing. Gibler explains in her book, that these questionable methods – hypnosis, and others- can lead people into supernatural errors and even worse problems. Especially if modern medical science and psychology are dabbling in it.
So what is a terminally ill person with AIDS to do? Well, if they were in Africa, they might very well seek out a pastor with a gift for healing. Strangely -or perhaps not so strangely– healings and miracles occur at astonishing rates among African believers, especially those African believers who have not been brainwashed by those westernized missionaries whose minds are so trained by the world -as opposed to the Bible- that it is hard for them “to imagine a personal God, like a friend, acting on their behalf.”
Many Africans, on the other hand, still live among witch doctors and so they understand supernatural power, good and evil. When they get baptized, they truly understand that they are turning away from the kingdom of the devil. But even more, they have no hospitals, no medicines, no hope but God.
The book details Gibler’s personal experiences with various kinds of healings. She discusses Pastor Simeon Kayiwa a Ugandan pastor with a tremendous gift of healing who has been known to heal AIDS and cancer. (The book is full of hospital and governmental documentation of these healings.) She also discusses other avenues of healing: Lourdes, forgiveness, exorcism, and prayers for the dead, and the healing of homes.
Ah I hear a few evangelical North Americans raising their eyebrows at the notion of talking to saints or praying for the dead, especially those dead who haunt places. Generally, the typical North American evangelical believes that “spooky” stuff is demonic. But Christians are far and wide. And when I was a child, it was not unusual for an Anglican minister to pray for the peace of the dead. When encountering a seemingly demonic situation, they didn’t immediately send the troubling spirit to hell, they made sure they sent it to “its own God-appointed place.” She discusses the prayers made by some Archbishops over the Bermuda Triangle for instance. The Triangle was the place where slave ships tended to throw their sick slave cargo overboard because insurance often paid them more money than a sick slave would ever get on the market. After all, one doesn’t want to treat an unquiet human spirit like a demon, would one? And didn’t St Paul speak of proxy baptism for the dead?
The question of course is, if Christianity has such a wide range of traditions and communities, how can one discern what is real healing? Some people believe in the intercession of the saints (those departed and in heaven.) Other Christians do not. Some believe in the laying on of hands and in being slain in the spirit, others look at these manifestations and like the Pharisees of old say that any healing that comes from something so flaky and unscriptural can’t be God’s work but the work of the devil. She discusses generational sins (something we might understand if we trace one of the patriarchal sins -the constant lying that began with Abraham’s lie about Sarah being his sister and which culminated in Jacob lying and being lied to by almost everyone in his path.)
Gibler doesn’t pick on various denominational traditions. But she helps us to see how the westernized Christians are so far from the Biblical traditions when it comes to healing. And she is saddened that Christians and non-Christians seek spiritually dangerous methods of healing because God doesn’t seem like an option. It’s a great book, filled with documented healing stories and wonderful insights into the western mind. It’s a fun conversational read that glorifies God and will prompt its readers to perhaps, just perhaps, hope in a miracl