As new year dawned, for one desperately sick woman the future didn’t look at all promising. But after visiting Ffald-y- Brenin, to her delight she discovered that God does still heal today.
“The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” (Malachi 4 verse 2)
In a quiet village not far from Salisbury lived and worked one of England’s great 17th century poets, George Herbert, He had left a promising career to become a humble parish minister in a small village. His was a short life troubled by ill health, yet what he has left behind is a rich treasure of devotional poetry. I always have a much used copy of his poems on my bookshelf.
The Heart that Heals
One of my favourites is Herbert’s “Love Bade me Welcome“. This poem was set to music by Vaughan-Williams in his beautiful “Five Mystical Songs“. It was performed a few years ago at one of the BBC Proms.
“Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back.
Guilty of dust and sinne,
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything……..
The phrase that stands out for me in this first verse is:
“Sweetly questioning if I lacked anything“.
Not many would think of God in such heart-warming terms, but I can think of one woman who would? Here’s her story:
One January, suffering from an unpleasant and incurable skin infection this woman came to Ffald y Brenin desperately looking for healing. While there she felt very strongly that God was telling her to go and dip in the hillside spring in the Centre grounds. But this seemed an impossibly unrealistic thing to do and, besides, it was midwinter and the water was at freezing point! Dejectedly she ended her stay taking a bath in the bathroom ready to return home. She left with the feeling of having ignored the word to her, still most unwell and very broken in spirit.
The next morning at home she went to her own bathroom and looking in the mirror. realized to her utter amazement that she was completely healed. In her excitement she phoned the Centre to say what had happened, but adding that she was rather mystified. Why was she healed despite her not doing what God seemed to have been telling her?
Hearing this the member of the staff answering the phone laughed with delight, saying that there is no mains water at Ffald-y-Brenin. All its water is from the local spring. The woman’s bath had indeed been in the spring water!
What a lovely story of a Heavenly Father’s ‘over-the-top’ loving care and attention to one of his children. We don’t need to go to the spring – the spring comes to us.
In the New Testament Gospels there are about 50 of Jesus’ healing miracles described. The book of Act records another 40. Does God still heal today? If you ask anyone who has been to Ffald-y-Brenin they would say an emphatic yes.
Sometimes God surprises us with his goodness. At other times we wait in hopeful expectation. Grateful as we are for the way God often works through medical science, sometimes the NHS cannot answer all our problems. What relief then to know that Jesus the Healer is only a ‘prayer’s breath’ away. Those ‘thin places’ are closer to home than we think! Maybe we can’t go to Ffald-y-Brenin, but Ffald-y-Brenin’s blessing could come to us just where we are.
Wishing us all some joyful heavenly surprises this year.
Next Post – ‘My Indoor Winter Garden’