As the rough, oil covered hands began to rub my belly, I had no strength to ask her to stop. Even if I could, I am not sure I would have wanted to. Why? Because the oily hands were accompanied by powerful prayers.
Here’s the rest of the story …
Several years ago, I was in Jamaica on a mission trip. Our agenda was to help lay persons, pastors and counselors better understand trauma and how to help those who had experienced it.
While on this trip, about half of the group members became very ill. A number of individuals even wound up in the local emergency room.
After diagnoses from Meningitis to Gastroenteritis, it was concluded that the ailment was indeed some severe form of an intestinal infection. Because it could not be determined if this was viral or bacterial, some individuals received antibiotics and some did not.
When I became ill that Wednesday morning on a HOT October day, I chose not to go to the hospital. At the moment I was helping to teach a group of precious elementary children some sign language to interpret Christian songs. Praise the Lord all of my other official duties for the week were complete. And I am also so thankful that a dear friend in the group stepped in and helped with the students when I was too weak to stand.
After a while, I could no longer even sit and went into the open air sanctuary to lie down. I was not sitting very close to the group of church members praying that morning, but they sensed I was in need and came over.
This is when the prayers began. The prayers for healing. The prayers for strength. Although the oily hands covering my body were slightly out of my comfort zone, I knew the prayers were sincere. So, so, so sincere.
James 5:24 says that if we are sick we should call for the elders of the church to pray over us and anoint us with oil in the name of the Lord. These older adults of this precious body of believers did that for me without my asking. Really, without my consent. But what a blessing!
For the next several days, I lay on a couch in a beautiful house that had no air conditioning and no hot water. Even the slightest sip of fluids would send my body into excruciating convulsions. I did make it home on a flight the Sunday after the illness began thanks to some heavy duty Imodium. I arrived home safe and sound, and 10 pounds lighter.
I have no doubt that the prayers offered by these beautiful Jamaican people were heard by our Savior and that the Lord intervened as a result. Although miserable, He provided me a path to full recovery.
So, yeah, I’ll take those oily hands any day … as long as they come with heartfelt words lifted up to our Heavenly Father.