Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the
good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among
the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to
Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the
demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them.
Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the
region across the Jordan followed Him. Matthew 4:23-25 (emphasis mine).
Every so often I hear about a modern-day miracle. My immediate response is to be thankful for God’s hand in our lives. I thank Him for the discovery of new modern medicines and the steady hands of surgeons. I thank Him for lives changed when current-day demons are removed, and/or addiction overcome. Everyone might not consider these things the works of God’s hands, but I often wonder how it would be if we were living in the first century and SAW Jesus perform miracles and healings. Would more people follow Him?
I recently walked alongside a friend with a health issue that seemed dire. In the month-long process of praying and asking for healing, the question I posed above was formed and added to: “I wonder how many people once they hear this story, will give the credit to God, and take the next step of running towards God?”
You’ll have to let me know once you read Silvio’s Miracle.
For years, our dear friend Silvio was experiencing shortness of breath and having difficulty walking up a flight of stairs. Finally, the pulmonologist suggested a CT scan, followed by a PET scan. A nodule on the right lung was found, as well as something glowing around the nodule and the lymph node. The CT report referred to it as highly suspicious of lung cancer. The PET scan would show if it had spread to other parts of his body, assuming it was metastatic cancer. The medical community was suspicious that it was already in the lymph nodes and from there would begin spreading. The pulmonologist’s assessment after reviewing both scans was that surgery would not be an option, due to Silvio’s age and health. So, the next steps were to schedule a biopsy, as well as meetings with an oncologist and a radiologist the following week, and for Silvio and his wife, Ann, to wait at home.
But Silvio wasn’t going to let this diagnosis get him down. He told me, “I am 82 years old, whatever it is, it is. I’m not going to sit at home or lay in bed and be concerned about my future. Whatever it is, I want to be joyful in everything I do. God says we should be joyful in all things.” So, he did what he normally does on Tuesday night, he headed over to Joe’s firepit for Beers and Bible. He shared this story with me: “I am standing in the middle of these guys, Joe stood behind me and wrapped his arms across my chest while the other men laid their hands on me and prayed for healing. Twenty guys are laying hands on me, I am standing straight, more erect as time goes on and I literally feel, I don’t know how to describe it, a cleansing. It was like God reached down grabbed whatever was down there and took it out. Something left my body. And that has never happened before.”
Before I tell you what the biopsy showed, I want to share Silvio’s wife’s side of the story, knowing there is anxiety and fear when you are told the news that you might be losing a dearly loved one, even when you know they are headed to Heaven.
Ann, a retired nurse, understood the medical diagnoses, and she was more interested in sharing with me the spiritual journey that was running parallel:
“Getting that kind of news dramatically changed my outlook on the future. Everything was up in the air: travel plans, Christmas plans, finances, the possibility of pain and illness, and the possibility of being a widow very soon. It was very heavy. I felt very fearful that first day, almost paralyzed. I felt I need to be positive and encouraging to Silvio, so I also felt alone with all these feelings. Interestingly, (or perhaps God preparing us) we had both just listened to a podcast by author John Burke and our pastor Brian Tome, called “What Happens When You Die.” We had some really great conversations about that and discussed our feelings about our deaths. Neither one of us felt fear about our death, but we both had some fear about losing each other. We decided to enjoy each and every day. We scheduled several “fun days.” We refused to be depressed or bitter about our circumstances. We were ready for whatever came, believing that God is good and was with us.”
Ann said that they asked their community of prayer warriors to fight for Silvio. We stormed Heaven with prayers of complete healing. And if that wasn’t God’s plan, we asked for amazing treatment and comfort for Ann and Silvio for his remaining time on earth.
God provided His answer – the biopsy showed an area of inflammation, not cancer. To some, it might sound like a medical error, not a healing, Ann says it is the spiritual journey that convicts her that it was a miracle and not a misdiagnosis. “It was a very scary time, I don’t regret one bit of it. I believe God was using us to show the power of prayer. It was an event that pulled us closer to God and each other. Moving forward, I hope I continue to treasure every single moment God gives us together. I adore our God and the way He grows us. Mostly I love the way He shows us what He can do.”
Silvio’s medical condition has a great ending, which might leave you wondering: How did those men know to lay hands on Silvio? How do Silvio and Ann have the confidence they are going to Heaven? How has God’s hand been active in your life?
- The firepit men knew the power of touch/laying hands and praying aloud, which is modeled in the Bible. Jesus gave His disciples authority to cast out demons and heal. (Mark 16:17-18 and after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit is with us, as we see twice with Saul/Paul Acts 9:10-12, Acts 28:8). Modern-day Believers really can do that!
- Silvio knows he is going to Heaven. Do you know? Do you want to know how you know? The Bible shows this simple truth that will change your life: “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10).
- “It is not about what we’ve done during our lives but about what Christ has done for us. If we have accepted Christ’s atoning death for us, then when God judges us after we die, he sees his Son’s sacrifice for us, not our sin. Salvation is a free gift, to which we can contribute absolutely nothing (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).” From Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven (p47). Another dire health issue and Alcorn’s book began my curiosity and research, read more – my blog on Heaven.
- Are you being propelled to share Silvio’s story or examples of God’s hand in your life? That’s normal, it’s what the first-century witnesses did too. Those healed of leprosy, blindness, and mutes “began to talk freely, spreading the news” (Mark 1:40-45, Matthew 9:27-31). A paralyzed man walked home, and those around were “filled with awe” (Matthew 9:1-8). A dead girl got up, again causing news to be “spread through all that region” (Matthew 9:22-26). Time and time again, Jesus heals. He still does today.
I often lean on the scripture “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1), so when there are events that I SEE, my faith in God grows exponentially! I want to share this story because Silvio and Ann give us a beautiful picture of their faith and their strong prayer life. They know someday they will leave earth, but until then, they stay active, remain students of the Lord, are committed to serving others and having many, many fun days.
Please pray with me: Oh, Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us more time with Silvio on earth. Thank You for prompting us to talk about the miraculous things You do each and every day. Please keep showing off for us, keep reminding us that You are so much bigger than we can ever imagine. And that Your love for us is infinite. Your loving daughter, Amen.