The Bell Ringer
It was a sunny but cold afternoon and I was at the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. A woman volunteer in a wheelchair sat at the entrance to the store ringing her Salvation Army bell as a blur of humanity passed before her eyes. A handful of coins plinked in her bucket. The bell rang again.
At the end of my workday I breezed through Safeway and quickly found a roasted chicken and a bag of coffee. The woman who ground my coffee asked, “Are you ready for Christmas?”
I gave her a smile. “I wish I was ready. Unfortunately, I still have a little more shopping to do.”
I grabbed my coffee and headed to the checkout. I made small talk with the woman at the counter as she scanned my items. People came and went in a hurry, but the lady ringing the bell was still on my mind.
Peter and John went to the temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the temple with them.
All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.
Two thousand years later, I was stood before a crippled woman sitting at a gate asking for money. The irony of the situation hit me like a snowball in the face. I took her hand and asked her name, then asked why she was in the wheelchair. She smiled and told me about the problems she had with her hip. She had an injury that couldn’t be repaired surgically and it was too painful for her to stand so she accepted the wheelchair as her fate.
More people came and went from the store. Children dropped their coins in her bucket. She rang the bell and smiled. “Earlier today I prayed with a woman who had a back injury. She was completely healed. Would you like me to pray for you?”
“That would be wonderful,” she said with a cheerful smile.
I placed my hand on her hip. “I command spirits of pain to leave. I command ligaments, muscles and tendons to be healed in Jesus’ name.” I asked what she felt.
“I can feel something going on in my hip. It feels like tingling.”
I prayed a second time. “Pain I command you to leave. Ligaments, tendons, bones, muscles and cartilage, be healed in Jesus’ name.” I asked again how she felt.
“I can still feel the tingling, but my pain is much less than it was before.”
I prayed one more time and asked how she felt. “I can’t feel any pain,” she said with a smile.
“Maybe you could get up and see how it feels when you’re standing. I’d like to see you test it out a little bit.” She got up from the wheelchair and shifted her weight from side to side, trying to make the pain come back, but it wouldn’t return. She was healed. With a smile of gratitude she hugged me.
I spent some time telling her what to expect in the coming days. I encouraged her to resist relying on the wheelchair again and also warned her that the pain might return. “Rebuke the pain and command it to leave. Don’t take it back.” I shared with her about the nature of spiritual warfare and suggested that the enemy may try to convince her she wasn’t healed. “Stand on your healing and believe you are healed.”
Before I left I gave her a big hug and dropped the largest bill I had in her kettle. “Merry Christmas!” She smiled back and rang her bell one more time.
This is an excerpt from the book My Craziest Adventures With God.