September 21, 2008
Sunday, 5:00 p.m.
Letter #55: A Fulfilled Expectation
Just before leaving North Kern State Home for the Socially Awkward and Inept “Delame-o” (North Kern, Delano, CA), Mike Guerra, my close friend and Christian brother, came to me distressed and worried. He had just heard that his baby nephew had been born with a hole in his heart.
I’m not sure that my response was quite what he’d expected. I was ecstatic. I could scarcely contain myself. “Oh, my gosh!” I pounded his cell door as we spoke through the opening on the side. “That’s so awesome!”
Mike looked blankly back at me.
“That one is so easy for God!” I was nearly shouting now. “That’s NOTHING for our Great Creator to handle!”
I shared with him how I’d been led to pray for a friend of mine years earlier who had been diagnosed with the same serious condition. Knowing she was headed for her yearly X-rays and consultation, where it had shown up for the first 12 years of her life, I felt God leading me to pray for her “without ceasing.” With the help of my watch alarm, I prayed for her every 10 minutes for a 24-hour period prior to her examination. I asked God simply to heal her heart completely.
Now, nearly 20 years later, I encouraged my friend and new believer, Mike, that we serve a God Who delights to do the impossible. As He healed the heart of my friend so many years ago, I felt like I was cheating on a test—that on this test of faith, I’d already seen the answer sheet! I told Mike how easy it had been for God to close the hole of a 12-year-old’s heart and how simple it should be for Him to touch the heart of a newborn!
I told my Bible Study group, and together we looked to God to do the impossibly possible. The day I left Delano, I wrote this entry on my “Pray for Others” “Specific Requests” daily prayer list: 6/02/08 Mike Guerra’s Nephew w/ Hole in His Heart—Complete Healing!
Last Wednesday (9/10/08), when we all shared testimonies in the chapel when the chaplain didn’t show up, I spoke about our right to come boldly in prayer into God’s throne room and gave the story of Mike’s nephew as an example. I knew Mike was here in this facility, and I couldn’t wait to see him to get an update on the baby, once Mike got off of his “orientation status” and could come out to yard.
Well, the day finally came, and I greeted Mike as he walked out of his building the following Wednesday morning (9/17/08). I introduced him to my closest Christian friends here: Trinity, Keith, Brian, and Danny, and gave him a pair of shorts to play basketball with me. We had a blessed time of fellowship, and he gave me great reports on the guys I’d left behind in ministry at Delano.
Back in my cell, I was shocked to realize I’d forgotten to ask about his nephew! God immediately spoke to my heart: “Remember? I already told you he’s healed.” True! God had given me a true peace in my spirit as I had prayed for that little guy two weeks earlier, and I had thanked God for answering my prayer.
Funny thing is, this scenario repeated itself a couple more times, with me spending time with Mike, yet completely forgetting to get a prayer request update. Then, waiting for church service to start today, we were talking and he suddenly said: “Oh! You remember my nephew I had you pray for?”
I slapped him on the shoulder—hard—and said, “WAIT!! See, I already know the answer! Remember, how I told you it was nothing for God?!? God already told me he’s okay—he’s healed!”
Mike couldn’t get a word in, though he tried. I told him how I’d been meaning to ask him for an update, feeling bad that I’d forgotten, yet how God had confirmed the miracle in my spirit.
“Well, when I just spoke with my wife on the phone yesterday, she said my nephew just had a checkup. You know those three holes he had in his heart? (What? three holes?!?) The recent X-rays show that two have closed up completely, and one is almost closed—it should be closed by the end of the year, as it is obviously in the process of being healed!”
I was grateful, excited, and happy for the parents. But I wasn’t surprised. I’d already seen the answer! Like when I’d studied illusions and seen how the “magic” was done. Like seeing Daddy in the visiting room after he told me he’d come: a fulfilled expectation. “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness—as always—so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:19–21).
Living for Him!