A Testimony of Healing by Rachel Wigram

This is an extra post and is quite long, but I make no appology for that, because I could not remove one sentence from this moving account.

For most of my adult life, triggered by glandular fever when I was 12 years old, I have suffered with M.E.(Cronic Fatigue) It is a truly bewildering and holistic illness which seems to affect people in different ways. For me, there were better times and worse times over the years. There were periods when I could do very little, but I was fortunate that for quite a lot of the time, even though it was a struggle, I could get on with life with some semblance of normality.
That was until just about 6 years ago, in the Spring of 2007. At the time I was working as a Curate (a trainee Vicar in the Church of England) alongside my husband, John. Gradually I became aware that I was teetering on the edge of an abyss with my health. Then I was struck down by viral meningitis and completely flattened. For a long time, I could do nothing at all and was stuck in bed. At last there were some signs of recovery beginning, but then everything went downhill again. As time went by, it became clear that the viral meningitis had triggered a far more severe version of M.E. and that is what I was left with.
My world shrank to the four corners of my bed for what felt like an age. However, the time came when I was able to get out of bed on most days, but I could manage very little else. I was in constant pain and had no energy. It felt like I literally had no energy in my body, no power going to the muscles. I was unable to walk anywhere and had to surrender to being pushed around in a wheelchair. Sometimes I couldn’t even lift a glass of water to my lips.
I needed to spend most of my time on my own, in one room, in one chair, in a controlled environment as I found it very difficult to cope with noise and light. My concentration was limited and there were times when the weakness slurred my speech so much that no one could understand me. I could only see people for a very short time and needed days to recover from visitors. It was a necessary isolation, but it was often lonely nevertheless. Time with my family even had to be limited.
Two of our children were teenagers and the third was in his last year at primary school. They were amazing at adapting to what was happening and getting used to looking after Mum, rather than the other way around – Pushing my wheelchair, attending to my physical needs, modulating their behaviour in my presence so as not to overwhelm me. It was humbling for me and heart-mangling.
My husband, John, had to adapt to becoming my Carer, which he did with such love and grace, but I know it was very costly for him. At the same time, I had to adapt to being so very dependent and all the implications of that.
This continued for more than 5 years and it was a dark and difficult and painful time. But the Bible talks at one point about ‘treasures in the darkness’ and, through this time of darkness, God brought me some immensely valuable treasure, the most valuable of which was a revelation of his love which is transforming my life.
I have always struggled to receive love, particularly God’s love, but, as the illness took hold and stripped me bare in so many ways, somehow I was able to let God strip away layer after layer of guilt and shame and self-deception and self-protection until, at last, I was standing naked and empty before him. I could have felt exposed and terrified, but there I found God’s total acceptance and love in a way I had never known before, and I felt safe and secure for the first time in my life. In a way, it was the deepest healing that I needed and is now an ongoing process of believing and receiving.
However, there is always more than we can possibly imagine with God and he had not finished with me yet, which brings me to last summer. Even though we were always looking and hoping for a sign that my M.E. was getting better, we were having to face the fact that I was actually getting worse. We have a caravan and were planning to go away as a family to Pembrokeshire for our summer holiday. We very nearly decided to give it a miss because we thought I simply would not be able to cope.
As it turns out, I am rather glad we did go for it because one day John took me for a drive in a beautiful valley. It was the need for a disabled toilet that led us to a remote car park and, as we turned into it, I noticed a sign at the bottom of a driveway – a sign that read ‘Ffald-y-Brenin’. We suddenly realised that it was vaguely familiar, although it took us a good few minutes to pin it down. It is a Christian Retreat Centre in Wales where a wonderful outpouring of God’s life and blessing is happening. We knew very little about that at the time. All we remembered was that a friend of ours had recently read the book ‘The Grace Outpouring’ all about it and had mentioned Ffald-y-Brenin to us with some excitement. We had absolutely no idea that we were anywhere near it and yet here it was and here we were. We could not write it off as a coincidence, it seemed to have the hallmark of God stamped on it far too clearly for that. We knew we needed to do something so, before the end of our holiday, we went to spend a day there.
When John phoned to check whether we could go there and to check accessibility because of my being in the wheelchair because of M.E., he was dumbfounded by the response, “Oh, we’ve had so many people healed from M.E. here!” It was not what we were expecting, or even what we had been looking for, but, as we prepared to go, I was aware of anticipation building in me, almost despite me.
This is what I wrote in my journal that morning before we set off:
Thursday 2nd August – 8am
… “Here I sit in our caravan bed with the sound of the kettle heating slowly for early morning tea, wondering what today will hold.
Will I meet the risen Jesus?
Will there be healing?
I am afraid to hope, in case of the deadening disappointment that might follow. And yet hope is rising and trembling…
Maybe it is time – God’s time – for me…

What do I really want?
I want to meet the risen Jesus,
To believe and not doubt
To be really healed from M.E.
Could it possibly be my time, my day? God’s time, God’s day for me?”

We left the children in the caravan and, as we drove to Ffald-y-Brenin, I had a growing sense that I was somehow going to meet Jesus in a particular way. It was not easy to get there in the wheelchair over very uneven ground but we made it. We had a while on our own in their prayer room and the peace of the presence of God there settled into us in a wonderful way. Then, after a while a couple came to pray with us – Roy and Daphne.
We talked a very little, then Roy looked at me directly and said, “Rachel, this is your time, this is your day!” ‘My time, my day!’ It echoed so exactly what I’d written earlier in the morning it took my breath away and faith rose up in me.
We started to pray and honestly it was like Jesus was standing there, reaching out his hand to me and saying, “Rachel, get up and walk!” One moment I was sitting in my wheelchair hardly able to move – exhausted and in pain – the next it felt like energy surged up from the soles of my feet, up through my body and lifted me out of the wheelchair. I stood. I walked a few steps. And then I started jumping and leaping around. I just couldn’t help it. I was vaguely aware of John with tears rolling down his cheeks as I cavorted around.
As we prayed some more, together we had a clear sense that all the roots of M.E. in my life going back 32 years and beyond had been completely pulled out. So comprehensive. Such freedom! One moment I was very ill. The next moment I was well – because of Jesus. That was on the 2nd August and I’m still well now – going from strength to strength!
The first thing I did was make John and me a cup of tea – so ordinary and so wonderful! As Midday Prayers at Ffald-y-Brenin approached, we folded down my redundant wheelchair and put it on the table in the middle of the Prayer Room – resting on the Bible and with the Cross on the top.
I suspect that image and all that it means will stay with me for ever – the Word of God, the Cross, pain giving way to healing and freedom and life in all its fullness because of Jesus and the truth that ‘by his wounds, we are healed.’ Alleluia! I guess it goes without saying that Midday Prayers exploded with joy and celebration!
Returning to the caravan and showing our children what had happened was the most marvellous thing. Shocked, bemused, then overjoyed pretty much sums up their reaction. That evening we went for a walk together, played Trivial Pursuit, shared a bottle of wine and fish and chips and laughed so much.
The next day we headed home and everything felt like a revelation. I never thought I would find motorway service stations a thing of wonder. But it was amazing to stop on our journey home, to jump out of the car, to walk side by side with my daughter into the ordinary ladies toilets. Mad, no doubt, but I remember sitting on the toilet saying, “Thank you, Jesus, Thank you, Jesus, Thank you, Jesus!”
Sharing the good news with family and friends and dentists and hairdressers and doctors has been fantastic. So many people have been overjoyed and filled with hope. My GP is amazed and delighted and has been so supportive. Her jaw hit the floor when I walked into her surgery for the first time. When she heard what had happened she said, “It’s like a real Bible miracle!” I’m inclined to agree!
For us, it has been transforming, joyful, shocking and bewildering at times. The world is huge and busy and full of people for me after living in virtual isolation for years and there is a continuing process of adjustment and reorientation. Strangely perhaps, I am finding that joy wells up almost more than anything in the ordinary, everyday things. The normal things that just haven’t been normal for me – even washing up and taking out the rubbish!
It has been like coming out into a spacious place with panoramic views and fresh, fresh air after being stuck in a tiny cave – and all the while my wheelchair is gathering dust in the shed.
I am so aware all the time that the only reason I can stand, the only reason I can take a single step, is because of Jesus. Sometimes when I am out walking our lovely golden retriever Kingsley, I cannot prevent myself from shouting ‘Thank you, Jesus’ with each step or singing ‘Praise my soul, the King of Heaven!’ at the top of my voice!!
How great is our God! Alleluia!!

Hero of the Month – John Macdonald 2/2

In 1813 Macdonald became minister at Urquhart, Ross and Cromarty, where he remained until he died. He became known as the Apostle of the North, as he trekked all over Northern Scotland, to the most inhospitable areas and in the harshest of weathers.

During his first year at Urquhart Macdonald’s wife died and an awakening began at her funeral service. Soon after, a revival began in Breadalbane at Loch Tay, and the minister asked for Macdonald to come to help. He preached the action-sermon in the tent to an assembly of people more numerous than had ever gone before in Breadalbane. His text was Isa. 54:5, ‘Thy Maker is thine husband.’ The sermon was accompanied with an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit. Some cried out and others were melted into tears while many laboured in vain to suppress their feelings. The place was then ‘no other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.’ Macdonald preached on Monday from Luke xvi. 2, by which many more were awakened.

He visited St Kilda (all residents left in 1930) in 1822 where a revival took over the island. On another trip to St Kilda a storm prevented him from going, so he was invited to minister at the Communion service at Uig , Harris. He decided to go, arriving the day before the service. There had been a revival going on for some time, resulting in 7,000 at the Communion. He preached on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, seeing many instances of people being touched by the Holy Spirit, or as Macdonald put it, there were ‘showers of divine influences’. It is said that this was the highpoint of the revival. Like at Breadalbane it is as if the power was suddenly turned up under his ministry.

Macdonald died in 1849 and his grave can be seen at Urquhart. Sadly, I have found only one book about him, ‘The Apostle of the North’ by John Kennedy, published originally in 1866. He was a ‘revivalist’ who travelled thousands of miles to bring the gospel to anyone who would listen.
For more http://www.ukwells.org/locations/displaylocations/1246.

Hero of the Month: John Macdonald (part 1 of 2)

Hero of the Month: John Macdonald (part 1 of 2)

John Macdonald was born in 1779 in Ray, in the far north of Scotland. It was a sign of the future that the minister had to break the ice on a pool in order to baptise him. When he was about 20 he went through a major time of distress, seeing that he was heading for hell, but not knowing how to change his course to heaven. One day he was walking along the beach when a light pierced through the darkness. He took himself to a nearby cave. And there he gave his life to Christ.

In 1805 he became a preacher and in 1807 he was appointed to the Gaelic Church in Edinburgh. When preaching he was always clear and sound in his statements of objective truth, but while in Edinburgh his preaching now became full of life; searching and fervent, as well as sound and lucid. He warned sinners, which excited the wonder and awe of his hearers. His statements of Gospel truth were from one who deeply felt its power. People could tell that he spoke from his hearts to theirs. His manner in the pulpit changed as well, becoming more vehement. His sermons, always full of thought, bright with illustration and teeming with feeling, were delivered with the most unaffected and intense earnestness. Many noticed the incredible change in his preaching.

Soon after there was a witness to his preaching in Caithness. “When the sermon began I forgot all but the doctrine I was hearing. As he warmed up with his subject, the preacher became most vehement in his action; every eye was riveted on the speaker and suppressed sounds testified to the effect which his sermon was producing. His second discourse was so awe-inspiring that the audience became powerfully affected. Such was the awful solemnity of the doctrine and the vehemence of the preacher’s manner that I expected, ere he was done, every heart would be pierced, and that the very roof of the church would be rent. The sermon over, all were asking who the preacher was.’’

I believe that Macdonald experienced ‘a baptism of fire’, taking him to a new level of power. I shall be mentioning this again as I have read about similar changes in other men.

Book Review: Prepare for Revival

Book Review: Prepare for Revival

Review of Michael Marcel’s Prepare for Revival

by John Peters, CWR Today magazine (May 2013)

This judiciously priced book is an important and welcome contribution to the increasingly vast corpus of materials on revival. Important because it is wide ranging, thorough and scrupulously researched. Welcome because its author writes out of a ‘heart’ that is, in his own words, ‘for the United Kingdom’. His concern is brought into sharp focus when it is recalled that there is hardly anyone who has experienced revival here under 70 years of age.

The conceptual framework of revival is scrutinised carefully, the author viewing it as a ‘general move of God that touches the back-slidden’. He also sees it as a refreshing which affects active and committed Christians in the Church as an awakening when non-Christians come alive to the existence and love of God; as a reformation when society at large is deeply affected; and as a transformation when ‘80–100% of the people in an area are saved and Christianity pervades every area of society’.

The author then surveys examples of revivals in the United Kingdom from 800 AD onwards, together with a review of the effects and results of revival, with an appropriate emphasis on ‘The Presence of God’. In addition, he is absolutely convinced that when revival ‘comes in its fullness’, the manifest presence of God will fill churches, houses and even the streets.

Prepare For Revival is an exciting and encouraging book. Why? There are at least two reasons. First because it is written out of the Holy Spirit-inspired confidence that: ‘God wants to bring revival to our land. Not only is the spiritual atmosphere changing, but the worldly conditions are changing as well. The financial crisis we are in means that people are more lost and more desperate than they have been for generations. This should be the perfect time for the Church to rise up and take its place.’ Second it goes into comprehensive detail on ‘how’ to prepare for revival, including passion for God, repentance, holiness, intercession and prayer and, significantly, what he describes as ‘Fire Igniters’, by which he means men and women who not only have a passion for God but who move in the power of God.

Permeating this whole book is the robustly-held conviction that, in the words of one CWR supporter who wrote to me recently, ‘Nothing is too difficult for God. Whenever [revival] comes God’s timing is always right’. Exactly.

John Peters

Order the book for only £7 (including P&P) on our Resources page!

UK Wells

UK Wells

My job in the Body of Christ has been to pray open the ‘wells’ in the UK.

Although it was not something God asked me to do, I felt that doing all this research without recording it would be a waste. So I set up a website, www.ukwells.org, to record all the information I found. I thought that people in future generations would want to research the same information at some point, so if I put everything I discovered onto a website, then future generations could build on what I have done, rather than having to ‘re-dig the wells’.

There are around 3,000 entries on my website, recording the exact place where revivals have happened in the UK or where incidences have taken place in the lives of famous revivalists. There are also some 40 biographies of people like John Wesley. As well as being able to see the place where the revival happened, there will be attached to the site whatever account I have found describing what took place. There are also accounts of our spiritual heritage.

Much of what I post here in the months ahead can be found in more detail on the www.ukwells.org website.