This was the 'Year of no Christmas' for us. Beginning the first day of the Christmas Holiday Seasonal time for joy, health and the exuberance of good feeling toward all, I came down with the London Flu, and the following day the wife did likewise. It was the worst ordeal we had ever gone through. Five or six days and nights of fever, sitting in a chair with our feet propped up, our heads feeling like they were squeezed in a vise. Although we tried to stagger around and cook what was to be our Christmas dinner, when we sat down at the table we didn't even have the strength left to chew our food. Now and then I'd slip my one foot off the hassock, and onto our cat, Buster, to see if he was there. And he'd reply with a soft 'Meow' to reassure and comfort me by his presence. He was the only well 'person' in the house, and I wouldn't have blamed him had he left us for a more cheerful yuletide atmosphere. During this time I grew some chin-whiskers which must have matched those of Gabby Hayes in a non-rated nickel matinee western.
Following this ordeal, for five or six nights I couldn't sleep, from phlegm in my chest. All I did was stare up at the tongue-and-groove ceiling I had put up this Fall, and it stared back at my fevered brain. Finally the wife tuned in on an old Dick Van Dyke re-run, and I became so bored I actually bowed my head and dozed off a bit. It was the first sleep I'd had in a week of walking the floors at night. Now I know the therapeutic value of boring T-V re-runs, for from that instant on I began re-learning the healing art of sleeping the restful sleep that heals.
During our ordeal our minds were so fuzzy that we sent out half our Christmas cards before Christmas, hoping to finish the last half after our fever. But when we resumed, we again sent to the same ones which explains why some of our friends received two cards and others received none. And it was well after New Years that we finally wound up sending what we did send. Even then we couldn't recall who we had sent to, and who we didn't. But by that time it didn't matter anyway.
What really bugs me is that Dr. Reuben, director of the so-called Disease Control Center in Atlanta, Georgia, laughed about the London Flu, during a recent interview on the NBC Today Show. He said, 'Oh, you just have a couple days of coughing and fever, like any flu, and you can treat it yourself with aspirin or even chicken soup,' laughed he.
Well, I don't think it's a laughing matter when over a thousand people died of the London Flu Bug, not to count all the suffering of those who lived through it. My sincere answer is that the laughing Dr. Reuben needs a goodly dose of the London Flu to sober him down to the responsibility of his profession. The only laughing matter I can see is a so-called 'Disease Control Center' that not only did not control the disease, but didn't even report a majority of the London Flu cases. And this, to everyone who lived through it, is no laughing matter.
But, despite our ordeal, we did have our bright moments of joy and hope. From John D. Benner, Jr., of Lancaster, Pa., I received the following: 'I had an interesting experience this past week that I believe the Lord had a part in. I was looking for a nice job for over a year and was about to give up hope when I came across an ad for part-time help to assemble machinery at Champion Blower and Forge Company here in town.'
'I went and got the job,' continues John. 'But I also got a bonus of full-time work at a very nice wage. Makes you think, doesn't it? Hope you have a merry Christmas. May God be with you all the coming year and many more to come.'
We thank John for wishing us the Merry Christmas. And although ours was anything but a merry Christmas, we do feel the Lord was with us and saw us through the Christmas we didn't have.
And from Lawrence Martin of Rt. 2, Auburn, Mich., came another letter fraught with hope and a will to live. Back in '71 Lawrence had written to me about his fine and historic Baker Tractor he no longer needed.
'If you can find me some boy of good character who will take care of this tractor, I will sell it to him for only five dollars,' wrote Mr. Martin. 'You see I am suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and would prefer someone getting the tractor who'd appreciate it rather than it winding up in some museum.'
In answering Lawrence Martin I informed him I would look for just such a promising boy. But I also added, 'I would like to see you try some natural health foods to see if you can build up your body and health so that you might be able to enjoy your Baker Tractor again.'
Meantime I did continue looking for a boy who might prize the Baker Tractor and take care of it over the years. After a year or more of searching, I again wrote Mr. Martin that I believed I had found such a lad. But, not hearing from him over a long period of time, I dropped the matter, figuring he had either moved or changed his plans.
Finally, on January 29, 1973, a fat letter arrived. Mr. Martin said that a man from Michigan had heard about his Baker Tractor and bought it. I am glad I was slow in finding the boy, since Mr. Martin can use the extra money.
Then he went on and told me that his faithful wife had been going to the Health Food Stores and was buying up all the health foods the dealer would recommend. Although our friend, Mr. Martin, does not enjoy the cure from MS we'd like to see, we have found out in our own experiences that the will to live can be a very powerful force toward eventual health once again. All through my boyhood to the present day, my eyesight and my spinal troubles, have been insurmountable problems which caused every doctor, I went to, to give up on my case. But I accepted the challenge and went on from there. Over the years I have suffered the physical tortures and handicaps that haunted me in every situation life presented. I was cursed by other teammates, and made fun of by the high school basketball coach who called me 'Cross-eyes doesn't he look funny.' My spinal injury, received from a fall as a boy, has caused excruciating pain ever since-through the school years, and up to only a few years ago. But, when one sees double-vision when driving, and cannot look straight into the eyes of another, and his eyes feel like a knife is stabbing the eyeball he must either try to do something or perish the thought of living normal like others. And when one's body is so racked in pain from every move, and he can only get out of bed in the mornings by his shoulder muscles and when the doctors dismiss him, saying, 'I've done all I can do,' then he is faced with either trying to do something for himself or being confined soon to a wheel chair which is what my fate would have become. It was then that I decided to dismantle the astronomical telescope I had made, and use the driving gears (old cream-tester gears, discarded by a local factory), to make myself a back-stretch which began putting my vertebras back into place. It was also at this time that I began making small eye-training machines, both electrical and manual, which helped me to begin using my eyes together. No one can adequately describe the pain of an injured spine, or the misery and hopelessness of two eyes that won't work together. But the constant pain in my bodily frame, and the continual embarrassment I endured from my bad eyes, made me determine to keep at doing whatever I could to improve both. Before long I was to experience the thrill of challenge that life offers one who improves on what Nature has given. The challenge has grown into joy and the desire to help others to help themselves. One who has delicate health, learns early in life to know his physical limits, and therefore often outlives those of robust health who are never cautious of life's gift of perfect health.
I would first have Mr. Martin tell his good wife whom he refers to as 'My faithful, stick-with-me wife,' not to buy 'everything the Health Store dealers recommend.' Most of them are sincere, but many not too well informed, and therefore they recommend 'all products' that bring in more money. If you buy everything the dealers recommend, they will even be selling you dried and petrified bananas, pears, apricots, and gobe of other things which are not pertinent to the problem maybe even slippery elm bark lozengers, plus a thousand other things. Health Food Stores, like any other business, have to sell all they can to survive. But we who need health, must use our money to combat what ails us, if we are to survive. That, plus the courage and will and determination to overcome what we have been forced to live with, can, and often has in many instances, enabled afflicted humans to survive and outlive the doom predicted by their doctors.
Many times, when a body is nurtured back to health, unforeseen forces take over and help bring healing we hadn't expected. In my own case, after I had trained my weak eye over a period of years, I discovered that the stronger eye then took over and helped to educate and hold it in proper position. Nature was coming to my aid.
But it was from Betty Koch of near Pittsburg, Pa., that we heard the most cheerful news, penned on a Christmas card note. Betty had been a lifelong friend of my wife's, ever since their elementary school days in Dayton, Ohio. Last year she had written that her youngest son was dying of cystic fibrosis, and that only a miracle could save him. She said she was turning to the Lord as her only help at the time.
This year the usual Christmas card and note arrived from Betty. She said, 'A miracle has happened to David. God healed him, and he is perfectly well.'
My wife and I were naturally curious for a more detailed answer. So she wrote to Betty, not being quite sure of her exact address, since her friend had not included the return address on this particular yuletide card. But the wife's guess at her address paid off. A reply finally came, explaining in more detail.
'You ask how the miracle happened,' wrote Betty. 'My youngest son, David, now eleven, kept getting worse. The doctors had given up, warning that cystic fibrosis was incurable. We could see him getting worse by the day. Finally, the last ten days he slipped into a decline during which he could eat nothing and was becoming haggard and thin. For two days he lay in a coma. Finally a lady came and, placing her hand upon his stomach, she prayed the prayer of faith. Within a half hour David got up, ate his meal, ran up the stairs, began looking better right away, played in his tree house and has been in perfect health ever since.'
'We now belong to a prayer group,' says Betty Koch. 'I am amazed how many small circles of sincere Christians are gathering to study the Bible and pray together. Methodists, Presbyterians, even Catholics attend from the more staid and established churches. There are thousands of such prayer and study groups all over the United States.
We might point out that, if one will read the Epistle of James in The New Testament, he will find written there, 'And if any one of you is sick, let him call in the elders to anoint with oil and pray and he shall be healed and forgiven his sins.'
I realize that many sincere Christian churches and organizations today teach that divine healing was only for the early church in its struggle to become established. But if someone tells me that this is not to be counted on for this day and age then he could go on adding other things from scripture that he felt are not relevant to our age until nothing in the scripture is left to believe. The arbitrary interpreter of the New Testament cannot dictate to God if He decides to heal someone who seeks His mercy. It is noteworthy that the self-righteous people of his day were the worst enemies of Jesus. When the blind man was miraculously healed, the Pharisees questioned him mercilessly to try and find out who the healer was. But the man replied, 'All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see.' But, not being able to trap Jesus, the Pharisees question his parents, and the healed man again. Some religious groups simply cannot stand to see some poor and needy soul receive a blessing from God.
I am reminded of our neighbor, Paul, who was stricken with a severe heart attack, right in his prime. He was carried from hospital to hospital, placed under intensive care continually. Finally his mother-in-law came to us and said, 'I don't think Paul will be with us much longer. He's not improving at all.'
My wife and I were so saddened by this news, we prayed secretly and sincerely for God to heal our neighbor as his two growing sons and wife needed him so. There was nothing sensational about our prayer, and we never told Paul or his family. But something happened soon thereafter. Paul got better. He returned home. Not long afterward he went back to his old job at NCR in Dayton, Ohio. Then they bought a new home in one of our town's newer sections. Soon thereafter they bought a new and larger travel trailer and began taking trips again. Paul has kept up his bowling regularly with his team. We never told him how we asked God to heal him, but we are always happy when he comes around and chats, the times we dine at the local bowling alley.
The promises of the Bible are being fulfilled every day. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. Read the short Epistle of James, and find out your help for today.