Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


I Came to Believe

I read last week’s local paper (The Nisqually Valley News) with fascination. The Third Annual UFO Fest is coming to town. World renowned speakers will be at the cosmic symposium. One of them has been part of our government’s secret exploration on the moon and has visited Mars. Apparently science has it wrong—humans can breathe Martian air with no ill effects.

There will be a series of convincing presentations and an “Area 51” where the kids can learn about extraterrestrials and teleportation. And as one of our church members pointed out, if that isn’t reason enough to go, there are also free sno-cones!

So why won’t I be first in line for crushed ice drenched in salivatingly wonderful sugary syrup? Because I am a skeptic. Not just about extraterrestrial life. I am secretly skeptical of virtually everything. I don’t want to listen to someone else’s experience. If I can’t personally touch, hear, see, or smell it—I won’t believe.

This explains why a large and extremely ugly wart on my hand convinced me that Jesus walked the earth as the Son of the Living God. Let me explain.

I came to faith amid a sea of skepticism. There was no flowery prayer of repentance. I made a decision to believe Jesus and see what happened. At age twenty-eight my life was a mess: two divorces, an abortion, and I was already an alcoholic. I figured if God wanted me He could have me.

Over the first year I began to see things that rightfully fit the definition of miracles, that is, events that are contrary to the laws of nature and can only be regarded as acts of God. But it takes a long time to break down a skeptic like me.

I returned from deployment in Southeast Asia with a huge, ugly wart on the top of my right hand. The doctor offered to cut it off, but admitted the roots were deep and it would probably reappear. So when I heard that an Episcopal priest with the gift of healing would be conducting a service locally, I went. Could God remove the ugly growth roots and all? I wanted to know.

After the service concluded, I went forward and asked if the priest would pray for my hand. He looked at the wart and asked me what it represented. Without hesitation or forethought I responded, “Evil. I have seen how evil can crumble people’s lives and I am discouraged.” Then he held my hand as if it was the most precious thing in the world and he prayed for me.

For the first few days I diligently watched. Nothing happened. So I put the entire matter out of my mind and focused on my next grand adventure—Africa!

I would have been a poor evangelist in those days. I suppose it goes without saying – but we can’t preach a Gospel until we know what it is and where it has come from. The disciples spent three years around Jesus listening to his message. It was the most heavily documented three years in the ancient world. We have the New Testament that records his teachings, but I needed more.

Several months later my mother asked where the wart went. It was completely gone. I don’t know exactly when. In addition to the teachings of Jesus, I had my miracle. That is the day I became an evangelist.

I won’t be at the UFO symposium. I am too much of a skeptic. Other peoples’ experiences convince me of nothing. I’ll take personal healing over a sno-cone any time.