A true story of God's mercy in a Nigerian hospital. It was still mid-morning on a hot Nigerian day, but the temperature had already reached 98 degrees, and the mercury was rising with each tick of the clock. Nigeria would battle Greece in the World Cup later that night. Excitement and anticipation filled the air. The streets were busy and traffic leaving Lagos was heavy. (It didn’t take me long to figure out why the locals call traffic jams “go slows.”)
I was glad when we finally arrived at my hotel because I had been looking forward to a nice cool shower during the long, hot ride. Instead, a faulty water heater almost electrocuted me. (I know, I know. Water heater? What for?) But there was no cool shower to greet me. Instead, my room featured an old cast iron tub from the 1920s with no running water at all. Bishop, my Nigerian host, taught me the fine art of Nigerian showers that night: pour tepid water from a large white plastic bucket into a smaller white plastic bucket, then pour it over your head. I don’t miss those lukewarm African showers one bit.
The next day, Bishop asked me to accompany him on a hospital visit and we set off to a nearby city where we prayed for a mentally ill man who was rapidly slipping into another world. Satisfied that we had done our part, I returned to the hotel to prepare for the nightly service, stopping on the way to grab some fresh fruit.
But as I wiped the perspiration from my brow, I heard a soft voice in my spirit saying: “Go back. There is someone with no hope.” My flesh, weary from the heat, shouted, “No way, we just left!” Of course, recognizing the Holy Spirit’s voice, I had to obey. I had to find Bishop. Little did I know God was about to demonstrate His far-reaching mercy.
We hastened back to the hospital grounds and walked across the dusty parking lot, then up a couple of cracked concrete steps where we entered a covered walkway on our journey toward a pale block modular building. The buildings were thinly painted lime green with dark trim surrounded by bright red hibiscus trees that brightened the environment. “Back again?” asked Sister Kalifa, a large, thick woman in a tight white nurse uniform. Bishop had previously introduced her to me as the friend to a member of his church.
“Yes, Sister. The Spirit of God said there was someone else we needed to pray for. Can you take us to see some other patients?” I asked. Large jalousie windows were open, providing an outside view. Although a cool breeze swept across the floor, I could still smell that familiar hospital odor. The spacious room was lined with beds joined end-to-end around the exterior walls. The metal cots looked like they had been rescued from a World War II hospital and painted Navy gray to preserve them for generations to come. Every bed was occupied. Some women sat solo while others were with their children. Many with infants sat feeding their babies. Intravenous tubes were attached to others.
As their eyes latched onto me, a white stranger from a far away place, I explained to them that I was from America and had come to visit someone that Bishop knew. As I turned to leave the women’s ward, the Holy Spirit spoke and told me to begin praying once again. So I lifted up my voice and prayed fervently. Sound and movement came to an end, and everybody listened. Even nurses walking past the doorway stopped to hear what I was saying while others came around to the windows outside and peered in.
Suddenly, a lady with a toddler got up and went outside – then another. One more. Then several. Looking out the window, I saw a lady pushing the handle of an old-fashioned reddish hand pump, drawing water from a well. As the water trickled into a small bowl, she poured it over her baby’s body, wiping it with her hands, then drying the child with her skirt. “Bishop, what’s that lady doing?” I asked.
“She believes that her child has just been healed, and she is washing away any residue of the evil sickness that might be left.” The lady walked out of sight, believing that God had answered my prayer for healing. Many other women would perform a similar washing – in faith.
Still knowing that my mission was not yet completed, I went from bed to bed praying and laying my hands on everyone in the women’s ward. From there, I was off to the men’s ward, where I found the same scene. God’s healing power touched everybody. Bishop told me that he had never seen anything like it before. God had touched an entire hospital. Afterward, I felt grieved in my spirit. I could sense that we were not to leave. I knew that we had not found the hopeless one that the Lord spoke about.
“Sister Kalifa, are there any other ill people here?” I asked. She hesitated briefly before answering, but then told us about one other place in the hospital, recommending that we not go there. When I asked her why, she explained that it was a place for patients who were not expected to live. These patients were just waiting to die. She called it the “room of no hope.” I immediately knew that was where I was supposed to go. Sister Kalifa escorted us down the covered walkway toward the rear of the hospital. We approached a closed chain link gate. Opening it, we walked toward another smaller building and stopped at the door.
“Who are you?” demanded a man speaking like he was a battle commander. I answered him, but he didn’t care who I was or where I was from or why I was there. He barked at me, insisting that the room was off limits. I was taken back by this doctor’s hard-nosed stance. It didn’t make sense that we would make it this far only to be stopped by an over-caffeinated jungle soldier that lost his troops. But I couldn’t give up.
“Excuse me sir, but who is your supervisor? I need to speak with the person in charge.” Peering over the top of his dark-rimmed glasses, he told me he was in charge and walked away. I didn’t have time for a long prayer. I needed God’s wisdom. If He wanted me in that room, then He was going to have to do something fast. I could hear the sound of every step as the doctor’s shoes tapped against the floor. I couldn’t move. Six, seven, eight, nine – “Sir, if you don’t let me in that room, I will not be responsible for your life.”
The doctor stopped. He lowered his head, gazing at the terrazzo floor, and slowly turned in my direction. Removing his glasses and putting them in his top pocket he asked me what I meant. “You’re standing in God’s way – not mine. God told me to go in that room,” I declared. “That’s why I’m here.” As he approached me, I looked directly into his eyes and said softly, “God sent me here today. If you stand in His way, you will not sleep another night.”
There was silence. Nobody moved. I could hear each beat of my heart as heaven’s command dealt with this man’s emotions. I couldn’t believe what I just said, but suddenly he changed his mind. He gave me five minutes. Walking away he looked over his shoulder and said, “You enter at your own risk.”
As she turned the knob and opened the door, you could slice death with the dullest of knifes. A cold chill from the floor below rushed across my arms. The windows were covered with dark fabric, imprisoning a bamboo silhouette that fought back any glimmer of light from entering the room. The silence that filled the room symbolized hopelessness.In the first bed was a man in his 30s who had expired just minutes before our arrival. He was covered with a sheet that partially hid him from any who might look his way as the medics waited for his family to acquire his body. Three beds down, on the other side of the room, lay a young boy. His tiny frame barely filled the bed’s center. As I approached him, I came to the end of my humanity.
“Oh, my God,” I said as I quickly turned away to regain myself. I gasped for breath. There he laid, no covers, his little head on a small white pillow, with the most horrible wounds I had ever seen. He looked like he had been attacked by a wild animal and thrown into a fire. To touch him would be taking an unthinkable risk of causing him more pain. There I was, standing at the edge of life, hopelessly peering over the edge and looking into the abyss of death. I knew beyond any doubt that only God could handle this.
“He’s only 10,” Sister Kalifa said in a shallow voice. “He was dowsed with battery acid. His father committed suicide. But first he filled paper cups with acid and forced his mother, brothers and sisters to drink. The child refused. Batting the cup away, it splashed all over him. The father drank and died. He was brought here, but there was nothing we could do except make him comfortable. Soon he will be with Jesus.”
Lying directly in front of me was an untouchable. I cautiously walked to the side of his bed. Leaning closer I could see bones peering through his burned and blackened skin. I turned away from the ghastly sight, staring at the dark curtains that shielded the world from the agony inside. My eyes felt wet and puffy. “What am I doing here? What kind of evil monster could do such a wicked thing?”
For a moment, the room was uncomfortably silent. I started to pray aloud, and the boy began to move. “Please don’t wake up,” I thought to myself as I lowered my voice. For him to awaken would offer him nothing but pain. “What should I do, Lord?” During times like this you realize there is absolutely nothing you can do without God’s help. All of us were silent. I looked at Bishop, who shook his head in disbelief. Sister Kalifa bowed her head as if to say, “There is nothing we can do.”
I, too, had no words to offer. I am sure my face turned red as my eyes teared up. All I could think was, “the anointing destroys the yoke.” I pulled a white handkerchief from my jean pocket and wiped the tears now flooding from my eyes. Then grasping the hands of Bishop and Sister Kalifa I prayed softly. “Dear Lord. You brought us all the way here for one little boy in the room of no hope.”
I paused. I didn’t know what to do. I could barely breath because of the spirit of compassion that encompassed us. Bishop’s and Sister Kalifa’s faces had a dazed look upon them. Bishop tilted his head back and peered at the ceiling, as Kalifa seemed content to stare at the floor. Then I remembered the scripture when the Apostle Paul sent handkerchiefs to the sick.
“Lay your hands on this handkerchief with me and let’s believe God for a miracle,” I asked. We all agreed in prayer with our hands touching each other’s: “Lord, we impart your healing power into this handkerchief. By His stripes, this little boy is healed. Death we rebuke you – in Jesus name!” Then I handed the handkerchief to Sister Kalifa, who placed it under the boy’s pillow, and we quietly slipped away. When the door closed behind me, I felt nothing. The only thing I knew to do was put that little boy’s life in the hands of Jesus. We walked down the corridor toward the parking lot not speaking a word.
Here I was, thousands of miles from home, having prayed for over 100 people and received a word of knowledge. How marvelous God is to see one little boy rolled away to die in the room of no hope and take action to save him. Could it be possible that God would grab one preacher from his home and transport him to such a foreign land just to pray for one little boy in the room of no hope? Walking the covered walkway to leave the hospital the doctor passed. “I told you that it was a waste of time,” he said in a mocking tone.
Four months later, the phone rang at 3:00 a.m. It was Bishop. “I have some good news for you,” uttered the voice through the receiver. “Do you remember the little boy in the room of no hope?” How could I forget? “He lives! After we had left the hospital, he didn’t die. Skin began to grow on his body. Everyone is amazed. They rolled him out of that room and watched him very carefully. Sister Kalifa was at church on Sunday and told me beautiful new skin began to grow on his body. He is doing fine and the government has adopted him and will even pay for his college education.”
“Praise God, Bishop! I can’t wait to come back to your country and see him.” How awesome is the love of God and to know that He will do whatever it takes to reach a little boy, rolled away to die in the room of no hope.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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