… earlier stories
Earlier Stories (Rev Wayne McHugh)
God the Architect
We had decided to design and owner-build our first house. “Crazy,” you say, and perhaps you’re right. For nine months I draw designs trying to meet the requirements set from a few directions.
For nine months I had nothing but frustration. I was ready to give up. I decided that the requirements couldn’t all be met.
One day I was home sick. I lay on the bed in a foul mood about everything and threw a tantrum at God – “I can’t do it! If you’re so smart you do it!”
A very clear voice went off in my head. “Okay, let’s do it then.”
The voice was so clear I went to the kitchen table, got out a new sheet of paper, and said, “Righto then, what first?”
I can’t remember the order we went around the house, only that we finished in the laundry. I swear this is the truth. We went around every room of the house in turn – God named the next room and its dimensions.
One key issue was fitting in a lounge room, and in this design run God clearly said, “Don’t worry about the lounge room.”
When we got down to the last room in the house – the laundry – I looked at the space left on the page and said out loud, “You’re joking!” I remember it as clear as yesterday. The space left for the laundry, was exactly the size we had been trying to make it from the beginning.
Simply writing down what I was told, I had drawn the entire house with the dimensions for every room, and it met every single requirement I had been given.
We built that house with only one change from that design. The lounge room fitted perfectly in a gap God had left, saving money and completing one end of the house. We did not alter one single dimension that God had given me, it was that perfect.
It is a bit of a rich person’s story, because it is a nice house and many people don’t get to enjoy such a thing of their own. But the Lord gives and takes away; we don’t live in it any more, having moved far away for this ministry.
But however strange the story may be, it is literally the house God designed.
God Said “Hi”
It was a long time ago now. I was 18 years of age, and I had met some other younger Christians who had clearly had some personal encounter with God. I had always been in the church, always been a Christian I guess, but never had such an experience.
I wanted to meet God like they had.
So I prayed over about 6 months until I prayed a “give-up” prayer. I said, “I you want this to happen, you’ll have to do it. I give up.”
God whispered to me, “Get off your bed and kneel then.” I had never heard from God before and I doubted what I’d heard. But I really was desperate, so I did it.
I knelt there and said, “Okay, what now?” I was flooded with warmth, starting at my head and quickly down to my feet. My whole body was filled with a warmth I have never felt before or since. And I remember it like it was yesterday (it was nearly 30 years ago).
The best I have ever been able to describe it is that “God said Hi.”
From my late teens I was emotionally scarred by some things that happened. For many years I carried that garbage around without really being aware of it.
I wanted to get closer to God, but there seemed to be something in the way.
Thankfully the day came when someone prayed with me about it, and they rightly understood that I needed to forgive some people before God.
I did, although I have to say it was very, very hard. My throat physically jammed itself shut trying to say the words to forgive them. When I finally did, the relief was extraordinary. It was like a physical weight being lifted off.
But what followed was way weirder. The guy who had prayed with me left, and God pushed me down onto the floor. I couldn’t get up. I was a skeptic on things like that, and I swear this is the truth. It was a cold place, and after a while I was really cold. I prayed, “God, could I at least get my jacket on?” I was able to get up, put it on, and then I was pushed back onto the floor. I couldn’t get up until other people eventually came and carried me out.
The healing and release that took place in me that day was amazing. Do not underestimate forgiveness as one of God’s tools for setting you free from the hurts of the past.
It’s maybe about 17 years ago that I knelt and prayed for this teenager’s knee. She had a floating kneecap which needed surgery.
Well I had heard a lot about God healing people over the years. I’d never seen anyone healed, and certainly not anyone I’d prayed for.
But it was a time of faith (best way I can describe it), and what choice did I have? So silently I prayed “Help!”. And outwardly I put my hand on her knee and prayed “In the name of Jesus, be healed!”
I’m sure I will remember the words of that prayer till the day I die. Half an hour later she came back and said, “It’s healed. I just knelt on that knee for the whole time and it is completely fixed.”
I have to be honest, I got out of there as fast as I could. I went outside, found an isolated place and cried. This touched something deep in me and I was both amazed and terrified. To this day I don’t know why it terrified me, but in a way it still does.
About 5 years later I met this young woman again, and of course I asked about her knee. “It’s been perfect.”
I’ve prayed for other people. Some are healed and others aren’t. Just to make it complicated, some are partially healed and others healed for a while.
I don’t understand it, but maybe that’s part of the deal. I just do the praying, and God takes care of the rest.
The second time I prayed for someone and they were healed was again a damaged knee.
The teenage girl had a cycling accident that afternoon and was to be admitted to hospital the next day.
She and her mum came to church that evening, with difficulty, and after church I offered to pray for her knee.
She said yes, so everyone gathered around. People took it in turn to pray while I stayed quiet. I was thinking about the last time someone had been healed, and silently praying the “help!” prayer again.
Then as an act of sheer stupidity I put my hand on her damaged knee and prayed like last time, “In Jesus’ name, be healed!” That was it. They left, all over.
I heard two things soon afterwards. One was about the visit to the doctor the next day, where her knee was tested in every way and pronounced perfectly healed. Except that the muscles around her knee were deteriorated as though her knee had been immobilized for six months.
The other was about me putting my hand on her knee. Her mum, of course, thought she would scream in pain when I touched it, but the girl herself said that there was no pain but my hand was very hot. As always, I left nothing.
The caused major damage, as the emergency doctor had already diagnosed. After the prayer, there was no damage at all, but deteriorated muscles. It was as though God left a mark so it would be impossible to say there had been no injury.
It was many years ago now, but I have never forgotten that day. Another day that God did something extraordinary among ordinary people.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Bowel issues are somewhat personal, so I make no attempt to say who was suffering the condition.
For years the best that doctors could say was, “I call it irritable bowel syndrome, but that’s really just a name for something we can’t do anything about.”
It was some years ago now, and I don’t recall the time period accurately, but the condition had been suffered for 2-3 years.
I prayed with this person a few times about the condition, and nothing had happened, but this night something did.
As I prayed, she said it felt like a little bubble popped somewhere down in her gut and all the pain went away.
That was it. As easy as that.
I don’t really like this story, because I like to pray quietly and not make a scene. As you will discover, that didn’t happen in this case.
My wife had a migraine headache – the kind with nausea and where bed is the only place to be. So she was in bed.
I came in and prayed for her – quietly and sensitively, and a few times, but it didn’t make any difference.
I gave up and was leaving the room to leave her in painful peace. But at the last moment felt an inclination to do something I’ve never done before – or since.
In indignation against the headache which persisted even after prayer, I shouted quite loudly, “In the name of Jesus I command you to leave!”
As I already said, I don’t like praying loudly. Nor am I big on addressing insensible things – a headache can’t hear me, right? And if it can’t hear me, it can’t obey me, right?
Trish (my wife) said quite sharply, “What was that?” I assumed she was upset I’d shouted.
“What do you mean?” I innocently asked.
“It was like a bolt of lightning or an electric shock in my head. And the migraine’s gone.”
It had. She was still really tired, as you are with a major headache. But the migraine had gone and it didn’t come back.
The unhappiest story of all my stories. I’ve only ever once been involved in casting out an evil spirit. But it did happen and it was very, very real.
Again, I’ve not been in touch with the people in this story in some years, and if I ever do get their persmission I will add their names. But my name is certainly in it.
I was director of this youth camp. Our main speaker was our church minister at the time. He decided our main Saturday night programme would be prayer. Just prayer. We would pray and wait to see what God wanted to do.
All of us, myself included, were very skeptical about this night programme. But we didn’t plan a backup.
We started praying. No hype. No music. No praise or worship. Nothing that could be used to explain away anything God decided to do.
First thing: someone in the room said they could very clearly see in their mind an upside down burning cross. Our minister said, “well that could be interpreted more than one way,” so we let that rest and returned to praying.
The person sitting immediately in front of me, one chair to my right started to shake. We kept praying. He kept shaking.
He reached the stage where he was shaking on his chair so much he was unsafe, so we removed him to a safe area on the floor.
We knew by this stage that something weird was happening. Thankfully our minister had some experience with evil spirits, so he took charge.
I don’t remember a lot of the detail. I remember a lot of praying (and feeling quite helpless).
I remember our minister demanding that the evil spirit name itself. It did, and named itself as lust. And you may disbelieve me, but I am telling the truth, it even spoke in a voice not unlike what you may have heard in movies.
But no one here was acting. This was real life.
Eventually the evil spirit left, I am pleased to say. The young man was exhausted, naturally. In the morning I thought I was seeing a brand new person. He radiated life!
I don’t think I contributed a great deal on that night, but it taught me something I’ll never forget: those things are real! And I don’t care to ever meet another one.