• Monica Bennett-Ryan

I believe in miracles!

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

My beautiful daughter Miriam was born with a neurological disorder called Triple Cranio-Stenosis, a rare skull-bone deformity that would mean three separate operations to prevent the plates of her skull from crushing her brain. If left unchecked it would increasingly graduate to brain damage, physical paralysis and certain death by the age of around thirteen.


At just four months of age she was scheduled for her first major operation.


Though I had prayed for my precious daughter with all the passion of a mother's heart both alone and with others, she had still not been healed.


Then, on the night before she was due to go into hospital one of the church elders told me that she would not be healed because, in his opinion, I didn't have enough faith.


I was devastated!


Fighting the self condemnation that threatened to consume me I struggled to keep on praying until God graciously showed me that I had a choice, I could either give up praying, or I trust in his ability to heal.


I loved my daughter too much to stop praying so I shook off condemnation and chose to believe that God's power was far greater than my inadequacy.


Prayer sustained me while neurosurgeons in America, Germany and England 'conferenced' with our Sydney neurosurgeon during the brutal operation to cut away one third of my baby's tiny forehead to form a new eyebrow and to smash the remaining bone into small 'mosaic' pieces so that they could be spread across the forehead area to reform its shape.


After it was over and the medical staff was confident the operation had gone smoothly Mim was placed in a two-bed intensive care ward next to a young boy called Peter.


Peter was a chronic epileptic whose parents had taken him to an exclusive clinic to try a new medication. Though the new drug had been effective in controlling epilepsy in others, Peter had experienced a violent reaction and was now facing kidney failure.


Only five years of age, his poor body was so swollen that he looked about nine and the swelling was so severe he had lost the use of his voice; the only parts of his body that could move freely were his eyes and the tips of his fingers.


The compassion I felt for this dear little boy was as strong as it was for my own daughter so I asked his mother if I could pray for him. She said no!


I could not take ‘no’ for an answer…


Undaunted I began to pray for her instead, asking God to help her change her mind because I wanted so much to pray for her son, yet I couldn't cut across her God given parental authority.


Two days later I returned from lunch to find an empty space where Peter's bed had been.

When I asked the nurse what had happened I was told he had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and had been relocated to the critical ward.


Though I was rejoicing in my own daughter’s rapid and painless recovery my heart was in agony over Peter.


Another day passed, the doctor had confirmed my daughter well enough to go home so I phoned my husband.


On the way back from the phone I noticed Peter's mother having lunch so I walked over to ask how Peter was faring. With the calm of someone resigned to the inevitable she told me that he was still in a coma and his doctors had given up all hope.


They had told her there was nothing more they could do for Peter and that she should prepare herself to lose him within the next 2-3 days. However, they had also warned her that if he did unexpectedly wake from the coma he would be severely mentally and physically impaired.


I knew it was now for never for this poor little boy…


The urgency of Peter’s condition shocked me and I knew that if his mother would not allow him to be prayed for there was no hope for him. So again I asked permission to pray for Peter and told her that a group of ladies who meet for prayer every week were gathering as we spoke and all it would take from me was a phone call.


This time Peter's mother said, "Yes, please pray". My heart leapt for joy and I thanked God that she had changed her mind. After giving her hand an encouraging squeeze I hurried back to the phone to inform the prayer group of Peter's plight knowing they would pray immediately, then headed for the hospital chapel to 'join' my friends in prayer.


On entering the chapel I noticed two people in casual conversation who, on seeing me, stopped their conversation and asked if they could help. I told them about Peter and they offered to pray with me.


As we were praying for Peter I was overwhelmed by the strongest feelings of compassion I had ever known and at the same time I realized that no matter how compassionate I felt, it was nothing compared to the compassion God felt for little Peter.


Uncontrolled tears flowed as we prayed for God to heal Peter, not because of our limited love, compassion or faith, but because of his unlimited kindness, compassion, mercy and eternal love.


We continued to pray until peace, like a blanket settled on our hearts and we knew God had heard our prayer. Then leaving the chapel I returned to the ward to take my daughter home.


Amazing news…


Five weeks later Mim and I returned to the hospital for her second operation and as we entered the ward I noticed a small boy running unchecked around the room. Amazingly the nurses seemed unconcerned.


While I waited at the nurse’s station Peter's mother arrived and I cautiously asked about Peter. She pointed to the little boy running around and said, "That's him over there, we're finally on our way home, right now!"


I was stunned and asked her what had happened.


She told me that several hours after I last saw her, the doctors’ told her Peter had come out of his coma. He had not just opened his eyes but had surprised everyone by sitting up in bed and telling the nurse he was hungry!


She went on to say that Peter had spent the last few weeks undergoing numerous neurological and kidney tests and every one of them had been clear. There was no brain damage, no kidney damage and no sign of epilepsy. His body had shrunk to its original size and he was now deemed to be a normal and healthy little boy. Peter was completely healed.


His story made the news…


His mother then pointed out a newspaper clipping proudly displayed on the wall of the ward. The miraculous nature of his sudden recovery had impressed the medical staff so much that they had Peter's story printed up in a major Sydney newspaper.


His remarkable survival against all odds was reported in the paper as a testimony to the expertise of his doctors and used to encourage much needed donations for the popular but financially beleaguered hospital.


The truth, however, was very different and I was not only enormously blessed by Peter's dramatic healing but by the brilliance of God's timing in allowing me to see Peter and hear this amazing testimony to God's glory from the mouth of his relieved mother just moments before they were due to leave the hospital.


Another chronically ill child and another healing…


My daughter's second operation went as smoothly as the first and afterward she was returned to the same intensive care ward. A short time later a little girl called Alison, only seven years of age, was admitted in a meningitis-induced coma.


When the initial nursing activity had ceased and Alison's mother was alone we struck up a casual conversation, which led to the story of Peter's miraculous healing.


Alison's mother immediately asked me to pray with her for Alison so in the quiet of the ward we prayed for God's mercy and love to flow through Alison's little body.


When we ceased praying my daughter was asleep so I went for a walk outside in the garden. When I returned my daughter was still asleep but the room was alive with people.


Alison was out of her coma!


Her mother came over to me crying and filled with joy that God had answered our prayers so quickly and she thanked God and gave him the glory.


Alison spent another few days in hospital to undergo tests and regain her strength. She had no complications from the Meningitis and was completely healed.


God healed what the doctors could not heal!


With my own daughter, as with these other precious children, God healed what the doctors could not heal. Though the medical staff warned me that Mim would be off her food, unable to sleep soundly and probably uncontrollably cranky and irritable for several days, God was greater than the circumstances and my precious daughter had none of these symptoms of trauma.


She still slept thirteen hours each night, ate her regular food and was as playful and happy as any other day. Except for the normal after operation sedation she didn't need painkillers and her recovery after the operations was more rapid than expected.


In each child God completely halted the advancing destruction in their lives and ultimately brought not just life but abundant life where there had previously been a real threat of physical death.

Monica is the author of several books REVELATION A Love Story, WHAT THEY SAW, LOVING What Does It Mean? JUDGING Is It A Sin? and TITHING Does It Insult God? Her children's book VIRTUAL to REALITY is due out late 2019. She writes occasionally for The Canberra Declaration, a powerful voice for Christian political and social change in Australia.

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