Firstly, anyone who refuses to believe in supernatural healings has led a very restricted life. They have been reliably reported from every major branch of the the Church. So, rather than bore you with another list of case histories, I shall cut to the chase, and go straight to a case which revolves around the preacher-cum-healer, Kathryn Kuhlman (1907 - 1976). Nevertheless, before we continue, it is germane to raise a couple of reservations. Miss Kuhlman's treatment of marriage and money, although unexceptional by the world's standards, was not completely consistent with that of a Christian preacher. Also, apparently a Dr Nolan followed up 23 of her alleged healings, and determined that they were essentially either psychosomatic effects, or temporary reductions in symptoms. (On the other hand, if it is miracles you are looking for, then 23 is a very small sample size. Nowhere is it written that supernatural healings have to be instantaneous and complete. Another doctor was able to establish that some of her cures were indeed miraculous.)
Be that as it may, in 1974 she had published an anthology, admittedly ghost-written, of first hand testimonies of her healings, some of which were really spectacular, to say the least. (A woman called Dorothy Otis was cured of scoliosis of the spine with a one inch shortening of the right leg, and her husband of advance emphysema - both of which are medically incurable conditions.) But nothing was more remarkable than the strange visitors who came for the daughter of Patricia Bradley.
Patricia was a beautiful woman with a far from beautiful life. Born at Kenova, West Virginia, she married at 15, only to discover that her husband was a drunkard and drug addict, who three times beat her so severely that she required hospitalisation. On the third time, she actually had plastic surgery to her nose and cheekbones. For money, she worked as a topless dancer in Dallas, and apparently also as a casual prostitute. Needless to say, her marriage collapsed. When a friend offered to kill her husband, she was desperate enough to agree. Fortunately or unfortunately, her husband found out and hired a hitman to murder her. Taking her daughter, Gina she fled, and eventually ended up working as a waitress in another town. About this time, she began to read the Bible. The upshot was that just before Christmas, at about 10 p.m., she walked into the Roman Catholic cathedral, wept and prayed for a whole two hours, and offered her life to Christ. A great inner peace came upon her, and she could feel a mysterious radiance in the the sanctuary.
At this point you might consider this a quite ordinary conversion story. True, she did travel a harrowing and roundabout way to get there, but the fact is that it is the flotsam and jetsam of this world, those whose earthly gods have failed them, who are most amenable to the Saviour's grace. You could fill a very large book with stories such as this. No, the really interesting bit is what happened next.
She had been rash enough to pray that, since she didn't have a son to give, as did God the Father, He could use her little girl for His glory. Be careful what you pray for! The following night, when she returned to the cathedral, there was sense of foreboding all around. Eight year old Gina looked back - and screamed. Two "spectres" were approaching.
The man had Mexican features, but his skin was bloodless gray, his face the mask of death. The woman, jerking along beside him, had pale white hair falling alongside colorless cheeks. Their eyes, unseeing, stared straight ahead. They were like walking corpses. (p 291)The female reached out and touched Gina on the shoulder. Then they abruptly vanished. Grasping her daughter by the hand, Patricia ran screaming from the church. She ended up in a psychiatric ward while her daughter was send to the care of Patricia's sister, Faye. Nevertheless, Gina visited her every Saturday, and on the third visit informed her that those damned spectres had been meeting her every Friday after school to walk her home.
When Patricia was discharged in the first week of February, she discovered that now Gina was in hospital. Faye told her that, on the Friday a fortnight before, she had come down with a sore ankle. The next day her body was stiff and swollen. Now she was held in an isolation ward being fed by a drip, her body swollen, her joints stiff, the muscles on her neck like ropes. She drooled, she suffered from fever, and her eyes tended to roll back into their sockets. They had to keep her naked, for she screamed in pain if anything touched her skin. Rapidly deteriorating, she got to the stage where she swallowed her tongue and stopped breathing many times. She had lost control of her bowels and bladder. Her hair fell out, her legs were twisted, and she was in constant pain. Finally, about April or May, her treating doctor diagnosed a rare blood disease, periarteritis nodosa. Although by July she was permitted to leave, it was in a wheelchair, and everyone knew she was dying.
One might suspect that all this would put a bit of a strain on her mother's new found faith. However, when Kathryn Kuhlman turned up in their home state of West Virginia, mother and daughter attended her service. When the preacher commanded Satan to release his captives in the audience, somehow Patricia was convinced that Gina had been healed. And, in fact, she did improve over the next few weeks, and was even able to walk. When Miss Kuhlman returned in September, they again attended her service, and this time heard her say, "Someone is in the audience who is healed of a fatal blood disease." (How did she know?) Gina got up and walked out. That evening they poured all her pills down the sink. Within a week, her hair started growing back - this time curly, whereas before it was straight - and within a short time she was in perfect health.
As I said, miraculous healings are a well-established phenomenon, but what about the cause of this disease. What were those damned "spectres", and where the hell did they come from?
Pray you will never meet them.
Reference: Patricia Bradley, "Yet in Love He Sought Me", chapter 20, pp 287-304 in Nothing Is Impossible With God, by Kathryn Kuhlman (Spire Books, 1976)