Being present when an amazing miracle takes place is a great privilege and a huge delight!
Wendy and I have just returned from the USA Newfrontiers Mid-West Family Weekend where we enjoyed an excellent time with hundreds of our friends from the Newfrontiers churches in the Mid-West. The whole weekend was very worthwhile but my lasting memory will be of the extraordinary miracle that Parker Marks experienced.
Five years ago his parents were told, ‘Parker has the worst case of dyslexia we have ever seen in our thirteen years.’ This was the assessment of the Director of Applied Learning Processes, one of the nation’s most recognised learning disability centres. Throughout his high school years he was given a classification which allowed him to have his reading provided in audio form as well as other special provisions. His personal response to this was that he hated school and felt like an outcast.
A year ago, Parker started listening to the Bible on audio tape. It became a passion to him and one day while listening to 1 Corinthians 10:13 God changed his life. His parents witnessed a change in him that was nothing short of a miracle in itself. From a young man who was bitter and filled with hatred due to his dyslexia, to becoming amazingly passionate for worshipping God and listening to the Bible. He started a morning prayer group in his high school and his parents testify, ‘He has become one of the most loving and caring young men two parents could ask for.’
Parker, who has memorized three whole Bible books, has been preparing to go to a Newfrontiers year team after his graduation this summer but his greatest fear was facing up to all the reading that would be required of him during that year.
Instead of attending his own graduation ceremony, Parker chose to be at the Family Weekend. During one of the worship sessions his friend Jon Alden felt that God had spoken into his heart concerning Parker, so he leaned over to him and said, ‘The letters will be where they are supposed to be and God will make you see things you never thought you would.’ Parker immediately knew what this meant. Running back to the book table, he picked up a book and started reading. Miraculously for the first time ever in Parker’s eighteen years he could read clearly and understand!
He was invited to the platform where he took the Bible and read from Psalm 141. As you can imagine, the whole crowd erupted in applause and praise to God for this breathtaking miracle. Happily the moment was captured in this photograph, in which his uncle, Tommy Stanley, can be seen in the background.
His father, Steve, has just written to me to say that the first book he picked up was my book A People Prepared and that he has already read the first two chapters.
We saw several other healings during our days together but for me this took the prize!
Billy Graham Celebrates 60 Years in Ministry
One other thing, I was so glad that I stumbled upon while in the USA and flicking through the television channels was a news item which celebrated the fact that Billy Graham has recently celebrated 60 years in ministry. This coincided with his personal library being made public in a fine new building opened at his home base in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It was a great joy to see this magnificent servant of God being honoured by many, including his friends George Beverly Shea (now 98!) who led the 1,500 congregation in How Great Thou Art alongside Cliff Barrows, who conducted the singing as usual. These three guys have been together for 60 years in ministry. What a team! What a faithful testimony to God. Three former Presidents, George Bush Snr, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, were also present and spoke with evident respect and affection. (He actually had access to the White House through eleven consecutive administrations.)
Last of all, Billy Graham himself stood to speak and joked, ‘I feel like I’ve been attending my own funeral.’
I was so grateful simply to catch a glimpse of the great man and to see how God has sustained him and honoured him, as indeed Billy Graham was diligent to honour God yet again, albeit from his frail body.
Whether it’s an 18-year-old who has just begun to see clearly or an 80-year-old who has seen clearly and served God for decades, it’s a joy to witness God’s faithfulness in human lives to His glory and praise.