I have always had a special place in my heart for Tekoa. He is the same age as my eldest grandson; the same athletic ability; the same spirit of a feisty young warrior being shaped and molded that at times gets him into trouble. He is the second eldest son of my friend Julie. She, her husband Dwayne, and their four children were on one of their extended mission trips to Africa. I would be staying with them while I was there to facilitate the Moses Program training for the surrounding orphanages in Livingstone.
Julie and some of her family had become ill just a few days before I arrived. They were being tested for typhoid… Tekoa had already started to feel sick on December 24th. And when I arrived on December 31st, we had no idea that an announcement had been made about a cholera outbreak in the capital city of Lusaka, a few hours away.
They were diagnosed with dysentery, a sickness which includes high fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Bacteria had entered the drinking supply. There was one toilet in their little house that didn’t flush well and any water now had to be boiled and filtered prior to consumption. With seven of us in the house, the little stove top was constantly being used for the next batch of water. The windows needed to be closed as soon as lights were turned on at night to prevent the many flying insects from coming in, even though it was still thirty degrees Celsius outside. There were no screens. And water needed to be boiled. Are you getting the picture? I laughed when someone asked if I stayed at an “all-inclusive” while I was in Africa…
News of the cholera outbreak quickly spread, causing fear. The government issued a directive for there to be no gatherings of over five people. By the second week, two thousand people were sick in Lusaka and close to one-hundred people had died. Then we heard that there was now a case in Livingstone…
But people were more concerned about their spiritual sickness than they were for any physical sickness that might come their way. They came to the training anyway.
I watched as Julie’s children succumbed to dysentery and watched them heal after being given daily injections. But not Tekoa… He was not himself. He would announce that he was fine, and go outside, but soon would be lying on his bed, feverish and sleepy. This went on day after day. Antibiotics seemingly had no effect. The more stubborn Tekoa became to pretend it wasn't there and will it away, the more stubborn the fever became. Thirty days had now passed since it started.
One day, Dwayne was talking about the scriptural story of Peter’s mother-in-law; how she laid in her bed with a fever. According to Dwayne’s Bible, Jesus stood over her, and rebuked the fever. She rose and began to serve him. So Dwayne told Tekoa to lie down and he proceeded to pray and rebuke the fever. I watched in anticipation, but nothing happened. The next day, Tekoa again went outside, and again within a short time was feverish.
As we talked about it, a strange feeling came over me; a feeling that all of us should gather over Tekoa and pray.
I pray. A lot. And I have seen God work in amazing ways on people’s emotional wounds. But I had never seen God work in a physical situation like this. My faith lacked. But we prayed anyway.
A few hours later, Tekoa again said he felt fine and wanted to go outside. I was sure he would be back, lying on his bed very soon.
But the fever never came back.
A few days later, Julie commented to him that it was a possibility that the antibiotics had finally started working.
“No,” he said, “It was God who healed me.”
I can't wait to see what happens in the life of this thirteen-year-old warrior that God is shaping and molding. God greatly increased his faith. He will never forget having the fever. And neither will I.
God increased my faith through watching it happen.
Wow!!! This stuff actually works!!!