Healing at annual conference enlivens lay member's faith
When Marge Shiflett made her way to annual conference last May, in the back of her mind were thoughts of the troubles she had been having with her eyesight.
She never expected a miracle. "I'm not that kind of Christian," she said.
But during a time of prayer at opening worship May 30, her faith shifted. She felt her vision clear. She felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, she said. But she still wanted confirmation. She went to her doctor – and then got other medical opinions.
Today, Shiflett considers herself a walking miracle. Doctors, who profess to be amazed, say her macular degeneration, caused by scar tissue, has been healed and her vision is now perfect.
Shiflett, the lay leader of Providence UMC in Monrovia, recently wrote about the experience in her church newsletter. She writes:
I SURRENDER ALL
Four weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a bleeding retina in my left eye. I was told that I would undergo treatment for two years for macular degeneration. Treatment consisted of injections into the eyeball and about two hours of tests monthly. I had a 25 percent chance of having the same problem in the right eye. My vision was rapidly deteriorating with much of my central vision being dark. I was going blind.
I contacted Pastor DD (Adams) and asked her to pray for me. I prayed hard. Finally, I knew I could do no more. I had the best doctors, I had prayed, the rest was up to God. That Sunday, Pastor DD put her hands on my eyes and asked God to restore my vision.
A few days later, Pastor DD and I went to the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference session. We heard great preaching and wonderful music. The entire conference was filled with people loving God. We were singing "I Surrender All" when it happened. I was singing my lungs out, and I was so very happy. I was filled with the love of God and the Holy Spirit. Suddenly my eye cleared. I looked all around me and I could see! I looked at Pastor DD and tears were streaming down my face.
I said, "I can see! I can see!"
I grabbed her and kissed the top of her head. (She's kind of short.) She just smiled a knowing smile and then the man on my other side said "What happened?" I told him, and he just smiled that same knowing smile.
The gentleman reported this to Bishop John Schol and, before I knew it, Pastor DD and I were summoned by the bishop and I was in front of all those people telling them what happened.
Afterwards, people came up to talk to me and many wanted to touch me. I was in a state of shock. I could not believe what had just happened. I praised God for his goodness and for the miracle I had received.
The end of this story is not quite over. I told a couple of people about this and they shared my happiness with me. But by now doubts had begun to creep into my brain. Pastor DD said, "Marge, miracles don't just happen in the Bible. They happen in real life too."
Still, I went for my appointment with the doctor. I am 100 percent healed. I had one more injection to get rid of the scar tissue. Then it is just follow up. The doctors were shocked and surprised. One of them said, "You are one lucky person! I have never seen this treatment work that fast."
Lucky? Lucky? I prefer the word blessed. I believe in God's healing and I surrender all.