Last week I wrote about the divine appointment my husband Scott and I had while he was recovering from neck surgery in Florida. The home health nurse who came to our hotel arrived with a tailwind from the Holy Spirit and blessed us beyond our imagination. I described this experience as seeing the visible Holy Spirit. To fully appreciate Katie, I recommend reading that post if you have not.
We truly felt God’s presence in her tender care. Now this week I want to share with you God’s power in her miracle story.
Idyll to Idle
Katie grew up on the island of Dominica, a small speck in the Caribbean Sea. Her life was simple and beautiful in all the ways one would imagine. She was well-loved by her large tight-knit Christian family. Poverty was communal and therefore not a disgrace. Their dependence on the Lord and each other prevented spiritual poverty, and Katie remembers the joy of the Lord from an early age.
Katie’s life changed drastically when she was fifteen. A complication from a medication she was given resulted in paraplegia (paralysis of the lower half of the body). For two years she remained in the hospital with a colostomy and multiple complications. She prayed that she would be able to leave and at least spend what time she had left with her family. However, no one could have predicted the way she actually left.
And the Wind and the Rain Came
It was August 28th, 1979, and Hurricane David experienced rapid intensification in the Atlantic. It was barreling down on Barbados with sustained winds over 150 mph. On August 29th the winds shifted, and an unprepared and ill-equipped Dominica became its first target of devastation.
Katie was a patient on the third floor.
Unable to help herself and with a voice that could not rise above the howling sound of the wind, she watched helplessly as trees and metal objects flew by the window. Her fear was buffered by the futility of her circumstances and her abiding faith. She prayed for her family’s survival, not imagining her own.
Without warning she heard shattering glass. A wind tunnel was created, and her bed was picked up and carried out the window that had once separated her from the flying objects. She had become one of them.
She cannot recall the next few seconds, or was it minutes? Time stands still in unconsciousness. She woke up lying face up in the mud. She tried to get her bearings with her limited mobility. She realized the bed she had laid on was now inexplicably upside down over her. The storm continued to rage.
Relief flooded over her as she turned her head and could see a man struggling to walk towards where she was entombed by the bed. She cried out, but her words were carried away by the wind. Then to her horror, a flash of metal, blood, blood, and a headless body fell to the ground. Unconsciousness, blessed unconsciousness closed in.
I’m Not Dead
She woke up, cold and shivering. The silence was impenetrable. Her ragged breath returned to her. The memories flooded in torrentially. She once more sought to find her bearings. She could not see. Wait, something was covering her. She pulled down the sheet, only to discover she was surrounded by corpses. Panic gripped her.
With supernatural strength, she dragged her lifeless legs past the dead bodies, slowly making her way toward a door with muted voices on the other side. She does not remember how long she knocked before she was heard. When the door was opened, the faces on the other side were as white as the sheet which covered her. She had survived.
More to Tell
Katie shares her story with increasing excitement and joy. She is standing, walking, dancing before our eyes. I am taking notes to remember the details. My physician mind seeks answers for the body I have visualized. A paralyzed body weakens, decays, erodes upon itself. Yet here she stood in our room with the visible Holy Spirit and her body fully intact.
All she experienced in late August of 1979 was a miracle. But there was more to tell.
Not Much Hope, Plenty of Faith
Barbados had been spared before Hurricane David wreaked havoc on the nearby islands, resulting in over 2,000 deaths and billions of dollars in damage. Katie was among the many who were taken by helicopter to the Barbados Hospital. Though she had survived with only minor scrapes and bruises, her paralysis was unchanged. Her frail body weakened with recurrent infections and worsening bedsores. She could not return to her home country that had been structurally devastated and no longer had the resources to manage her care.
Many of the hospital staff members were Christians who would pray for her. She was grateful for these kind saints. One Christian physician wanted to do more.
A spiritual revival was occurring on the island, and word that a preacher would be coming to the area brought hope. There had been rumors of healings. The doctor knew Katie’s only true hope was through a miraculous healing. She asked Katie if she could take her.
It was not a simple task to get Katie to the revival. Though she gave an enthusiastic yes, the hospital administration said no. The risk and its associated liability were at odds with this faith-filled mission. However, with Katie signing a release form and the Christian doctor agreeing to take all the responsibility, the administration finally agreed.
A group of praying staff got Katie in a wheelchair and transported her to the large tent where the evangelist was already preaching. She remembers being very aware of her “stench” for the first time in the crowd. Some could not help but notice and their faces revealed it. When they called for those to come forward who needed healing, she felt embarrassed by the offensive odor.
While Katie struggled with her humanity, the doctor and a nurse pushed Katie steadily forward. The preacher began praying over the small group bringing the woman in the wheelchair. The intensity of his prayer grew, and from Katie’s perspective the air was electric.
She felt her body grow hot, and without warning she found herself out of the wheelchair and rolling towards the preacher. As he kneeled and continued to pray, she felt like the heat would result in a consuming fire.
She visually saw her legs moving before she realized she was causing them to move. With each movement the prayers became louder, as many joined and started praising Jesus. The doctor’s face reflected unspeakable joy, and with shaking hands she pulled Katie to her feet. Like a fawn testing new legs for the first time, Katie could stand.
It would take another six months for the broken parts of her body to heal. Reversing the colostomy, healing bedsores, and physical therapy eventually brought a strong Katie home to her family.
For God’s Glory
Scott and I spent three hours with Katie that first day. It felt like five minutes. We had been enthralled by our time together and the remarkable testimony she shared. It is incredibly special to spend time with a Christian whose purpose is to share the Glory of God in their lives.
Katie could have spent that Friday resting or relaxing with her 103-year-old mother. Yet, she chose to go beyond her expected time of work by recounting the miracle of God in her life. She knew she had been rescued, and she had dedicated her life to sharing her testimony for the benefit of others and for God’s Glory.
Most of us might not have a miracle story such as Katie’s to share with others. However, as believers in Jesus Christ, each of us can share an even greater miracle. We once felt despair, but now we hope. We were prisoners, but now we are free. We were dead, but now we live.
Praise God for his tender mercies!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his
great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Peter 1:3
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.’”