Faith without Trappings

by Jun 6, 2023Devotional

“When I cannot read, when I cannot think, when I cannot even pray, I can trust.” -James Hudson Taylor

Can I go down memory lane with you?

Today most of my family is headed to a camp in Gadston, Texas.  About 20-25 years ago, Todd and I attended this camp for the first time as a young married couple.

I had been seeking God, but spiritually it was dry.  I felt like I needed to go to Texas camp to get a boost. 

At the time, I was the secretary/bookkeeper for Independence Bible School.  During the summer, we continued to have bills including payroll, but we didn’t have a lot of income coming in like student tuition or deputation money.  The summer could be a tricky time financially.

I felt responsible for making sure that things were paid before I left for camp.  I told God that I needed to get enough money to pay the bills before I would feel right to pack. 

It almost sounded like a fleece, and my friend Carol Epp thought I should not make that stipulation.  She and her husband were going to go to Texas also.  They had bought a vehicle and just needed to load it and head out.

I was trying to work out how to go, when I remembered that I needed to make a $20 donation to the school for foodbank.  Twenty dollars wouldn’t go far, but I went ahead and gave the money.

Then I walked to the school mailbox and got the checks for the day. 

To this day, I have no clue where the money came from, but I opened the envelopes and recorded the money.  When I glanced at the total on my deposit slip, I was shocked…I had enough to pay the bills.  In fact, I had a $20 surplus! 

God didn’t need my money to work the miracle.

I ran home to pack and leave for Texas.  God had made it plain to my doubting heart that this was all His plan.

As Todd and I drove down Old 58 Road, we passed Carol’s house and could see the new van was still being loaded.  We had beat them out of town!

Suddenly, from the seat beside me, Todd began to tell me how he wasn’t sure about Texas camp.  He had never been there before, and he had heard stories of the services.  He said, “I’m afraid it is just wildfire.”

After God had just performed a miracle for me to go, I couldn’t handle it.  I told him that if he was going to doubt and hinder me, to just go back home and let me go alone!  Todd didn’t say another word about the camp.

When we arrived, all of Todd’s doubts were gone.  He jumped in with both feet, thoroughly enjoying camp…while I spent the week doubting God. 

When they announced that they were going to have a healing service, Todd thought about how he had been struggling with his allergies.  He had not been able to mow or do much yard work.  Since I’ve always been a weakling, he would come out and pull the string on the mower, get it started, and race for the house, hoping I wouldn’t kill the thing.

His congestion had settled in his chest and turned into bronchitis. 

He was done.  The thought occurred to him that he had never heard of anyone being healed from allergies.  Then he thought, “Oh well.  I don’t see anyone lined up.”

That healing service was outstanding.  The Holy Spirit came in power as people shouted and several were healed.

However, when the people prayed for Todd, there was no fabulous manifestation.  He stood up quietly and told everyone that he was healed. 

And since I did not feel anything out of the ordinary, I did not believe him.  (Actually, not believing had probably been my problem the whole week.)

On the drive home, Todd still had congestion and was coughing as he told me he was healed.  Inside my heart, I thought, “Yeah right.”

Once we got home, an amazing thing happened.  Todd’s congestion went away, and he really was healed.  He took over the yard work and no longer had reactions to cats, dust, cut grass, and plugged-in scented fragrances (that still give me headaches).

Last week, we had another healing at our church.  One of the ladies at church, Connie Diel, had been dealing with vertigo.  She had gone to the doctor, chiropractor, and neurologist.  None of them could help her.  Her arms and legs were skinned up from repeated falls, and she was using a walker. 

The crowd at our church was small last Wednesday night, but they gathered around her and prayed. Connie left healed.  Some of the people at the church were amazed.  Someone said, “I didn’t know we got any help.”  The prayer had not seemed outstanding.

I love it when we pray, and God’s presence is near.  But sometimes it does not work that way.

Hudson Taylor said after many, many miraculous incidents, that the majority of the answers to prayer that he received had come from dry prayers. 

Darlene Diebler Rose has coined an interesting phrase…”Faith without trappings.”

In my past, I have tied God’s hands way too much through unbelief.  Today, I want to believe God. 

4 Comments

  1. Brenda Shimp

    If we start to say something out of turn or make an err the Spirit is quick as lightening to “check us”. If He hears those things He also hears us when we pray.
    If we then know He hears us we also know that whatever we ask for within His will He will grant our petition.

    • Elizabeth Hamilton

      Yes!!

  2. Sandra Satterfield

    God’s word says he inclines his ear to our cry! Some cry softly, loudly ,sniffle or the cry is deep inside. Regardless, God hears each cry . Praise the Lord!
    My hearts cry is to be real before the Lord. No mask of trying to be someone else.

    • Elizabeth Hamilton

      That’s good!