Ein Ausdruck der Macht von oben
By Ralph W. Damon
One of the benefits of being the managing editor of Die eiligen Zeiten is that I have the opportunity to read the submittals which come from the Saints early on in the selection and editing process of preparing each edition of our magazine. I am often thrilled to read of someone else’s experiences and their connection with the power of God and the Holy Spirit. Many times I am reminded of a similar incident which may have occurred in my life but somehow has been stored in the deeper recesses of my mind, long forgotten and lying dormant.
After receiving a number of experiences written down by a long-time friend of mine, I found one in particular that shook the cobwebs off of an experience I had as a very young, and inexperienced, elder so many years ago. Perhaps what I experienced will have some value to you also.
As best as I can recall, it was sometime in the spring of 1974 when my family and I lived in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. We attended a small branch in Arnold, MO where I had lived since the sixth grade. I had just been ordained to the office of elder a few weeks prior and was still trying to understand all that the ministry of the elder entailed. I was also attempting to bring ministry to the same people who, from the sixth grade onward, had a great deal to do with raising me. Not an easy task at all!
I worked shift work at the plant where I was employed, and on this particular day I was working the 4:00 PM to midnight shift. I normally would sleep in to around 10:00 AM and then get up to spend time with the family before preparing to leave for work in the early afternoon. On one day in particular, a phone call changed all of those plans.
District President Sebe Morgan phoned the house and asked if I would be willing to take some time, on that day, to stop by a hospital to administer to a Saint who was getting ready to undergo surgery for cancer. Mind you, this was my very first request to participate in an administration as an elder. I explained that fact to Brother Morgan but he was insistent that he could not find anyone else who could go at this time. Reluctantly, and fearfully, I agreed that I would do what I could.
I made several phone calls to elders in my branch but could not find anyone who could go with me. At my last phone call, a young man who had been ordained to the office of priest at the same time o my ordination agreed to accompany me. We decided to meet at the hospital at a certain time.
When we entered Brother Ed’s room, he was sitting in a chair, waiting for us. We introduced ourselves and make the preparations for the administration. He was facing surgery for cancer somewhere in his abdomen. The doctors weren’t sure exactly what they would find but Ed was informed that it was a necessary, life-saving procedure. I asked the young priest to offer a prayer for the ministry of angels to be with us at this time and then proceeded to anoint and lay my hands upon Brother Ed’s head. And the heavens opened!
The moment I closed my eyes and began my prayer, I could see Ed and myself from a distance across the room. I watched as I prayed over Brother Ed and then began to see the most amazing sight – I could see myself being lifted up from behind him and rising off the floor high into the air. My hands continued to remain in contact with his head, stretching long and thin, but I was being drawn higher and higher away from the room. It was an amazing sight to see.
At the “Amen” of my prayer, my eyes opened and I was again standing beside our brother and all was as it was at first. But the power of the Spirit lingered and sheltered us. My young friend and I left Brother Ed with our prayers and the intent to check on him in the next few days.
Two days later I received a phone call from Brother Ed. He was gathering his clothes and preparing to leave the hospital. The day after the administration, the medical staff did a pre-surgery evaluation and could find nothing wrong with him All the symptoms had disappeared, his health was on the rebound, and they were dismissing him, sending him home with his family. With tears, he thanked me for bringing this blessing to him. All I could do was marvel at this first experience of administration that God allowed me to be a part of.
My new friend passed away about twelve years later, but not from the cancer. He was privileged to live a longer life with his family and I was given the assurance that, even with those of us who often feel unqualified or unworthy, the power of divinity will always have power over us – and through us – if we will only provide the opportunity for its expression.