Healing Through the Window of Heaven

By Frankie Revell –

After traveling thousands of miles to the other side of the world, there I stood in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Just moments before the tour guide had informed us that when one prays in this spot, “the windows of heaven are open to you.”

With many aging loved ones I didn’t waste any time after hearing those words. I had a few general prayers in mind, among them were that God would sustain my aging father’s health, at least long enough so that he would be able to meet my children. The year was 2008.

It was later that year when I first noticed my father’s memory declining. All of his older siblings suffered from Alzheimer’s so I began to prepare myself for what lie ahead.

I shared my concern about my father’s health with many of my friends and colleagues who offered encouragement and prayer. I told them that I did not doubt God’s ability to heal my father. It was Dr. Scott Kisker, my professor of Church History at Wesley Theological Seminary, who told me, “we are God’s children and we do have the right to ask God for miracles.”

Photo courtesy of Frankie Revell.

Photo courtesy of Frankie Revell.

Despite working with the medical community, my father began a slow and steady decline over the next few years. The symptoms were typical. He stopped driving, he began to wander, he became increasingly confused at times, and was unable to recognize my mother, myself, or his home. Eventually we were no longer able to leave him alone and caring for him became a 24-hour-a-day job.

Mid to late stage Alzheimer’s Disease was the diagnosis as determined by extensive testing at the Johns Hopkins Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Baltimore in August 2012.

My congregation, Cokesbury Memorial UM Church in Abingdon, Maryland, understood my plight and graciously granted me time off to deal with my father’s affairs. As more people learned of my father’s situation they continued to offer their prayers and encouragement as well. My prayer was that I would be able to find a good facility that could meet my father’s needs and that my mother would be well cared for.

My father continued to decline rapidly as I searched for the proper facility that could meet his changing needs. The disease began to affect my father physically, his conversation was non-sensical, he had virtually no attention span, his short-term memory was nearly gone, and he was in a constant state of confusion. Everybody took notice of his decline, everybody knew the story — my father was fading fast. Nobody in the medical community disputed that he was now solidly in the mid stages of the disease and quickly progressing into the later stages. My mother Cindy, my wife Kerry, and I were the primary caregivers and we were now incapable of meeting his needs due to his rapid decline.

I struggled to find the proper facility for my father since his insurance was not accepted or they felt they could not provide the unique level of care that he needed. I was distraught and felt like I had been abandoned by God. While praying, I once even verbalized that Job got off the hook too easily. I thought I’d lose my mind and my faith.

God eventually led us to the right facility and the day came when my father was admitted. Although his health had declined, I was confident that God had answered my prayer by sending us to the right place with the right staff. Given the progression of the disease I was sure that my father would never live outside of a facility again.

Soon the staff and doctors worked with my father and further tweaked medications. To everybody’s surprise over the next few weeks my father began to show gradual improvement. His talent and skill in playing the banjo began to improve. I uploaded videos to Facebook of my father and I entertaining the other residents in the facility — my friends were amazed.

Soon I was informed that the staff’s goal was to enable my father to return to his home. After further prayer, fasting, and discernment we decided to give it a shot. We brought my father home the week of Thanksgiving. We played a gig the following week. Our friends and family were stunned at his recovery.

The doctors continue to be amazed at my father’s improvement. Since bringing him home we continue to follow up with professionals in the medical community who state that my father has shown significant cognitive improvement beyond what medication alone could accomplish.

On June 26, 2013, my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our first child, Cecilia Thérèse Revell. Cecilia was baptized on August 11 — her Pappy’s 77th birthday. Pappy and Cecilia are very close and enjoy each other’s company.

God answered my prayer at the Wailing Wall in a manner that was better than I could ask, think, or even imagine. To some this might seem to be too good to be true but my congregation, friends, relatives, and colleagues in ministry know that this testimony is sure and true. The word “miracle” is not to be used lightly however I do not hesitate to refer to my father’s recovery as a miracle. This miracle is a living and visible sign of the resurrection of Christ in our midst and is a testimony that is to be celebrated by us all.

Frankie Allen Revell is an ordained Elder serving at Cokesbury Memorial United Methodist Church in Abingdon, Maryland.

 

Comments

  1. I am one who shared the prayers for Pastor Frankie Revell’s father. May God be praised for His healing power at work in and through His people.

  2. Love this Frankie. Your words, faith,testimony and teachings are such an inspiration. Praise God. Love you.

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