By: Cheri Fuller
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18–19 NIV
I don’t know where we’d have ended up if God hadn’t intervened in our marriage, because my fears plus all our other emotional baggage were putting a big strain on the relationship. But one of the wonderful things about God is that He knows all about us and loves us anyway. He knows our needs even before we ask and knows what is underneath our weaknesses when we are clueless. And when we let Him, God can marvelously transform our fears and heal our hurts.
As Holmes and I grew spiritually, we gradually gave God more and more of our lives: habits, finances, careers. We told the Lord we’d go any direction He wanted, and He opened up new doors for Holmes. He was so faithful, we eventually gave Him our marriage. We knew we needed help and healing. After all, in eight years of trying to do life on our own, a lot of resentment and negative patterns had built up. But since we couldn’t afford counseling, we had no idea how anything could change.
In 1978, Holmes and I attended a weekend conference that focused on restoration of the family, church, and nation. We were inspired by hearing Peter Marshall speak, and on Sunday a healing service was planned. Although we’d never heard of a healing service, it sounded like a good idea. Despite all efforts with medication, allergy shots, and diet changes, our son’s asthma was still a struggle, so this invitation to have someone pray for him sounded great.
On Sunday afternoon we sat with our children at the back of the auditorium with several hundred other people to hear the message. Then we were instructed to write our prayer request on paper provided in the bulletin and come up to one of the three ministers to be prayed for.
After a wise, older pastor shared about what the Bible had to say about healing, I thought he looked like the best person. So I wrote, “Our son has severe asthma and chronic allergies that has caused trips to the ER and hospital since he was 4. Could you pray for him?” and we hesitantly got in the pastor’s line. However, his line was so long that we were steered over to Peter Marshall.
We sat down on the pew before him when it was our turn for prayer. Reverend Marshall didn’t know us, but he looked intently down the row at each of us and at our son. Then he looked back at me and said, “You’re the one who really needs prayer. Come up and let me pray for you.”
But you don’t understand, I thought. It’s not me—it’s our son who needs prayer for his asthma. That’s what we came for. Not one to argue with the person in charge, we walked up and he began.
“Lord, heal the heart of this young woman who lost her father as a child. Take away her sense of being abandoned by her father and You. . . ,” he began to pray. Why, I hadn’t told him anything about my dad’s dying when I was young.
Somehow God gave this man who had lost his own father when he was ten years old the knowledge that losing my father when I was a child left me with a sense of being abandoned, resulting in a lack of trust in my husband and in God. He asked the Lord to heal all those emotions and to see how faithful my heavenly Father is, how He’d led me and protected me all through my life. He asked for trust to be rebuilt between me and my husband. As he prayed, it was like the deep root system of worry, fear, and distrust was literally lifted out of my soul.
And as he continued praying, my reserved husband began to weep uncontrollably, the hurt literally pouring out of him for my never trusting him to drive safely enough or handle decisions. I’d never seen Holmes cry like this in our whole marriage. Resentment and irritations were washed from both of us as the tears flowed. Peter continued praying for our marriage to be healed and for us to truly “cleave” to one another and become one.
At the close of the weekend, when we stood with other couples to renew our vows, we felt like the old passed away and we had a brand-new start to our relationship. And although our son was not prayed for as my plan was, his asthma did begin to improve. I got a new glimpse of my heavenly Father that day and was filled with awe and wonder that He was so caring that he sent a man like Peter Marshall from way across the country, a man I’d never met whose father had died when he was a child, just as mine had, to minister to the deepest part of my heart and bring freedom.
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”