I’m writing a novel about Philip the evangelist. He had a knack of being at the right place at the right time and the biblical accounts reveal that he saw miracles as he announced good news about Jesus. Loads of people became followers of Jesus because of this man. Inspirational.
Today in Chester I took the opportunity to visit those places where I, like Philip, just so happened to be exactly where I was needed. And (I write this humbly) I saw miracles in front of my eyes. I really did.
The picture above shows the spot where my life changed. I mean completley changed. 20 years ago I prayed with a man who I ‘just so happened to see’ who had taken a bad hit of heroine and I truly thought was going to die in front of me. He was ashen white, sweating, unable to talk, doubled over on an old picnic bench. I panicked… So I did the only thing that I could do.
Remember this is the age where phoning 999 for an ambulance wasn’t an option… I didn’t have a mobile phone! So, instead I prayed. In front of my very eyes the man was completely healed. Not only of his bad hit of heroine, but also as it turned out, of his awful drug addiction. From that moment he was free from heroine.
The man later described it as a ‘wave of love’ crashing upon him as I prayed. What is extraordinary is that he couldn’t have known I was praying. I prayed quietly under my breath. He wouldn’t have been able to hear my panicked prayer asking for God to heal him but rather he simply knew I was praying.
I also visited other spots of encounter where people received dramtic answers to prayer or simply met with God and encountered his presence. Like the man who had turned his back on any idea of there being a God but just so happened to read some scripture about a ‘river in the desert’ when he got up in the morning to then meet me on the walls of Chester giving away free bottles of water. He met with God in that simple gift and have his life afresh to following Jesus.
This pilgrimage helped me understand again that Philip’s story isn’t one of wishful thinking or elaborate interpretation. The same Jesus who did what he did back then through Philip is the very same one who does what he does through the likes of you and me.