His touch has still



IT was in a little fishing village on the Brazilian coast, where the great Atlantic rollers spread their creaming surf along a hundred leagues of golden sands. It was my first visit to Brazil; and I was to be introduced that night to a little group of believers before beginning my long journey to the interior, visiting all our stations on the way to far Goiás.

Mr. Ranken, our then superintendent, had met me and suggested a walk round, calling on the crentes, and inviting them to the meeting. Their dwellings were poor, and very primitive: and the home where I met the Lord was no exception – a few rough stools, a table, and some other necessities. The floor was of hard clay, the walls of adobe, with a few texts hung to relieve their bareness. We were warmly welcomed; stools arranged for our use and that of the good man, while his senhora squatted on the floor; and Mr. Ranken began to chat with them in fluent Portuguese. I picked up what I could, my knowledge of Spanish helping me, but my attention was inclined to wander. I looked round the unattractive hut; I looked at the gnarled hands and weather-beaten faces of the old couple, and wondered how much they knew of the Gospel, or how much they had grasped of the fundamentals of our faith: then the Lord spoke and reduced me to shamed humility.

The old woman was speaking, and I suddenly caught a sentence that riveted my attention: -

“… and when the wee baby was born, our hearts were broken! One little arm was just skin and bone, quite withered! Oh, how we cried – didn’t we , old man?” – appealing to her husband, as she constantly did. “Of course, we took it to the doctor but he could do nothing; we tried everything. Then one day we were told of a great wise doctor in São Paulo; and we gathered all the money we had left – we had spent so much on doctors – and made the journey. He was very kind, but said nothing could be done till baby had grown; perhaps in five or six years they might try elec-tri … What was it old man?”

Electricidade,” the old man supplied.

“Yes, that was it. And we came back home, oh so sad!”

While she had been speaking, the door behind me had opened and I just glimpsed a tall girl who slipped in with a bundle in her arms, and stood quietly in a corner behind me, to my left. The old lady continued her story: -

“Well, one day when we were talking about it – I was crying – I suddenly thought, Oh, if only Jesus were here we would have taken our wee baby to Him and He would have made the poor arm all better. Then I said to the old man, ‘What are we crying for? We believe in Jesus, don’t we? And the Pastor has told us that He is the same to-day as He was then; why shouldn’t we ask Him to cure baby?’

“So what do you think? We just put our dear wee babe down here on the floor,” said she, pointing to where she was sitting, “didn’t we, old man?”

“We did,” grunted he.

“And we just asked our Lord Jesus to take the poor little withered arm and make it better. And – Maria!” she called, “come and show them.”

And the quiet figure in the corner came forward shyly and unwrapped her bundle; and there was a lovely little babe, waving a wee arm and gazing wonderingly at the two strangers.

My mouth was open and my eyes, I am sure, like saucers, as I rose and took the little one’s arm in my hand, and said,

“Is this the one?”

“Yes,” she said, smiling happily. And taking the little arm, she twisted it round over the baby’s head.

“It is a little bit stiff at the top yet, but it is getting better every day.”

I took the little hand in mine: and you know what a baby’s hand is, just about the most beautiful thing in the world; the wrinkles round the wrist; the lovely little pink nails; and I realised I was holding a baby’s hand that the Lord Jesus had touched. And I had been wondering how much of the Gospel these poor folk knew, and if they had any real understanding about God and Christ! And I knew to my shame that they knew more, and had greater faith, than I had ever attained.

Now I am not preaching faith healing or advocating any particular ‘movement’. I am only telling you what I saw with my own eyes, and what my own hands handled; and how I realised in that humble little home, as I had never done before, that ‘His touch has still its ancient power’.

May God give us the faith to believe it, and the confidence to claim it.


From: Anon. True Stories Re-told. London: Evangelical Union of South America, 1965, pages 65-67