Healing hands



In 1981, newly married and fresh out of Bible college, Cheri and Ralph Brune began making plans to be missionaries in Africa. They spent that next year taking training courses on the African diet, socialization process, and other important details that would aid them in their four-year stint on another continent.

When they had nearly completed their education and had already been assigned to a village in a remote tribal area, Ralph had an idea. He had been trained in Bible education and knew well the message he and Cheri would present to the tribal people. But he had never studied the power of healing through prayer.

"I think I'm going to take that course," Ralph told his wife one afternoon.

Cheri nodded and shrugged her shoulders. "Why not?

The two had discussed the course, and Cheri, pregnant with their first child, had decided she would not have time for the additional work. But Ralph was intrigued. If he was going to tell the people about God's love, then he'd better be prepared to tell them about his healing power as well.

Although raised in the Christian church and well-versed on scripture, Ralph had never thought much of the preachers who did healing demonstrations. Many of them had proved to be frauds over the years. Even worse, a number had been swindlers who only performed trickery in exchange for donations. And so to consider the true healing nature of God was a new idea for Ralph.

He began the class at about the same time that Cheri visited a doctor for what had become a persistent and painful lower and middle back pain.

"I'm afraid I have bad news for you, Mrs. Brune," the doctor told her as the two sat in his office after her examination. "The X rays show that you're suffering from the early stages of scoliosis."

The doctor went on to explain that scoliosis was a disease that caused the spine to begin to curve unnaturally, forcing the body to become severely hunched and causing excruciating pain in its victims. When the disease occurs in children, it can be managed with a series of braces since the child's skeletal frame is still growing. However, when it strikes an adult, there is nothing that can be done.

"What can I expect?" Cheri asked, fighting tears. The news was devastating. She and Ralph had so many plans for the future. If she was going to be strong enough to bear children and live the rugged life of a missionary in Africa, she would need a healthy back.

"The pain you're experiencing will get worse. Within the next two years you will be able to notice the curving in your spine. I'm sorry."

Cheri nodded in resignation and returned home to share the news with Ralph. He sympathized with her and then told her his own news. He had met twice already with the class on healing through prayer. He told her he was impressed with the stories he was hearing. Not stories of tent revival healings or televised miracles. But quiet stories of health changes that in his opinion could be nothing less than modern-day miracles.

That night as they were falling asleep, Ralph sat up in bed and spoke to Cheri in the dark of their room.

"Would you mind if I pray for your back, Cheri?"

Cheri shrugged, already partially asleep. "Sure. Do I have to move?"

"No. You're fine."

Cheri was lying on her side, a position that favored her painful back. As she lay, falling asleep, Ralph spent thirty minutes holding his hands above her back and praying silently that God would heal her condition.

Each night for a week he continued this routine. Just as they were about to go to sleep, he would sit up, place his hands over Cheri's back, and pray specifically for God to heal her scoliosis. On the seventh night something strange happened.

Ralph had been praying for his wife for ten minutes when suddenly he spoke.


"Yes?" She was still awake.

"Do you feel anything?"

"Just your hand moving up and down along my spine."

Ralph's eyes widened in surprise. "Cheri, I haven't touched your back."

Cheri sat up quickly and turned to look at Ralph. "That's not funny!"

Ralph shook his head. "I'm serious, Cheri. I haven't touched you. The only reason I asked if you felt something was because I had my hand over your back and at that moment I was feeling something warm passing beneath my hand."

"What do you think it was?"

"I don't know. But I'm going to keep praying."

Cheri yawned and lay back down on their bed. "It can't hurt. Besides, I know God could heal me if he wanted to. I just don't know if that's part of His plan for us. Modern miracles and all."

"By the way, how's your pain?" Ralph asked.

Cheri paused a moment and then sat upright once more. "You know, actually I can't feel it."

There was silence between them for a moment as they considered the warmth that had passed along Cheri's back and the feeling of a human hand moving up and down her spine.

"Do you think," Cheri asked quietly, "I might be healed?"

"I think we need to see how you feel tomorrow and in the meantime keep praying."

Two weeks later, after Cheri and Ralph had flown to Portland to visit her parents, she visited a doctor who had known her as a child. She brought with her the X rays and diagnosis from the previous doctor. Upon initial examination of the records the Portland doctor agreed with the diagnosis: severe scoliosis, which appeared to be progressing rapidly.

Then, upon Cheri's request, the doctor took another set of X rays and performed an additional examination of her spine.

"I don't know how to explain this," the doctor said as he reentered the examination room. "Cheri, there's no sign of any scoliosis at all. Your back is perfectly normal."

Cheri was stunned. She remembered the night when she had felt a hand moving gently along her back. "Could it somehow have reversed itself?" she asked the doctor, wanting to be absolutely sure about what had happened.

"No. For a person to have scoliosis as severely as you did in these last X rays"--the doctor held the photographs up to the light and shook his head--"you would definitely have had scar tissue, even if it had somehow reversed itself."

"Then how do you explain it?"

The doctor put the films gently on a nearby table and smiled at Cheri. "I've learned over the years that there are some things we on Earth cannot explain when it comes to medical healings. I like to call them miracles."

Cheri shared with the doctor the incident weeks earlier when Ralph had been praying and she had felt a hand on her spine at the same time that he felt a warmth passing beneath his hand. To Cheri's surprise, the doctor nodded.

"Yes, when we hear of this type of thing, and we don't hear about it very often, there is often a warmth associated with it. It doesn't take a lot of believing on my part. After all, the human body itself is a working miracle. That our Creator would continue to work miracles within us is in my opinion quite possible."

Months later when Cheri and Ralph left for Africa, it was in good health and with a deep respect and belief for the kind of prayer that God answers in the form of miraculous healing.


From: ANGELS, MIRACLES AND ANSWERED PRAYERS. (It must have been a miracle Everyday lives touched by miracles) Vol 1. Kelsey Tyler. Angel encounters in everyday life and everyday lives touched by miracles. Pag. 95-99, Guideposts. New York 1994.