The week had been dark, gloomy almost. Winds whipped around us, swirling and swooning in a tumultuous rain spat fury. The cold, chilling to our core as we crossed the grassy fields along the River Eden, just the day before. A flame like desire, burning our insides, keeping us engrossed in the rich history of the land we trekked. Hands clasped tight around my tiny daughter. Eyes, never dropping gaze from my sweet school-age boy as he darted down the path. With umbrella in one arm and babe in the other we sojourned the English countryside to pay homage to those Saints that had gone before.
In these moments, solemn and uninterrupted by the chaos of life. I breathed in deep and drank up my surroundings. At that moment, with sheets of icy rain pouring down and wind that would like to snatch up my rainbow colored umbrella, set it free and loose it to dance among the clouds, I knew. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
That night, exhausted, we laid our heads to sleep and awoke to the sun streaming in through the clouds. The rain had cleared and it was a glorious day with even warmer temperatures than the days prior. Today was to be the day! We set off on a journey that had no direct course other than that of adventure. Loading the two kids in the back of the vehicle, along with a friend who had joined us from America, we set off. Today we had plans that would take us a little under three hours by car and the sky couldn’t be any clearer.
We arrived in Bradford, Yorkshire searching for the address we had scratched down on paper. A scavenger hunt of revival history, a search for tokens of a time gone by. I live for these moments. A frenzy of emotions as we canvass the unfamiliar territory, a quest for a piece of heritage… a glimpse into glory. I can recall first hearing the name Smith Wigglesworth when I was in my teens and had been given the book God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon. His story unfolded before me and as I went on to Ministry School, I took the book with me… digging deep into the lives of those that once shook the nations for Christ.
There I stood, 14 years after my introduction to the Man of Faith and Power inhaling the crisp English air and exhaling a prayer of thanksgiving for the seed of this man’s life. For his wife, Mary Jane. For his fierce faith in a God who does the impossible. I sat in the stiff grass directly in front of his tombstone… It read, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Have you ever been in a moment, a space in time, where the surroundings melt away like the wax of a burning candle and you are suddenly engulfed in destiny? You know when it takes place. Every fiber of your being feels alive, every cell dancing to the song of the stars. Your purpose, your path, your call… all leading you to these memorial moments. I close my eyes, sitting in the C Terminal at the Nashville International Airport, and I am taken to that day. A bright day with a slight chill in the air. Clear, crisp, like Autumn in New York yet with the soft glow of an early morning in Spring. Delicious.
We moved on from the cemetery to find the house Smith once lived in. The very house that Lester Sumrall would visit as a young man. As we scoured the streets, with nothing to go on but an address and a tip that it was near a corner Barber Shop, we happened upon a location that vaguely fit the description. Charlie, my husband and current driver, parked the car along a busy street, hopped out and declared he would knock on all the doors in the row of townhouses until he found it!
I watched as he walked away, locked in the car with the kids and our American companion. Fear gripped me as a loud bullhorn reverberated something in Arabic and I suddenly felt as if I were no longer in England, but a Middle Eastern country. I glanced outside the windows and noticed the women walking by in full burka, while the younger girls had head coverings. I twisted around in my seat, searching the street signs and faces of those who passed by. I could not help but notice we were the only light skinned Americans in what seemed to be an entirely Muslim Community. Seven minutes had passed since Charlie entered one of the homes, and my imagination just went wild!
Suddenly, he emerged from a stoop, waving for all of us to come. We unloaded the kids quickly and ran to the door where three Pakistani ladies and two small children invited us in. The house had been difficult to find, as some Christians had visited in the past and asked these ladies if they could have the door numbers. Being polite, they obliged and then never replaced them. This is why Charlie had been knocking on several doors asking for the correct home. When the ladies answered, He said, “I noticed you don’t have your house numbers up.” To which they replied with the story aforementioned. So Charlie in great humor said, “Oh really, well then you won’t mind that I have come to take your front door!”
The ladies burst into laughter and invited him, along with us (who had been in the car) into the home where they showed us around. The ladies grew up in the home as their deceased parents had purchased it over 40 years ago. They told us stories of the many Christians who have come by to see the home, but they hadn’t often invite them in. They told us of one, wanting to buy the home and create a museum but they would not sell. The now adult daughters said, “We have heard the stories of the man Smith Wigglesworth but this has been our home and will always be… but tell us, are the stories true? Did he do miracles and did he raise his wife from the dead?”
It was there in the living room, which would have been the front room or study of Smith Wigglesworth during his time, that we were able to share the truth of God’s healing power and love of Jesus Christ. We were able to pray over the ladies there and see the healing of a migraine headache, shoulder pain and severe torment. Right in the very home that Lester Sumrall would visit weekly to read the Word of God with Smith Wigglesworth, we shared the love of Jesus. It was surreal. It was epic. It was so naturally supernatural. Because when you are on an Adventure with Christ, it is the daily comings and goings that breed the miraculous. It is found in the pleasant conversation of strangers that love is transferred and hearts are transformed. It is in the chronicles of grace and glory that we find our true selves.