Going with the Gospel

Lillian's Healing Story

Lillian Overstreet Watters and Bob Watters

At eighteen months of age the toddler fell twenty-five feet off of a porch and struck her forehead.The crushing blow affected her eyesight, causing many years of heartache and hopelessness. Then came a miraculous healing.  I was that baby and this is my miracle story:

THE HEARTACHE

Not long after the fall, my right eye slid under the eyelid. All that could be seen was the white part of my right eye. My parents took me to the famous Wills Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.  (I was born and raised in Philly). The doctors explained that the blow to the head had severely damaged my optic system. They could offer no cure for the affliction. But eventually they prescribed strong lenses for me--at the age of three. The dreadful condition persisted.

At age six I entered public school. After about three weeks the teacher discovered I was so nearly blind I could not remain in class with the normally sighted children. In dismay, my parents returned me to Wills Hospital and the case was transferred to their chief surgeon. He said I would become totally blind in a matter of weeks unless something drastic was done right away. Within 48 hours the chief surgeon himself performed emergency experimental surgery on both eyes in an effort to save my sight. I remained in the hospital for about a month, with both eyes heavily bandaged. 
At the end of the “waiting” period the bandages were removed.  Against all odds, I could see! Not well. Not without glasses. But I was not blind. My family and Christian friends had not ceased to pray for me during those dark days.

Extremely strong glasses helped me to see objects very close to me. Thus armed, I bravely returned to school and continued the battle for sight. My teachers used to say, “Little Lillian reads and writes with her nose!” because I had to be so close to my work. But I was a happy child, well loved at home and school. I was keenly aware of my handicap, but life held so many blessings I was not in any way discouraged.
The first trying days after the operation faded into weeks and months of difficult vision; frequent returns to the hospital; changing lenses. No longer did the right eye roll uncontrollably under the eyelid as it used to.
The years passed and by age twelve, the right eye was noticeably crooked. It moved upward to the outside corner of the socket. The lifelong strain on my vision had taken its toll on the left eye also. My vision became split-focus; the left eye began to move outward and downward. We consulted several doctors outside the Wills Hospital. No one could help. My sight was waning.

 

THE HOPELESSNESS

 

By the time I was thirteen years old we had found an excellent specialist, Dr. Michener-Stratton. This doctor took a great interest in my case. One summer I went for daily treatments, undergoing every known help for the eyes. Another operation was out of the question, as the doctors agreed that any surgery itself could cause total blindness to me in my condition. The right eye was now totally blind. The doctor said that I would never have the use of that eye again. Due to the strain, the left eye was gradually becoming blind. My case was considered incurable—hopeless. The doctors declared nothing else could be done to help me.

This was my lot in life. I had to accept it. That heavy magnifying lens over the left eye was my dearest friend. Without it I would have to be led as one blind. It contained my entire world of sight. Just beyond was that misty, impenetrable veil.

During the same months when my condition was discovered to be beyond all help, I had made a complete surrender of my life to Jesus Christ. I had been quite active in high school dramatics and public speaking. Then Jesus Christ touched my life with His love, and I deeply desired to go “all out” for Him. I turned from even the most legitimate secular activities to full-scale Christian endeavor. The Lord helped me to start a Sunday school class of pupils I gathered off the streets into our lovely downtown church. After being pronounced incurable, I continued in my new desires to serve God and Him alone.
Although I was two years under the age requirement, I was accepted as a student at Eastern Bible Institute in Green Lane, Pennsylvania.  Today it is Valley Forge College.   This is a regional Assemblies of God school.   Allan A. Swift was then both Principal and President. He, along with all our fine teachers, maintained a dynamic application of the New Testament. Christ was no “has been.” Christ was the great “I am.”

Constantly, the reality of the Word was forged into my consciousness. The studies and the activities of choir and missionary work among needy children filled my days to the brim, but always there was the gnawing distress of my hopeless eyes and the knowledge that one day I would be totally blind. I became increasingly nervous and was actually very ill as the months went on.  Then I went  into my second year at E.B.I., which became a year of triumph.

MY MIRACLE YEAR

That cold February we had been in the midst of a revival of prayer. So forcefully did those days of prayer fall upon us, that a special permission was granted to dismiss classes and major activities. It lasted eight days. At noon on the sixth day of those never-to-be-forgotten prayer meetings most of us had left the chapel after a morning of prayer. I had lunch. Then I went to my room in the girl's dormitory on the 2nd floor of the administrative building. How could I have known I was walking into a miraculous experience? I do know it always pays to be walking with God. His mysterious leading takes us to the right places, at the right times.
As I left my room I heard two young ladies praying quietly on the stairs. I stopped to listen for a moment.   A couple of other girls joined us.  Within minutes the stairway was filled.  All were quietly praying.    A young man came into the building, saw the girls praying, went out and told others and soon the hallway was packed with 165 students and teachers.

The atmosphere was so full of the presence of God, it seemed we could touch Him. As I sat inconspicuously on the stairs, I was strangely overcome by the sense of God’s nearness. My very soul seemed to be opening for God to come in and fill my life. Yet I felt a great burden. I could not then and never have been able to explain it. There was a terrible heaviness of spirit, a crying out of my heart, and a longing for God. I tried to pray in words but could not express myself. Then—

 

THE MIRACLE BEGINS

 

As the words of Romans 8 seared their message into my mind I began to feel the weight of the burden shifting in a purposeful direction. I found words to pray something like this:  “Oh, God, let Your Holy Spirit so control me that my very thoughts and prayers are directed by You. Show me how to pray, and what to pray for.” Also, I prayed for strength and healing that I might remain in school. These prayers, all so quietly and inwardly spoken, continued to lift my thinking to the power of the Great Physician.

Suddenly, I was overcome by the idea that my eyes should be healed. Deep in my heart, I wondered how one could believe for such a thing. Bu the Holy Spirit was leading me.  I stood. There on the stairway I felt a gentle tap on my elbow. A young lady who sang in a trio with me was standing in the hall beside the stair rail. She remarked, “Do you sense God’s presence in a marvelous way?”   I said “Yes.”

As we talked,  I told her of my consuming desire to be healed. And I expressed my inner doubts and fears. She was reminded of the man in the Bible who believed, yet prayed to Christ, “Help my unbelief.” I was impressed to pray to God to heal my unbelief. Right there on the steps, unaware of others present, I prayed, “Oh Lord, heal my unbelief! Give me Your faith to believe for my sight.” There on that step, God revealed faith to me.   [Hear these Faith Secrets on her CD “Faith Secrets.”]

As the realization of Gods faith possessed me, I threw my glasses. I had no outward sign of being healed.   But the surging force of faith within spurred me on. I cried out, “The Lord will give me my sight today!” There were various responses aroused in my fellow students that day.   Some wept and prayed. Others watched, amazed and wondering, yet believing.   John 16:23 then came to my mind. I quoted it aloud: “ . . . Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.”  WHATSOEVER!   In Jesus' Name!

Weeping and quoting the Scripture I moved along the hall and, stopping at the back of the stairway, I quietly pondered my actions that day.  For a moment it seemed I was taking part in an unutterable foolishness. But the Lord was with me. I could hear the nearby voices of those who were praying for me. Every doubt passed away.   I began to quote aloud the many scriptures from the words of Jesus that I had memorized.   I continued, not for five minutes, but for five hours. Without my glasses, I could only see a blur of color. I did not know that my friend, Jean, was standing right in front of my face. Earlier, I had heard her pray, "Lord, when the miracle occurs, let me see it."

I looked heavenward. “My heavenly Father, I thank You for healing me and I accept it now in Jesus’ name.” I waited. The young lady cried out. She saw the eyes slip into place! Then she shouted aloud. “It’s a miracle!   I’ve seen a miracle!” 

I turned my head.   Instantly every object, every feature, every fine line—to the end of the hallway—came into perfect focus. The misty, impenetrable veil was forever lifted.
That devastating damage to the optic system when I was only eighteen months old had been with me through all those years. I was under constant medical care, but to no avail. In one instant God healed me, and my eyes were simply wonderful. 

The following week I returned to my lifelong doctors, who had not seen me for 3 years. At first, they did not believe it was me. "Lillian Overstreet, wherever she is, is totally blind. So, who are you?"  I said "Look at my eyes!" They then saw the scars from the surgery when I was 6, with which they were all too familiar. In total shock, they wrote in my case history file :  "These eyes are now perfectly normal through prayer--It is an act of God."

To God be the glory--
great things he has done!

Written by Lillian O. Watters
Transcribed by Lillian (Lily) Davis
Edited by Bob and D. Anne Watters