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Friday, March 10, 2017

A Christmas Story


Climax of the program was reached when a man on crutches, who said he had not walked unaided since 1945, was told to throw away his supports. He did so, and walked briskly up and down the aisles, back and forth across the stage, stretching his leg muscles as he was directed. Beaming, Miss Kuhlman carried his crutches, later casting them aside. The man declared through a loud-speaker that he had heard of Miss Kuhlman in Florida through a magazine article, and had made a special trip alone by bus, to Butler, to attend her services for healing."

These words were blazoned across the front page of the Butler (Pa.) Eagle, January 1, 1951. There was nothing second hand about this newspaper story.
Evidently the editor of the paper or one of its reporters had sat among the crowd at the Penn Theater the previous day, watching wide-eyed at the marvelous manifestation of the healing power of God.

Carey Reams, the man who had thrown away his crutches, had three children. Only the eldest, four years old when he had gone off to war, thought she could vaguely remember what her father was like before he was almost fatally injured at Luzon during World War II. The other younger children had no recollection of ever seeing their father without crutches. So far as they knew, he had always been paralyzed from the waist down, suffering intense pain.

They listened wonderingly to other children talk of how their fathers took them on picnics and hikes in the woods and swimming-and knew that for some reason the couldn’t understand, their father was different. With legs that couldn’t move, he could never take them on any sort of outing. How could he when he couldn’t even walk?

Carey Reams was a chemical engineer in the services during World War II. On January 1, 1945 the Allied Forces established a beachhead on Luzon. Carey’s unit was ordered to drive toward Manila and free those men who had been captured by the Japanese four years before.

It was a rough assignment. The unit happened to land in a marsh in water. As Carey says: "There was plenty of water, too, and every time we tried to get out on the highway, we were silhouetted against the sky, and snipers hidden in the mountains would shoot at us. We had to stay in the water the entire first day."

The second day, the typhoon started, and the heavens seemed to open as the rains poured down. On the fourth day, Carey’s company commander was shot and killed within six feet of him. The commanding officer who immediately replaced him had his own engineer-so Carey was ordered to the next company about six miles away. It was on his way there to report for duty that it happened.

By now, the bridge was washed out and the truck had to go around and over some fill. "It was on this fill," says Cared, "that we hit the land mine. The truck was blown to smithereens."

That was the last that Carey knew for a long time.
Thirty-one days later he came to on an operating table, twenty-five hundred miles away from where he had been wounded. He didn’t know then where he was or what had happened, but as he regained consciousness, he remembered murmuring-and what he meant he still doesn’t know-"I sure did land easy." Immediately after these words were spoken, he was anaesthetized for the ensuing brain surgery.

For the next six weeks, Carey floated in and out of consciousness-and then he was shipped home, more dead then alive. He was one of only five survivors in his entire company and, says he, with tears in his eyes, "There would be only four of us alive today had I not gotten to that service in the Penn Theater in Butler on that December 31st in 1950."

Carey’s remark that he had "landed easily," made when he first regained consciousness, could hardly have been more mistaken.

He had been crushed from the waist through the pelvis; his right eye was gone; he had lost all his teeth; his jawbone was fractured; his neck was broken, and his back was broken in two places. The lower part of his body was completely paralyzed. His legs, like dead weights, hung entirely without sensation, but in those parts of his body in which he still retained feeling, the pain was incredibly intense.

"Any movement there," recalls Carey, "would cause almost deathly agony. And if, for example, my feet got cold, and the blood started to flow back up, it seemed to strike the nerves and the pain was almost unbearable. With no control of my body, and the awful pain, life didn’t seem worth living except for my children. Because of them, I never really wanted to die-and I wouldn’t give up."

At the same time, Carey was suffering hemorrhage after hemorrhage and had lost sixty pounds in weight.

Before his healing in Butler, he had been operated on some 41 times. He was all too familiar with the inside of hospitals-two overseas-the Letterman General Hospital in California, a hospital in Georgia and in the five years prior to his healing, he had been repeatedly hospitalized in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Florida.

Although Carey’s body was in such shocking condition, his mind was clear as crystal, and as he say, " I see now the God was taking care of me all along." Many people who knew that Carey was a good engineer but that he could not go out on the job, brought him their engineering problems and blueprints. Although he couldn’t walk a step, and for many, many months could not even leave his bed, he was thus able to support his family.

By December of 1950, however, he was in desperate straits physically. He was now virtually unable to eat food of any kind; he was suffering repeated hemorrhages, and his life was slowly but surely ebbing away.

"You know," he says, "sometimes we just have to hold on when there is nothing to hold on to – and I was at that point. I was just hanging on to life by a thread."

It was a few days before Christmas when the local Veterans Administration doctor ordered Carey back to Bay Pines, The Veterans Administration Hospital near St. Petersburg.
"These Veterans Administration doctors are wonderful," says Carey, "and I can’t praise them and the wonderful government hospitals enough. They give you the very best that science has to offer. But this time I refused to go. I remember saying, ‘No, doctor. If I’m going to die, I want to spend this last Christmas with my family. It’s only a question now of a few days until the holidays. After Christmas you can do whatever you want with me.’ It was during these days," Carey continued, "that I happened to read an article about Kathryn Kuhlman in a national magazine. At the same time, I received letters from three different friends telling me about the healing services in Pittsburgh. These friends had written to ask me why I didn’t try to get to Pittsburgh to one of her services.

"Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, did not seem so remote to me, for my wife was from Pittsburgh, and I also knew Clyde Hill, a driver the Yellow Cab Company. The thought flashed through my mind that perhaps I could stay with my friend, should I decide to make the trip. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that getting to a miracle service was my last and only hope."

The big question was, how to get there? Not only was Carey paralyzed, but he was so weak form loss of blood through hemorrhaging that he could hardly sit up. He didn’t feel physically able to ride to Pittsburgh under any circumstances. If he attempted the trip, he knew one of two things would happen: he would either die before he could return to Florida-or he would be healed. "But," as he puts it, "I finally decided that God hand’s kept me hanging on to life by a thread for so long for nothing. I truly believed that He would heal me if I could just get to Pittsburgh-and that when I was well, He would give me something to do for Him."

On December 28, early on a Thursday morning, Carey, all alone, painfully and slowly climbed aboard a bus bound for Pittsburgh. Approximately thirty-six hours later he arrived at Carnegie Hall to attend the Friday Miracle Service. At the doors he was delivered a crushing blow: the service had been dismissed an hour before. He never dreamed the service had started at 9 o’clock in the morning!

Totally exhausted; on the verge of collapse from weakness so that even with the aid of crutches he could scarcely stand; and in almost intolerable pain, he only wondered if he could hold out for the next two days, when his friend, the cab driver, would take him to the Sunday service scheduled to be held in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Throughout the next 48 hours, he had only one thought in mind-to hang on to life till he could get to the Butler Meeting. This was the determination-the faith, that God in His tender mercy would please give him the strength to live long enough to get to the Penn Theater at Butler on December 31, 1950.

He almost didn’t make it. With less than 24 hours to go, he suffered another extraordinarily severe hemorrhage-which left him so weak, he could not get up or walk without the help of two strong me. With their assistance, he arrived at the Penn Theater.

At the door, almost all hope left him for he was told that all seats were take; there was no more room inside. There he stood, clinging to his crutches, supported by two men, in the freezing outside temperature. So near and yet so far - so weak, that every minute seemed an hour.

Just as he was about to give up the last vestige of hope, someone inside who had noted his predicament offered him her seat. "I have been healed," she said. Grateful beyond words, he entered the theater.

Did he feel the glory of God the moment he walked in?

"Not just at first," he smiles in recollection. "I was in so much pain when I first came in that for the first few minutes, I couldn’t even think about anything else – but a little later, I was to know Him as I had never known Him before."

"Just as I was being seated," recalls Carey, "Miss Kuhlman began to speak. The first thing she said was, ‘The meeting this afternoon is a soul-searching meeting and not one for healing.’"

If Mr. Reams had thought his hope was on the bottom rung of the ladder earlier, he found now that there was still another rung to go. There he sat, half froze, so weak he had to use his crutches for braces to sit up, and he heard me say that this meeting was not for healing!
"I thought then that I was dying physically," Carey says, "But now I know that I was only dying to self."

"It was a wonderful sermon," he continued in recollection, " and blessed everyone but me. I had traveled over one thousand miles to be healed; the meeting was coming to a close, and I had not been healed."

Many souls had been saved that day, more than fifty men had responded to the altar call, and many marvelous healings had been received, but Carey Reams was not among those healed. He was cruelly disappointed and was filled with utter despair.

The strains of the last hymn had just died away, and the theater was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. In Carey’s words, "Miss Kuhlman raised her hand for a benediction, but she didn’t speak a word, and my heart sank. At that moment all my hope was hone. Then, very slowly her hand came down and she looked directly at me and pointing a finger straight at me she said, ‘Are you from Florida?’ My hopes soared as I replied, ‘Yes.’" Then, Carey went on, "She asked me to stand up and I said, ‘I can’t’ – and she said firmly, ‘IN THE NAME OF JESUS, STAND UP AND LOOK UP, AND WALK!’"

Carey started to get up on his crutches. The aisles were narrow, and he had on a big, heavy overcoat. It was ten degrees below zero that day in Butler, and coming from Florida, he wasn’t used to cold like that. Attempting to get down that narrow aisle, bundled in an overcoat, paralyzed and manipulating crutches on a slanty floor-trying not to step on people’s feet. It was no mean task to look up, but somehow he managed to achieve it.

"All of a sudden," relates Carey, "Miss Kuhlman said, ’take that right crutch away.’ I tried it and it worked: my leg bore my weight-and I remember being amazed how she knew this would be the case."

At that moment, the pain in his body instantly vanished. "It was like a light going out," Carey described, "or like ink spreading on a blotter."
Realizing that his one leg was successfully bearing his weight, Carey dropped the second crutch and stood alone and unaided.

"Miss Kuhlman then told me to come up on the platform," he relates. "The steps were very narrow and very steep-about twelve of them in all. Two big, strong gentlemen stepped up to my side to help me, but I didn’t need any help. I walked on to the platform like a bird flying up. I seemed hardly to touch the floor, and I didn’t walk toward Miss Kuhlman, I ran."
Was he surprised at his healing? "No, I was not," he replies in a firm tone. "This was what I came for."

Was he amazed when he found himself walking without crutches? "No, I was not," he responds. " I expected to walk without them."
And this is the answer.

"On that first day, Miss Kuhlman told me to look up," Carey Reams says with a smile- "and I’ve been looking up ever since, in praise and thanksgiving to God."

The day after his healing, Carey borrowed a little over a hundred dollars from his friend Clyde, using most of it for payment in full on a second-hand truck. He needed a truck to take his wife’s furniture, which was in storage in Pittsburgh, back to Florida. That afternoon he helped load the truck with furniture and drove it back to Florida!

A man, helpless, paralyzed and dying, was touched by the Great Physician-instantly healed, and the next day loaded a truck with furniture and drove all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Florida. This is God, and Carey Reams is a living testimony to His power.
Three days later he drove into his own garage in Florida-and walked unannounced into the living room of his home where his three children were playing.

All three children looked up and gasped as he strode into the room. They sat motionless for several seconds-they could not believe their own eyes, for this was the first time in their lives that the two youngest children had ever seen their father walking without his crutches. The, suddenly, the full realization of that which had happened came upon them- their daddy could walk- the daddy was healed and as Carey put it, "They all be to chirp. Only children filled with glee can make that peculiar chirrup sound like happy birds."

Half-laughing and half-crying, they jumped up and down and clapped their little hands, and then just looked.

"I was just so happy, I couldn’t do anything but watch them and rejoice," Carey continued. "I hadn’t realized that my rejoicing would go any further than myself, and that the children really cared so much. But my, how they did rejoice that night! I only wish I had a picture of the joy and wonder on their faces as they saw me stand there without crutches, and then walk across the room to them."

From that time to this, and it has been eleven years now, Carey has been the picture of perfect, robust health. Able to walk and to run and to climb, there remains no indication whatsoever of his former paralysis.

With seventeen dollars left of the money he had borrowed from the cab driver-with this as his sole capital, he went into business for himself. From the very beginning, this business thrived. Carey is a Consultant Agricultural Engineer, and only recently he was a candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture for Florida.

"Because," he says, "statistics show that seventy-five percent of the boys and girls trained in religious schools, become as adults, active church workers and churchgoers, while only twenty-five percent without this kind of education, end up going to church. When we realize that three out of four who are trained in church school, are Christians, stay Christians, and raise a Christian family, it seems a most important thing in and for the world to see that these youngsters get the kind of training."

There were some in the auditorium the day that Carey Reams was healed, who had difficulty in believing what they saw, so spectacularly dramatic it was.
I, myself, had never seen Mr. Reams before; he had come from a great distance and I knew nothing about him. To allay any doubts as to the verity of his healing, I had his background carefully looked into.

He was given excellent character references by all who knew him including several judges. His previous condition was found to be exactly as he had claimed it, and his medical records are on file in the hospitals as he has stated. His healing is an indisputable miracle, wrought by an all-powerful and all-merciful God.

Carey Reams’ only son is now a senior in high school. He has a daughter who is studying to be a nurse, and his "baby" is thirteen years old. These are the children who did the "chirping" that January evening eleven years ago,"Every night we have our family devotions. The children love you and will never forget you. They never hush talking about Miss Kuhlman." Greater appreciation I have never seen on the face of a man, than was expressed on the face of Mr. Reams as he spoke those words.

I replied swiftly, what I believed: that this is simply because they are so grateful to Jesus for what He did for their daddy.

I urged him once again, to emphasize to his children that I had nothing to do with his healing. Such miracles are always due to the power of the Holy Spirit and to His power alone. One thing God will not share with any human being, and that is the "glory."

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever." (Matthew 6:13)

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