Just at the time that uncle Dick was healed, a young man named Joe Evans, who had received a wonderful blessing in one of the first cottage meetings and was a great helper in the work, had a bad hemorrhage from the lungs. The doctors ordered him to a sanitarium, and he came and asked Mr. Howells whether he should go. After waiting on God some days lest his judgment should be swayed by his natural desires, he told Joe to follow medical advice. It looked like a lapse of faith, but God had taught him that He steps in when natural remedies have failed. So he told Joe, “You will be quite safe in going to the sanitarium. Probably the Lord wants to show that medicine can’t do it.”
He was there for five months, but when he came out he had a high temperature and bad cough. The doctor gave him no hope, but ordered him to buy a tent and live up. on the. Black Mountain. “Do what the doctor tells you,” said Mr. Howells again, “and if that fails, you will have a chance then for the Lord to heal you.”
Often, when Mr. Howells visited him on the mountain, Joe would say jokingly, “After I have preached a full victory and you have gained that place of intercession, here I am in my tent like ‘a flag on the top of this mountain, for all to see we have no faith for healing!” Indeed, as Mr. Howells said, “If the Holy Ghost had not taught me that I was only to pray the prayers He gives, I would have taken up my friend’s case long before that. It was a proof that, though the place of intercession was gained, I could only use it as led by the Spirit.”
Joe was on the mountain for over two months, but he was no better, and the doctor said he could not possibly live through the winter unless he went to a tropical climate, such as Madeira. This was confirmed by a Swansea specialist, but when Joe’s father heard it, he was roused against the doctor. The family were very poor, and he blamed the doctor because he had .opened a door through which a rich man’s son could go, but his son could not.
That same day Mr. Howells received a gift of £320! “What did I want with ú320,” he said, “when I could live on twopence a day!” But the reason wasn’t far to seek. It was “just like God”. Here was the money for Joe! So Mr. Howells asked Joe’s father, “If you were a moneyed man, would you send your son to the tropics?” “I should think I would!” he replied. “Well, I have the money and he can go.” The man broke down and cried. He was a stranger to the grace of God, but, as Mr. Howells said, “He saw God’s love making him equal to a rich man. I thought it was worth it all if only to reach him.”
The next problem was how Joe could go to Madeira, when he was obviously not fit to travel alone. Mr. Howells hadn’t thought of taking him himself, as already the Lord was beginning to show him plans for the future. But one night he couldn’t sleep, and the Lord spoke to him. He asked him who was going to nurse Joe, and then added, “If you don’t go with him yourself, “don’t allow him to go with anyone else. You must not ask anyone else to do what you can do yourself,” It was a test to the hilt. He knew what this might mean. He had dealt so much with consumptives since the first case, that it had given him a horror of the disease, and besides that there had been a great campaign against consumption that year, showing the dangers of close contact with it.
Before mentioning it to anyone else, he told Miss Jones. He made plain to her what might be involved, and that in three months he might come back a consumptive. What would she say about it? She took two days to pray over it, and then told him it was settled. The Lord had asked her, If Rees had been the consumptive and another person had offered to go with him, would she not have accepted that? And does not the Word say, Do to others as you would that they should do to you? On that she came through.
So Joe and he started for the island of Madeira in the summer of 1910. On arrival, the missionary at Funchal, to whom Mr. Howells had an introduction, came to meet them. He noticed at once that Joe was in an advanced stage of the disease, and asked if they had been advised to come by more than one medical man. He then inquired which hotel they would prefer, the English being 7s. 6d. a day and the Portuguese 4s. 2d. The Lord had already told Mr. Howells to take his usual place of abiding and only use money on essentials, so they decided on the Portuguese hotel. To Mr. Howells “the fare was first class, after living on one meal every two days,” but it was not to be for long. The Portuguese food did not suit Joe, and by the. third day he was very upset. So Mr. Howells told him to rest quietly while he went out in the country and spent a time with the Lord. Here the Lord showed him what to do. He had a right to go up to 8s. 4d. a day, the cost of two at the hotel, so he could put Joe at the English hotel for 7s. 6d. and live himself on the remaining 10d.
When the missionary heard this, he said it was impossible to sleep in Madeira for 1s. a night, and much less live on it, but he had a suggestion to make. Mr. Howells could use the Sailors’ Rest, the basement of the mission house. He might have offered him a room in the mission house, which would have seemed the kinder thing to do, but God was in the offer, and He had a special purpose in it.
This Sailors’ Rest was a large building, with room for over a dozen people, “but it had not been occupied for months,” said Mr. Howells, “except by the creatures that live in empty places in the tropics; so I experienced a little of what Pharaoh and his people went through in the third and fourth plagues in Egypt! There was no sleep the first night, from fightings without and fears within! Things came to a climax at breakfast the next morning. The little box of Quaker oats, the bread and cheese, had others besides myself to share them, and they were busy at their breakfast when I went to prepare mine! I thought I had the same right to complain as Peter — about creeping things, and I began to take thoughts into my mind against the missionary. I wouldn’t usually do that for anything, I took care of my mind; but this began to be magnified in me, and I found something in me which prevented me from loving him.
“I was tired and I felt as if life wasn’t worth living. I felt more like a man, than a man with the Holy Ghost living in him. I wanted to cry, but the Lord said, ‘Before you cry, I want to speak to you. Haven’t you preached on James Gilmour in Mongolia living on 2d. a day? Didn’t you preach on Ezekiel and the way he lived?’ I asked the Lord to forgive me, but He said, ‘It must be in you. I brought you to Madeira, to this place, to show you the difference between My love and yours; and to show you that there is something in your nature that I need to rid you of. The Saviour loved you when yon treated Him worse than the missionary has treated you. When He was on earth, He had a position you haven’t allowed Me to come up to in you — loving others who do something against you, loving people who give their second or third best, just as if they had given you the very best.’
“I praised God for finding this out in me. I was to love the missionary, not for what he gave me, but because I couldn’t help loving him. I could see the root of the Saviour’s nature was love, and if the root of mine was love, nothing the missionary did could affect me. I saw it in a flash, and went on my knees, and asked the Holy Spirit not to move me from that place till I came through. Supposing I had remained blind and a fool, and gone on preaching the Sermon on the Mount with this in my nature! If ever I loved the Saviour, it was then. I saw Him loving those who put Him to death — and there are no limits to that love.
“I went out to the hills of Madeira that day and saw His beauty and worshipped Him. I lost sight of my friend, and lived with the Saviour who is perfect, holy. I saw what it would be when I gained the position: the Holy Ghost in me with a perfect love, perfect forgiveness and perfect mercy towards others. You might think I would gain it in an hour. A person might say, ‘You could have forgiven!’ Yes, perhaps an imitation forgiveness and the thing coming back to you again; but you never really forgive until you become like the Saviour and can forgive like Him. Several times I thought it was real and that I loved the missionary, until I saw him. Then other feelings would return!
“But in six weeks I had changed, as much as a drunkard is changed when he sees what the Saviour has done for him. I changed altogether. What a life He brought me into! Oh, that perfect love! The proof of it was when I met the local evangelist next day. He had not talked much with me before, but this morning he said, ‘Where do you live?’ ‘In the mission house,’ I replied. ‘In the house?’ he asked. I said to myself, ‘You devil!’ I could see Satan behind him. ‘In the Sailors’ Rest?’ he continued. ‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘Do you call that Christianity in your country, putting you in a p/ace like that,’ he exclaimed. What if he had asked me that a few days before! I answered him by asking another question: “Do you pay for your electric light and laundry?’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘They’re very expensive.’ ‘Well, I get mine free. That’s Christianity. That’s what the missionary has done for me!’ Oh, the freedom! Oh, the victory! After that, I never lived in any place which God filled more than the Sailors’ Rest. There was more fellowship in an hour there, than in all the time at the hotel with its good meals. I knew the difference between my living in the Sailors’ Rest, and God living there.”
Meanwhile, after two months in the English hotel, Joe was showing no signs of improvement. One day he broke down completely; he thought he was dying, and a longing for home and the old country came over him. It was a dark moment and Mr. Howells felt he must take a stand. “Do you think the Lord brought you out here and would allow you to die, without revealing His will to us?” he asked him, and added, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God.” As they parted by the little train which took Mr. Howells down the mountain, Joe burst out crying. It was difficult to go, for Mr. Howells was afraid he might get a hemorrhage in the night, and his tears moved him. But “as I entered the little train,” he said, “I heard that Voice which I know as really as a child knows his father’s voice. It said, ‘A month today Joe will be restored.’ The glory of God came down on the train. It was such that the people turned round and seemed to notice something.”
On arriving at the Sailors’ Rest he sat down immediately and wrote three letters home, to his family, to Joe’s father, and to Miss Jones, saying that in a month’s time they would be back. On that day, “when everything of nature and medicine had failed,” the Lord showed him that “a higher law was going to operate.”
The next morning he returned to Reid’s hotel to break the news to Joe. He first asked him, in his mischievous way, what prospects he now had for the future; to which Joe mournfully replied, “Nothing but the grave”; but he had promised not to grumble when he was moved to the English hotel, so he was resigned to God’s will! Mr. Howells then reminded him of God’s goodness to him in the sanitarium, in the open-air treatment, and in Madeira, and quietly added: “But He has kept the best wine until now; God is going to heal you in a month!” The tears started to flow. “It was like a fountain opened,” said Mr. Howells, “and they flowed for two or three days. It seemed too good to believe that he was going home to see his friends. He said he had believed my uncle’s case, but to believe for himself was another matter. However, in a day or two he had really grasped it.”
Mr. Howells met the missionary’s wife that night, and as usual she asked after his friend. “He is very ill,” was the answer, “but the Lord has told me He is going to heal him in a month.” It seemed an incredible statement to her, and she exclaimed, “How can you say such a thing? You know it can never happen, when both his lungs are nearly gone. It has never happened before!” “It has never happened because of unbelief,” he replied, “but the Lord has told me He is going to heal Joe, and we shall be returning in a month’s time.”
The next morning he met the missionary. He had heard from his wife of their conversation, and he said to him, “I hear you are returning irk a month! You came out for the winter, and here you are going back in mid-winter with a consumptive. Are you willing to try a specialist?” “Certainly,” replied Mr. Howells. “I have ú200, and I am ready to try all that medicine can do, and will do anything the specialist says.” He explained to the missionary that he had no conflict with medicine, and that God doesn’t step in with a spiritual law till the end of the law of nature has been reached, and he asked him, “If the specialist gives him up, when he is healed will you believe it is God who has done it?” “I will,” he replied with tears in his eyes, “I have never heard anything more reasonable.” He made it known in all the hotels in Madeira. He also was very surprised at the mention of ‘the ú200. He couldn’t understand why Mr. Howells lived in the Sailors’ Rest, if he had all that money!
The specialist gave Joe a thorough examination, and said he was in a critical condition, and was about to have another hemorrhage. He told Mr. Howells not to let him out of his sight, and that the best thing would be to return home. “So we were both satisfied that the law of nature was at an end,” commented Mr. Howells.
When the letter arrived home in Brynamman, saying that Joe was to be healed in a month, his mother showed it to the doctor who had first advised Joe to go to the sanitarium. He laughed when he read it, and said it was impossible, but added that if it became a fact, he would become a believer that day.
Mr. Howells had promised the specialist he would keep near Joe, so he joined him at the hotel. “It was a month’s holiday,” he said, “because this case needed no prayer. The Lord had said he would be healed, so we trusted His Word, and were as happy as birds. Many in Funchal came to know about it, and were watching for the outcome with keen interest.”
The week before the healing, they booked their passages and made all preparations for leaving. Rees Howells also reminded Joe that Uncle Dick had had the exact time of the healing given to him, and suggested that Joe should go to the Lord and ask the time that he was to be healed on the. Saturday morning, so that he himself should have a part in it. He came back laughing, saying that he had 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., but he knew that the former came from the devil, because it” was too early, so he took the latter! They agreed to send a cable home to Joe’s father on the day of the healing.
“It was a very exciting time the day before,” said Rees Howells. “I had told him to come into my bedroom at six o’clock the next morning, and bring the news to me. When we shook hands to part for the night, he said, ‘I am very nervous, when I think I am going to bed for the last time with this consumption on me.’ As for myself, I could hardly sleep all night for joy and excitement, but it was a solemn time, especially between five and six in the morning, waiting for the expected hour to come. But at six o’clock there was no sign of Joe; so I called to him, and here he came with his rug over his head and sat at the foot of my bed with his countenance down, and said, ‘There is no change in me, I am exactly the same as I was yesterday!’
“At once the Holy Ghost said to me, ‘Are you sending the cable?’ I told Joe to go back and pray for me. He couldn’t understand why he should do that, he thought he was the one who needed prayer! I then went back to the Lord, and asked Him what was the cause of the delay. ‘If I tell you he is restored,’ He said, ‘will you send the cable? If you take the healing from Me against what you can see, and what your friend says, you will have gained a higher position than in your uncle’s healing.’ Here was a very keen point. I knew what it meant to send that cable to the place where my uncle was healed. Everyone would say, if I failed in this, that my uncle’s healing was chance. Only a real faith in God could make me do it. The Lord brought to my mind the case of the centurion’s servant. Would I believe God’s word against what I could see? After wrestling for an hour, I came right through to sending it simply on the word of God, before the actual healing took place. I went up to the post office before eight o’clock that morning and cabled. the one word: Victory. After the cable had gone I found my hands were dripping with perspiration.
“The next day was Sunday, and at noon we were both sitting out in front of the hotel waiting for lunch-time, when the Lord came down on Joe like a shower of rain, and he was healed on the spot. He told me at once, and was dancing with joy. He asked me to run a race with him, and we did, until he outran me. He was like Elijah running before Ahab — it seemed that all the power had gone to his legs! In our joy we broke the Sabbath-by running races[ It was joy unspeakable, not only the healing, but the victory of faith. We both attended the missionary’s meeting that afternoon. It was the first Joe had been in for twelve months. The victory was wonderful, as the missionary made known the healing in public.”
Two days later they left Madeira for home. They had a great send-off from the hotel by many whom the Lord had blessed, and there was a great parting scene with the missionary and his family. They arrived home on a Saturday, and the next day the doctor came to the house and asked Joe if he had any objection to being” examined. Joe was quite willing, and after the examination, the doctor said, “It is wonderful, wonderful. I can’t find a trace of the disease in him.” The doctor went to chapel that Sunday for the first time since he had come to the district, and some months after, when another consumptive went to him, he said to him, “Look here, a doctor can’t do anything for you, go and try the Lord!” The young man looked at him, as if he was making fun, but he repeated it: “I mean it, go and try the Lord!”
After the healing, the reality of the intercessory path that lay behind this victory was tested to the farthest point. Joe entered the ministry, for which he had previously felt a call; but soon after they got back from Madeira, Mr. Howells found himself coughing up blood. He felt sure that in his close association with Joe, he had taken the disease, but he found his inward peace undisturbed, and he had no regrets at what had been done. Actually after several days it was found that the trouble was nothing serious, but he had proved to his own heart that his surrender had been real.