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The Boy With a Case of "Heaven"

June 5, 2014

The Boy With a Case of "Heaven"

June 5, 2014

Ananias was a young boy “deposited” at one of the free, one-day medical clinics held with ministry partner Theovision as part of Reach Beyond’s internship program in Ghana last summer.

His name was Ananias, and he suffered from numerous maladies. A translator tried to tell Reach Beyond physician Steve Nelson what was wrong. It turned out that translator was Jacob, Ananias’ father.

Jacob said his son had a case of “heaven.” Obviously, something wasn’t translating correctly, but soon it became clear what the problem was as Jacob sounded it out, syllable by syllable: “ep-i-lep-sy.”

Seizures often shook Ananias’ body, said Jacob, who explained that they called this illness heaven because “we believe that spirits from above bring diseases. The children with ‘heaven’ look up as the convulsion begins.”

Jacob wanted the doctor to heal his son. “I had a dream that Ananias could walk,” he recounted. “My son has wanted all his life to be taken to see a ‘white man’ in the hopes that he might walk like others.”

As the doctor looked at Ananias’ atrophied lower legs and the huge calluses on his knees that had developed from years of crawling, he could feel his own heart breaking. What could he say to this worried father?

Dr. Nelson explained that his healing powers were limited to medical knowledge, and anything beyond that was up to God. He and the nurses did what they could to treat Ananias’ epilepsy. They also gave him medicine for malaria.

Before Jacob and his son left, the doctor took a moment to make sure they knew that God loved and cared for them both very much. He also related that heaven wasn’t a disease, but a place where people spend eternity with God.

“In heaven,” he explained, “each of us receives a new body. In heaven, your son will walk once again. Everything that malaria, epilepsy and poverty have stolen from him will one day be restored in the presence of his healer and Savior.”

Ananias smiled as his father wheeled him away. He now knew what heaven really was, and he had the assurance that he would experience this wonderful place himself someday.