Disability is a serious issue for anyone in India, but God miraculously healed one man and set him on a new course in life.
In an outlying neighborhood of Mumbai, you can purchase candles in the shape of different body parts. You burn them as offerings for anywhere you may feel pain or have a sickness.
In India, chronic disease and especially disability is often conflated with a person’s standing with the gods. They are seen as punishment that must be atoned for with religious offerings or trips to certain shrines. Some gurus and priests claim to have healing powers, but the costs of visiting one are usually prohibitive for all except the wealthy upper class.
Even for affluent individuals who are able to afford a car, a disability that impairs movement can pose a serious challenge. “Independent movement beyond the vehicle is limited due to lack of elevators or ramps in public spaces, or even simple curbs to move from street to sidewalk,” wrote Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni, researcher exploring the difficulties of having a disability in India.
“A person here may use a wheelchair, but perhaps the more accurate phrasing is that they are confined to one. Navigating the crowded ‘streets’…is virtually impossible, and due to social stigma, many individuals with disabilities remain in their homes.”
For a manual laborer or someone without the means to seek medical help, a debilitating disease or hereditary illness can be devastating.
When the Great Physician Moves
One of World Challenge’s partners and a local pastor was traveling between villages, encouraging believers and teaching from the Bible.
He had just entered a new village and was stepping down from the car when a voice began shouting, “Doctor, I need medicine! Please, doctor! I’m not able to walk.” The man crying out was named Dhruv*, only 40 years old and forced to use crutches to slowly and painfully make his way from his home to the well or the fields.
Slowly, Dhruv came forward, and the pastor told him, “I’m not a doctor. But the one whom I worship and follow is a great physician, and he is Jesus Christ. If you believe he is the one who can save you, I can pray for you, and he will heal you.”
Dhruv nodded. “Yes. Please, pray.”
The pastor lifted up his voice and prayed in the words of Acts 3:6, “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’” No sooner had he finished than Dhruv threw away his crutches and began walking unaided. He had never experienced walking without a support.
He told the pastor, “I was crippled from my childhood. I always wanted to feel the joy of walking without the crutches. Now I believe in Jesus who healed me.”
Eagerly, he led the pastor back to his home, to meet his family who were understandably shocked to see Dhruv walking on his own. After hearing about Christ and his mighty work to save souls, the entire family accepted him as their savior.
Now Dhruv is following the Lord, and he has made a commitment to help spread the good news to others despite the danger of persecution.
A Steady Cry Up to Heaven
The persecution that Dhruv almost certainly will face for his new faith is very real in India. An urgent need has been felt in churches there to bring leaders and believers into concerted prayer. These prayers are needed for pastors and leaders to go where the gospel has not yet reached.
Believers in India have been gathering for fasting prayers and all-night vigils at the village’s house church.
One brother in the Lord is conducting extensive outreaches to find new leaders who are willing to boldly share the gospel. In one city, leaders invited him for a day of prayer where 180 people gathered and prayed for a mighty move of God, especially with the current Hindu, fundamentalist government that is violently opposing the church.
Special prayers for every believer were done at the prayer meeting, then afterwards the meeting’s leaders gathered for a day of rest to unite their hearts in prayer for the church and their fellow believers who are boldly sharing the gospel like Dhruv. Believers, pastors and leaders all joined in one accord to pray for God’s strength and protection and healing power.
Please join them and us at World Challenge in praying for the church in India and new believers like Dhruv.
*Not real name. For safety reasons, we don’t release names or specific locations in highly sensitive areas.