(With Middle East Bureau Chief Corbett in transit this week to Jerusalem, WND looks back in his archives to re-tell the glorious miracle that occurred in the life of Annona Maie Corbett.)
The first stop on the Jerusalem journey will be over today when I make connections in Toronto for London and on to Tel Aviv. The past six days have been special in your tiny seniors’ apartment in Calgary. Your love, patience and kindness have been overwhelming to me. It was like me being home again with my brother, Garry, that’s Dr. Garry, and, of course, Dad.
You know, Mom, it’s almost 10 years since Dad died. He was a gentle man who loved everyone and he had no enemies. My brother and I are often ashamed of how we teased you so much, Mom… but we had so much fun. Even after the “miracle” in your life — deliverance from multiple sclerosis — your return to school and being able to teach — your life-long dream — you showed love and compassion during Dad’s long illness. Now as you approach your 84th birthday, you are so active, still looking after the “old people” and singing. So on Mother’s Day, Sunday, I’ll be thinking and praying for you. I’m so proud that I’m your son.
Do you believe in miracles?
Of course, miracles can’t be found in any supermarket. You can’t buy one off the rack in a drugstore.
However, I know of one woman who found a miracle in her closet.
The tall, handsome mother, who had led a very active life, including being
on a women’s national softball championship team, was suddenly struck with the supposedly incurable disease, multiple sclerosis, in her early 30s.
It’s a disease of the brain and spinal cord caused by an unknown agent that
attacks the covering (myelin) sheath of nerve fibers, resulting in temporary interruption of the nervous impulses, particularly in pathways concerned with vision, sensation and use of limbs. The hard (sclerotic) patches produced by the disease eventually result in permanent paralysis. And death.
She spent many hours in doctors’ offices, attempting to alleviate the pain
associated with M.S.
She also spent hours and hours praying, along with her close friends, for she had great faith in her Jesus.
Despite her affliction, the tall, handsome mother managed to smile and even
tried to play games to ease the worries of her husband and a young son. A daily ritual for the young boy and father was to play “choo-choo,” in which the young boy would stand in front of his mother and the father behind her and push and pull on her legs to move her around the small house.
However, after a year or more the disease started to take a greater toll and she was forced to use a wheelchair. Her legs and then her arms became increasingly dysfunctional. Her vision became severely impaired and her glasses resembled Coke bottles. The doctors didn’t have any encouraging news. Multiple sclerosis would soon claim another victim.
“Months and days passed on in a never-ending stream,” she would later remember. Hours were filled with minor things that one could do from the confines of a wheelchair. Out before her now stretched a day — new and yet untried. Relatives and friends often stopped by to offer encouragement, advice and sometimes pity, the latter seemed unnecessary but no doubt well meaning.
Letters and cards arrived from various parts of Canada and the U.S., and one, in particular, was very meaningful, from Mrs. Louise Chapman, general president of the Nazarene World Missionary Society in Kansas City, Mo. The card was beautifully handwritten, stating that the missionary council and general superintendents would be specifically praying for her healing at 10 a.m., Jan. 27, 1951.
Slowly and methodically she ate her breakfast which consisted of toast, jam
and tea. Each bite was masticated much longer than necessary, trying to use up the minutes that could — and no doubt would hang heavily on her hands — hours possibly filled with searing pain.
Breakfast finished and now to dress for the day. This dressing process could be and generally was a trying ordeal. It was so difficult to stand aided by two canes.
“Put on your shoes,” these words tenderly, yet forcefully spoken penetrated
the four walls of the bedroom. It couldn’t be her husband speaking; already he and his father had been at work in the chair factory the past three hours. Her son was in school and, in the distance, she could hear the musical clatter of dishes being washed by her mother-in-law as she tidied her suite.
Taking her cane in hand she reached into the inner recesses of the closet,
hooked the gold-tipped crook into the toe of the military oxford that had not been worn for, oh so long, and proceeded to put the shoes on her feet, not knowing why she felt compelled to do this.
“Walk to the kitchen,” spoke the “Voice” again. She couldn’t — Anne couldn’t walk. These legs that had been practically useless for years could not walk.
“Walk to the kitchen!”
“I can’t walk, I can’t walk,” sobbed Anne.
The third time the Voice spoke, Anne replied: “All right, Lord, I’ll walk to the kitchen.”
Only as she recognized that the Lord was speaking, could the miracle happen.
Immediately, an unseen hand seemed to strike the top of her head and warm, yes, even a hot mercury-like ball streamed and penetrated to the very nerve endings of every part of her body. She walked, once, twice, three times to the kitchen and back.
Then she ran through the kitchen, the living room, to the next suite into the arms of her mother-in-law. Tears flowed. A miracle had been performed that day.
Both the mother and her mother-in-law decided to keep the miracle a secret
at the supper table.
Anne sat, as usual, in her two-wheeled prison and then it was time for tea
“Mother, it seems like you’ve forgotten the sugar.”
Her husband, Willard, always needed sugar for his tea.
“Don’t let that bother you, Mother,” said Anne with a twinkle in her eye.
Pushing back in the wheelchair, she rose quickly, marching to the cupboard
and back — sugar bowl in hand.
Crash, clatter, down went Willard’s cup while tears flowed.
When he regained his composure, Willard hurriedly went to the doctor’s two
The night before, Dr. MacIntosh pronounced that “she’ll never walk again.”
“Doctor, do you believe in miracles?”
“Yes, but I’ve never seen or experienced one.”
“Come with me, Doctor.”
Arriving at their home, Anne stood up to her full height and opened the door.
“It’s a miracle from God,” he cried.
The tall, handsome woman abandoned her wheelchair, and within a year had a “miracle baby.” She returned to high school and received her education diploma from the University of Alberta in Calgary.
The “miracle baby” — Garry — grew up to be a strapping man, an excellent
athlete and is now a psychologist in Vancouver, B.C.
The tall, handsome mother retired in 1981 as a beloved teacher after 22 years at the Forest Lawn school on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta.
She believes in miracles. So do I, for I was that young son, who was there
when his mother walked again.
WND contributing editor Corbett’s mother still lives at a Calgary senior citizens’ complex, where she “looks after the old people.” In her 80s, she recently completed a computer course.