The miracle of the boy

SOMETIMES jaw-dropping, sublime miracles come in twos and threes. And sometimes they come to those who least expect them.

Miles Toulmin, associate vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London, told the miracle story of a small English boy who grew up in Kenya in the early 1960s.

At the age of two, the boy had been sexually abused. His life was crippled by fear and anxiety.

The one good thing in his life were his next door neighbours, a middle-aged missionary couple whom the young boy loved. They would regularly pray with him.

The boy became a teenager and was sent to a boarding school where, tragically again, he was raped at the age of 17.

By his early 20, he was diagnosed as being HIV positive.

Despite his background he became a successful company director. But he was not a happy man.

In his mad moments, he visited male prostitutes. His life began to spiral out of control and he eventually lost everything – his partner, his house and his business.

Four years ago, this shattered man walked into a recovery course run by Holy Trinity church for those struggling with addictions. The pastor who ran the course said he looked like “a dead man walking”.

The pastor didn’t know what to do. He was advised by a parishioner to phone a prayerful old couple in their eighties who lived in the north of England and ask them to pray for the man to be healed and set free. So they faithfully started praying.

Six weeks later, the pastor reported, the man had “the most intense filling of the holy spirit accompanied by the most bloodcurdling wails of anguish and pain that seemed to emanate from the depth of his soul.”

“He was set free from his addiction,” said the pastor, “and in its place is a passion for Jesus that is as fervent as that found anywhere.”

At his last appointment at a hospital two weeks ago, the man was told the symptoms of the HIV virus had suddenly disappeared after 30 years.

Even more recently, just by chance, the pastor discovered that the old couple in the north of England who had prayed so passionately for that anonymous man were the same missionary couple that once lived next door to the boy in Kenya.


15 thoughts on “The miracle of the boy

    • This story is consistent with what the Bible reveals about the way Jesus went about healing. Many times He coupled healing with the words “go and sin no more”. Because together with the physical healing, there needed to be spiritual healing (which was the basis of the physical disease). But how many times have we heard faith healers “heal” people without dealing with the spiritual disease that brought on the physical disease? How may mainstream Christian organisations teach people to expect God healing them but without reference to the problems that caused the sickness in the first place?


      • I feel that you are overgeneralizing again davinci.

        For a start, not every sickness is the result of personal sin. And secondly, ministers of God with a healing gift also have the gift of ‘Word of Knowledge’, and you can be sure that if Jesus wants to deal with the sin, He will let the ministers of God know and they will confront the person concerned. And quite often God will first heal a person physically and because of that healing the person will then turn to God with all their hearts and repentance will follow.

        And lastly, quit telling God how He should deal with people!


  1. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
    His mercies never come to an end
    They are new every morning
    New every morning
    Great is Thy faithfulness O Lord
    Great is Thy faithfulness


  2. “How did that happen?” said the pastor. “A couple pray for a small boy in a different country and continent 45 years ago and then through a chance encounter end up participating in a glorious resurrection after a period of several decades during which that small boy traveled to the gates of hell. What a great and utterly mysterious God we have.”

    Now, some might try to explain all this away logically. Perhaps it’s all just coincidence that the elderly praying couple were the same ones who knew the man when he was a boy and maybe the HIV disappeared for some yet unknown medical reason. But how do we logically account for the sudden and extraordinary changes in the man’s life? Explaining away the number of miracles in a seemingly impossible situation in such a short time is even harder.


  3. God is amazing! The missionary couple who prayed for the young boy in Kenya and latter in England were both submitted to God and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The prayers of the righteous are effective. The pain, anguish and struggle of this abused man had not gone unnoticed by God. The missionary couple got to reap the the wonderful crop of answered prayer after sowing for many years. God is so good!


    • Pure Glory,
      I have no arguments against the possibility of miracles, and I have no argument with your final statement of faith that ‘God is so good!’, but I find it difficult to allow that it logically follows the account about this young boy. If this actually an example of ‘the God’ performing a miracle, the like of which would obviously just have to be all too easy for him, then why is it that this “God is amazing?”

      Surely one would have to concede that ‘God is so good’ only when and if it pleases ‘him’. How many equally fervent and mass prayers are unanswered again and again around the Christian world. Is it being stated or acknowledged that this god is perfectly good when ‘he’ just picks and chooses particular cases to prove himself? There appears to be just no consistent rule that one can follow to get this god to come good with a particular miracle.



      • Hi Rian,

        Not only that if we look at this person more closely his story is that of
        – sexualy abused as a child
        – raped as a teenager
        – hiv positive
        – lost his partner, business and house.

        After some 30 years the HIV goes into remission. As he was told of this at his last hospital appointment we can assume that he had been receiving medical treatment for the HIV.

        God it seems is given credit for the HIV remission, rather than any medical treatment.

        However God’s earlier absence during the sexual abuse, the rape, the losing of everything does not seem to rate a mention.


  4. “God is so good, so good to me.” Nice to focus on, but sometimes let’s think about being good to God. Some, believers that is, might be interested in the life of John B. Cobb.
    After his graduation from high school, Cobb attended Emory College in Oxford, Georgia before joining the U.S. Army in 1943. He was chosen for the Japanese language program, which was filled mainly with Jewish and Catholic intellectuals who helped make him aware of the narrow, parochial nature of his Georgia Protestantism.

    Cobb served in the occupation of Japan, then returned to the United States and left the army soon afterward. He then entered an interdepartmental program at the University of Chicago in 1947. There, he set out to test his faith by learning the modern world’s objections to Christianity. His faith did not come out intact.

    “I was determined to expose my faith to the worst the world could offer. Within six months of such exposure my faith was shattered… God, who had been my constant companion and Lord up to that point, simply evaporated, and my prayers bounced back from the ceiling unheard.”

    Hoping to reconstruct a Christian faith more compatible with scientific and historical knowledge, Cobb entered the University of Chicago Divinity School. He was successful in restoring his personal faith primarily with the help of Richard McKeon, Daniel Day Williams, and Charles Hartshorne.

    Ecological themes have been pervasive in Cobb’s work since 1969, when he turned his attention to the ecological crisis. He became convinced that environmental issues constituted humanity’s most pressing problem. Cobb writes:

    “During the seventies my sense of the theological vocation changed. I did not lose interest in developing the Christian tradition so as to render it intelligible, convincing, and illuminating in a changing context. But I did reject the compartmentalization of my discipline of ‘constructive theology,’ especially in its separation from ethics, and more generally in its isolation from other academic disciplines… I was persuaded that no problem could be more critical than that of a decent survival of a humanity that threatened to destroy itself by exhausting and polluting its natural context.”

    Cobb went on to write the first single-author book in environmental ethics, Is It Too Late? A Theology of Ecology, in 1971. In the book, he argued for an ecological worldview that acknowledges the continuity between human beings and other living things, as well as their mutual dependence. He also proposed that Christianity specifically needed to appropriate knowledge from the biological sciences in order to undercut its anthropocentrism (human-centeredness) and devaluation of the non-human world.

    In recent years, Cobb has described current growth-oriented economic systems as the “prime example of corruption” in American culture and religion:
    “Since the rise of modern economics, Christians have been forced to give up their criticism of greed, because the economists said “greed is good, and if you really want to help people, be as greedy as possible.””

    Cobb sees such values as being in direct opposition with the message of Jesus, which in many places explicitly criticizes the accumulation of wealth. Because of Christianity’s widespread acceptance of such economic values, Cobb sees Christians as far less confident in proclaiming the values of Jesus.,_Jr.


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