The family of Mr. James R. Jordan has resided in Lake View, Chicago, since the spring of 1871. They are members of Lincoln Park Congregational Church. The father, Mr. James R. Jordan, died in October, 1882, aged eighty-four years. Through a long series of financial trials, sorrows, afflictions by death and pressing cares, this family learned to depend on God for their daily prosperity; and the cures wrought in them, according to God's Word, are only a small portion of the remarkable answers to prayer with which their history is filled.
It is an instructive fact for Christian meditation, that when the exercise of intelligent faith was necessary to their cures, the faith was there ready for exercise. They had not to begin, as, alas! so many do, at the very foundation, and find out first, what faith is, and next, how to exercise it. They had learned long before what faith is and what faith is not; that faith is trustful obedience to the Word of God; that it is not a determination to have one's own way, nor to expect the immediate gratification of a desire, simply because the desire has been made known to God. They knew that faith obediently accepts God's commands and promises, expects to comply with the conditions of those commands and promises, and, so complying, expects to receive the results of such obedience at such times and in such ways as God appoints; all of which truths they found, and all of which may be found in the Holy Scriptures.
Thus living in the hopes of the Gospel, realizing as much that their "home is in heaven" as that their "rest is not here," they have, through the years, performed the daily duties of their pilgrimage.
The writer has known them for thirteen years, and gratefully testifies that their faith has strengthened her's, and that their cheerful hope in the Lord has been a strong consolation to many who were in trouble.
After the sudden death of the youngest son of the family, in 1880, the care of the family devolved entirely upon the two daughters, Mrs. H.J. Furlong and Miss Addie S. Jordan.
In April, 1876, Mrs. Jordan fell and badly fractured her hip. She was then seventy-seven years old. On account of her age she could not well be etherized, nor endure the repeated necessary resetting of the bones, and consequently they grew together irregularly. Her hip-joint was stiff, so that she was never able to walk without the support of a cane or crutch. For eight years she could not leave her own little yard, nor climb into a carriage, nor walk without support.
Through this misfortune her afflictions grew worse. In January, 1884, she fell and broke one bone and dislocated another in the left wrist. Notwithstanding all that medical help could do, the shock brought on a severe sickness, and when, after eight weeks, she left her bed to move around feebly, she had almost lost her sight and hearing, her hand was useless, and her mind greatly impaired.
On her birthday, June 10, 1884, when she was eighty-five years old, she greatly mourned that she had outlived her usefulness; that she could no longer feed herself, nor read her Bible, nor remember the desirable subjects for her prayers, and she hoped that she should not linger here long in such a helpless and useless condition.
During the latter part of this time the two daughters were sick, Mrs. Furlong with paralysis and Miss Jordan with consumption.
In the latter part of 1882 Miss Jordan, then in feeble health, was needed at home to attend the father's last sickness, and Mrs. Furlong was left to conduct their business alone. 'The extraordinary exertion brought on paralysis. It began in her right arm, which became so insensible that the strongest ammonia produced no sensation or apparent effect. Gradually her whole right side lost power, her foot dragged, and though she did manage to move about, she was comparatively helpless. Physicians spoke not hopefully; and protracted rest was recommended as a possible relief. She planned to take electric treatment, though not very hopeful about the result. She failed once to meet her physician, and while planning the second time to take the treatment, and considering Christ's miracles of healing, and the Bible's promises to the sick, and having a feeling that possibly she might be doing wrong in not relying entirely on the Lord, who had hitherto so much helped them, she delayed a little, and failed again to meet the appointment. It was a Saturday evening in January, 1883.
She went home and sat down that evening alone, in the dining-room, depressed. The enfeebled family--the aged crippled mother, the sick sister and her own young son--had retired. As she thought the subject through, she became convinced that it was not good to spend time and money in the way proposed. Instantly the words THE SAVIOUR filled her soul with indescribable hope, and as she thought of His miracles, and how the same Jesus, on earth, healed paralyzed ones, the hope grew that He would heal her.
With the well hand she stretched out her paralyzed hand on the table and said: "Dear Lord, will you heal me?" Like an electric shock the life began to move in her arm, and the continued sensation was as though something that, previously, had not moved was set in motion. The feeling passed up to the head, and down the body to the foot. She was healed! and she was grateful! She did not speak of her experience to the family, but retired. She rose early the next morning, and awoke her son,--a prayerful, dutiful young man,--and said to him, "I'm going to church, to-day." He replied, "Then I'll get up and go with you," expecting that she must ride.
Her soul was solemnly full that day of the felt presence of the Holy Spirit, and she did not like to talk. Her son watched her movements, astonished.
She went to the church, took a class again in Sunday School, and; in going back and forth to church that day and evening, walked about sixty blocks without weariness.
We are not permitted, here, to draw aside the curtain, to dwell upon the surprises and the grateful joy of that ever-to-be-remembered, sacred day.
A few days after this healing, she, with a consciousness that she was running a risk, lifted a heavy weight, and a numbness returned. She confessed the sin to the Lord, and asked Him that, when she had been sufficiently chastened, He would take the trouble away. Gradually, within two days, it disappeared, and has never returned.
At the time when Mrs. Furlong was healed, in answer to prayer, Miss. Jordan's case was considered hopeless. Her lungs had been diseased since 1876. In November, 1879, her physician had decided that tubercles had formed in the left lung, and that the right lung was much congested and hardened.
In 1882 she had many hemorrhages, and gradually grew worse, so that she could not use her left arm or shoulder without producing hemorrhage.
Mrs. Furlong, soon after her own healing, received a comforting assurance from the Lord that her sister would be healed; but Miss Jordan, herself, had not that assurance. At this time she took little or no medicines, the physicians and the family having no confidence in their curative effect; but, on the 1st of January, 1884, she had so many chills and hemorrhages, that they sent for the family physician to aid in checking, if possible, the severe attack.
During this apparently rapid descent deathward, Mrs. Furlong continued to repeat to the family and to the physicians that the Lord would heal her sister.
Miss Jordan was one day so low that she could just be aroused to take her medicine. As Mrs. Furlong went to give it, Miss Jordan said to her, "Do you want to throw that medicine away?" Mrs. Furlong said "Yes," and threw it away. Six hours of united waiting upon the Lord followed. They were hours of pain. From nine in the morning till three in the afternoon she suffered indescribable pain. A few minutes after three, the pain left her, and with a bright look she said, "I believe I'm better." She wanted to rise and dress, but Mrs. Furlong advised her to rest through the night. She said she had not, in five years, been so free from weariness and pain.
The aged mother was sick in bed with that broken wrist, and Mrs. Furlong feared that her sister's improved condition would shock and perplex her.
Miss Jordan lay on the lounge the most of the time for two days. One of her expressions was, "It's perfect bliss to lie here free from pain." Her breathing became perfectly natural, and very soon the great hollow place in the upper part of the chest, over the left lung, filled out. Shortly before her healing she only weighed eighty pounds; but a few months after her weight had increased to one hundred and twenty pounds.
She progressed in health rapidly, and on the second Sunday after the healing came she attended church. The feeble mother was most sensitively anxious lest her daughter should pursue some unwarrantable course which should lead to relapse.
Miss Jordan's health steadily improved, but it was several months before a cough entirely left her. You may be sure that doubters made the most of that cough! But it left her! At one time she brought on a slight relapse by giving lessons in crayon drawing. She came to the conclusion that the Lord had other work for her to do: and at this writing, September, 1885, having prayerfully and watchfully followed the leadings of the Lord, is a missionary among the freedmen of the South, and is strong in health and in faith, "giving glory to God."
One of the aged mother's perplexities was that the Lord should want her to live on in such a helpless and useless condition, while her daughters, who might be so useful, must die; but oh, how successful she had by precept and example taught those daughters that "He hath done all things well!" How patiently she suffered whatever she thought was the Lord's will! How sweet was her constant thanksgiving! Said a pious Christian neighbor, whose poor health restricted her attendance at church, "When I'm hungry for a blessing I go down to see old lady Jordan."
After eight painful weeks, she so far recovered from the sickness consequent on the broken and dislocated wrist as to move around feebly, but sight and hearing were almost gone. Her leg was stiff, her hand stiff, her wrist deformed, and her mind greatly impaired.
Miss Jordan became very hopeful, and received strong assurance, in answer to prayer, that her mother might be healed. Mrs. Furlong received no assurance whatever in her mother's case. There was a great deal of talking and praying about it, in the family, and finally Mrs. Jordan humbly claimed the Lord's help, beseeching Him that since He had recorded that He would make the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear, if it was His will He would heal her. This was the night of June 16th, 1884.
In the morning Miss Jordan was so hopeful that she rose early, and attentively listened to the movements in her mother's room. She called the little family's attention to them, saying, "Just listen to her;" and as, holding on by the banister, the aged mother came with her accustomed slow movements down to the dining room, Miss Jordan said, to them, "Now, watch her."
According to the long habit of eight years, she began to reach out for her cane, unconscious that she had been walking around her room with new freedom. Miss Jordan went toward her and said, "Mother, do you want your cane?" and, wondering, the old lady walked freely into the dining room. They gathered around her, and said, "Are you not healed, mother?" and she began to think she was, and sat down in her chair by the table. Could she move her hand? The doubled-up thumb, and straight, stiff finger, were perfectly free and as limber as ever, and the stiff wrist joint moved with perfect freedom! She heard as well as anybody! Could she see? She went up-stairs to her Bible, whose blurred, dim pages she had thought closed to her forever, and she could read as well as ever, and without glasses! She could thread the finest needle. Could she kneel and thank the Lord? She had not knelt for eight years. Yes, she could kneel as well as when she served the Lord in her youth!
Christian reader, stop here and think what a joyful family that was that June morning. That aged saint, of a little more than 85 years, was in good health again! And her two daughters had been snatched from the jaws of death! What a triumph of blessed memories to leave in legacy to that young, hopeful, Christian son, who, in childhood, had himself repeatedly proved that the Lord hears and answers prayer!
Mrs. Jordan has never used cane or crutch since that morning. She has frequently walked five blocks, to go to her church; and, a few weeks after her healing, she one day walked the distance of about fifteen blocks. She has walked for hours in Lincoln Park, among the plants and flowers, and she goes up and down stairs, and wherever she likes, as well as anyone.
She has the use of her faculties, and an altogether comfortable use of her sight, though that is not so acute as at first. Her earliest joy was that she was permitted to see that the Lord had some purpose in sparing her so long.
Dear Christian reader, shall the wonderful manifestation of that "purpose" strengthen your faith? It helps me.
"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him." "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."
In the hopes of the Gospel,
Miss E. Dryer.
150 Madison St., Chicago.