JOHN G. LAKE
John Lake is one of the heroes of the faith. A hero of the faith is one who has done exploits, not by his own ability and strength, but by faith in God. Lake is an example of what can be accomplished by anyone having childlike trust in God.
Born in St. Mary, Ontario in 1870, having died in Spokane, Washington in 1935, much of his 65 year life was an adventure in God, touching many thousands of people, the last being the population of Spokane where he and his healing team witnessed over 100,000 confirmed healings.
Lake was moved by passion. He wrote, “The desire to proclaim the message of Christ and to demonstrate His power to save and bless grew in my soul, until my life was swayed by this overwhelming passion.” He longed to point wandering and lost humanity to Christ.
In 1907 John left his successful insurance business, determined to live by faith that Christ would somehow meet his needs, and since he and his wife had seven children, indeed much faith was required. He proclaimed to God, “I am through forever with everything in life but the proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” From that moment he never mentioned a need to anyone; he was wholly dependent upon God to support him.
A few years later we find John Lake, his wife and children on a ship to Africa where God had called him. Jesus provided the fare through an anonymous donor but now the family was about to land on a strange continent and they hadn’t a penny. Before landing, it was required to show the immigration officer they possessed $125. Just when the officer came aboard at Cape Town, South Africa, a fellow passenger tapped Lake on the shoulder and gave him $200.
But where will they live? How will they get to their destination, Johannesburg? Once ashore, a woman approached Lake and said, “God told me to meet this boat, and there would be upon it an American missionary with a family of nine, consisting of two adults and seven children, and that I was to give them a home.” That is often how Lake lived, by day-to-day miracles.
After affecting South Africa mightily with many tangible demonstrations of the power of God, he returned to the States in 1912 and founded his famous Healing Rooms in Spokane. Here he taught people to be cured by the power of God. Thousands came from all over the States and other countries to be healed. He boldly placed an ad in the local paper offering a reward to any person who would sit for a time under his ministry and fail to receive a healing. No reward was ever claimed.
How did it all start, this potent ministry that turned so many to Christ the healer? Lake tells the story in his book, Adventures in God:
No one can understand the tremendous hold the revelation of Jesus as a present-day Healer took on my life, and what it meant to me, unless they first understand my environment.
I was one of 16 children. Our parents were strong, vigorous, healthy people. My mother died at the age of 75, and my father still lives at the time of this writing and is 77.
Before my knowledge and experience of the Lord as our Healer, we buried eight members of the family. A strange train of sickness, resulting in death, had followed the family. For 32 years some member of our family was an invalid. During this long period, our home was never without the shadow of sickness.
As I think back over my boyhood and young manhood, there comes to mind remembrances like a nightmare: sickness, doctors, nurses, hospitals, hearses, funerals, graveyards, and tombstones; a sorrowing household; a brokenhearted mother and grief-stricken father, struggling to forget the sorrows of the past in order to assist the living members of the family who needed their love and care.
When Christ was revealed to us as our Healer, my brother – who had been an invalid for 22 years, upon whom Father had spent a fortune for unavailing medical assistance – was dying. He bled incessantly from his kidneys and was kept alive through the assimilation of blood-creating foods which produced blood almost as fast as it flowed from his person. I have never known any man to suffer so extremely and for so long as he did.
A sister, 33 years of age, was then dying with five cancers in her left breast. Before being turned away to die, she had been operated on five times at a large hospital in Detroit, Michigan, by a German surgeon of repute. After the operations, four other “heads” developed, making five cancers in all.
Another sister lay dying of an issue of blood. Day by day, her life blood flowed away until she was in the very throes of death.
In my own life and circumstances, there were similar conditions. I had married and established my own home; but very soon after our marriage, the same train of conditions that had followed my fathers family seemed to appear in mine. My wife became an invalid from heart disease and tuberculosis. She would lose her heart action and lapse into unconsciousness. Sometimes I would find her lying unconscious on the floor or in her bed, having been suddenly stricken.
Stronger and stronger stimulants became necessary to revive her heart until we were using nitroglycerine tablets in a final, heroic effort to stimulate the action of her heart.
After these heart swells, she would remain in a semi-paralytic state for weeks (the result of over-stimulation, the physicians said).
But suddenly, in the midst of the deepest darkness, when baffled physicians stood back and acknowledged their inability to help, when the cloud of darkness and death was again over the family – the message of one godly minister, great enough and true enough to God to proclaim the whole truth of God, brought the light of God to our souls!
We took our dying brother to a Healing Home in Chicago, where prayer was offered for him with the laying on of hands. He received an instant healing and arose from his deathbed a well man. He walked four miles, returned home, and took a partnership in our father’s business.
Great joy and marvelous hope sprang up in our hearts! A real manifestation of the healing power of God was before us. We quickly arranged to take our sister who suffered from cancers, to the same Healing Home. We had to take her there on a stretcher. As we carried her into the healing meeting she was speaking within her soul, Others may be healed because they are so good, but I fear healing is not for me. It seemed more than her soul could grasp.
But after listening from her cot to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God on healing through Jesus Christ, hope sprang up in her soul. She was prayed for and hands were laid on her. As the prayer of faith rose to God, the power of God descended upon her, thrilling her being. Her pain instantly vanished! The swelling disappeared gradually. The large core cancer turned black and in a few days fell out. The smaller ones disappeared. The mutilated breast began to re-grow, and it became a perfect breast again.
How our hearts thrilled! Words alone cannot tell this story! A new faith sprang up within us. If God could heal our dying brother and our dying sister, causing cancers to disappear, He could heal anything or anybody!
Then our sister with the issue of blood began to look to God for her healing. She and her husband were devout Christians; and although they prayed, their prayers seemed unanswered for a time. Then one night I received a telephone call and was told that if I wished to see her in this life, I must come to her bedside at once.
Upon arriving, I found that death was already upon her. She had passed in unconsciousness. Her body was cold. No pulse was discernable. Our parents knelt, weeping, beside her bed, and her husband knelt at the foot of the bed in sorrow. Her baby lay in his crib.
A great cry to God, such as had never before come from my soul, went up to God. She must not die! I would not have it! Had not Christ died for her? Had not God’s healing power been manifested for the others, and should she not likewise be healed?
No words of mine can convey to another soul the cry that was in my heart and flame of hatred for death and sickness that the Spirit of God had stirred within me. The very wrath of God seemed to possess my soul!
After telephoning and telegraphing some believing friends for assistance in prayer, we called on God. I rebuked the power of death in the name of Jesus Christ. In less than an hour, we rejoiced to see the evidence of returning life. My sister was thoroughly healed! Five days later she came to my father’s home and joined the family for Christmas dinner.
My wife, who had been slowly dying for years, suffering untold agonies, was the last of the four to receive God’s healing touch. But, oh, before God’s power came upon her, I realized as never before the character of consecration God was asking, and what a Christian should give to God.
Day by day, death silently stole over her. Then the final hours came. A brother minister who was present walked over and stood at her bedside. Then returning to me with tears in his eyes, he said, “Be reconciled to let your wife die.”
I thought of my babies. I thought of her whom I loved as my own soul, and a flame burned in my heart. I felt as if God had been insulted by such a suggestion! Yet I had many things to learn.
In the midst of my soul-storm I returned home, picked up my Bible from the mantelpiece, and threw it on the table. If ever God caused a man’s Bible to open to a message his soul needed, surely He did it then for me.
The Book opened at the 10th chapter of Acts, and my eyes fell on the 38th verse which read, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the DEVIL; for God was with him.
Like a flash from the blue, these words pierced my heart: Oppressed of the devil! So, God was not the author of sickness! And the people whom Jesus healed had not been made sick by God!
Hastily taking a reference to another portion of the Word, I read the words of Jesus in Luke 13:16: Ought not this woman….. whom SATAN HATH BOUND, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond? Once again Jesus attributed sickness to the devil.
What a faith sprang up in my heart! What a flame of knowledge concerning the Word of God and the ministry of Jesus went over my soul! I saw as never before why Jesus healed the sick. He was doing the will of His Father; and in doing His Father’s will, He was destroying the works of the devil. (Heb. 2:14)
I said in my soul, This work of the devil – this destruction of my wife’s life – in the name of Jesus Christ shall cease, for Christ died and Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.
We decided on 9:30 a.m. as the time when prayer would be offered for my wife’s recovery. Again, I telephoned and telegraphed friends to join me in prayer.
At 9:30 I knelt at her deathbed and called on the living God. The power of God came upon her, thrilling her from head to feet. Her paralysis left, her heart became normal, her cough ceased, her breathing became regular, and her temperature became normal. The power of God was flowing through her, seemingly as blood flows through veins.
As l prayed, I heard a sound from her lips – not the sound of weakness as before, but a strong clear voice. She cried out. “Praise God. I am healed!” With that, she caught hold of the bed clothing, threw it back, and in a moment was standing on the floor.
What a day! Will I ever forget it? The power of God thrilled our souls, and the joy of God possessed our hearts because of her recovery.
The news spread throughout the city, the state, and the nation. Newspapers discussed it and our home became a center of inquiry. People traveled great distances to see and talk with her. She was flooded with letters.
A new light dawned in our souls. The church had diligently taught us that the days of miracles had passed; and believing this, eight members of the family had been permitted to die. But now, with the light of truth flashing in our hearts, we saw that as a lie, no doubt invented by the devil and diligently heralded as truth by the church, thus robbing mankind of its rightful inheritance through the blood of Jesus.
People came to our home, saying, “Since God has healed you, surely He will heal us. Pray for us.” We were forced into it. God answered, and many were healed.
Many years have passed since then, but no day has gone by in which God has not answered prayer. I have devoted my life, day and night, to this ministry, and people have been healed – not by ones and twos, nor by hundreds, or even by thousands, but by tens of thousands.
In due time, God called me to South Africa where I witnessed a manifestation of the healing power of God such as the world perhaps has not seen since the days of the apostles.
Christian men were baptized in the Holy Ghost, went forth in the mighty power of God, proclaiming the name of Jesus and laying hands on the sick. And the sick were healed! Sinners, witnessing these evidences of the power of God, cried out in gladness and gave themselves to the service of God.
Like it was in the days of Jesus: There was great joy in that city – and that nation. (Acts 8:8)
Finally, God brought me to Spokane, where we have ministered to hundreds of sick persons each week. The city is filled with the praises of God because of the blessed manifestations of God’s power everywhere. People have come from as far as 5,000 miles away for healing. Some have cabled from halfway ’round the world, asking for prayer, and God has graciously answered.
Ministers and churches throughout the land have seen that, although the church has taught that the days of miracles only belonged to the times of the apostles, that statement was a falsehood. They have seen that the healing power of God is as available to the honest soul today as it was in the days of Christ on the earth. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance, and Jesus is the Healer still.