Christian author and journalist Catherine Marshall heard of Maude Blanford and her miraculous healing from the Lord 12 years after it had taken place, so she knew for a fact that the healing had lasted. When she interviewed Maude she described her as a “past-middle-age woman with not a trace of gray in her hair and who was obviously in radiant health.” She asked Maude to relate her story, and the article below is a re-print of a major portion of Catherine Marshall’s article, “The Healing of Maude Blanford.”
[Originally published in Guideposts magazine many years ago, the complete article is still available in a collection of articles entitled The Guideposts Treasury of Hope, © 1976 by Guideposts Associates, Inc. (pp. 39-45).]
“’My left leg had been hurting,’ Maude said. ‘I thought it was because I was on my feet so much. Finally, when I couldn’t stand it any loner, my husband and I decided that I should go to the doctor.’
“When her family doctor examined her, his eyes were solemn as his hands gently probed several firm tumor masses on her left side. When he spoke words like “specialist” and “biopsy,” the patient read the unspoken thought: malignancy.
“Maude was referred to Dr. O. J. Hayes. He examined her on June 29, 1959, and prescribed radiation treatment. The treatment began July 7, and was followed by surgery on September 29. After the operation, when Maude pleaded with Doctor Hayes for the truth, he admitted, ‘It is cancer, and it’s gone too far. We could not remove it because it’s so widespread. One kidney is almost non-functioning. The pelvic bone is affected – that’s why the pain in your leg. I am so sorry.’
“Maude was put on narcotics to control the excruciating pain, and sent home to die. Over a six-month period, while consuming $1,000 worth of pain relieving drugs, she took stock of her spiritual resources and found them meager indeed. There was no church affiliation, no knowledge of the Bible, only the vaguest, most shadowy concept of Jesus.
“The first week in January, 1960, she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was rushed back to the hospital. For 12 days she lay unconscious; her husband was warned that if she survived the attack it would probably be as a vegetable.
“But Maude, oblivious to the world around her, was awake in a very different world. In her deep coma a vivid image came to her. She saw a house with no top on it The partitions between the rooms were there, the furniture in place, but there was no roof. She remembered thinking, ‘Oh, we must put a roof on the house! It if rains, all the furniture will be spoiled.’
“When she came out of the coma, Maude’s mind was very much intact, but bewildered. What could the roofless house have meant? As she puzzled over it, a Presence seemed to answer her. Today she has no hesitation in calling Him the Holy Spirit. ‘He seemed to show me that the house represented my body, but that without Jesus as my covering, my body had no protection. … At the time, I didn’t know how to get the roof on my house.’
“From then until July, 1960, her condition worsened. Heart action and breathing became so difficult she was reduced from normal speech to weak whispers. Even with the drugs, the suffering became unbearable. By July she knew she no longer had the strength to make the trip for radiation treatment. ‘On July first I told the nurse I wouldn’t be coming back.’
But that day, as her son-in-law helped her into the car outside the medical building, she broke down and wept. ‘At that moment I didn’t want anything except for God to take me quickly – as I was. I said, “God, I don’t know Who You are. I don’t know anything about You. I don’t even know how to pray. Just, Lord, have Your own way with me.”‘
“Though she did not realize it, Maude had just prayed one of the most powerful of all prayers. … She had opened the door to the Holy Spirit. … She did not have long to wait for evidence of His presence. Monday July 4, dawned beautiful but hot. That afternoon Joe Blanford set up a cot for his wife outdoors under the trees. As the ill woman rested, hoping for the relief of a bit of breeze, into her mind poured some beautiful sentences.
“’Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? … Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily. … Here I am.’
“I [Catherine Marshall] stared at Maude over the rim of my coffee cup. ‘But I thought you didn’t know the Bible?’
“’I didn’t! I’d never read a word of it. Only I knew this didn’t sound like ordinary English. I thought, “Is that in the Bible?” And right away the words came: “Isaiah 58.” Well, my husband got a Bible for me. I had to hunt and hunt to find the part called Isaiah. But then when I found those verses just exactly as I had heard them – except for the last three words, ‘Here I am’ – well I knew God Himself had really spoken to me!”’
“Over the next weeks Maude read the Bible constantly, often until two or three o’clock in the morning, seeing the person of Jesus take shape before her eyes. It was an amazing experience, without human assistance of any kind – no Bible teacher, no commentary – simply reading the Bible with the Holy Spirit.
“Along with the hunger to meet Jesus in the Word, the Holy Spirit gave her an intense desire to be out-of-doors, close to His world. She told her astonished husband, ‘Joe, I want to go fishing.’ This made no sense to him. The terrain to the lake was rough. She would have to be carried down and then back up a steep hill.
“But then some kindly neighbors offered to take her, and her husband acquiesced. She could not fish, of course, but she could look at a breeze rippling the water, at the wheeling birds, the distant hills. And as she looked, a response grew in her, another of the Holy Spirit’s workings: praise. All that first day she praised Jesus for the world He had made. That night she slept like a baby.
“After that, the lake trip became routine. A month or so later, Maude was walking up the hill to the road by herself. At home she had begun very slowly climbing the stairs, praising Jesus for each step attained. Or she would sit in a chair and dust a mahogany table top, saying ‘Thank You, Jesus. Isn’t this wood beautiful!’
“Next she tried putting a small amount of water in a pail. Sitting in a kitchen chair, she would mop the floor in the area immediately around her, scoot the chair a few inches, mop again. ‘Thank You, Jesus, for helping me do this!’
‘Her daughter-in-law, who was coming over almost daily to clean house for her, asked her one day in great puzzlement, ‘Mom, how is it that your kitchen floor never gets dirty?’
“The older woman twinkled. ‘Well, I guess I’ll have to confess. The Lord and I are doing some housework.’
“But their chief work, she knew, was not on this building of brick and wood, but on the house of her spirit, the house that had been roofless so long. Gradually, as her knowledge of Him grew, she sensed His protective love surrounding and sheltering her. Not that all pain and difficulties were over. She was still on pain-numbing narcotics, still experiencing much nausea as the aftermath of the radiation.
“’The will to live is terribly important,’ she commented to me [Catherine Marshall]. ‘It takes a lot of self-effort just to get out of bed, to eat again after your food has just come up. This is when too many people give up.’
“One Saturday night, when the pain would not let her sleep, she lay on her bed praising God and reading the Bible lying on her stomach. She felt that she was being carried to heaven, traveling a long way through space. Then came a voice out of the universe: ‘My child, your work is not finished. You are to go back.’ This was repeated three times, slowly, majestically, and then she was aware of her bedroom around her again.
“The rest of the night she remained awake, flooded with joy, thanking God. When her husband woke up in the morning, she told him, ‘Honey, Jesus healed me last night.’
“She could see that he did not believe it; there was no change in her outward appearance. ‘But I knew I was healed and that I had to tell people,’ she said. That very morning she walked to the Baptist church across the highway from their home and asked the minister if she could give a testimony. He was startled at the unusual request from someone who was not even a member of the congregation, but he gave permission, and she told the roomful of people that God had spoken to her in the night and healed her.
“A few weeks later she insisted on taking a long bus trip to visit her son in West Virginia. Still on narcotics, still suffering pain, she nonetheless knew that the Holy Spirit was telling her to rely from now on on Jesus instead of drugs. At five o’clock on the afternoon of April 27, 1961, on the return bus journey, as she popped a painkilling pill into her mouth at the rest stop, she knew it would be the last one.
“So it turned out. In retrospect, physicians now consider this sudden withdrawal as great a miracle as the remission of the cancer cells to health tissue.
“It took time to rebuild her body-house – nine months for her bad leg to be near normal, two years for all symptoms of cancer to vanish. When she called Doctor Hays in 1962, over some small matter, he almost shouted in astonishment. ‘Mrs Blanford! What’s happened to you! I thought you were ….’
“’You thought I was long since gone,’ she laughed back.
“’Please come to my office at once and let me examine you! I’ve got to know what’s happened.’
“’But why should I spend a lot of money for an examination when I’m a perfectly well woman?’ she asked.
“’Mrs Blanford, I promise you, this one is on us!’ What the doctor found can best be stated in his own words: ‘I had lost contact with Mrs. Blanford and had assumed that this patient had expired. In May of 1962 she appeared in my office. She was two and a half years following her operation and her last x-ray had been in July, 1960. … The swelling of her leg was gone. She had full use of her leg; she had no symptoms whatsoever, and on examination I was unable to ascertain whether or not any cancer was left. … She was seen again on November 5, 1962, at which time her examination was completely negative. …
“’She has been seen periodically since that time for routine examinations. … She is absolutely asymptomatic. … This case is most unusual in that this woman had a proven, far-advanced metastatic cancer of the cervix and there should have been no hope whatsoever for her survival.’
“No hope whatsoever. … No hope except the hope on which our faith is founded.”