God Cannot Lie
By Betty Swinford
Gladys Pearson, an evangelist for twenty-five years, was in Topeka, Kansas, holding a revival when the accident happened. Its outcome could have changed the course of her life and her ministry, except for a revelation given by God at a crucial point. It was a revelation that would lead to the straightening of her twisted back in a moment of time, a revelation that made the promises of God more vitally real than her circumstances and gave her the greatest joy she had ever known. It came in three simple words. God cannot lie.
It happened this way: Gladys was preaching in Topeka, Kansas. She had washed out a few things and hung them out to dry. After dark that night, she went to take them down, failed to see an open doorway that led twenty-four steps down into a cellar, and fell down the length of those stairs. The left side of her spine was terribly injured at the time, but she did nothing about it; and, gradually, it seemed to get better.
It was eleven years later that her back began to twist. She was preaching in Europe at the time. Sometimes, there were services three and four times a day, and Gladys overworked. The nerves on the left side of her back became inflamed, and any strain brought intense pain. Sometimes, she could hold her back straight and sometimes she couldn’t. Sometimes, the people were aware that something was wrong and sometimes they weren’t. But her back grew worse and worse and she knew she was, going to have to stop.
Yet, Gladys continued. Returning home, she preached over much of the United States, finally going to Seattle.’ There, while holding a six weeks’ meeting, her back twisted, and she collapsed. She knew then that if she did not stop, she would die.
Going home to San Bernardino, California, she stayed with Mary, her stepmother. After resting for three weeks, she went on a trip–and her back twisted worse than ever. Again, she was forced to return home, and as she walked into the house, her head was nearly down to her feet.
“I’ll get an ambulance” Mary cried. But Gladys said no. She had never tested the promises of God on healing. Her body had always been strong. Now, lying helpless day and night, she firmly held to her faith in God’s promises to heal.
So severe was her pain that Gladys could speak only in a whisper. Beginning at Exodus 15:26, she managed the words, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” She said it over and over. “You said it, Lord, you said it, ‘I am the Lord that healeth thee.’
Her Bible became stained from weeping. Yet, she held the Book to her and determined within herself. “If there is healing in the Bible, I’ll find it.”
“I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Nothing happened. Exodus 23:25 promises, “He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” She claimed this verse tenaciously, asking her stepmother to bring bread and water to her bedside. Then, she blessed it, according to the Word. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. Time passed. She cried day and night. Her body wasted and twisted and filled with pain, and she pleaded with God “You said you’d heal me, God; you said you would. Why–why don’t you do it?”
Gladys had but one consuming desire during this time; to walk again; to live again; to preach again. And she wept. Many times, unable to feed herself, she could only watch helplessly as the spoon refused to be directed to her mouth. Her nerves were shattered, and she lay twisted, helpless, broken. Even the closing of a door would reverberate through her entire mind and nervous system for two or three hours.
Friends and relatives urged her to go to the hospital, but she would not. “I couldn’t do it,” she relates. “I’m not saying what I would do again, but at that time. I could not do it. I had to prove God in healing.”
Gladys came to Psalm 103:3 “Who forgivith all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Growing thinner and weaker by the day, Gladys whispered painfully, “Now, God, if you forgive my iniquities and heal my diseases, yet you don’t heal my back, I can’t believe you’ve forgiven my sins.”
“Who forgiveth”—“who healeth”— She said it over and over, day and night. Why don’t you do it, Jesus?”
Gladys went on to Isaiah 53. “Surely he bath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… But he was wounded for our transgressions… with his stripes we are healed” And her back was yet horribly twisted.
It was a time when it seemed that God did not hear or answer in any way. When, on occasion, Gladys made an attempt to walk down the hall, she would collapse, and her family would have to carry her back to bed.
And Gladys Pearson quit. “I lay there for three days and three nights,” she declares softly, “in the blackest darkness I’ve ever gone through. It was as black at noonday as it was at night. I never want to go into outer darkness! I did not know if there was a heaven or hell. I wasn’t sure that Jesus ever lived. I didn’t know whether my sins were forgiven. I didn’t whisper the name of Jesus once during those three days, nor did I claim a promise. The darkness was thick; it was black.”
At the end of those three days, Gladys crawled into the living room, and there came an overwhelming desire to pray. Somehow, she made her way into a large walk-in closet, obeying the voice that bade her do so. She shut the door to the closet, and when she was alone, God came to her.
“Oh, He came to me! He came three times and He gave me the same three words each time. It was the greatest revelation of my life. Three times, He spoke the words, ‘God cannot lie!’ Each time He spoke the words, a different word bore the emphasis. ‘God cannot lie: God cannot lie. God cannot lie.’ ”
And Gladys began to laugh in the Spirit. The revelation of light and truth gripped her anew. God cannot lie! With His stripes we are healed! Why, she was already healed. She had prayed for it, but she had never taken it. And she laughed afresh as her spirit was released, from tears to joy; from bondage to deliverance.
Gladys’ stepmother heard the joyous laughter, and she said to herself, “When Gladys comes out of that closet, she’ll be healed.”
She wasn’t. She was as twisted as before. But Gladys says. “I was the happiest cripple you ever saw.” And she never asked God again for healing—until the very end. Still on her bed of affliction, she laughed, sang, and rejoiced. The Word of God was so illuminated to her heart that it rolled through her day and night. She looked back to the time she had fallen and realized that she had simply fallen into His arms and that He is faithful to His eternal Word. For had He not said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”? Oh, the faithfulness, the faithfulness of God!
As Gladys acted upon what God had given her, her faith soared and her joy knew no bounds. If she had doubted His Word then, she believes, her ministry would have ended, and her body would still be twisted. But she believed the promise He had given her, and she knew she was healed. But she was still twisted.
It was on a Sunday afternoon when Gladys’ brother and his wife, a registered nurse, came to visit. The sister-in-law told Gladys she would have to have the nerves in her back severed, her back put in a cast, and the nerves rechanneled. But Gladys knew better. Mary, her stepmother, came in with the announcement, “Gladys, I’m through. In the morning, I’m going to call an ambulance.”
It was then that Gladys again called upon God and asked Him to move quickly on her behalf. After all, it was not her home, and she could not stay on any longer. And God gave her another promise. It was Matthew 18:19 “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
Gladys went in to her brother Gene and asked him to place his hand upon that promise and agree with her. Gene broke into sobs, as did the other members of the family, and Mary told Gladys contritely that she could stay there as long as she wanted to.
Gladys crept back into hell and pulled up a cover. “Mom,” she said to Mary, “will you call the church one more time? We won’t call them again.”
Gladys learned later that the entire church buoy rose in prayer as one. The praying would ebb; then, it would rise again, over and over.
And Gladys Pearson fell into a deep slumber. It was eleven thirty that night before she awakened. When she did it was as though she came up from a long, long way. Praise was welling up within her heart, and fathomless peace held her. It seemed that very slowly she was coming together again.
“I think I’m whole,” she thought wonderingly. “I’m —I’m sure I’m whole.” She eased her legs off the bed and brought her body up straight! Straight and without pain. Would her back twist again? She didn’t know. Slowly, she began to walk down the hall, through the house, out onto the porch, and then to the sidewalk. It was midnight, and still she walked, coming back at last to her stepmother’s bedroom.
Mary hurried out of bed, thinking that the rap on her door meant Gladys was worse. She opened the door to face Gladys — but there was no laughter at that moment. Gladys could not say a word.
“Gladys! Gladys-are you healed?” “I think I am, Mom.”
Mary began to shout up and down the hall, pausing now and again to touch Gladys’ straight body. Neighbors heard and began streaming into the house. To one neighbor, Gladys eagerly explained, “I’m healed, I’m healed! Jesus touched me!
“She didn’t know anything about healing,” Gladys says, “but she knew how sick I’d been, and she sobbed and sobbed.”
The next morning, Gladys got down on her hands and knees and scrubbed the large kitchen floor. Then, she waxed it. “And then,” she said laughing. “I danced all over it. The joy, the pure joy!”
Her healing meant one thing: “I’ll live again, I’ll preach again.” And Gladys Pearson has, been faithful to her word. Jesus Christ has not been conveniently shut into the guest room of her soul; He is her very, life, and to win souls for Him is her reason for living. The One in whom she had placed her trust cannot fail, but He came to her, the sovereign Savior, and gave her life again.