Hiram, Heal Thy Neighbour

The still night air was pierced by loud shouts echoing beyond the closed windows. A single taper flickered perilously in an upstairs window and the sound of shuffling feet danced over the floorboards. A short while earlier Hiram Edson had made his way across the fields with a lantern in his hand. He had the determined gait of a man on a mission as he crunched over the loose gravel and up the driveway of the little farmhouse not far from his own.

The house was still and there was no answer when Edson knocked on the door. He turned the knob and pushed the door open, leaving his lantern beside the doorstep. Once inside he peeked into the parlor and found the inhabitants of the home sprawled in front of the fire, fast asleep. Noiselessly he reached for a candle and made his way up the creaking stairs into the sick man’s room.

His neighbor had been ill for quite a while. The news of his illness and traveled across the farms in the vicinity, prompting the peaceful farming community in Ontario County, New York to pray for him. However, despite the prayers and well wishes, the man’s condition deteriorated over the following weeks until he lay on the verge of death. His wife and children were exhausted as they juggled the responsibilities of running a farm and caring for a sick family member. The community rallied around them but there was only so much they could do while they were juggling their own enormous workloads.

Edson had gotten home that evening looking forward to spending some quiet time relaxing in front of the fire with his family but as the evening wore on he sensed a persistent nudging on his heart. It was a quiet whisper, prompting him to go over to his ailing neighbors home to pray over him and heal him. At first, Edson dismissed the prompting as a figment of his wearied imagination but the more he tried to brush aside the thoughts the more persistent them became.

Finally, he had jumped to his feet and rushed out the door much to the surprise of his family. After hurriedly slipping on his boots and his coat, he grabbed a lantern and made his way over to his neighbors home.

“The Lord Jesus Make Thee Whole”

Now as he stood over the man, he held the candle over his face to see him clearly. His skin was pale, punctuated by deep purple smudges under his eyes. His breathing was barely discernible underneath the pile of warm blankets that lay over him. Setting the candle stand on the table beside the bed, Edson laid his hand on the man’s shoulders and closed his eyes. After uttering a silent prayer he spoke out loud; “Brother, the Lord Jesus maketh thee whole”.

The sick man’s eyes flew open and he immediately pulled aside the covers and literally leaped out of bed. Edson stood staring at him for a split second before erupting in shouts of joy and thanksgiving. The commotion woke the sleeping family downstairs. At first, they couldn’t figure out where the noise was coming from was and then they began to envision their worst fears; Their husband and father were dead! They rushed up the stairs and piled breathlessly into his room only to stop short in astonishment as they saw him laughing and dancing across the room.

Hiram Edson then gathered the entire family together for a time of thanksgiving and praise to God. So deeply was the presence of the Spirit of God felt that some of the members of the family who weren’t Christians gave their lives to God then and there.

The news of the sick farmer’s miraculous healing began to spread throughout the County. His doctor nearly fell off his horse when he encountered him chopping wood by the roadside when he came to pay a house call. He had expected to find the man dead but there he was smiling and recounting the story of his healing as though he had never been sick.

The little church that Edson regularly attended was shaken up at a weekly gathering when the healed farmer stood up to bear his testimony. Inch by inch the news wound its way around the countryside and it left in its wake a revival that had not been witnessed in Ontario County in quite a while.

When Hiram Edson chose to obey the promptings of God’s Spirit not only was his ailing neighbor healed but the entire county experienced a Spiritual revival as a result. Next time God asks you to do something small, don’t think twice about saying yes because you never know the impact that single, simple act can have.

Further Reading and Citations

  • Collins, N.J. (2005) – Heartwarming Stories of Adventist Pioneers (Book 1)