How We Escaped – By Elmer Shelhamer

Chapter 16

Escape From Death  — By Mrs. E. E. Shelhamer

For a number of years the writer has suffered — only God knows what — as a result possibly of too strenuous efforts for the salvation of the lost. My trouble seemed incurable without an operation, and to this I could not feel free to consent.

Though not at all able, I occasionally stole down to the great Los Angeles county hospital to pray with the sick and dying, for my own distress made me feel keenly for others, knowing by experience what some of them were suffering. After bending over scores of beds doing what little I could to help them, I have returned home and thrown myself across the bed nearly fainting from exhaustion. It would not be long however before I ventured out again for I could not bear to see those afflicted ones dying without God. I might as well confess that often I have refrained from taking my friends with me in the auto for fear of an accident, as I knew I was too nervous to drive, and rather than risk their lives I have taken the car out alone. I finally had to give up jail and hospital work, so delegated it to others and resigned myself to God’s will, whether life or death.

I attended a number of wonderful divine healing services and was the subject of the prayers of a great many good people, still I suffered. I wanted to live to be a blessing to this sad world. There were millions of sick ones in the myriads of hospitals, many of whom were dying after being experimented upon, and who would take to them the news of Christ the Savior and the Healer?

I thought of the revivals I wanted to hold and the many prodigal sons and daughters I wished to try to persuade to arise and go to their Father. I thought of my family — the little ones who needed a mother and so prayed for life and health though constantly saying, “Thy will be done.”

This prolonged illness caused me to sympathize with the world of sufferers and I know a little of how it feels to lose hope, for while I was doing my best to help others I could feel the grim monster, Death, crowding me inch by inch off the earth. Finally I lost heart and felt compelled against my will to yield to his black relentless hand.

It was during this period of distressing thoughts and mental queries that my heart rose to heaven in one more cry of “Lord have mercy, what shall I do?” Imagine my surprise when the answer came clearly, “Write a book on Divine Healing.”

Now, I am conscious of the fact that there are many fanatical people who flippantly and frequently declare that the Lord told them this and that, when often it is their own desire or imagination. The message I had just received was as foreign to any of my previous plans as might have been a command to go to Greenland. I said nothing of it to anyone. Sometimes it is best to keep things to ourselves for such impressions may come from the Lord, or from Satan, or from our own minds.

The fact is, I was in no condition to write a book on any subject, especially one on Healing, and besides, who would believe it when I myself was so sick? They would say, “Physician, heal thyself.” I determined to test this impression and proceeded by the following formula which will help in most cases of indecision.

Forget it.

Be willing to do, or not to do, as God wills.

Say little, but pray much.

Refuse to act when bewildered.
If the conviction is of God it will return and grow as the days go by. If it is not of Him, it will diminish and finally fade away.

Still feeling that the Lord himself had spoken, I crept off alone and wrote a few chapters just to see how it would seem. Of course I wanted the manuscript burned in case I died and would not have it known for a good deal what I was doing. I began to get worse and gave up the work, wondering if after all I had not been mistaken.

Some days after this the Savior, who is my constant Companion, and whose comforting presence I could not live without, drew near and said in the gentlest tone, “And so you gave up writing, did you?”

I was melted to tears for I knew that it was He and said, “Yes, Lord, I did not feel that it was consistent to write on healing when I have failed to receive it myself.” I wondered what He could say to that for I felt I had given Him a conclusive argument, but He always can out-wit human minds. In the gentlest voice He spoke again about as follows:

“Well, if it is my time to take you to heaven and this will be your last sickness, would you not be happier to have your life crowded so full of helpfulness to this dark world, that during the last months of your life you could write something that will keep others from suffering after you are gone?”

“Why, yes, Lord, of course I would, I never thought of it that way,” I said bursting into tears. The work was resumed at once. My pen flew across the paper for the thoughts poured in so fast I had to write shorthand to keep up. My loving Lord seemed to be in the room with me and at times dictating every word, for He knew I was too weak to do much thinking. The next Sabbath I partook of the Lord’s Supper. While I was kneeling at the altar thanking Jesus for the Atonement, He drew near and whispered, “I have come to heal you.”

He revealed to me that He had suffered that I might be well. With simplicity of faith and deepest gratitude I accepted health from Him — and gave my unprofitable life in a deeper consecration than ever, to live only for His glory. When the minister bade the communicants to “arise and go in peace” I arose in newness of life.

This was on the twenty-second day of March 1925, and it is wonderful how divine health has been imparted. At present writing I am engaged in revival campaigns and though up late every night and burdened with work and responsibilities, the Lord gives such marvelous strength and freedom from pain that I often stop and ask myself how it all came about. I cannot thank Him enough and feel like kissing His feet for condescending to heal such an unworthy one as I.