BURLESON, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Christy Beam has a simple message for the body of Christ: Medical miracles do still happen today.
She has good reason to believe that.
For several years her young daughter, Annabel, suffered from a chronic condition known as pseudo-obstruction motility disorder, a disorder which left her with extreme abdominal pain and – on many days -- the inability or unwillingness to eat. She even used feeding tubes.
The condition has no cure, and she spent much of her time in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals, with little progress to show. Then one day Annabel was climbing a hollow tree, feel into it, and was miraculously healed when her head and body hit the ground, knocking her unconscious. It was such a high fall that she was feared dead, but days after she recovered, her parents discovered she was healthy again. Doctors had no scientific explanation.
"Miracles From Heaven" (PG), a movie that recounts that amazing story and stars Jennifer Garner as Beam, comes out Wednesday. It is based on a book of the same name from Beam.
"Too often people think that miracles don't happen now – that that was just during biblical times, that they don't exist anymore," Beam told the Christian Examiner. "I think that's so sad, because people are missing out on so many things."
Beam says "small" miracles happen regularly in the life of the Christian – such as when a person is comforted or encouraged by friends – but that "big" miracles, such as healings, happen, too.
The Christian Examiner spoke with Beam about the movie and the subject of miracles. Following is a transcript, edited for clarity:
CE: It was incredibly gut-wrenching to watch the scenes where Annabel was in pain. Was her suffering as bad as it was portrayed in the film?
Beam: Her suffering was worse, unfortunately, because Annabel was sick for four and a half years. [The movie] was a snapshot of nine months to a year. And Annabel had multiple procedures. She had two major surgeries where she almost died. It was horrific.
CE: I'm assuming you were praying when she fell in the tree [for her life to be spared], but God had an even bigger miracle that you didn't even pray for.
Beam: You're exactly right. I prayed a lot for Annabel when she was sick. But my dad and [her husband] Kevin's parents, they were praying for healing for Annabel, and I would love to say that I prayed for healing for Annabel. But I didn't. My prayers were: "Let today be the day that Annabel eats a complete plate of food throughout the whole day. Let today be the day she drinks a full glass of water." My prayers were focused on Annabel's success for that day. But they were praying for healing. I think people forget that they can pray those things.
CE: What advice would you give, then, for people who know somebody who is sick or close to death?
Beam: I like to tell people that the biggest thing I learned from everything we've gone through ... is that when I was in my time of darkness with Annabel, I had my head down, and I pushed and I pushed, but I never looked up. And I look back over that and now I see all those small miracles. And now I see all that God was doing. And I regret not looking up. I tell people: Look up. In your darkness, in your struggle, get your head up and look around you. Because God is moving and is performing small miracles in your life. And those are the things that propel you forward. Don't miss them.
CE: So you're saying to look around, that miracles are happening, and to pray for the small miracles but also the big miracles?
Beam: Absolutely. Don't do what I did. Don't put God in a box. He wants you to pray for those things that no one else could ever do – that only He could do.
CE: Do you believe that God heals today, outside of modern medicine?
Beam: I certainly believe He did in Annabel's case. And I know He does. So many people have written to me from all over the world, and they have told me their messages of healing and God's intervention. But I want to say that doesn't mean that we don't use the common sense that God has instilled in us. We need to take our children to the doctor and get them the help they need and work with physicians.
CE: And, just to reiterate a point that was in the movie, you're also not saying that when someone is not healed, something is wrong with their faith.
Beam: Correct, and thanks for bringing that up. Because we were told that. We were told [when Annabel was sick]: "You're out of God's will. You have sinned, and because of the sin that you have not declared, Annabel's being punished for it – or even Annabel has sinned and is being punished for it." That's crazy. It's not about us. It's about Him, and it's about His plan and honoring Him through it. And Him using us as part of His plan. You have no idea what your illness or your suffering is doing in the lives of someone else. It could be bringing people to Christ; we don't know. To think that you've failed in some way and that's the cause of your suffering, it's crazy.
"Miracles From Heaven" is rated PG for thematic material. It contains no sexuality or language.