Many believed that my grandmother on my father’s side had the spiritual gift of healing. A rather frail woman, this little lady was a powerhouse of faith everywhere she ever went. People from church used to drive up a long dusty road to my grandparent’s ranch so that Grandma could lay hands on some sick person. Then she’d play a couple of hymns on the piano, making everyone sing along, before the visitors took that long dusty road back to their homes.
By the time I was about five years old, I’d heard that Grandma had this gift and that people who were sick often became well after her prayers. So, when I developed an ugly wart on each of my index fingers, I knew exactly what had to happen when my grandparents arrived for Christmas a few weeks later. After my mom told her I needed a healing, Grandma and I sat on the couch to pray. We closed our eyes as she prayed out loud holding my hands in hers, asking God to deliver me from the warts. And though our family members were Baptist church attendees and regularly praying people, this prayer was different. Like magic, only better, because it seemed directly linked to God on account of my grandma, and even at five, I loved God like crazy. I always have.
The idea of Faith Countryman came to me years later, as I researched many biblical topics, including spiritual gifts and healing. I wanted Faith to be a truly sincere character with the spiritual gift of healing. I felt she should be young and beautiful. And, I felt she needed to be very human with regrets and sins and flaws, just like the rest of us and all those imperfect people God used in the Bible. She needed to be down-to-earth and quirky and funny and bold and confident. And, she needed to be special. Special enough to get the attention of an entire town one summer, in order to change them forever and live out her destiny.
By the way, those warts on my little five year-old index fingers were gone within a week of my grandma’s prayers.
“Hallelujah,” as Faith Countryman would say.