My first miracle came before I was too young to be able to remember the details. I have learned about it through family members who have shared the miracle story of my healing from polio. The scourge of the late 40s and early 50s, prior to the Salk vaccine, was polio. Children died, were left paralyzed for life, and their families were left to take care of their invalid children. My parents had lost their first child, a boy, at birth. They named him Bruce and buried him in the family cemetery. A couple of years later when I was born in 1948, they rejoiced that God had given them another son. But, some 10 months later their joy turned to sorrow as I contracted polio. I had just started to walk and now I was paralyzed from waist down. They did not know if it would move up into my lungs and affect the rest of my body, or possibly kill me. At that time, a large machine called” the iron lung” was used to help victims breathe. There was discussion of taking me to warm Springs Georgia, the famous site of “healing hot springs”, that were a favorite of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America’s World War II president. He also suffered paralysis from waist down as a result of polio. It was during this time, when I was in the hospital in Kingstree, South Carolina, that my mother began to listen to a local radio station. There was a young new evangelist on the radio named Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts would become one of the greatest healing evangelists of the 20th century. He too had been healed as a young man, dying of tuberculosis, and God had called him to take “his healing power to his generation”. As she continued to listen to Oral Roberts, her faith became stronger. She decided to enter into a three-week period of prayer and fasting. At the end of the three weeks period, she prayed something to this effect “Lord, I give you my son Wayne. He is yours. You took my first son, and now I give you my second son. If you take him to be with you, I will accept it. If you leave him in a wheelchair, I will take care of him. If you heal him, he is yours.” She tells the story of coming back to the hospital and into the room to check on me, and of finding me standing up in the crib. I had been healed by the power of God. I would never be paralyzed again. God had accepted her gift, and given me my legs back. I grew up with the story of my healing. From my youngest years, I was made aware that God had done a miracle for me. Every time I would see someone in a wheelchair, it was a reminder of my miracle. With this knowledge, I grew with a sense of the Holy Spirit watching over me. No matter what the devil would ever do to hurt me, no matter what I would do to hurt myself, there was always and has always been this sense of being under the” shadow of the Almighty”.
It was my first miracle, and it was a defining moment in my life. Too young to remember, I will never be old enough to forget. I am reminded to this day, every time that I stand up; it is by the grace of God and due to His releasing a miracle into my life. With this miracle, came a sense that I “was born to serve the Lord”. At the age of 11 or 12 years old, I walked the aisle of the First Baptist Church of Hemingway, South Carolina, during a revival service, and publicly gave my heart to Jesus. I remember breaking down and crying while Pastor C.H. Beard prayed with me. The next day some of my friends at school asked me why I was crying when I joined the church. I remember telling them that I “felt God”. I had hungered all my childhood for more of the presence of God. I had failed him on many occasions during my childhood, but that night, at the annual revival meeting, I had “come home” to that feeling. I would later be water baptized as a new convert who had been saved during the revival. Again, as I was water baptized, “I felt” the Holy Spirit resting upon me. As a side note to this miracle that stayed with me during my lifetime, I want to mention the miracle of the radio program my mother had heard on the Kingstree radio station. She heard the young evangelist, Oral Roberts. A couple, Brother and Sister Mims, had been blessed by the Oral Roberts ministry. They had committed to put Oral Roberts on the radio station in their hometown so that others could be blessed by him. It was on this radio station that my mother had heard Oral Roberts. This was the seed from my miracle. Many years later, as a young minister, the Mims would be reunited with me through a personal relationship. Later, after the passing of brother Mims who had met on my first trip to the Holy Land, Sister Mims, would attend my services at my Bible college, and I would have the great pleasure of giving her ministerial credentials. The sister who put Oral Roberts on the radio, that my mother had heard that led to my healing, would 25 years later be a minister out of my ministry. Our God is truly the God of Miracles.