By Phil Scovell
In mid November of 1964, my mother and I walked out of the Iowa
University hospital. I was holding on to my mother's arm because I
had just been told by my doctor that I was blind and would never see
again. My retinas were shredded into thousands of tiny fragments and
after a dozen surgical procedures, including the laser beam, the
latest invention for retinal surgery, I was told nothing more could be
done. "Is there any hope at all, doctor?" I heard my mother asking.
"No," he said softly, "I'm afraid not."
Now, as we walked into the windy November day, I could feel the
warm sun on my face. When we got to the parking lot, I well remember
the crunching of the gravel beneath my feet as we walked to the car.
My mom placed my hand on the door handle. It was warm from the sun's
rays. When I heard the click of the door being unlocked, I punched
the button under the handle and climbed into the passenger's side of
the car. I was blind but didn't know it yet. "It would be," I told
myself, "just like all the other times. I'll go home and after a few
days, my sight will come back. Oh, it won't be as good as it was," I
knew, "but it will come back. It always came back. always."
Reaching Des Moines a couple of hours later, we stopped at some
friend's home. They were having church friends over for supper. I
sat on the couch and listened to my mom as she cried and told her
friends what the doctor had said. I was numb. The words I heard my
mother speaking didn't seem to effect me; as if she were talking about
someone I didn't know. My sight would come back because it had every
time after each operation. It would this time too.
Making one other stop to see mom's best friend, we talked for
awhile and then as we left, the lady gave me her dog. He was the
father of Corkey, my fox terrier, who had run away after we moved to
Omaha and we never saw again. I petted my new little dog as he lay on
the seat next to me in his blanket all the way through the dark night
to our new home in Omaha, Nebraska.
I hadn't gone to the school for the blind yet. I remembered my
mother talking to the doctor about putting me in a special school just
for blind people but I wouldn't be doing anything like that because my
sight would be coming back. It always did.
Ruth and I begged mom to let us go out into the snow. "But it's
dark out," she protested.
"We don't care," my little 7 year old sister and I said; jumping
up and down. "We want to go out and play in the snow. Besides, the
street lights are on."
"It's really cold out there," mom tried again.
"So. We don't mind."
We were so bundled up went leaving the house, we could hardly
walk. It was cold, too, but soon we were sliding down the short hill
to the snowy sidewalk below and holding on to the hand rail, we walked
up the steps to achieve the hilltop again. Mom had called our
neighbors and asked them to turn on their porch light so the area
where we were playing would be illuminated and she could easily see us
from a window.
It wasn't long after my sister and I began sliding down the hill
that two other little girls from our new neighborhood heard our
laughter and came to investigate. They asked if they could slide down
the hill with us and we said yes. For over an hour, we each took
turns sliding down the steep hill. Sometimes, due to the deep snow
and having gotten turned away sliding down the hillside, I couldn't
find the hand railing and would ask for help. My little sister, Ruth,
helped me find it several times and soon the two little girls, who had
come to play, were helping me find the hand rail, too, thinking it was
just part of the game, I'm sure.
It was getting late and it had gotten much colder. We were
covered with snow and it was in our boots, inside our gloves, under
our hats, and down our necks. We were getting cold and tired.
Sliding down the hill, I couldn't find the hand railing and asked
where it was. One of the little girls took my gloved hand and guided
it to the iron hand railing. "Why do you keep asking us to help you?"
she asked innocently.
Suddenly, I was cold; very cold. I was wet and tired and
exhausted. I had only been home from the hospital for a few days. My
sight wasn't slowly returning as it normally had after each of the
A couple of days after coming home, I asked my mom for the book
she had been reading to me as I lay on my back in the hospital. She
gave it to me and I went to my room. Closing the door, I switched on
a light and held the book in front of me. I couldn't see it. Holding
it closer to my eyes, standing as close to the light as possible, I
could tell the cover was red but I could see nothing else; absolutely
nothing. I knew my sight would return, though, because it always did.
During my last stay in the hospital, I had been made to lay on my
back for two full weeks. They had placed rolls of sand bags on either
side of my head, and they had covered both my eyes with thick patches.
"Keep your eyes closed, Philip," the doctor said. "Try not to move
and try to stay as flat as you can. We want your retinas to be at
rest as much as possible so whatever you do, don't move your head."
"But I hate laying on my back," I protested.
"I understand but it is necessary," he said gently."
After the surgery, it was another two weeks of laying on my back,
sand bags rolled up on either side of my head to keep me from turning
my head, and patches on my eyes. When the patches came off, all I
could see was watery light.
As I stood at the cold iron hand railing, I suddenly felt the
cold of the night rushing in. It felt as if it had even penetrated my
heart. Realization sparked to life and everything became suddenly
very still. It was like the planet slowed to a stop and a huge
spotlight was focused on me. "Because I'm blind," I blurted too
loudly, and I burst into uncontrollable sobbing. My little sister,
Ruth, realized why I was crying and took my arm. As we both stumbled
down the snow covered sidewalk to our home, we sobbed. Something in
my thoughts seemed to say, "And I'll never see again."
Crashing through the front door, the warmth of the house nearly
knocking us over, we cried even louder. "What's wrong? What's
wrong?" our mother said; hurrying over to the front door to help us
in. "did somebody get hurt?" she wanted to know.
My sister and I started immediately pulling wet snowy cold coats
and clothes off. "It's Philip. It's Philip," my little sister
stammered through her tears.
"Philip?" mom said with alarm in her voice. "What happened?"
"I'm blind," I sob nearly incoherently, "I'm blind, and I'll
never see again."
Seated on a plastic lawn chair on the edge of the long driveway,
I listened as my two sighted 4 year old grandsons raced their
tricycles back and forth; complete with their own made up guttural
engine sounds. By the way, all three of my children see normally and
all of their children see normally. So rest easy. Blind people don't
always reproduce blind offspring. My wife, by the way, is blind, too,
It was a nice comfortable Colorado day. Seated just behind the 5
foot wooden privacy fence, I was shielded from the brightness of the
sun as it slowly crawled westward across the big sky where it would
soon drop behind the Rocky Mountains behind me.
I was bored. There wasn't anything to do. My grandsons were
having fun, though, and it felt good just sitting outside and
listening to them play. A good 40 years had passed since my
realization of blindness had occurred. I had been to that memory many
times, even describing it in my autobiography, but now it didn't hurt
or cause me pain as it did that day.
Listening to the little boys racing around and laughing, I leaned
back in my chair and began to pray. Much of my prayer time is in
thought only. I learned a long time ago, prayer is in no way confined
to kneeling, folding your hands, closing your eyes, and praying by
starting, "Oh, God, and great Heavenly Father." Since being filled
with the Spirit in 1982 and receiving the gift of tongues, I have also
learned that speaking in tongues isn't the only way to pray. So, as
my grandchildren played nearby, I thought in my mind to God. That's
right. I allowed my thoughts to become exchanged with God's. Which,
by the way, is my basic definition of prayer: Exchanging our thoughts
Moments later, I wasn't getting anywhere. So I said, in my
thoughts, "Ok, Lord. You know where I need healing. What are the
three major areas you want me to focus on for healing."
The response was immediate. God said, "Your blindness, sex, and
"Woe, horse!" I nearly fell off my chair. I wasn't expecting
anything along those lines but there it was; big as life. Finally,
once I had recovered some of my composure, I said, "Ok, Lord, but I
doubt I can get all three of those things cleared up in one day. So,"
I said, "let's take them one at a time." I suggested we start with
the blindness because, frankly, I thought it was there that the least
amount of healing would be required. After all, I reasoned, I was
pretty familiar with most of my blindness problems. Yeah, sure,
Leaning back in my chair, I asked the Holy Spirit to search my
life and to bring to my attention anything relating to my blindness
that needed healing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Three memories suddenly
surfaced in my thoughts. I carefully looked at each of the three
memories but really felt no pain or discomfort of any kind in any of
the memories. I decided to take them one at a time and look them over
very closely and pray about how I felt in each memory.
The first memory I prayerfully examined is the one I have
described in this testimony. This memory has returned to my thinking
dozens and dozens of times over the 40 plus years I have been blind.
It has never been particularly painful other than it was the moment in
time I suddenly realized, with harsh reality, I was really blind and,
as the doctor said, I recalled, I'll never see again. I told the
Lord, in my thoughts as I prayed, that I didn't see anything wrong
with this memory. Since the memory often returned, I knew there had
to be something I was overlooking so I prayed and asked the Lord to
show me. I went over each phase of the memory step by step. Yet,
nothing was apparent. I even complained to the Lord. "Lord," I said,
"I don't even feel any pain in this memory. So what is wrong with
it?" He did not answer me that day. In fact, he did not answer me
for many months.
One evening, I was conducting a prayer session with someone. I
was trying to explain to them the nature of healing through
intercessory prayer. I used this very story to explain to them that I
understood how they felt in the situation they were in at that moment.
As I told the story, just as I told it here, the Lord said, "There's
your lie." I almost stopped talking in mid sentence so I could think
about it but decided to come back to it later so I could focus on the
After that prayer session that night, I sat in my office and
reviewed this experience of coming face to face with my blindness as a
12 year old boy. When the little girl took my hand and placed it on
the iron hand railing to the steps, she wanted to know why I was
always asking for help to find it. When I blurted out, "Because I am
blind," that is all that was spoken aloud. In my thoughts, however,
whenever I told this story, I finished how I felt at that very moment.
I did not just feel blind; I felt I would forever be blind. That's
the implanted lie. Confessing my blindness, as painful as it was that
first time, hurt a great deal but I never realized the rest of what
was spoken, "And you will never see again," was not spoken by me. It
was, in fact, as Jesus said, a lie. I rejoiced in the truth Jesus
Now, about this time, many people are curious. "So what?" they
say. "You are blind and you are never going to see again." Excuse
me, but the first part is true and the second part, Jesus identified
as a lie. I no longer, when telling this story, use the second phrase
because my Lord clearly pointed out the second half of what I heard in
my thoughts was a lie. In other words, if I didn't say it, and Jesus
didn't say it, who did? You get only one guess.
This immediately singles me out from the Christian crowd who no
longer believes that Jesus does miracles today. That died out with
the last apostle; whoever he was. Let me confuse the issue even
further. To receive my physical sight, I don't need to be healed; I
will need a recreative miracle. Why? Both my eyes, for now, are
artificial. So, I don't need to be healed; I need a miracle. "Has
Jesus ever performed a recreative miracle?" John Chapter 9 would
appear to be just such a case. Of course there are many others such
as the lepers he healed and especially Lazarus. You know, the dead
man? Sort of difficult just to heal somebody who has been dead for a
few days without having to recreate something in the process. Blood,
comes to mind right off the bat.
Some may choose to suggest Jesus was referring to His return and
that is when I would receive my physical sight. If that's what the
Lord meant, that is fine with me. However, during prayer times, the
Lord has told me more than once things along these lines. Again, as I
say, if He is referring to His return when all born again Christians
will receive their perfect glorified bodies, that will be fine with
me. You are welcome to think as you wish. I, on the other hand, know
what Jesus was talking about and I am thankful He saw fit to heal me
in one more place where lies were believed instead of God's Word.
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