Ron Dunn: One of the first times, if not the first time, I heard you speak was in Philadelphia at the Convention back in ’72, and the first words you said have always stuck with me. The first thing you said was, “Folks, God won’t hurt you.” Do you remember that?
Manley Beasley: Yes sir.
RD: What I would like to know is what do you mean by that? Because it looked like you had been hurt and I was hurting at that time; I thought God was killing me. When you say, “God won’t hurt you,” what do you mean by that?
MB: At that time of suffering you go through, it seems that God is killing you, but when you’ve had an opportunity to go through that and look back upon the benefits of it and even the fact that you forget the pain, I mean literally forget the pain. So I think that illustrates what I really meant–God won’t hurt you–meaning that I have gone through a suffering time and come through it and was able to look back upon it and see that it was all very good, very good. That “very good” attitude comes from turning that adverse problem over to God and allowing Him to teach you His purpose in that. Now if you could not see that, I don’t know that you could say it would be very good and God would not hurt you.
RD: In other words, at the time that you are in the trial, you may not be able to see anything but darkness and confusion, but once you come away from it–in other words, in retrospect–you can say that it was good, but not necessarily in the present time.
RD: The reason I ask this is that most of us, when we are in the midst of suffering, feel such desolation and despair that we think God can’t be anywhere around, anywere.
MB: Absolutely true. But there are some facts that you can know about God, even in the midst of the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the heartache. I know that God is in charge and that He is aware of the situation and that He is allowing it for His good, and He has also limited it according to His will. Those things you can know even though you are in the pain, but that does not necessarily keep you from being at a point of despair. The last time I had a condition where I was hospitalized, there were times when I would hurt so badly that I would cry. I was in a dilemma at times as to what was going on, but I knew that God was aware of it and He was allowing it and He had also limited it. That was some comfort in the midst of the battle.
RD: In other words, there is a deeper issue involved in this besides whether or not you feel good or whether or not you live.
MB: Yes. That is one of the most unique points about any kind of suffering–there is a God-ultimate purpose. That God-ultimate purpose is to correct us and enlarge us and bring us through for His glory. Paul said, “Whether I live or die, whatever glorifies God is what I want.” Paul had actually gotten to the ultimate purpose of God. The suffering is just a vehicle by which He moves us up as He moved Job up. Job said, “I have heard You with the hearing of my ears, but now since I’ve gone through all of this, I see You with my spiritual eyes. I believe He enlarged Job’s capacity by correcting him and enlarging him. And Job was able to discover this and react to God correctly, and God moved him up spiritually. He went from the hearing of the ear to the seeing of the eye.
RD: You first began having serious trouble back in 1970, and since then you have had other difficulties. But this last year, you said, was the worst ever. Did your belief change before you were sick the first time, between then and your attitude toward suffering now? In other words, sometimes it is easy for us to come to certain opinions about suffering and pain if we’ve never done much. But after being put in that crucible, somtimes our beliefs change and we pray differently–did you pray differently this time than you did the first time you got sick?
MB: I prayed differently this time because I was not ignorant of what God was up to. The first time I was asking God, “What is going on?” This time I did not ask God what was going on, I just said, “Lord, I know You are doing a work and I want to cooperate with You.” So I did change somewhat, but I did not change my views about God and about healing. I just reacted differently than I did before. I struggled with death the first time; this time I struggled with death physically, but I did not struggle in my spirit with death. And that came from just understanding through the years, walking with this problem of health. You have to realize that most people never face death until death comes. I have faced death for twenty years almost every day. And the days that I haven’t been conscious of death have been so few. And so with that in mind, your ideas about life and death mature a great deal. And so today I am conscious that I am supposed to be dead, and I could be dead, and if it was not for the sustaining life of God I would be dead today.
RD: Obviously what we are both saying is that the greater issue is the glory of God. Do you think God is glorified in a greater way in this manner than He would have been if He had instantly and totally healed you?
MB: This is a good question. One day the Lord spoke to me and said, “I can heal you if you want me to or I can leave you like you are; and to leave you like you are you will have to have Me every day to keep you going.” I made a deliberate choice to trust the Lord every day because I felt if God had healed me instantly, it would be something in the past that would grow dimmer in my memory. Where if I had to have Him every day, He would be fresh and real to me. He showed me: “I can heal you today if you want Me to heal you.” But I said: “Lord I would rather have your life every day and not have an experience that I might forget.” Because I’ve seen so many people that have an experience and ten years down the road they were just as full of the devil as they ever were. And ten years down the road with me, I was still having to trust the Lord every day to keep me alive.
RD: So right now you are not preaching something that happened fifteen years ago, you are preaching something that happend this morning–today? In other words, you don’t just give a proclamation. You minstered to people by just the fact that you are here, as much as by anything you say.
MB: I have had to come ot the fact that my life is the message as much as my verbalizing the message. Many times now I go to a meeting and when I walk to the pulpit people will give a standing ovation because of my life. I wanted to rebuke some people from standing and clapping not long ago when I walked to the pulpit, but the Lord rebuked me and said: “Son, they are not clapping for you. They are clapping for what I’m doing in you. You leave them alone.”
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