I think it was about Day 5 after the accident, when it seemed likely that Kiara would remain “asleep” for her life on Earth, that we gathered. Of course, they had been praying all along. But someone set a time, and said “pray now” and we came. The day ward of the hospital was packed to the brim with praying people. As one man said, “These women and girls have washed the air of the odour of the hospital with their perfume.” The room smelled like life and vitality, with no trace of chemicals or sickness. The prayers were bold - our faith strengthened by each other’s presence. Just as we were winding to a close, one voice whispered, “Talitha koum.”
“Talitha koum.” The words of Jesus, when calling a young girl, just Kiara’s age, to rise from the dead of sleep and from the sleep of the dead. “Little girl, rise up.”
I, and then others, caught hold of the whisper and repeated the words, “Talitha koum.” And then louder, “Talitha koum!” The cries in the room rose to a crescendo as we cried out into the heavens, “Talitha koum! Talitha koum! In the name of Jesus, who has made all things possible, rise up, little girl! Rise up!”
This Monday, Kiara had a follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon. He was delighted to see her after a few weeks’ break, and he went through a list of side effects and ailments she might be experiencing at this point. They were listed under headings: Physical; Psychological; Emotional; and so on.
“Headaches?” he asked her.
“No,” she shook her head.
“Short-term memory loss? Emotional outbursts?”
“Nope.” I confirmed her answer with a nod.
“Sleeplessness? Nightmares? Dizziness?” He smiled at us.
“Any blurriness of vision? Lack of balance?”
I explained that she had just progressed in her ballet class from single-turn pirouettes to ten posé turns from corner to corner.”
“Alrighty,” he confirmed. “I guess that counts out loss of balance…”
“Kiara, I’m running out of questions to ask you,” he joked. “I feel like I’m always looking for problems with you.”
He did a few physical checks, making sure she could touch her nose, and then his finger as he held it out to her.
“If only she was old enough for me to make a joke about E.T.”
I laughed back, “Doctor, are you old enough to remember that movie?”
By the end of the appointment he declared, “You really don’t need any further medical treatment. The last referral I’m going to make is to the hairdresser! Go fix up what I did to your hair!”
And we did.
I was in Cape Town recently at a ladies conference, and a woman I didn’t know began telling me of a prophetic vision she had had around “that little girl in Durban”. It was clear she had no idea I was Kiara’s mother. She told me that God had showed her that Kiara was a prophetic picture (a God-given metaphor) of the church. That God was calling the church of South Africa to rise up, with the words “Talitha koum”. She explained that she believed that just as Kiara had been miraculously woken up and was walking into the full measure of healing, so, too, was God calling the church to wake up, to be healed from past brokenness, and to walk into fullness of health.
Of course, she was momentarily mortified when I confessed to being “the mom”. Kiara instantly went from prophetic picture to very personal child of a very real mother. And yet the words of this woman of God ring so true. She had no idea of the accuracy of her dream, or of the prayer gathering where we had cried out these very words.
And so, as Kiara is signed off by the neurosurgeon, I wonder if we can turn her quota of prayers to the church? There is an expectancy in the air; there is a strengthening of our faith as we catch hold of the whispered prayers across this land.
Bride of Christ, his breath has sustained you. Will you let his breath awaken you? Will you breathe in what he has spoken over you? Will you dare to believe the life, the love, the healing, the wholeness? Will you dare to let him quicken your heartbeat; will you dare to surrender to the purposes pulsing through your veins? Talitha koum! Rise up!