Lillian Yeomans (1861-1942) was born in Calgary, Alberta Canada and grew up to become one of the brightest and most inspiring teachers of faith and healing in the 20th century. Her books on faith and healing are some of the most inspiring, faith-building writings to be found on the topic. When I was battling sickness many years ago, I found her books unmatched for stirring my heart with faith and hope.
Both her father and her mother were medical doctors and Lillian received her M.D. from the University of Michigan in 1882 at the age of 21. After graduation she set up her medical practice with her mother in Winnipeg, Manitoba. However, she over-extended herself in her work and to relieve the stress she began taking morphine. She became horribly addicted to the drug and after seeking deliverance through Christian Science without the slightest success, she finally turned to her Bible.
Healed from Drug Addiction
As she read, hope began to rise in her heart. During this time she heard of the ministry of John Alexander Dowie and his healing home in Chicago, IL. The testimonies from there of marvelous healings stirred her heart. Finally, she finally decided to make the trip accompanied by her sister Amy, who was a registered nurse. At the Dowie Healing Home in Chicago she was miraculously delivered from the drug addiction and her life was never the same.
Lillian returned to Winnipeg but began moving away from the practice of medicine to a dynamic ministry of teaching, faith and healing. She authored several books on the subject of faith and healing, and her testimony is found in the book, Healing from Heaven. She ministered in many part of Canada and the U.S. and ended her life teaching in Life Bible College, the college founded by Aimee Semple McPherson and part of Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, California.
Shortly after her healing from drug addiction, Lillian along with her sister and mother, moved from Winnipeg to Calgary, Alberta. From Calgary, Lillian (often with her sister) traveled throughout western Canada and into the United States teaching God’s word, emphasizing God’s will to heal, and praying for the sick. She saw tremendous results with thousands saved, healed and baptized in the Holy Spirit.
She tells of one incident that is particularly stirring. She and Amy were invited to hold meetings in a rural part of Alberta. She said, “We seemed to have to pray the car along every foot of the way, partly because of the bad roads and partly because the car was none too good.” They finally arrived to the area and began having meetings in homes and schools and “had the joy of seeing God move in a blessed way.”
Finally, they felt it was time to return to Calgary and bade everyone farewell and “told them to have the ‘famous car’ ready for an early departure the following day.”
A Miraculous Healing & Revival in Alberta
That evening a family, who had not attended any of the meetings and were not Christians, came to the home where they were staying. During their visit, Lillian noticed that one of the children had a pronounced squint in one of his eyes. Lillian informed the parents that it was not God’s will for their child to have such an infirmity and, if they wished, she would pray for him.
They consented and Lillian prayed but saw no immediate change. The next morning, however, before they finished breakfast, the father returned to report that they were all amazed at the change in the child’s eye. He went on to plead with Lillian to continue the meetings and promised to bring his entire family, adding that they were all ready to make an unconditional surrender of their lives to Jesus.
Deciding that this was an indication from the Lord to continue the meetings, it was announced that the meeting would be held in the upper room of the host’s barn that same evening. They announced that “only those who were serious about seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit were to come, and no others.”
Later that evening as she was walking from the home to the barn, she met a man passing on the road. She invited him to the meeting but he informed her that he was too bad of a person to attend a church meeting. He told Lillian that his name was John and that his wife was coming to the meeting, but repeated the excuse that he was such a bad person that it would not be right for him to come.
Lillian urged him to come, telling him that he was the very kind of person that Jesus came to save. John sheepishly decided he would come, and I will let Lillian tell what happened in her own words.
A Mighty Work of the Holy Spirit
The loft of the barn was spacious and clean with new hay spread along the floor and lighted by lanterns hung around the walls.
John knelt on the outside of the ring where the shadows were deep as the lantern light hardly penetrated to that distance. I wondered how he was getting along and intended going to pray with him; but before we had been on our knees many minutes, the power fell and a sister—not John’s wife—received her Baptism. As she was kneeling next to me she fell over on me and I could not get away.
When John’s wife actually heard this sister praising in other tongues, she seemed to grow desperate in her longing and began with all her might to call upon God for the Baptism.
I was encouraging her when suddenly, as a flash of lightning, the power of God struck John where he was kneeling. It bolted him upright at the edge of the group, and felled him to the floor with a crash so mighty that it seemed as though it must pull the building down. As he lay there under the power, which moved and manipulated every part of his body with such force and lightening-like rapidity that the people thought he was having an awful attack of convulsions. Indeed, it was with great difficulty that I calmed their fears. At last the Spirit began to speak through him, first in English describing the vision he was having of Calvary. And after that he spoke with awful power and majesty in a new tongue.
His wife was so dumfounded when she heard him that she said to me, “He’s got the Baptism before me and he was so bad. Perhaps I need to be saved from my goodness more than he needed to be saved from his badness.”
And I said, “Perhaps you do. Just repent of everything and cast yourself on Jesus.”
And just then, to the amazement of all, John raised himself to his knees and came along to us, and placing himself in front of his wife, he preached the most wonderful sermon on Calvary I ever heard.
“Oh look away from yourself, bad or good,” he cried. “See where He hangs bearing your sins away forever and making your peace with God—everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah’s throne.”
It was thrilling. He seemed to see Jesus and to be able, through the power of the Spirit, to make us see Him too.
As he kept pointing her to Calvary, the power caught another sister up as though in a whirlwind and she danced all around the loft lighter than a feather—she had never seen dancing in the Spirit—praising and singing meantime in Gaelic. Later the language changed to High German, which I had studied for years and understood a little; and she was unable to speak anything else for a couple of days. When spoken to in English, she replied in German. She had no knowledge of the language.
A sister who was taking charge of her baby—he had awakened by this time—asked for his bottle and she danced all around the loft looking for it but unable to stop dancing and singing.
Meantime the power was falling on others and there were days of heaven on earth, and the salvations and baptisms came about through the healing of the child’s eye. It is pretty hard to separate healing from salvation, isn’t it? For my part I have given up trying.[i]
May our hearts be stirred to believe God once again for “days of heaven on earth” as Lillian described those times. She was, of course, alluding to Deuteronomy 11:21 where God exhorted Israel to be careful to keep His word and teach it to their children; that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord swore unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.