I remember vividly one meeting that was held in a large wooden tabernacle in Durant, Fla., 20 miles from Tampa. One man took special exception to the thought that the prayer of faith still saves the sick.
One Sunday afternoon, when the meeting was at its height, this brother started an opposition meeting just on the other side of the fence that enclosed the grounds, setting forth his theory that miracles were only for Bible days and that all supernatural power had ceased with the writing of the last chapter of the Bible.
Meanwhile, I was preparing for the night service. Having decided that the kerosene and gasoline lamps in use were not bright enough, I had brought with me a calcium carbide lighting outfit. There evidently was a defect in the apparatus, for suddenly, while I was making some adjustments, the thing blew up. Searing flames enveloped me.
My face was black, and my eyebrows and eyelashes were gone, as well as my hair that was exposed. Fortunately, I had on a tight-fitting hat. The pain was violent.
Some of the ladies came with soda and applied it to the blisters. Up and down, up and down, I walked outside under the trees, and all this time the crowds were gathering in the tabernacle. In the meantime, someone had succeeded in repairing the lighting system.
One thought above all others predominated: “What will that brother say who told the people that the Lord no longer answers prayer on the behalf of the afflicted?” It was now only five minutes to meeting time.
I still walked up and down, scarcely able to endure the agony. It was now 10 minutes after meeting time. I had a never-late-to-service record.
Sure enough, my worst fears were realized. The man in question got to his feet and began to make a speech, assuring the people there would be no meeting tonight, as the lady who preached salvation and divine healing was ill, having burned her face. The gist of what he said reached my ears, and I was shaken with righteous indignation.
Rushing to a pan of water, I washed off the soda. With my stiffly starched collar bespattered with water, my eyebrows and eyelashes gone, and my hair singed, it must have been a rather wild figure that presented itself at the tabernacle door. But praying for strength, I mounted the platform.
I gave out the first hymn, my lips so stiff with the burn that I could scarcely articulate. At the end of my first verse, I lifted up one of my hands and in faith exclaimed, “I praise the Lord that he heals me and takes all my pain away!”
A great shout went up from the camp. My intense suffering was relieved instantly, and right before the eyes of the audience the red burn faded from my face, the white blisters disappeared, and at the end of the service, the flesh had resumed its natural appearance.
This turned the tide of the battle decidedly in favor of the present-day acceptance of the power of God, and the doubter was put to shame and silence.
Adapted from Aimee: The Life Story of Aimee Semple McPherson by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1979. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.