My Stunted Left Hand
by Lynn Ridenhour
When I was eight years old, I was playing out back
one day after school with a friend, Johnny Newbound. We lived above our
restaurant on main street. Next door to mom’s restaurant was a tavern. And
out back, behind our restaurant, was where the owner dumped his empty beer
bottles. One of the broken bottles had accidentally ended up in our back yard.
While playing with my friend, I suddenly slipped and fell, cutting my left
thumb almost completely off. It was hanging by a piece of skin.
I still remember running full speed into the back of mom’s restaurant
where Aunt Tilly was cooking lunch for all the truckers that happen to be
passing through our little Missouri town on that hot summer day. Mom was
standing next to her sister when I came bolting through the screen door.
"....Look, Mom!...." I said, holding my left thumb in the
palm of my right hand. Mom dropped everything, picked me up immediately in her
arms and went running next door to Dr. Kozall’s—the town doctor. Today I
can still smell the smell of ether a mile away. I remember lying on a table
with a shining light above me, my head began spinning in circles, and I fell
I awoke later with my thumb sewed back on to my left hand. Anyway, that’s
what they told me. It was all bandaged up and I couldn’t see it. A couple
days later Doc Kozall took off the bandages and my thumb was still there. I
couldn’t feel anything with it. In fact, I couldn’t feel a thing with my
thumb and first two fingers. The glass had severed a nerve and some ligaments.
Well, I grew up with half my left hand numb and stunted. It was always a
half inch shorter than my right.
"....Most of us are too religious to believe God for a
"....Miracles happen, not when we pray, but when we simply thank
These were the two sentences that kept reverberating through my head like a
bass drum. My lovely bride, Linda, and I were sitting at our supper table in
our humble home after a hard day’s work while listening to a tape recording
of Derek Prince describe how God was moving supernaturally in Haiti. The
people were so child-like they simply believed God.
Now you need to know something about Derek Prince. Here’s a man who
speaks, I believe, 7 languages fluently, has a Ph.D in Hebrew and one in
Philosophy. Here’s a learned man telling us Americans that most of us are
too religious to believe God. In other words, we know too much!
I was sitting at the supper table, listening intently.
Derek Prince must have shared for an hour or so, then he did something
unexpectedly. He stopped preaching and started doing miracles on the tape!
He didn’t even pray for the people; he simply thanked Jesus and miracles
happened. You could hear the actual gasps coming from the audience. People’s
limbs were lengthening, demons were leaving (you could hear them coming out of
Believe it or not, the atmosphere on the tape was extremely jovial—not at
all like "church." People were laughing out of sheer astonishment. I
heard praises in the background, and kept thinking, "....all of these
people can’t be faking this...." There was a room full of people.
Linda and I both had gotten very quiet. By now I had laid down my fork and
knife and was simply listening, not overwhelmed by what I was hearing, but
certainly taken back by all the joyous commotion. Limbs kept lengthening. That
I said it under my breath so that Linda couldn’t hear me, "....Lord,
you know I have this stunted hand. And you know I’ve had it most of my life.
I’m simply going to do what this man says I should do. I’m going to thank
I then very quietly placed my two hands together. My left hand was shorter
than my right. And I said very softly, "....thank you Jesus for
lengthening my left hand...." I didn’t feel spiritual. In fact, I didn’t
I simply sat there at the supper table and watched my left hand grow out
to the exact length as my right.
I was stunned. Sobered. I had nothing to compare this with.
Then I busted out laughing.
Linda was sitting directly across from me. She said, "....hon, is
everything ok? Is the food ok?...." We hadn’t been married that
I was chuckling. "....The food’s fine, hon. You’re not going to
believe this, but the Lord just grew out my left hand. Look...."
I held it up and placed it next to my right. They were even. Linda
knew my left hand was a half-inch shorter.
"....O, my God! O, my God!...."
That’s all she could say, hands on her face, as she scooted her chair
back. With tears running down her cheeks, we both pushed back our plates, and
began dancing around the kitchen table.
here for Part II of this story