“Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this:
to believe in the one he has sent.”
— John 6:29
New International Translation
To meet the quiet, gentle harpist Bette Sobel Vidrine — even knowing her for years — would not begin to reveal the depth of her faith, unless you asked, or she felt led to tell you. The humble family life she has shared with her husband, Emile, is worthy of the few minutes drive to Lafayette. If you’re lucky, they will fill your tummy and send you on your way with gifts from the garden and trees in the yard of their mid-city farm. Just off Johnston Street at Bertrand, the couple live a modest life exemplifying their faith and trust in a Holy God whose primary interest is in loving Him, others and sharing their faith. This week is a continuation of the story she shared with celebrants at her 50th Jubliee Mass and reception Aug. 17, her born again birthday.
After you were healed of ulcerative colitis, what did you do?
I started going to the Baptist church where Ken went. People would say, “Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus forgave all your sins?” I would say yes, but thought to myself, “They don’t know what I’ve done.” I was getting a burden of sin on me that I never had before. I was so thankful to God for healing me, but now that I knew Him, I knew what a sinner I was, and I really didn’t think He could forgive me. My husband went to Goodwill and bought me a Bible to read. He said now I was a Christian I should read the Bible. As I was reading, I found this passage in Isaiah, “And the inhabitant shall not say, ‘I am sick.’ The people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity.” (Is 33:24) God used this to show me that when He healed me, He forgave me all my sins. I felt like a 7-ton weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was wonderful freedom. The spiritual healing was greater than the physical. As I read through the New Testament, I saw that many times Jesus healed people and told them their sins were forgiven. This is a common thread in the gospels. In June 1971 my sister-in-law and I went to a Bible Conference in Hopkins, Minnesota. We both requested baptism. We were thoroughly interviewed by the pastors and were baptized there at Gospel Temple. As I came up out of the water I could see a holy light around the pastor like in the paintings of the old saints.
You hoped for another healing at a Kathryn Kuhlman crusade, what happened?
In 1972 Kathryn Kuhlman, an evangelist and “faith healer” held a revival service at Arie Crown Theater in Chicago. A friend and I decided to take a young mentally challenged boy with us in the hopes he would be healed. We were among the last to be allowed in and found seats in the balcony. As we sat there listening to her preaching, suddenly the little boy with us started calling out Jesus’ name. I hope it means he saw Jesus, but we don’t know. He was not healed. A lady behind us started crying. Her sister asked what was happening. She said, “Look at my hands; I can move them.” And she slowly moved her hands, making a fist and releasing it. She and her sister were rejoicing and I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. An overwhelming feeling of love, joy and peace came over me and changed me forever.
Was God finished showing you his faithfulness?
In the late 1980s I was working in a lab and got severe pains in my left wrist. The orthopedist diagnosed me with Kienbock’s syndrome. “Kienbock’s disease, also known as avascular necrosis of the lunate. It’s a condition in which the lunate bone, one of eight small bones in the wrist, loses its blood supply, leading to death of the bone,“ said the website www.assh.org. The doctor told me I might have to have a prosthesis. He meant an artificial bone replacement. In my mind it meant having my hand cut off and being fitted with a hook like Captain Hook in Peter Pan. That summer we attended a Kenneth Hagin Campmeeting in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Hagin got up and introduced Richard Roberts, who was to be the next speaker. I got angry, because Richard Roberts had been divorced, and I didn’t think a Godly man would get divorced, and if he did, he should not be preaching. I was very prejudiced against divorced people. I left the meeting room and started angrily walking up and down in the hallway outside.
Did you ever go back into the meeting?
Eventually I got tired so I went back into the meeting and found my seat again. Soon afterwards, Roberts said if anyone had a painful wrist, they should raise their hand. God was wanting to heal sore wrists. I was skeptical, but I raised my hand. God healed me of two things there — the Kienbock’s syndrome, and the prejudice against divorced people. I never had wrist pain again. The blood started flowing, the bone lived again, and I learned to love and accept divorced people. Their lives were not my business to judge.
Editor’s Note: Read about Vidrine’s ultimate journey next week.