I prayed again, “I know that you can heal me if that is your will. If it is not your will, will you ease the pain or give me the strength to work through it so that I might worship you as I would like”. I said amen and immediately began again. I repeated the prayer almost word for word. As I lay in bed I told myself again and again, “doubt not, have faith only in Jesus and Jesus alone”. I said this over and over.
This past Sunday, I experienced the true love of God. Jesus reached into my life and touched me in ways that I cannot describe. Simply, there are no words that have the power or feeling to express the gratitude that fills my heart.
It was early in the morning. I was preparing to attend church. I bent over to towel dry my leg when my back grabbed me HARD! My back has gone out before so I have some experience in such things. Instantly, I knew that this was going to be a bad one. My towel hit the floor as I grasped for the counter and hung on tight to keep from landing in a heap on the floor. “Oh crap!” I cursed and instantly my good wife, Mindy, knew what was happening. “Your back?” she asked… I answered in rage and pain.
If you have never had your back go out in such a way, you just cannot appreciate the excruciating pain. Every movement is agony, torture. I have broken bones, no big deal; had teeth knocked out of my mouth, piece of cake; passed kidney stones, thats a tough one but it does not compare. When my back fails, as it sometimes does, the pain is impossible to describe. It exceeds by a multiple of many any other pain that I have experienced.
With great effort, clinging to the walls as I went, I took the ten steps from our bathroom to the bedroom and carefully, painfully, eased myself onto the bed. Mindy and I have recently cast off the shackles of organized religion and rejoiced in the discovery of the pure religion of Jesus and only Jesus. As I lay there, desperately trying to adjust my weight to relative the pain, I faced, for the first time, the reality that I might not be able to attend church. This is an important part of my week where I fellowship with great but simple people as we are fed and feed each other the pure gospel of our Lord and Master.
“I am going to church”, I said to Mindy, “will you please come help me get dressed?”. Every piece of clothing I wore that day, she placed on my body. God created many amazing girls who grew into amazing women, but, none are more amazing, more loving, more perfect than my Mindy. God gave her to me! If she was all I had, she would be the undeniable proof that God lives and loves his children.
After dressing, I tried to sit up and failed. I rolled to my right, placed my hands on the mattress and tried to push myself up… I failed. I rolled to the left and tried again but I could not. Lying there, I realized that the only way I would get up would be to push through the pain. It took everything I had but soon, I was sitting on the foot of the bed.
The next task was to brush my nasty old teeth. Mindy brought my toothbrush to me so that I could brush without leaving the foot of the bed. Then, I faced the daunting challenge of standing and walking to the sink to spit. What could be easier, right? What could be simpler? The reality is this, when my back fails virtually everything is easier and simpler than standing or walking. I struggled to the sink, placed both hands on the counter to relieve some of the pressure on my back and spit. Twice, I tried to place my cupped hand under the running water so that I could rinse my mouth. Twice I failed. Angry and frustrated, I dropped my toothbrush in the sink and struggled back to bed.
Lying there, totally defeated, I declared, “I can’t go anywhere today… sorry babe”. Mindy understood because love, such as hers, always understands.
After a few minutes of self pity, I called Mindy to my side. “Pray with me”, I said. Mindy offered a beautiful prayer in which she petitioned God to heal me so that I might be able to worship him that day. After the prayer, she looked at me questioningly. I replied, “Bring the truck up to the back door”.
While she was gone, I prayed again, “I know that you can heal me if that is your will. If it is not your will, will you ease the pain or give me the strength to work through it so that I might worship you as I would like?”. I said amen and immediately began again. I repeated the prayer almost word for word. While lying in bed, I told myself again and again, “doubt not, have faith only in Jesus and Jesus alone”. I said this over and over. I have loved Jesus for my whole life, never before have I exercised such faith.
After a few minutes, Mindy returned and asked, “Are you ready?”. “Faith only, faith only”, I thought to myself as I sat up. There was virtually no pain. I swung my legs off the bed and rose to my feet. I stood there in awe, twisting and turning to explore the parts of my back that had only minutes before made what I was doing… impossible. I walked out of the room, down the hall, through the kitchen and to the back door. Not once did I have to hold onto anything for support!
I came to the back stairs. This would be the ultimate test. When my back is out, nothing is more of a curse than stairs. I stepped down once and stopped. There was a stiffness in my back, but almost no pain. I finished the steps in total awe and gratitude for the love of my God.
Mindy drove us to church as I reclined in the passenger seat. As we looked through the glass, six magnificent Snow Geese flew across our view so close that we could make out every detail. I laid my head back, closed my eyes and said, “Today, everything testifies of the reality of Jesus Christ”.
When we arrived at the church, Mindy asked if she should get some men to help me inside? I answered “No, today Jesus carries me”. During the service, I was able to stand and sing in full voice; my right arm around the waist if my wonderful wife. My left arm was around the shoulders of a cherished granddaughter who leaned in close and wrapped her arms around my middle. “Today, everything testifies of the reality of Jesus Christ, truly, everything testifies of him”.
Did Jesus heal me? Did he only ease the pain? Did he give me more ability to function through the pain? I don’t know the answers to these questions. But, there are things that I do know and I doubt not.