Healing

Mark 5

15: “And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”

17: “And they began to pray to him to depart out of their coasts.”

18: “A when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with him.”

19: “Jesus suffered him not, but saith onto him, Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee and has compassion for thee”

 

In October of 2010 I flew to Denver, Colorado and while there discovered numbness in my left leg that, when I walked, became severe pain.

My first thought was a blood clot given that I had been sitting on a plan for about an hour and a half. When I go home, my doctor ran some tests and ex-rayed my leg and foot ruling out both a clot and any unknown injury like a pulled muscle or ligament.

In November I moved to Denver and my leg continued to get worse. I also began to have serious pain in my lower back. By February of 2011 I was using a wheelchair for any walking farther than about a half a block and I needed one of the electric carts at the grocery store. An MRI showed multiple issues including collapsed disks, bone spurs on my vertebra and arthritis all in the same small area of my spine. Additionally the channel where the nerve to my left leg came out of the spinal column had calcium buildup pressing on the nerve.

We started with a steroid shot to calm the inflammation and for about 6 months that was great. The last month or so I began to have the same problems all over again. A second shot only helped for a month or so. Since I could only have the shots every six months, I was using the wheelchair almost ever time I left the house while waiting for the next shot. The third shot only helped for a few weeks and that seemed to the end of it. I would be confined to the wheelchair from that point on.

I was judging whether or not I wanted to go places based on how much effort getting the manual wheelchair out of the truck and maneuvering myself around would be, a vast departure from my normal very active life.

In January of 2013 I got up early as I usually did and about half way to the bathroom realized that I had just straitened up with no pain and was walking with no pain for the first time in over two years.

I waited about a week to see if the pain came back and it did not! I got an appointment to see the back specialist and their ex-rays showed all the same problems that the initial ex-rays and MRI had shown. The doctor’s were at a loss to explain the sudden pain free movement.

18 months have passed and I have not used my wheelchair a single time. I have had a few twinges but nothing like the pain I faced before the healing.

I would share with a few close friends but felt as though it would be arrogant of me to claim God’s healing. After all, who am I that God would heal me?

I had been remembering a quote from the bible: “who am I that Thou are mindful of me”.

Actually I had been misremembering since the real quote is from Psalm 8:

4: “What is man that Thou are mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou visitest him?”

5: “For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with the glory and honor.”

I take the word “man” to refer not to any individual man, rather to mankind and since I’m part of mankind then I too and worthy of his blessings.

Perhaps I should share my healing. Not because God healed ME; but because GOD healed me.

The Centurion’s Faith

Matthew 8: 5-8

And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

For as far back as I can remember, this passage has been the example for my faith. I know that I am not worthy either.

But I don’t need to be worthy, it’s not about my worthyness, it’s about God and his love and mercy toward me.

That same love and mercy that he has for you if you will accept it.

Prayers

We each find inspiration for our prayers where we find it and not only or even always in church.

In 12 step programs the 11th step includes in part “Praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out”. This has become my single most common prayer.

Years ago I was not happy in my work. It was not as challenging or engaging as what I had been doing but it was all I could find. My prayer was “God: put me where you want me, and make me happy with it”.

Why the last part, why ask for God to make me happy with His choice? Because I don’t believe that God wants me, or any of us to be unhappy. If we are truly following God’s plan for us we should be happy in the sense that we have His peace at all times.

For me one of the ways I know that I am not following my human will but following God’s plan is that I feel that sense of comfort and His peace. This doesn’t mean that everything every day is joy and sunshine but it does mean that I can always feel His presence in my life as I negotiate all those trials and troubles that are a normal part of life.

My prayer for each of you is that God puts you where he wants you and that he makes you content.

Numbers 6:23-27

23 Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 The Lord bless you
and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.’ 

The church I grew up in didn’t use this traditional benediction at the close of services. For the last 15 years or so the churches I have attended used this or some variation and I came to look forward to it as a personal blessing for my week and life.

That God should bless me, personally. That God should shine his blessing on me, personally. That God should watch over me, personally. And last of all that God should give me his peace, personally.

The repetition of the word personally is important to what this prayer means to me; that this is not a general blessing to the congregation but rather a personal blessing to me as an individual believer.

In working my way through the last year I prayed daily for God’s peace. Whenever I felt overwhelmed and completely lost I reached for that peace as it says in Philippians 4:6-7 

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

While I could not maintain anything like a perfect connection with God’s peace these simple prayers helped me remember that I was not alone and that God was with me guarding me and guiding and at times carrying me when I simply could not carry myself. 

And when I remember that I was not alone I could very personally feel God’s peace.

Nice Guys Finish Last

by Allen Laudenslager & Bryan Neva

My writing partner (the blog Profit at Any Price) sent me some of his writing, I added a very minor amount and did some editing and he very generously gave me co-author credit.

 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

                                  – Jesus (Matt 20:16) 

Why do nice guys/girls finish last?  The short answer is that nice guys/girls don’t really finish last, but appear to finish last because they play by a different set of rules than the world does.  The world’s standards of success are the polar opposite to God’s standards of success, and nice guys/girls play by God’s rules for living a decent and wholesome life. 

The world says you’re a winner if you’re financially wealthy; God says you’re a winner if you’re spiritually wealthy by laying up treasures in heaven through kindness and generosity.  The world says you’re a winner if you’re powerful; God says you’re a winner if you serve others.  The world says you’re a winner if you’re smart and articulate; God says you’re a winner if you use the gifts and talents he gave you to become the person He wants you to be (that is, by living up to your full potential as a human being).  The world says you’re a winner if you earn awards and accolades; God says you’re a winner if you earn the “crown of life” by spending eternity with Him in heaven.  The world says you’re a winner if you’re popular and well liked; God says you’re a winner if He’s pleased with your behavior.  The world says you’re a winner if you’re physically attractive; God says you’re a winner if you’re beautiful on the inside.  

In a worldly sense, playing by God’s rules is just not as exciting or immediately satisfying as playing by the world’s rules.  As human beings, we’re wired to enjoy that lift and sense of well being that a “hit” of adrenalin gives us.  Almost everyone can remember that high they got as a kid every time they rode their bicycle as fast as they could down hill right on the edge of control.  We get that same sense of pleasure when we push the boundaries of behavior, like that bicycle, right on the edge of control. 

Conversely, nice guys/girls seem to finish last because they add something beyond instant gratification to the mix.  They ask the question, “Is what I am doing and measuring success by right in God’s eyes?”  Even non-religious, humanist nice guys/girls live by a different set of standards than the world does. They ask a similar question, “Is what I’m doing right, honest, and ethical?  If the answer yes, they do it; if no, they don’t do it.  They ask, “Is what I’m doing going to hurt anyone or anything?”  If the answer is no, they do it; if yes, they don’t do it.

 If we want to become true winners in the game of life, then we must live by God’s standards of right conduct and not the world’s.

Second Notice

For those who have been following this blog, I got a second notice from God.

For those who haven’t, here is a short recap. In my last post “Army trucks, rowboats and helicopters” I wrote about a friend from work who mentioned a church I might like. His suggestion was reinforced a few days later when I met someone at dinner that just happened to attend that same church.

My friend also mentioned a second church.

After publishing my last post a different coworker was talking to me about my blog and when I asked which church she attended, guess which one she named? No, not the same one I had just tried – the second one my friend named!

Since God had gotten my attention with the first reinforcement I knew I had to try the second church before making any decision. That was last Sunday and I now have two churches that I think I will like.

Obviously I won’t make a decision on just one visit each, but I can see that God wants me to attend church so he is making it easy for me to find services that really speak to me.

I have no clue how this story ends or which church I will finally settle on, only that God is holding my hand throughout this journey and that I will be in his care no matter what happens or when it happens.

Reposting from Encouraging U

My friend who writes the blog Encouraging U just put up something that arrived just as I needed a pick-me-up so I’m giving you a teaser and the address so that you can read the whole thing

Greater things are a possibility for me!

Greater learning improving personal ability;

Greater satisfaction is something I can achieve,
Greater usefulness is possible, because I now believe.