Like a flash of lightening the pain shot through my lower back up my spine and down into both my legs. It was so severe that I could barely move my legs. This happened in 1995, as I was driving a delivery truck from Ft. Lauderdale to south Miami down Interstate 75 at about 4:30am. Since I could barely move my legs, I waited for the vehicle to gradually come to a stop on the side of the road. It took several minutes for the pain to ease a little and I was able to stand up and move around a bit.
In that one moment of pain, many thoughts went through my mind. Along with church planting, I was working two jobs since I wanted my wife to be home with our son who was one year old at that time. I really thought that this was the end of my working and earning years. But so early, I thought. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I began quick calculations in my mind about the future. I had just reviewed my disability benefits during the previous week, and now I viewed that as a bad omen leading to this tragic event. Within a few seconds, plans were made to sell our home and move back into an apartment and scale down on many things including the new car we had just purchased.
About doing the ministry? I had no Idea about that. At that moment, my only thought was survival. Will I be able to somehow take care of my family? Will there be any hope?
The pain was so intense that within seconds, my dreams of achieving my goals and aspirations were shattered. I resigned myself to simply surviving and waiting for the end.
That experience in Florida was seventeen years ago. Physical pain has been my constant companion during the waking hours of almost every day. Now I am discovering that along with the physical, there was lots of internal pain that I never knew about. It was in 2011 that I began reading a book by Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. That book opened my mind to the pain that was within me for so many years. In May 2012, as I read a book by Dr. Joseph Bowles, I learned how this emotional pain within me had a direct impact on my back pain. I thank God for the healing of my back, but the internal healing continues.
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