I keep on saying it, I keep on repeating it, but it seems like not one believes me. No, they don’t take me for a liar, but maybe they think I’m just being hopeful with a keen positive outlook. Several people asked me “are you sure its gone?”
The reality is that my chronic lower back pain is now gone. The pain stopped in June 2012. I’ve had this pain periodically since 1995, and five years ago, it became consistent all day and all night long. In fact its hard for me to remember a time without pain in the last five years. I think that as I suffered through all those years of pain, it was my wife Annie who took the brunt of the load at home and in every way as my condition worsened consistently.
As it is with milestones in our lives, several important events led to this freedom from pain. The first of these was a reading of the book by Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. My friend Kevin Baker gave me that book as we visited a monastery in Buffalo NY. That book took me on a journey of deep searching within that I have never experienced before. Numerous times as I read that book, I could not continue as I had to allow my emotions to settle down. Of course, God’s spirit was doing an awesome work within me.
The second event was in November 2011, as my wife and I were attending a Vineyard Church gathering in Cebu, Philippines. During one evening, Brian Doerksen was leading worship, and the Spirit of God was all over me. I sat on the chair since there was no way I could stand. Lots of emotions and memories surfaced and I began writing (on my phone) in between sobs. Several people came by and laid their hands on me and prayed for me. Phil Strout spoke one of those days and touched on the idea that God’s ultimate purpose was to transform us into the image of His Son. As my back pain began to increase during that conference I missed several sessions while I rested in the room. Then Sukit Wangtechawat and the team from the Bangkok Vineyard came to our room and prayed for me extensively. They were helping me to look deeper within, and nothing seemed to make sense. But their visit to my room was also a significant aspect in opening those things that were closed for so long.
In April and May of 2012, my third event was the reading of a book on back pain by Dr. Joseph Bowles that had a great impact on my thinking regarding the whole issue. The focus of his book is that chronic lower back pain is caused by stress and unresolved issues of the past. Wow, what a thought. And what about all those MRI reports, X-rays, and all the other tests? Man, I am clueless on all that, but the pain is gone! Now I continue to read his daily reminders for stress free pain relief.
The fourth and major event that capped it all was while I was taking communion. I was speaking at a service at the New Life Fellowship in Bangalore in June. During the communion, I saw a vision of the cross (something like that picture above) and heard an inner voice telling me that on the cross, Jesus not only carried my sins, but every offense against me as well. This was an answer that I really needed all along. The issues are so deep and personal that it would be impractical to mention such things on this blog, that that thought really had a powerful impact on me.
Of course I cannot forget the many who have prayed for me and encouraged me on this path toward healing as I had spent weeks and months bed ridden. There were many non-judgmental ones who were an inspiration for me to continue. A special thanks to them as well.
Now I am on a journey. I keep exploring more “stuff” hidden within me from the past. As these issues of brokenness resurface, I experience more pain, but as I deal with each one, that pain goes away. Daily, along with my devotions I take some time out to write in a journal about my previous day, specifically about how I am handling my emotions and stress. And as i mentioned earlier, Dr. Joseph Bowles’ daily reminders are stored on my phone and my Kindle and I read them several time a day.
Thank you Lord for a new life.
In the comments below, feel free to share your experiences of healing while you are on this journey as well.
Please read the accompanying article as well: Click here.