Hope is something we cling to when all seems lost and it is something we all should have, but the harder life becomes, the harder it is to keep hope alive. As life begins to unravel, we can only hope and pray that all will not be lost, but as each day passes without a breakthrough and as prayers seem to go unanswered, our faith begins to be stretched and we are left asking ourselves, “Can it get any worse.” One thing most people don’t know about me is that this isn’t the first time I have battled severe back pain. During High School I sustained a sports injury that left me wearing a corrective brace for over two years. Wearing this hardware nicknamed the “turtle shell” by my friends made doing anything difficult and very painful. I saw every specialist I could and had exhausted all surgical options. Since I was still growing every surgeon we met with was very hesitant fusing my spine at such an early age.
Recently, I was telling a friend of mine this story and how even in the midst of this tragedy, God was still in control and was setting the stage so that when I was healed, no man could receive the praise and glory for the work only He had done. I wished at the time that there was some cool algorithm I could use to figure out when and how God miraculously answered prayers, but the reality was: His ways were so much higher than my own and to try and figure them out was not only a waste of time but would be totally missing the point. I literally prayed until I didn’t know what else to pray, I pleaded with God and I even tried to bargain with Him. My faith and determination in God’s plan were being tested through my seemingly endless suffering. I can still remember the feeling I would get taking my brace on and off wondering if I would ever be normal again. I had gone down countless times for prayer and often wondered if it was an insult to God if I kept asking for healing as if maybe He hadn’t heard me the million previous times. One night at Niceville Assembly of God, we had the musical group Imperials come and perform and it was truly an amazing service. At the conclusion, I went down for prayer as I had countless times before, but this was a night I will never forget. The moment he started praying for me I was slain in the Spirit and God began to do a work inside me that no man was able or willing to do. When I began to stand something immediately felt different. I can still remember taking the back brace off and being able to stand, which without it was impossible to do. Then I began to run up and down the aisles which I hadn’t been able to do in years. God in an instant did such a marvelous and miraculous work in my life that medical experts could not explain. A night when I could have been home complaining I chose to go and praise God despite my problems and I believe this was one of the reasons God healed me the way He did. The easy thing to do was the last thing I should do and I really believe choosing to praise God that night had a big part to play in my being healed.
That is what makes going through this similar season of pain so hard. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what God did in me was a miracle, but the enemy is so cunning that he in his mischievous ways tries to make me think that I was never healed and that God really didn’t do anything and that the whole thing was only my imagination. Then when I won’t give into that idea, he tries to make me think that I have done something wrong to bring the pain back into my life and that it is my fault the pain has returned, even though I know the pain is the direct result of the speedking truck slamming into me while I was riding my bike. I have to be so careful what voice I listen to. If I am not careful, one little whisper of a lie from the enemy can take root and choke out the still small voice of God. Living with torment, depression, and sorrow my life sometimes feels adrift only to be anchored by the agonizing reminder of my pain. When I cry out to God, I know that the work he is doing in me is not complete and I pray and that he gives me strength to walk this painful season out and that He will receive all the praise and glory He so rightly deserves. No matter what happens, I trust God and I praise Him for what He is doing in and through me and I will never forget what He has already done for me. I love Him and I can never thank Him enough for all the blessings He has poured out on my life. The most important thing to remember is to never give up on hope because God will never give up on you.