My body… an update

Don’t think you’re going to get through this post quickly.  I apologize for its length.  It probably won’t even be worth your time either.  You’re going to think I’m crazy, and I’m sorry for that as well.  There… that was your disclaimer.  Bail out now.

 

It has been a long road.  It’s approaching 18 years now; more than half my life.  If you haven’t read my story before, or maybe you just need a refresher, please head to my original post and then come back.  By the way, I’m breaking my original promise not to write so much again.  Yeh, this post is going to be full of apologizes, lol.

 

Now that you’re back, let’s recap how things have gone since that post.

  • Motion in my left knee: virtually zero degrees. (same)
  • Motion in my right elbow: virtually zero degrees. (worse)
  • Motion in my right ankle: maybe 10 degrees. (worse)
  • Motion in my right knee: about 100 degrees; filled with fluid. (worse)

My cane became a permanent fixture from November through June.  Why only through June?  No, I did not get better.  My left elbow got worse.  It started showing the same signs I saw when my right elbow started its downward spiral.  I decided I had to stop relying so heavily on it or it was going to end up the same way.  It seems an inevitable event, but I decided it would be best to get back to equalizing pressure across my body in hopes of slowing the progression.

 

What do my doctors think?  I haven’t been back to them.  They seem to have lost my case.  In fact, my insurance just received a bill for their services in 2007.  It’s as if they completely lost my records.  So much for sending my case “around the world.”

 

I’ve been doing quite a lot of praying.  I guess anyone could imagine that would be the case.  Everyone at work notices my undiagnosed case of ADD.  Sometimes I’m just off in a different world in my mind… praying.  Asking God for healing.  Asking Him what I should be doing.  Asking Him how this is all going to turn out.  Asking Him what good this is going to be for His kingdom.

 

I’ve been reading Scripture pretty heavily.  Looking for clues to answer my questions.  I know I’ve mentioned it at least once, but there aren’t many things I’ve enjoyed lately more than praying hard for guidance before I open my Bible, and then reading what God has to say to me.  This may be hard for you to believe, but it works.  Take for instance the day a few weeks ago where I decided I had to finally look into heading up to Mayo, at my family’s advice.  I’ve built up quite a distrust of doctors over the years, but it seemed time to admit I was growing impatient with God.  I prayed often that day about it.  I prayed even harder for an answer prior to opening my Bible that night.  I opened to a very small excerpt I hadn’t exactly paid that much attention to before, 2 Chronicles 16: 11-13 (MSG).

 11-13 A full account of Asa is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa came down with a severe case of foot infection. He didn’t ask God for help, but went instead to the doctors. Then Asa died; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.

No, this passage does not say we should not go to doctors.  It speaks to not placing your sole reliance on doctors.  Your trust must first be with God.  At least that’s what I grasped after further research.  As for my takeaway?  As I’ve seen God answer my questions through Scripture so many times, I took the answer to be no trip to Mayo.  I have to admit, I was not exactly relieved.  Making the trip up there and putting myself in their hands sounded quite good at the time. 

 

But, you see, I believe God has something else in store.  I’ve posted a couple times (here and here) about meeting a man named Ferdinand in South Bend last year.  Paragraph 2 of the first post very briefly summarizes what he told me.  This man speaks with Jesus, and he said I would wake up healed one morning and not believe it.  He said I would have to tell everyone.  That is a hard thing to say, let alone write.  When I type something like that out, all I hear in my head is people scoffing.  I’m crazy to believe something like that, right?

 

My joints have been getting quite worse after I decided to pack old John away several weeks ago (the family named my cane… get it?  “John My-Cane”  Sorry, lol ;).  I had some good days here and there, but its been a struggle to get up and make it to work every morning.  At least we’re on “summer hours,” so I have a bit more time to ease out of bed.  Two weeks ago, I just couldn’t take it any more.  I felt like giving up again.  I actually didn’t want to pray and read the Bible for answers any more.  It’s hard to trust God all the time. 

 

I read Job again early that week.  Ever read it?  It’s not a particularly happy book.  Sure, Job gets things back in the end, but it appears to be a side-note more than anything.  After Job has complained over and over again that he doesn’t deserve what has happened to him, and his friends have continued to advise him that his life must be screwed up and he needs to repent, God finally answers him.  What does God say?  “Sit down and shut up, you big whiner.”  God doesn’t explain to Job that He was allowing the Devil temporary reign over his life for a reason.  Job stops complaining.  He eventually gets everything back that the Devil took away and more.  Why don’t I find that happy?  It’s a hard message.  “Sit down and shut up, you big whiner.”

 

So, here I was two weeks ago after re-reading Job and not wanting to get more guidance from God through His Word.  My left knee was in so much pain that week, I can only describe it as feeling like the metal implants were detaching from my bones.  It was pain as bad as I experienced the weeks leading up to my total knee replacement seven years ago, but this time I had to deal with it without a cane for relief.  I decided to write what I thought God’s message was to me on my white board at work.  After almost 18 years of pain, what other message could I take away at this point?  Here’s 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NIV).

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Three times Paul pleaded for his thorn to be taken from him.  Three times?  I’ve already done that before I leave the house every morning.  Once when I’m trying to get out of bed, once when I’m trying to reach my left arm with soap in the shower, and once when I’m trying to brush my stupid teeth.  Three times.  And the answer he got back is he’s got to live with it.  The thorn is not going to be taken away from him.  God’s grace is sufficient.  Oh, how much I need that grace, and how much I owe to God for granting it to me through Jesus.  But, it’s still a hard answer to accept.

 

Why do I find it so hard to accept?  There seems to be so many instances in the Bible of people trusting in God and becoming prosperous.  I have no trouble understanding how the Prosperity Gospel came to be.  “Health and wealth” … promises to all of us.  How do I take these messages and then correlate them to what has continued to happen to my body, seemingly accelerating the closer I am in my walk with God?  I freely admit being angry with God at times.  I freely admit questioning God’s existence at times.  It’s difficult to read passages that lead to belief in “health and wealth” and not get thoroughly confused.  I’m so screwed up.

 

The day I added the Scripture related to Paul’s thorn to my white board was a weird one.  It was Tuesday June 30; two days before our break for the July 4th holiday weekend.  I had to get a good day’s work in so I could make it to a movie that afternoon with friends and hopefully leave early for vacation the next day.  After lunch, I suddenly had it in my head that I needed to take the afternoon off and meet T and the kids at a park.  I can’t really play with them, but I can hang out and watch them play.  Living vicarioiusly through my children. :)  I never do this, by the way.  I simply never just take an afternoon off to watch my kids play at a park, especially when I’m trying to get my work hours done early and save precious vacation time for the future.  I did it anyway.

 

So here I am an hour or so after getting there, and I have about two minutes before I should head over to see the movie.  I get up off a playground bench, and realize I have seen the kids all this time, but T never really showed up.  I just assumed she was walking around by the creek at the park enjoying some “alone” time.  I found her, well she found me, as I approached my car with two women.  It was really time for me to get going, but these two women said they wanted to pray over me.  This should not spark an internal debate but it did… I really, really wanted to get to the movie.  But, considering my prayers for healing, answers, and simply just some sign from God, it was obviously time to stop and listen.

 

I wish I could remember their names, but I can’t.  They described themselves as Pentecostal/Charismatic.  They described things that have happened in their lives, like the day the one gal was immediately healed from alcoholism when touched by a girl at some Catholic healing event (one of my Catholic friends will have to help me understand what that could have been).  They described speaking in tongues; one of those Pentecostal things I’ve always found hard to understand (that’s sort of a pun there if you think about it… sorry).  They prayed over me for healing in my left knee, which is the most obvious problem I have if you see me for the first time.  I didn’t bother describing all my other joint problems. 

 

This was different than when I’ve been prayed over before.  They were commanding spirits out, much like you read about in Acts.  It was intense.  I felt embarrassed… this was in the middle of the parking lot at a big park in the middle of town.  Yes, there were people all around that had to be wondering what us fools were doing.  By the way, my cell phone was periodically going off in my pocket… my friends wondered why I wasn’t at the movie yet.  How in the world could I explain this when I finally showed up?

 

When they started praying for my knee, it started feeling very warm.  Other people have described this sensation before when they were healed.  I’ve felt it before, praying over a relic once for healing.  I never told anyone about that (other than T).  As I was praying, my entire body started becoming intensely warm, but I quickly chose not to believe it.  It was pure insanity.  The feeling washed away immediately.  I still regret what happened that day due to my lack of faith.  Matthew 17:20 (NIV) provides a hard message there.

20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Another thing happened while they were praying over me.  Some Scripture popped into the one gal’s head.  She said she needed to share it with me, as it must mean something special.  Luke 10:19 (NIV):

19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

She said she has to remember that verse at times.  In fact, she described using it before to make the pain wash away from her ears.  I shared with her how weird that was, considering I just wrote out the verse regarding Paul’s thorn on my white board that morning.  She said God had given her authority over her pain, and that I needed to do the same.  After several hugs, we went our separate ways.  God bless those two in their ministry.

 

I left the family and headed over to the movie.  When I got out of my car, the pain in my left knee was gone.  It was the pain I prayed most intensely for relief from due to the previous couple weeks.  Though I can’t literally drop to my knees and ever get back up again, I was “on my knees” the night before to have it taken away.

 

I’ve been praying for a long time for signs from God.  The Bible describes many instances of people receiving signs from God.  What bigger sign did I need from God than this?  It was time to take authority over my pain, and stop simply living with it.  I also needed to tell people, but couldn’t tell my friends at the movie.  They would find me crazy.  In fact, I only told one person the next morning.  He’s a good friend.  He knows who he is.  What I didn’t tell him at the time was that as I told him, I felt the same warmth again in my knee… as if I had to keep telling everyone.  I was going to write this blog post that night, but I couldn’t get myself to do it.  I can’t write something like this for people to read without becoming insanely embarrassed.  I sound so completely crazy.

 

The next day I was at home by myself to work on a computer program for our school.  The family went camping for the entire weekend.  I woke up with intense pain in my jaw of all places.  I could hardly open my mouth to eat, let alone put pressure on my jaw to chew.  How in the world can I lose one pain and receive another?  I’ve actually been worried about my jaw for some time.  The left side actually won’t open straight until it’s part way open, and then will sort of “jump” with a snapping sound.  I’ve been meaning to have it looked at, but I’ve been scared.  I don’t want to find out more joints are being affected.

 

I called T later that evening to find out how things were going and described the jaw pain to her.  She asked me if I commanded the Devil out of my jaw yet.  I asked her what in the world she was talking about.  She reminded me what the gal said about Luke 10:19 two days ago.  Apparently, she had meant that type of authority, while I thought it just meant taking control over the pain mentally.  There I go again thinking I can do things myself.

 

That night, before going to bed, I spent some time praying intensely for God to grant me strength to command the Devil out of my jaw.  Have you ever heard the thing people say about Ethics?  Don’t do it if you would be embarrassed to have others reading it on the front page of your newspaper.  That thought goes through my head a lot with this.  Sure, I’m completely alone so nobody will see me doing this crazy thing, but still.  Thoughts of Acts 19:13-16 (NIV) came to mind.

 13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15(One day) the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

That passage scared the crap out of me.  How can I possibly hope to get by any better?  Now you can imagine how intensely I was praying for guidance before attempting this.  I tried to simply get out of the way and let God do the work.  When it was over, I just stood there shaking.  Hoping nobody saw me.  Hoping I would never have to describe what I did to anyone.  How can anyone believe in such a thing?

 

I woke up the next morning with all jaw pain gone.  Not only that, but the problem I’ve had with my jaw movement was gone as well.  It opens perfectly straight now.  I remembered back to what Ferdinand told me.  I would wake up in the morning healed and have to tell everyone.  I called T and told her what happened.  I didn’t tell anyone else.  I didn’t blog about it yet.  I didn’t think I could look anyone in the eye again after I told them what happened.

 

The pain in my right knee became very intense as that day went on.  I could hardly put any pressure on it.  Every time I tried to bend or straighten it, it felt like the ligaments were twisting and tearing.  That knee, while full of fluid and generally painful, never had so much pain in it.  I visited my grandma’s house that day to hang out with the Wessel clan.  Could I tell anyone there what happened that week?  I couldn’t.  My grandma hugged me on the way out the door reminding me she’s still praying for me after all these years.  I should have told her, but I couldn’t.

 

I don’t really remember how the topic came up, but I was chatting with Dad before getting into my car to head back home and I told him.  I don’t think there’s anyone in my life harder to talk to about something like this than my Dad.  I have the utmost respect for him, and want nothing less than to embarrass him with some crazy ideas in my head.  He knows much of the story up to this point, and he says he has since told others for me.  Something I was struggling to do myself.  Thank you, Dad.  Love you.

 

Before I went to bed that night, I tried on my right knee what I did the night before with my jaw.  I was so freaked out.  This still made little sense to me, but I went with it.  I don’t want to describe the entire experience because it’s still so crazy.  Instead, I’ll stick with this… when I woke up in the morning, the intense pain in my right knee was gone.  I was immediately reminded of the judge in the Old Testament who wouldn’t accept just a single sign from God.  Once was never enough.  Here’s Judges 6:36-40 (MSG).

36-37 Gideon said to God, “If this is right, if you are using me to save Israel as you’ve said, then look: I’m placing a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If dew is on the fleece only, but the floor is dry, then I know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said.”

 38 That’s what happened. When he got up early the next morning, he wrung out the fleece—enough dew to fill a bowl with water!

 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be impatient with me, but let me say one more thing. I want to try another time with the fleece. But this time let the fleece stay dry, while the dew drenches the ground.”

 40 God made it happen that very night. Only the fleece was dry while the ground was wet with dew.

Once was not enough for me either.  I finally decided it was time to shoot for everything that night.  I got a big head, though.  I felt God had given me… ME… power over the Devil’s stranglehold on my body.  Oh, how wrong I was.  It was God’s power doing everything.  I got in the way that night.  I realize that now.  I think I realized it that night, but the difference between knowing something and fixing the problem can be so huge.

 

The next morning I woke up with severe pain in my neck.  I couldn’t look to my left at all without moving my entire body.  I’ve had neck pain before, but nothing like this.  I decided I had gotten in the way that night.  This was a sure sign I screwed up, not allowing God to perform all the work.  I tried it all again on my neck that morning.  I couldn’t stand waiting all day for relief of the pain.  That evening, the pain was suddenly gone.  It hasn’t come back.  That was a week ago today.

 

I described all these events to T when she got home that night.  We had a long, hard talk about all of this.  She expected to find me completely healed when she got back, and I guess I had expected the same.  I can only imagine what was going through her head when she saw me still walking about as badly as I have for the past several years.  You wouldn’t know anything happened.  I tried to reassure her that God has a plan through all this.  I tried to explain I’m understanding “faith like a child” a bit more every day.  That if God is truly out there, and you truly believe in Him, then how can you not believe He has a plan and things are going to work out according to His will?  “Sit down and shut up, you big whiner.”

 

I meant to finally blog about this story that night, but I didn’t.  I meant to tell someone else at work Monday morning, but I didn’t.  Everything was still so hard to believe.  I kept hearing Ferdinand’s voice in my head all week long… that I needed to tell everyone what God had done.  I woke up Monday still appearing to be as crippled as always.  A turtle would have given me a good run for my money.  Maybe even a snail.  There is no way anyone would believe a word I said… so I didn’t… all week.  I couldn’t even bring up the courage to update my friend at work on the latest in the saga.

 

Saw my parents last night at a baseball game, and I should have taken time to update them, but didn’t.  The week was still full of body pain.  None of the pain associated with those joints I mentioned above came back, praise God, but I started to doubt everything.  For the most part, I felt like I was at the same point I was going into the events at the city park.  Woe is me.  Here I am back where I started.  Who cares what happened in the middle there?  I couldn’t even sit down to watch the game without pain.  My left leg sticks down the aisle and up in the air when in ballpark seats.  I can’t even get rest for it without slouching so far down in my chair that I develop some fun neck and back pain by the time the night is over.  Last night was no exception.  I was feeling pretty sorry for myself by the time we went our separate ways.

 

On the way out to the car, with only half a block left to our parking spot, my right ankle exploded with pain.  I thought I tore my Achilles tendon.  It would have put me on the ground if I had any belief I could get back up.  I had to stand there waiting for T to drive the car over to me.  Every step I took was intense shooting pain, and I had to take several to get from the sidewalk to the curb.  A normal person could hop somewhere on their other leg to keep the pain minimal.  I can’t rely on my left leg for anything like that.  Getting into the car was an event that can only be described by witnessing it.  I actually can’t believe I made it in, and then back out and into the house when we got home.

 

Even with this, I still felt strongly as ever that I needed to blog about my story as soon as possible.  Here I was in severe pain, virtually unable to walk anymore.  Both T and I started worrying about the costs of converting our house for wheelchair access.  We were bracing ourselves for the inevitable.  I made it down to the computer, but ended up working on the school software until 2:30am.  Once again, I was too scared to tell others.  How could anyone believe me, especially if they heard the punchline events from last night?  I prayed for healing, but my heart just wasn’t in it.  As many things as happened to me over the past two weeks, deep down I didn’t know what to believe anymore.

 

T and the kids are out of the house playing at a State park today.  I couldn’t go.  When I attempted to get out of bed this morning, my first step was with the same pain as last night.  I knew it was time to finally hit the doctors again.  No way could I make it anymore without something… anything… being done.  I’ve joked before about simply chopping off my legs so at least the pain would be gone.  They seem to make some amazing prostheses for war veterans these days.  Even so, I was determined to make it downstairs to blog my story before I really stopped believing any of it.

 

I hit the bathroom when I got downstairs to brush my teeth, when I suddenly felt overwhelmed.  You see, I’ve been brushing my teeth with my left arm for a few years now, and I’m still really horrible at it.  Now I could hardly even stand in front of the sink to brush.  I could only rely on pressure on my left leg, which I’ve already mentioned is pretty worthless.  I couldn’t take it anymore and completely broke down.

 

But, I wasn’t angry with God.  I thought I was angry with Him, but I was angry at the Devil’s hold on my body.  I started screaming at him to get away.  To get out of my ankle and never come back.  In the Name of God, to get out because God is going to heal me.  I was crying as hard as ever, and more angry than I have been in my life.  I stood there for a couple minutes just shaking.

 

When I finally got up the strength to head over to the computer, and took my first step… the ankle pain was gone. 

 

Completely gone.

 

I mentioned at the top that you probably wouldn’t believe what I’m writing today.  I’m sorry for that, and I’m really sorry for anyone’s time that I wasted with this.  I will say this last thing: it’s going to be even harder to believe this story next time you see me walking around, still looking quite crippled.  It’s hard for me to believe myself, but I do.  Ferdinand said I’m going to wake up one morning healed, I’m not going to believe it, but I’m going to have to tell everyone.

 

You see, God’s not finished with me yet.  And there I go crying again. ;)

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20 thoughts on “My body… an update”

  1. We pray for you, too, and we wonder if God is listening so it helps to hear what you personally are feeling. That helps to keep us from getting angry with God. Sometimes believing is the hardest thing to do. We will keep praying for you.

  2. Nuke, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that was for you to write out and share with the world (and publicly, without even the toddlerized Facebook to filter out non-friends ;) ). I also don’t claim to understand how God works–that would be quite foolish of me. But I will say that I believe He can do whatever He wills and that I believe your experiences are exactly as you describe, that God will use whatever He brings into your life for His glory somehow, even if we never understand how until we see Him face to face. It won’t be long now; in the timeline of eternity this life and its trials are so short and what’s really important is first knowing Him personally and then obeying Him enthusiastically, all the while trusting Him completely. It sounds like you’re in the right groove, just keep plowing ahead wherever He leads you; he’ll be right beside you the entire way (and so will we!). :)

  3. Jeff, I totally believe you in all you say here. I could see it in your eyes when we talked at Grandma’s, and I could feel it in your touch that day. It is never a waste of my time to read your writings, though I’m sure I never appear patient enough to you when we are together, or during the sporadic times that we might talk on the phone. Keep praying, and keep believing. I love you and always will.

  4. Thanks for sharing Jeff. I believe everything you said here…I wish I had the faith you have. We’ll keep praying for you.

  5. Jeff – I definitely do NOT think you are crazy, I think you are an amazingly STRONG guy and I totally admire your faith and persistence in what you’ve had to bear. I will keep praying for you too, and for the day when your pain is gone.

  6. Thanks for sharing Jeff. It’s encouraging to see the Lord’s work taking place. Don’t worry about the non-believers.

  7. I feel I can relate to your struggle in this “age of reason” we live in, since many of the things God says seems so illogical or counter-intuitive. When I am weak, then I am strong. The last shall be first and the first last. Who ever amoung you wants to be greatest must become the least. My burden is easy and my yoke is light – who ever wishes to follow me must take up his cross and follow me. The meak shall inherit the Earth. Blessed is the poor in spirit, theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. God blesses the work of a righteous man and causes his family to prosper – it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kindom of Heaven. On and on we must study to fully understand…

    I cannot relate to your specific trial, but I can relate in the sense of struggling to see truth as God tell’s it. He is definitely speaking, we are hard of hearing. Thank God, that like Job, he does not allow us to be passified with simple answers to life’s problems. Ours is the blessing of toil until at last we enter our rest with Him, and really understand what that rest is. Only we do not labor in vain as the world does, but rather for the great reward of fellowship with Christ.

    Thank you for sharing your faith. God will be faithful to the testimony given for His glory, one way or another. My prayer for you is that as you wait to hear from Him, you not loose heart, and that God keep you in His graces. After all like Job learned and you are currently learning, this is about much more than your circumstances – though you righly point out that the sufferings of this age are real, and they are difficult, even for a believer.

    I owe you one big brotherly bear hug. :)

  8. With tears flowing as a write, I say a heartfelt, “God IS good!” I believe every word you wrote, and definitely don’t think you are crazy. Thank you so much for sharing how God is working in your life. God is doing great things in you and through you. I will continue to pray.

  9. Jeff, I have been struggling with my own faith for a while now. I wanted you to know this blog post was a Light in the dark for me. And if ever there were signs from God… I received the following email within the hour that I read your post. Know that when I talk to God tonight, the first thing I will be doing is thanking Him for giving you the ability to sing His song to all of us.

    MY STRUGGLES ARE ABOUT HIM
    by Max Lucado

    What about your struggles? Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God’s glory? Have you “been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29)?

    Here is a clue. Do your prayers seem to be unanswered? What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up? Don’t think God is not listening. Indeed he is. He may have higher plans.

    Here is another. Are people strengthened by your struggles? A friend of mine can answer yes. His cancer was consuming more than his body; it was eating away at his faith. Unanswered petitions perplexed him. Well-meaning Christians confused him. “If you have faith,” they said, “you will be healed.”

    No healing came. Just more chemo, nausea, and questions. He assumed the fault was a small faith. I suggested another answer. “It’s not about you,” I told him. “Your hospital room is a showcase for your Maker. Your faith in the face of suffering cranks up the volume of God’s song.”

    Oh, that you could have seen the relief on his face. To know that he hadn’t failed God and God hadn’t failed him—this made all the difference. Seeing his sickness in the scope of God’s sovereign plan gave his condition a sense of dignity. He accepted his cancer as an assignment from heaven: a missionary to the cancer ward.

    A week later I saw him again. “I reflected God,” he said, smiling through a thin face, “to the nurse, the doctors, my friends. Who knows who needed to see God, but I did my best to make him seen.”

    Bingo. His cancer paraded the power of Jesus down the Main Street of his world.

    God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems.

    Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God.

    Through your problems and mine, may God be seen.

  10. Jeff-don’t ever feel like you’re wasting anyone’s time. You have a lot of people who care about you and want to help but don’t know how. Reading what you are going through makes me hurt and I’ve been through some joint and muscle pain but nothing like you. If I haven’t told you before I will now. I think about you a lot and I have you in my nightly prayers. Don’t give up!

  11. Jeff,

    With everything that has been going on in my world the last year or so; uncertain economy, family medical issues, last year’s flood in Cedar Rapids, nothing can compare to the pain and agony that you experience on a daily basis. I keep thinking that if I ever win the lottery that you would not have to worry about you medical bills – past, present and future. But, that is not fair to you and T as I have to win the Powerball, first.

    If there is anything that I can do to help out in any way, just say the word.

    Your update came a day after I visited your blog looking for, you guessed it, an update on your condition.

    Keep up the good spirits and knock Satan around a little more.

    All the best.

  12. Jeff – Hey, I work with your Dad and he sent me the blog. Wow! You have been through more than any of us can even imagine, and still your faith is inspiring. God is definitely teaching you and doing something with you. Go with it. Let Him do what He wants. You are loved and prayed for by the plc staff.

  13. Jeff – I read this the other night but could not respond as I too pray for you and can’t understand why God has not healed you yet. Since then I have tryed to think what I might say and an old verse that got me through a lot of times when I was a teenager with an alcoholic father, it is: “For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” This is from Psalm 30:5 (NRSV) and has been a comfort for me at some really low times.

    You know that I suffer with daily pain also and have found that things that I eat make it almost unbearable at times. I don’t know what, where or how you and I can deal with this but the Lord does and I trust in Him to give us the answers. It sounds like you are ready to listen for those answers. The answers will come and I pray that it will be soon. Continue to walk in faith knowing that Jesus walks beside you and when you can’t go on your own, it is then that He will carry you. I love you more than words can tell you. Mom

  14. Jeff, thanks for your honesty and for sharing your story. I don’t pretend to understand all of God’s methods or decision. I do know that God has given you a powerful story, and he has given you amazing strength to both live it and tell it. Just the faith you have after everything you have been through is a testament to God’s grace. I know I have been blessed by this post.

    Continue seeking God’s direction and strength. I will be praying for you.

  15. Phil 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

    Jeff, I really don’t have the words and can simply say thanks. Thank you for sharing, and thanks be to God. You are truly a testament to this scripture and to the faith. I too will pray for Satan to release his hold on your body and for God to heal you. You are a stronger man than I could ever hope to be.

    I love you Brother!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story. A great friend passed this on to me this morning. As tears roll down my face, I say “Thank you” to you. What an awesome, amazing and very truly inspiring story you have shared. God has called you to an awesome and what I think will be an exciting journey! You are truly a witness to His awesome power and goodness! You are already changing lives. I offer up a prayer of thanks for you that your pain is gone! I’m overwhelmed at His power and goodness….thank you for allowing so many to witness this through you!

  17. Wow, thanks for having the courage to share your testimony. I believe! And as the article Chrissy shared by Max, I think you have been a living testiment through your continued faith that God is good despite all your trials. I’ll leave you with some Good News of encouragement: “then Jesus told the disciples a parable that they should always pray and never give up” ~ Luke 18:1

  18. Jeff, I do not know you but I know the Power of our FATHER, His son JESUS and the HOLY SPIRIT:) I also know the two women who prayed for you in the park. They are friends of mine. Their hearts are sincere and surrendered before God in Prayer ministry and HIS Glory and Power often flow through them. I personally could tell you some stories (like that of yours with Ferdinand) — present day experiences of God’s power that would blow your mind. They still blow me away and I witnessed them first hand! It is exciting to “hear” about all God is teaching you and how He is using His Word, the Body of Christ and realtime events. Thank you for sharing. Sounds like I would get along well with your wife…I also take my boys camping, boating and many other adventures by myself as my husband travels with his job and the Air Force Guard:) If the Lord wills we may one day meet this side of Heaven!

  19. The Bible has many references of waiting on the Lord…waiting for protection, healing, guidance… (get a concordance and look ’em up :)).
    But while we wait, we may not understand why. I think it was Dennis Rainey who said something to the effect of “I spent a lot of time trying to come to grips with my doubts when suddenly I realized I need to come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions I still can’t answer to the reality of answers I cannot escape.”
    I pray that you can rest in His reality while you wait for Him. Listen to this song at this link. It’s a great reminder of what I should be doing while I’m waiting. (I recommend closing your eyes and focusing on Him while you listen).
    http://newhopeworship.blogspot.com/2009/01/great-song-while-im-waiting-by-john.html

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