This last August I became ill and for the first time in my life, I seriously contemplated the end of my life. I was afraid, filled with fear, convinced that the end was near. I prayed and read God's Word as I never had before.
Through this I drew closer to Jesus. He held me and consoled me as I struggled both physically and emotionally. He comforted me and asured me that I would make it, even though there were moments when I did not believe it. There were times when I thought I was all alone; but, in retrospect, I've come to know that He was right there by my side throughout the entire ordeal.
I knew that on my own I could do little to help myself. I prayed that He would help the healing process along, that He would continue to use me for His glory, for His kingdom. Ever since I was a young man I have prayed that the Lord would use me, despite my sinful nature. No, I do not deserve such an honor, but I want to be His servant, as well as mankind's.
My active desire to help my fellow-man began when I experienced God's saving power. I was reborn when I was 17 years old, perhaps 18 (My Spiritual Rebirth). A second after it took place, my next breath was as if my first.
The dark of that first evening was brighter than the daylight of the previous day. It was as if I was a new person. Feelings were awakened within me that I had never known before. Such love. Even though I knew my name and my past, it was as if I was seeing life for the very first time.
It was then that I was filled with compassion for my fellow-man. I felt a burden for those whom I share the commonality of life. I came to believe that when one of us falls, somehow it effects us all. Perhaps we do not notice it consciously, but in the totality of life, the loss is felt and the affects are real. Enough losses in a short period of time, like WWII or the Vietnam Conflict, and society begins to notice.
We are linked and connected to one another through the Holy Spirit, as if by a giant WAN (Wide Area Network). We are able to read one another from afar, if not directly, then certainly indirectly (i.e. emotion, an inner knowing, intuition; some of us even more directly). Although the communication is subtle, it's a fact for those who plug in.
Together, we are one with nature, but more importantly, we are one with our Father in heaven. It matters not what we call Him. He is the same God to all, whether we call Him Jahveh, Yahweh, God, or Krsna.
Translation: I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.
|(Bhagavad-gita, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Collier Books, New York. ©1972.)|
...for us there is only one God, the Father who is the origin of all things, and the end of our being; only one Lord, Jesus Christ, the creator of all things, who is our way to him. But it is not everybody who has this knowledge....
|(I Corinthians 8:6,7, The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Ronald Knox, Sheed & Ward, New York, ©1954).|
This wasn't the first time I faced a difficult crisis concerning my health. I learned early on that our health largely depends on our state of mind, our belief in the durability of the human body, and it's ability to heal. It depends also on our belief in God and His ability to empower us to heal.
It is also my opinion that the Lord can actually reach into our bodies and heal us by touching the illness, but I believe that He expects us to participate in the process. He wants us to do all that we can to help ourselves get better. I don't think that God rewards lazy people who sit back and say, "God, you do it for me."
One of the things I have learned to do through my <50 years of life is to direct my consciousness to the area in need of healing, scanning the tissues and facing the pain at full face. What this does is help stimulate the healing process. Focus hard enough, you can localize the pain so it does not involve the tissue surrounding the true source of the pain. Concentrate even more and the pain will pull back into itself, disapearing altogether.
I've done it plenty of times; and yes, at the same time I pray for God's help, hoping for His healing touch. Can I measure it? Can I prove it? I don't need to--It works.
Another thing I do is to vividly remember what it is like to be well. In August, for example, I was racked with more pain all over my body than I believe I've ever experienced. And that is not a light statement considering the fact that I have suffered from a condition called spinal bifida all of my life. I made an extra effort to remember what it was like to feel well. It helped relax my body and it gave me new hope.
God's power and these mechanisms that He provides us with eventually restored my health to the point where my most recent blood tests turned out text book perfect! Considering the fact that I suffered from the affects of a low-level infection for the greater part of a year or more, I'd say the doctor was more than surprised.
There is more to this story. Because the infection ran its course throughout my body, my throat decided to close up on me. As long as 60 days before it did, I had been modifying my diet to the point where I was eating nothing but soft foods (when solid foods routinely got stuck in between, it was the only thing I knew to do).
When it became impossible to eat vegetable soup, I decided not to eat anything at all. As a result, I didn't eat anything for about 5 days. I would only drink water. In the middle of this one of the doctors determined that over a mere ten day span I had lost 14 pounds. That was when I began to cry out to God for help.
The psychological affects associated with choking still lingers, but everyday I step out in faith by eating. It's getting better every day. I refuse to allow myself to slide backwards. I intend to beat this thing, with God's help.
Besides praying, I had to coordinate my physical condition with the various doctors. I had two dentists, an emergency room doctor, a CT techncian, a throat specialist, a family doctor, and an HMO doctor involved over a period of two months. Oh, and the most important person of all, the Father.
How could I have let myself come to that point? I've asked myself that question a million times. I'm an extrovert by nature and I have to remind myself to turn inward from time to time. When I was younger, I turned inward each and every day--meditating on the Father. Between my fulltime job as a trade journalist and my personal interests here on the Internet, I guess I forgot to take inventory like I use to do. Live and learn.
There is a moral to this story. First, pray daily for God's constant touch. Second, don't forget to take time to pray. Third, read His Word. Fourth, thank Him each day for what He's done for you, your family, and your friends. Just pray.
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