My back had been feeling like something was wrong for a few weeks. I tried to be careful because I have dealt with back problems and sciatica nerve issues for many years.
On Friday July 10th, early in the day, the pain started getting bad enough that I knew something was coming on. I went to the men and boys campout and was very careful. I just sat around and visited with the brothers, stayed for some awesome devotions that Bro. Brad Nuss brought, then visited more with the brothers and went home.
Saturday I got up and was still in a lot of pain, so I just sat around all day and took it easy. I wanted to be at my best for church the next day, and I know how hard it is getting ready when the back problems start.
One thing I want to be clear on; this situation wasn’t the normal sciatica nerve pain, this was far worse. I have struggled with sciatica nerve pain for many years, until about 10 months ago when God took it completely away, overnight. That pain would leave my leg numb on the skin but give me a deep muscle pain all the way down to my toes. I could only walk short distances before I had to sit down. Then sometimes it would get bad enough that sitting wasn’t enough to relieve the pain and I had to lay down. It even got so bad there at the end that laying down didn’t relieve the pain. Then God moved and it was perfect relief. My understanding of this situation, from someone who had the exact same symptoms, was that the sciatica nerve somehow got inflamed and swelled up.
Sunday I was able to go to church, but I had to go into a side room and lay on the floor most of the service. I went home and laid around all day between services. For Sunday evening, it was similar to the morning service; walk, sit on a chair backwards, and lay on the floor. Getting to service was worth it all!
Sometime Sunday night, the pains got really bad. Let me take a paragraph to explain “the pains” as well as I can, with no exaggeration.
Picture a lopsided triangle; the top of the triangle went straight across my waist, one side went down my left side from the waist to my left knee, the other side of the triangle went from my right side to my left knee. Across the top of the triangle was a line of what felt like fire burning in my stomach, I’m assuming that was from the nerves in my back that were inflamed. My left thigh, on the front and inner sides, felt like someone was taking a long knife and scooping the meat off the bone; the pain actually had that motion to it. I have had a knife buried in me before, and that pain couldn’t hold a candle to the pain I was having in my thigh. From my waist all the way down to my thigh, and everything in between, the pain was excruciating, causing the muscles to knot up and my insides to make me sick to my stomach. My lower back, the area that was causing all of this, was in pain like I have never had before. The only position I could get in to relieve the pain, was flat on my back. I couldn’t adjust that position even an inch or the pain would come on causing me to cry out and beg God for help (more on the begging for help later). If I got up, I would walk from one room to the next, approximate 10 steps, then collapse on the bed or couch in excruciating pain. Sitting up was not an option.
When you have pain that intense, all you can think of is doing whatever it takes for that pain to not get started; however, you have to drink or you’ll dehydrate. Drinking makes you have to do to the restroom, which means you have to move… I have to be honest; I only drank about 20 ounces of water a day for two weeks. I did get a little dehydrated, but in my mind; it was worth it to avoid that pain a few times a day. Usually in the morning the fire wasn’t quite as bad, so I would eat a normal breakfast; the rest of the day I ate very little because of the fire in my abdomen and because it is almost impossible to eat flat on your back
During the first week, I slept very little; from Sunday night to Friday morning I can only count a little over three hours of sleep. That sleep was in five to fifteen minute intervals and only a few times a day; two times during that week I was able to get around an hour of sleep. If I started to relax, my nerves would jerk me awake and it was all over for hours. Friday morning I was able to sleep for two hours straight. The first time I slept a lot of the night was late into the second week. Because the source of the pain was a nerve, it put my whole nervous system on edge; there were times when the nerves in my arms and shoulders felt like they were going to drive me crazy.
The pain was so extreme that I did the only thing I knew to do; call out to God for help. Sometimes the pain wouldn’t relax for a long time, and I remember a number of times asking God; Lord, are you here, can you hear me, I need you! I think He finally had enough of that; one time soon after, I opened up the Word and the very first scripture I read was: Jer 23:23-24 Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the Lord. Look how many times it says “saith the Lord”. It was like He was rebuking me; I immediately told God I was sorry and didn’t ask that question again.
All of my life, I have found comfort in the Word when in time of affliction. God always gives me a special thought, a scripture from the Word, to help me through the hard times. In this affliction, He gave me two scriptures; each one was for a specific situation in the affliction, not the overall affliction. This time, God gave me songs. Sis Bonnie sings a song; God give me a song to sing at midnight. I have never experienced that, it’s always the Word that takes me through. This time, I would be in the heat of the battle, and God would give me a chorus, or a saying in a song that would really encourage me. I knew the songs were from God because of how they came to me. Think of a song playing in the other room but you can’t really hear it; then you stop to listen and realize what it is. That’s how it was with me; I was in the hardest pain or a strong mental battle, and it was like I was hearing music from in my subconscious. I had to stop my mind and listen to what the song was; it was always something that was relevant to the battle I was having. I didn’t think of the song and say yes, that’s a good thought; it was just there, and it always encouraged.
Wednesday night, the first week, I had to stay home from church. Honestly, I’m not sure which hurt me more at that time; the pain, or staying home from church. I was laying there praying most of the evening and listening to the songs that God had given me so far. About 8:30 the pain lifted, completely! I got up walked around from room to room, thanking God. I even took time to do some necessary things I hadn’t been able to do; it was wonderful! After about 15 or 20 minutes, the pain came back and I was flat on my back again. What an encouragement; I knew right there that God was showing me, “hold on, hold on; even in the darkest night, walk by faith and not by sight; hold on”. Ever heard that song? I found out the next day, that was exactly when a good brother in the congregation was carrying a burden for me in prayer, and the saints were carrying a burden with him. God still answers prayer!
Work was really starting to push me because I had worked from home for a week already. Others were having to do my work for me, send me the data, then I would work the data and do the reports; all of this while flat on my back. God kept work at bay for the whole two weeks, and they didn’t force me to go to the doctor/chiropractor (that’s how they stated it). Praise the Lord, only God can do that.
Sunday evening, I was listening to the morning message. Bro Price was preaching on soldiers and their weapons. At one point he was talking about having the shield up and using the sword to fight off the enemy. In my mind’s eye, I could see him on guard with the shield up, warding off whatever was coming at him, and bringing the sword around trying to strike back at the enemy. As I was listening to the message and seeing that in my mind’s eye, the Lord said very clearly to me; “what are you doing laying around calling out for help? In the past you have always been aggressive, claimed your healing and rebuked the pain and symptoms; yet here you lay…” I said; thank you Lord, that’s what I needed; I changed my attitude, the way I thought, and the way I prayed that very moment!
Early Monday morning, about 2:00 am, I was praying correctly now. I was telling God how work was pressuring me to go to the doctor/chiropractor. My desire has always been to trust God; I want to trust Him because that’s what He wants me to do, and I want my healings to be an encouragement to the saints. Never ever, in a million years, do I want to take any glory in myself! I was telling Him about work, about the excruciating pain, about how I wanted to trust Him and give Him all the glory for any good thing that came from this situation. God brought the scripture to my mind; Exodus 14:13 Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. That was encouraging, but the part that really stood out to me was after that; “which He will shew to you today”. I started thanking the Lord, you said today!! That day was when the excruciating pain stopped in my thigh and the fire in my stomach immediately started to die down. The pain in my thigh was still there, but not excruciating anymore; the fire in my stomach turned into a dull pain and was gone within 24 hours. Then I really started to feel the pain in my back. At this point, I was still not able to stand or sit more than a few seconds.
During this week, not a lot changed; it was lay flat on my back and do as much work as I could.
Tuesday morning I got an email from work, they had set up an appointment for me to come in on Friday to take care of some business. This had nothing to do with the situation I was in, and didn’t involve anyone that knew what was going on; just some business the front office needed me to take care of. I’m flat on my back and wondering what to do. As I thought about it a little bit, I felt like the Lord gave me an assurance that it would be ok to keep the appointment; I did.
Thursday as I was laying on the couch, I couldn’t get relief from the pain like normal. I was thinking about all the texts and calls from the saints and my good pastor. It is humbling when so many good people care enough to take time out of their day to pray, text, and call to tell “me” they care and are praying! Praise God for the church of God! Then I was thinking about how God, who is everything… would take the time to look down and see me, and use me to go through something for Him; for His honor and glory. I just couldn’t take it in, how humbling it was that He chose me… to draw closer to Him through affliction. All I could do was cry and tell Him how thankful I was to go through anything He wanted me to go through.
Friday morning came, I got out of bed with some of the worst pain I had been in all week. I rebuked the devil, rebuked the pain, and just kept getting ready to go. Slowly it started getting better and allowed me to get ready. I got in the car and the pain hit hard! I kept praying and saying that I was not accepting the pain because God had promised me it would be ok to keep this appointment. Within minutes the pain started to go away and I was able to get everything done that morning. Praise God!
Saturday morning I was praying and thanking God how He helped me Friday. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was telling God that I knew He had no desire to torment me, and if He had helped me so much the previous day, then there was no reason why He wouldn’t make drastic changes today! I told Him I was claiming and expecting great changes! I got out of bed, got dressed and sat outside in my lawn chair most of the day! That was the first time in two weeks I was able to go outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Sunday morning came and I was ready to go to church! Immediately the devil fought me and brought back all the pain. The devil is so obvious, all that did was make me fight harder to get ready. I’m not going to say it was easy getting to church, but I got ready and went anyway. The strength God gave me to be there and be able to enjoy the service was amazing; but I had to get there to experience it… if I would have given in to the pain, I couldn’t have enjoyed the way God moved. I took every chance I could to let Him know how thankful I was for how He had taken me through this battle.
END OF PART ONE, BEGIN PART 2:
Monday morning was a day of pain without relief; again, the devil is so obvious, trying to get back at me for going to church.
Tuesday, I had to go to work. The pain came just like the second week. With my wife’s help I was able to get dressed for work. I arrived at work and had to walk from my car to my desk, and I never want to do that again in such a state; the pain was absolutely terrible. When I finally got to my desk, my team leader was at his desk, next to mine. All I could think of was Psalm 25:20, “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.” You see, I have never, and will never be ashamed of trusting in my Lord, but I think of how it looked when my colleagues knew I was trusting God to heal me, and yet there I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk. I prayed that God would help me glorify Him. I made it through that day, sitting at my desk working on reports. Sitting was huge because I hadn’t been able to sit hardly at all. At one point, my boss came to me and told me he wanted me to go to the nurse. He said, “You have to understand, Bob, the position you put me in. What if I send you to another part of the facility to take care of something and you get hurt?” I told him I completely understood his position, and then God gave me the words to hold my boss at bay and make it through the rest of the day. I got back to my safe haven- HOME!
Wednesday was my day to work from home. I was able to enjoy much needed relief from the pain. I went to church, was prayed for again and asked that God would help me to be able to be a better example for Him at work.
Thursday, I had to work on site again. God helped me through it, but it was a hard, painful day.
Friday and Saturday, I had to lay around all day and night because of the intense pain.
Sunday was an extension of Friday and Saturday; I couldn’t get out of the house and had to stay in bed all day. Walking from room to room was all I could do, and still wasn’t able to sit in an upward position.
Monday, I was forced to get up and go to work because a large amount of work had been scheduled for me. At this point, my company felt I had two options; either come to work or go to the doctor, and I completely understood their stance. I got up to start getting ready for work, and the pain was very intense. I had to stop regularly to get relief. Knowing it was either work or the doctor, I prayed the whole time that God would really move because I did not want to go to the doctor. With my wife’s help getting dressed, I finally made it to the car, drove to work, laying almost flat on my back, got out to walk to my desk and couldn’t make it all the way. I barely made it to the locker room, found a discrete location and laid down on the floor to get relief. After I laid down one more time by the pond, I finally made it to my desk and was able to stretch out, but I still couldn’t sit. When it came time to work, I prayed again and asked the Lord to give me divine intervention so I could get the job done. I got out of my chair, got the equipment, and took it to the location where I had to work, by faith. I was able to do the work, pushing the equipment around, walking around, bending, and anything I had to do to get the job done; and this went on for over an hour, with very little pain at all! I believe with all my heart that God knew I didn’t want to go to the doctor, and He enabled me to do the job so my boss wouldn’t push me to go. God is so good!
Tuesday, I had to go to work, and it was the same as Monday; but on Friday, God really moved on the affliction to the point it was at least 75% gone, all in one day, once I got to work.
I can’t say that God took me completely out of the situation immediately, but He definitely gave divine intervention at critical times to get through it as He was healing me. The latter part of Mark 16:18 says, …they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Yes, it says they shall recover, but it also says “recover”. There are those times that God moves instantaneous, and we love those times, but recover sometimes means there is a process. That process is where faith is really tested, adjusted, and strengthened, so we can have the faith that is needed to make it to the end.
The thought of “settled on my lees” came to me through this battle. Zephaniah 1:12, “And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish the men who, like old wine, are thickening and settling on their lees, who say in their hearts, The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.”
Taking this personal, I don’t want to get to the place that trusting God will become an option, or that I start thinking I might as well just go to the doctor because I don’t want to wait on God, or go through the pain. You see, we can get comfortable running this race and living life how we see is best. If we never go through anything, we never exercise our faith. We then we can become stagnant and hardened to anything that takes us out of the path we prefer. If I’m thinking like that, I might be getting settled on my lees. I might think that God won’t care if I just go to the doctor, without even trying to trust Him, thinking that nothing bad or good will come out of it, because maybe He won’t care either way. However, God showed me a long ago that I will trust Him only to the extent of how big I truly see Him.
I got used to walking around, eating, drinking, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, and getting out of bed. If I allow God to rule my decisions, it doesn’t take long to see that He will help me appreciate those things in a way I never did before. I think of this recent Covid-19 situation, and how it hit the Church. We just got settled coming to church and going home or out to eat afterwards. When that was taken away, it made us appreciate going to church so much more. Trusting God is the same way; I can go to man for a lot of things, but when God shows me the way that He wants me to see things, it’s an altogether different lesson learned, often the sweetest lessons a child of God will ever learn. Sometimes the pain is severe, sometimes the wait is long, and sometimes we just don’t understand why God isn’t moving when we know He needs to. Whatever the situation; when we do trust Him, in His way, what we gain on the other side is impossible to describe; the love and joy you have for God, His saints, His ministry, and His beautiful plan!
With that thought in mind, if I don’t go through things in a right manner, and I don’t receive the outcome that God wanted in my life; I have nothing to look back on when I’m in the next affliction or situation. However, such victories work as a reminder of what God has done for me in the past and will do for me in the future.
Update: In the time since this article was written, our friend Bro. Bob has informed us that God has healed him and he has “no problems at all.” Thank God for His goodness.