This is the first part of the chapter I wrote that is published in Endurance going the distance. If you want to read more feel free to order a copy of the book here. Endurance: going the distance from the valley to the mountain.
Hebrews 10:35-36 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. For you have need of patience, so that after you have done the will of God you might receive the promise.
Ruth E. Meed BA MAT MS
I keenly remember the unusual extreme anxiety that gripped my chest. The unexplained pain in my back would not ease. The desperately itchy rash covering my body had not subsided with the doctor recommended medications. I was alone, pacing my house, praying, with no answers to handle the pain and itching. As I did, a sudden shock wave of electricity started to burn its way from my neck down through my left arm causing it to curl and stiffen up until I could not move it anymore. This searing sizzle continued down my left side to my leg which then also curled up, then across to the right leg which instantly froze. I collapsed into a chair because I could no longer move and all my muscles were tightening up to complete rigidity. I had just three fingers of my right hand still moving and I used them to dial 911. This began the story of the last seven years. I was getting no answers from the medical professionals. Two days later the paralysis happened again, this time my entire body froze for 20 mins. I was conscious but unable to move. Doctors varied from saying something was very seriously wrong with me to telling me I had a self-created mental problem. I had no answers, I had no hope medically. I was getting weaker and sicker and helplessly wondered if I was dying. I had to hope in God or give up and die.
I languished on the couch that next Sunday unable to do much of anything, let alone attend church. I turned on the radio to listen to a local church broadcast. The preacher said, “Today we’re going to talk about storms and how you can handle that storm, so let’s look at the life of Peter and his walk on the water.” (Matt 14:23-34) He spent the next 30 minutes talking about trusting God and how sometimes God puts us in a “boat” and sends us into the middle of a storm to show Himself strong. He also pointed out that even when we fail to trust Jesus, sinking like Peter, He still reaches out to help us the minute we ask Him. I felt in that moment like God in His kindness had reached down to personally encourage me.
When that broadcast finished, another service came on. This next pastor said, “Folks, I want you to turn in your Bibles to the passage in the New Testament about the storm on the Sea of Galilee and today we will discuss how we deal with storms by looking at Peter’s walk on the water…” I nearly gasped aloud realizing that My Loving Shepherd had providentially orchestrated both of those messages, one right after the other, to encourage me to trust Him when I had no answers.
After lunch, I listened to the morning service from my church. My pastor was reviewing what he had covered so far in Isaiah. He repeatedly rehearsed the theme of Isaiah ‘Trust ye in the Holy One of Israel alone, for He only is salvation.’” He related this concept to how we deal with troubles in our lives. “We can be distressed. Life can be full of questions and hard things, but we can always trust the hand of our Loving Father to guide us THROUGH them.” I lay there basking in the feeling of those healing Words washing over my soul. The almost palpable hug from God, assuring me He was walking with me, through these three messages from three different sources over four hours’ time, could not be mistaken. My Loving Lord in His Sovereignty had orchestrated that day’s programing to tell me that I could trust Him in this storm.
That was August 2010. By January 2011, I could no longer walk, or balance myself. I could not think straight to read or write. Something was very wrong. The doctor told me there was nothing more she could do and to pray that my body would get better.