The Lord is so very gracious, yet the more I know Him the more I don’t know. I’d like to share some things I’ve been dealing with in my own health the last 2 months, some of which raise questions unanswered, and I hope the process will provide comfort for some, answers for others, some humor and grace for all.
Where to start?
Last fall I was contemplating our schedule for the first 3 months of 2016 because I often make one or two driving loops in the US during February and March, before heading to European conferences in April.
As I was thinking about planning trips and asking the Father if He had any preferences, He said: “Don’t plan on any trips the first 3 months of the year; you’ll have some health issues you’ll have to deal with.”
That sounded rather ominous, and as I thought on what that might mean, without words but somehow knowing in my spirit, I knew it had to do with my heart.
He said nothing else, and Barb and I had recently updated our wills and such, so you can imagine my imagination running from ‘How much are burial plots?’ to ‘But you already told me over a year ago how old I could live to if I wanted’, to ‘Am I going to have open-heart surgery?’ and everything in between.
I was putting in a French drain around part of our house at the time and hired 3 men to help me unload the 5 tons of rock into the trenches, and the boss started telling me how the Lord brought him through a quadruple bypass, and I thought to myself and Father, “Is that what I’m going to be going through? How will Barb handle it, how and what are we going to do with Chris during recovery? Is that what you have for me Father?”
Then on November 22nd, less than a week after the Father had said that to me, while I was thinking on these things and we were about to have all 3 of our sons and both of our wonderful daughters in laws and all 7 grandchildren at our home for Thanksgiving – me wondering if that was the last time I’d see the kids who live out of state – a good friend, Lou P in Florida sent me an email he had no clue the impact. He simple wrote:
Good morning John, thinking about you this morning. Daniel 12:13 the Message Bible. Blessings! Lou
Here is the verse in the Message Bible: “And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.”
I immediately felt all those questions lift with this assuring Word, and told the Father, “You’re so good to me, and to have him email me that right before the kids get here letting me know everything will be okay…thank you Father…you’re so, so good to me…” and other expressions of thanks and worship to Him.
Lesson: The Father will always confirm what He tells you, for in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses is every word confirmed. If He doesn’t quickly confirm something by an independent source, do nothing until He confirms. In other words, if someone prophesies to you that He wants you to move half way across the world, don’t do it unless that is something He has already told you or been dealing with you about. Personal prophecy in the NT is not new information to the receiver; it will be something He has communicated to you personally and privately in your heart, first. (See Paul’s life: Acts 9:16, 20:22-23, 21:4, 11)
Question: So why just tell me about it rather than going ahead and healing me of the issues?
I had one other time since age 18 I had something in my body that wouldn’t be healed when I commanded it to be healed. That was in 2007 when I had a hard bump on the back of my neck that over the course of 2 months, did not obey my command to whither and die away. Our policy with our kids was always we’d lay hands on them for any sickness right away, but if they weren’t healed in 24 hours we’d go to the doctor.
But as an adult I use my own judgement. So after giving that bump 60 days to disappear and it not happening, I went to a dermatologist and was told it was a basal cell carcinoma, the dermatologist saying if there is any skin cancer to get, that would be it as it doesn’t spread unless completely ignored for years.
At that time I weighed 304 pounds (138k) and when they had me set up in the office my blood pressure was too high to do the cutting out of the bump. They wanted to put me on medicine, but I asked for 30 days because the Lord had been dealing with me about my weight, and I considered this the wake up call about that, which got me into the doctor – for if that basal cell had obeyed the Word and disappeared, I would probably have continued to not take my weight seriously. This got my attention.
The Word and Spirit are always together and always in agreement. The name of Jesus isn’t magic, for in Matthew 12:28 He said He casts out demons by the Holy Spirit – who actually does the work of healing and deliverance. So if you speak the name of Jesus repeatedly over something, but nothing is happening, it is because the Holy Spirit isn’t involved, and you had better stop and find out why.
So over 30 days I lost 29 pounds (13k),
I dropped from 304 pounds (138k) to 275 (125k), and when I went in to have it removed, my blood pressure was in the normal range. How? I walked at least 6 miles per day (10k), and limited my food intake.
Lesson: Our responsibility is to do what we can in the natural, rather than for fear of what the natural might uncover, ignore it in the hopes God will do something that would allow us to not deal with the natural. That is the sin of presumption – the sin of making something that is your responsibility, God’s. He won’t budge, so face the fear and deal with it.
And then came January 12…
As I said, the above was in 2007. But over the last couple of years our youngest son, Brian, had been urging me to get a physical, with his brother, Jason, in agreement, with encouraging words like “Dad, you’re getting older, you need to get a physical…”, his urgings were always kind and respectful, but they hit me in my ears like “Dad, you’re an old man, and you being way old and getting older old man, you really need to have a doctor examine you from top to bottom because you’ve never had a full physical and you don’t want to be caught by surprise, old man.”
But after promising yet delaying, and my weight hovering at 277 pounds (125k) no matter how many calories I tried to cast out of my food (wish it was that easy), I made an appointment for January 12, 2016. Everything the Father had told me and Lou’s email was bouncing around my brain without a clue what it all meant.
I also wondered; ‘Why just tell me about an upcoming health issue instead of healing me?’ and secondly, ‘What condition in my body are you trying to arrest my attention about so I can deal with it?’
The medical practice that has been our family doctors since 1993 is an openly Christian company, with nearly all doctors taking part in medical missions, so there is always prayer with the doctor at the end of the visit, and peace over everything. That said, my doctor looked at me and told me I was obese at 277 pounds, a rank of ’30′ in the government’s Body Mass Index (BMI), my blood pressure was high. He said I needed to lose 20-40 pounds (9-18k)…and then he listened to my heart…good long listen. The kind of lingering over your chest that makes you wonder what he’s doing lingering…
“Hmmm” the doctor said….”We need to do an EKG. Right now.” and the next thing I know some woman is shaving chest hair off me like she was prepping for the spring shearing of the sheep as I lay flat on my back, followed by being hooked up to wires like some 7th grade science experiement. “You have Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, and I want you to see a Cardiologist next week.”
He put me on 1 low dose (81mg) aspirin in the evening and gave me a chart to track my blood pressure at home, and made me return in a week to check my results. He said with AFib the blood can slow down and pool in the chambers of the heart, an aspirin with help thin the blood a little and keep it moving.
What is AFib?
The cardiologist explained that the heart has 4 quadrants, the atrial being the top part, and fibrillation being a fluttering caused by wild and crazy electrical signals firing in (my) top left quadrant. With a resting heart rate of 53-59 my overall electrical health is very good, but in that top left quadrant I had the electrical equivalent of a room of kindergartners running around after having cake and ice cream and then cookies on top of that.
I’ve run out of room – I’ll pick it up here next week. Blessings,