This is not meant to be a blog about my personal life, but …
Yesterday my wife had back surgery for a bulging disk. It was huge; 18 mm, for those that have an idea of what that is. The nerve that exits between her bottom vertebrae and tailbone was completely crushed–flattened out–against the bone at the back of the tunnel.
People with bulging or herinated disks have problems if the disk even touches the nerve. This nerve was completely flattened by the bulge. The surgeon commented, both when looking at the MRI and after surgery, “That was a huge disk.”
My wife’s been struggling with sciatica for almost two years. We’ve tried numerous therapies, two of which worked very well for some time. A chiropractor got her relief for six months, and the muscle release techniques found at Julie Donnelly’s web site got her relief for a month. Decompression therapy helped also, even at the end, but only for the day it was done and sometimes the next day.
In the end, none of it worked because the disk was compressing the nerve.
Help from God
One of the things that drove me to belief in God during the short time I was an atheist was a movie called In the Presence of Mine Enemies, a story about a man who was a POW in Vietnam for seven years.
I remember at the end of the movie, all the POW’s were released at the same time. They gathered in the yard and sang “God Bless America,” and then they all got on their knees and gave thanks to God.
As an atheist, that completely threw me. Why were they giving thanks to God? Howard Rutledge, the subject of the story, had been tortured and mistreated for seven years! Why give thanks to God for that?
If God could have saved him, why didn’t he save him at the start, before all the torture?
As I lay in bed that night, I knew there was only one reason that every one of the prisoners would give thanks to God. There was only one reason that none of those prisoners were atheists.
God had helped them during their imprisonment. They were not simply tortured and mistreated. They were also comforted by God.
Nothing else made sense to me.
This surgery for my wife was a similar experience (though, of course, not near so drastic in suffering). By the night before surgery, my wife was able to say, “God’s been so in control of all of this that even if something awful happens and I end up in a wheel chair, I’ll know it is the will of God.”
We’ve prayed and cried out to God, and he’s answered in so many little ways that there’s no describing it. I walked around the surgery center to pray while she was in surgery, and I knew everything would be okay. I didn’t pray; I gave thanks to God.
In fact, one of the last “little things” to happen was that two days before surgery I picked up Watchman Nee’s A Living Sacrifice. I flipped it open at random, wanting to have a little “devotion” time, and I read the chapter on prayer.
Nee said that one should pray until faith comes. Once faith comes, there is no more need for prayer. You have your answer. Any further prayer will only dissipate faith. Once faith comes, praise is in order, not prayer.
That is so true, and I was reminded of that as I circled the surgery center during the operation. Faith had come, and we had peace.
The surgery was a complete success, by the way.