I’ve heard a preacher recently say that “pain will always seek pleasure to ease the pain” in which I would also add to escape or forget: “Pain will always seek pleasure to ease, escape or to forget the pain.” If I’m honest this was why I started to do drugs and what kept me addicted to drugs. In this life we will experience all sorts of pain, but what will either make us or break us how we deal with this pain. God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5) which means to me that whenever I suffer pain, He promises to be with me in my pain and the Bible tells me that if God is there, He will work all things for my good (Romans 8:28). This is an amazing truth. And it is in the midst of embracing this truth that we can being to imagine a life free from all the pain and suffering that a broken and fallen world filled with selfish and sinful people have caused us. This why I love this song so much because it speaks of this kind of hope the presence of God brings to a broken life.
Over this past month, I’ve been wrestling with the loneliness that has been holding my heart hostage. This loneliness has stolen much of my passion and motivation. I’ve been feeling extremely stuck. Hence, this past short break from blogging. Though it’s only been about a month, it feels much longer because before hitting this speed bump in my heart I’ve been in a pretty good rhythm of faith and life. But, as I have been wrestling within my heart, soul and mind with this growing loneliness I’ve come to realize that unless this loneliness is addressed it will continue to derail me and cause me to stumble You see, I have within me (as we all do) a sexual longing that seeks to be fulfilled.
In the past, I’ve allowed this sexual longing to control me which has propelled me to explore a variety of avenues to gain sexual satisfaction, none of which were at all pleasing to the Lord. Since coming to faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit has taken me on a journey of freedom. Freedom from all the many soul ties I’ve made with the various women of past relationships which have controlled me by keeping me living in the regrets of the past. It’s amazing how past disappoints and moments of rejection and betrayal can linger and fester in one’s heart. But, as Jesus has broken these soul ties and brought healing to my wounded heart, I’ve gained greater freedom to live in the peace of the present while looking forward to a future of hope.
So, why am I still stuck wrestling with this loneliness today? Well, what the Lord has revealed to me (which has sparked this renewed vigor) is that I’ve been allowing my past relationships, regardless if they were healthy or not, and my inner fantasies of a future wife to comfort me in my loneliness, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to be my Comforter. It’s not that I wish to live in the past, the Holy Spirit has done that good work of setting me free from the shame, regret and pain of my past, but rather in my loneliness I’ve been comforting myself by remembering moments when I wasn’t lonely to give me relief. I’ve also been finding comforting in fantasizing about what being married will be like, even what I hope my wife will be like which isn’t all that healthy either because both reminiscencing and fantasizing have a way of idealizing and distorting reality.
It’s amazing, I’ve read and prayed Jesus’ Words to myself countless times in asking Holy Spirit to be my Comforter (John 14:16, 26). But, what this recent revelation has revealed to me is that though Holy Spirit is my Comforter, I’ve shunned His comfort in leiu of my own self-constructed comfort which to be honest really hasn’t worked out so well. So, in response to this gentle and loving revelation, I’ve begun to ask Holy Spirit to help me let go of my self-constructed system of comfort, so that I can begin to embrace Him as my Comforter in my loneliness. So this is my prayer: Father in Heaven thank You that You continually pour out Your grace upon our lives. Thank You Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit, Who comforts, helps, intercedes, advocates and strengthens us in our weakness. And Holy Spirit, great Comforter, come and comfort me. In Jesus Name, Amen.
On Sunday, September 27th, 2010, God supernaturally grew out one of my legs and then evened them out. Yes, a physical creative miracle happened. The back story on this is that over the last four or five years my lower back has been steadily giving me more and more pain. All of this culminated a week before when I flew from Los Angeles to Chicago (September, 19th). After the flight I started to feel a sharp pain in my left leg and it even started to go numb from time to time. On Monday, I rested as much as I could, but the pain was still there. On Tuesday, I was walking through a grocery store and in the back by the pharmacy there was a little stand where a chiropractic business was checking people’s balance. I filled out the form and let them know that I had ongoing lower back pain and that now my left leg had just started to hurt and go numb from time to time. So, they had me stand on two scales, one for each foot and checked my balance. What the balance test revealed was that I leaned almost 12 pounds (5.5 kg) to my left leg which normally should only be a 2-3 pounds (0.9-1.2 kg) difference confirming that added pressure was being put on my sciatic nerve and was possibly causing the numbness.
To back up a bit, the week before all of this happened I felt the Lord really challenge me while I was at a prayer meeting (Septmeber 15th) where people were praying for healing for a woman. I very distinctly heard Jesus ask me: “Do you really believe that the Father will give you anything that you ask of Him in My Name?” His voice wasn’t an audible voice, but I distinctly felt and heard His voice reverberate throughout the whole of my being. I heard it in my head and in my heart all at the same time. It was like Jesus was speaking directly to my spirit. So, for the next few days I really wrestled with this question. But as I wrestled, Holy Spirit kept reminding me that the only reason that I live, move and have my being in Him at all is because of God’s grace. All the blessings in my life are truly undeserved; be it healing, salvation, deliverance, redemption or restoration. As Paul so eloquently put it, “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT).
If you know my story, then you may think that if anyone should get this it’s me. But, though I have experienced many supernatural moves of God’s grace in my life, I still wrestled deep within my heart with a distorted view of God’s heart towards me. God’s heart towards us is to heal, save, redeem and restore, period. I mean He gave up His one and only Son, Jesus, so that He could accomplish all of these things through an intimate relationship with us for all eternity. That’s God’s heart towards us. He’s not stingy with His love, goodness, mercy and grace, but infinitely generous and compassionate when it comes to gifting, blessing and showing favor towards us. We just need to believe and receive His love, goodness, mercy, grace, gifts, blessings and favor. Coming to this revelation has really freed up my heart and mind to just receive from the Lord and allow Him to pour out the fullness of His grace upon my life. In my wrestling what I was confronted with was the belief that 1) I thought I needed to work for God’s grace, 2) I didn’t think that God wanted to show me more of His favor and 3) because I was too proud or too ashamed I would just plain refuse to accept God’s favor. But, the breakthrough came when I began repenting for these distorted beliefs of trying to earn God’s favor by working for it, of my own self-condemnation that I projected onto God thinking He didn’t want to show me more of His favor and of my pride and shame that refused to accept God’s goodness and blessings towards me.
Now back to the healing miracle at hand. After leaving the balance test, I began to think that maybe my left leg was a little longer than the other and because of this has effected my lower back over the years which is quite typical from what I understand. That night I had my connect group (small group) pray for my back, a couple people said they definitely felt like there was a spiritual component, one of them saw an image of a vine wrapped around one of my legs. When I woke up on Wednesday, the pinching and numbness was gone. Later that day I felt like I should try and measure my legs and ask for God to even them out. So, I sat on my bed stretched my legs out and placed my hands on my right hip and began to simple ask the Father in Jesus Name to even out my legs. Nothing fancy. Right away my right hip began to tingle for a minute or so and then stopped. In my spirit, I really felt like God did do something, but I wasn’t sure what. So, I thanked God for healing me and that was that. (I know this post is extra long, but I really want to give as clear and detailed account of everything that happened, so please bear with me. I promise you it’s worth it.)
Fast forward to Sunday, September 27th, 2010 around 8pm. I am at a teaching session on healing (through my church: CITC) at Chris and Nancy Whiteley’s house. As the teaching portion was ending, I asked the group to pray for my back pain. I didn’t go into detail of what had transpired earlier in the week, but did share that I felt like my back pain had a spiritual component, was possibly connect to a generational curse and that I felt like one of my legs could possibly be longer than the other. So, Nancy and Chris led me through a prayer of repentance over the generational curse over my family and then began prayerfully breaking in Jesus Name any connection that a spirit of infirmary may have had over my back pain and began praying for healing and restoration to any degenerative damage to my back. During this time I really didn’t feel anything at all. So, next they had me sit in a wooden chair with my lower back resting fully against the back of the chair. Chris then had me lift my legs and he held my feet together to see if they were different lengths. After the group looked at my legs they said that my right leg was definitely a little shorter than the left.
So, while Chris was holding my feet, Dave Foster put his hand on my right shin and began to invite the Holy Spirit to come and bring healing to my leg. Then Taylor Lyall, who had his hand on my right thigh began to command my right leg to grow out in Jesus Name. Here’s where it gets good. All of a sudden my right leg from the knee down began to tingle like crazy and then it felt like someone yanked really hard on my right foot and I literally felt my leg grow out from around my ankle area. Everyone there started screaming that my foot just totally grew out like an inch or so (maybe around 3 cm). Personally, it really felt like my leg had grown too much. I didn’t say anything but then Chris had Monica come put her hand on my feet and she began to pray that God would even out my legs. Then my left ankle area began to tingle too and it really felt like both my legs were shifting about. It was quite a strange feeling. I was literally holding onto the chair like I was about to take off or something. All in all, I think we prayed for maybe 10 minutes while I was sitting in the chair. Afterwards, when I stood up it definitely felt different.
Today (September 27th), as I am writing this the calf muscle in my right leg feels extra tight and my right knee feels a bit weird like it’s adjusting or something. I have no more pain in my lower back, but I do feel like the muscles back there are a tiny bit sore as well. Maybe my lower back muscles, nerves and tendons are also adjusting I’ll see over then next few weeks if I need more restorative prayer on my back. Over the weekend, I bought a balance board and ordered a Bosu ball because I wanted to work on resetting my balance. I’m glad I did because now I can work on my balance, not because I have one leg shorter than the other, but because God miraculously lengthened and evened out my legs and now I need to reset my balance because I have too legs that are the same length. God’s grace and goodness towards us is so amazing! So amazing!!!