I read a lot of things on social media that are thought provoking – some even quite enlightening. But rarely does someone say something that would cause me to reevaluate or alter my thinking. But yesterday a person made such a profound declaration: “If God’s Word says do it… you need not be ‘LED’ to do it, you need to be ‘LED’ not to.”
Though I’ve been blessed multiple times with miraculous interventions in my life and in the lives of people I’ve prayed for, many more times I’ve been guilty of backing away from such ministering to the hurting and the needy, because of past “failures” and personal limitations and weaknesses. I’ve tended to rationalize: if I’m not 100% healthy or physically whole, how can I minister healing; if I have worries and concerns, how can I minister inner healing; if I’m going through a financial or relational struggle, how can I minister to those who are challenged in those areas. But when Jesus said, “Lay hands on the sick and they shall recover,” or “cast out demons” or “make disciples,” or “declare how much God has done for you,” He didn’t add the condition “only if you’re perfect in that area.” This is all a lie of the enemy to reduce the strength of God’s ambassadors to the lost and hurting.
Effective today, I’m no longer going to wait to tell others what God has done for me –
even if the work is not yet finished
On May 6, 2002 I awoke in a Minneapolis Hampton Inn to a serious vision problem in my left eye – I was looking at a swirling mass of black lines. I went on to my second day of meetings at United Defense and flew back home that evening. Sandy wanted me to go to an eye doctor immediately, but as with every suggestion regarding my health, I ignored the problem for two more days, assuming it would gradually clear up, and went on to work. See, twenty years earlier I had been miraculously healed from what I considered much more serious problems that were threatening my life, and over the years I’d prayed for many people and seen God often intervene to heal them as well – so I reasoned I didn’t need to go to doctors, except for my annual physical.
Just before lunch of my second day back at work I mentioned my situation to a co-worker. He got my attention with a frightening warning that it could be a brain tumor. I took the phone number of his ophthalmologist and called immediately, and the doctor agreed to see me that afternoon.
I was told I’d experienced a vitreous hemorrhage. The vitreous is attached to the back part of the eye to the optic nerve and the large retinal blood vessels. Over the next few weeks several treatments were administered, including three sessions of 400 to 500 each laser shots to seal off the flow of blood from the hundreds of minute blood vessels that had grown out of the original tear. The initial problem was stabilized, but sight in the left eye deteriorated. Blood from the original break had settled around the retina. He said in most cases, this blood will dissipate over time. So we waited it out. After about another six months my eye doctor sent me to a retina specialist for a second opinion.
Over the next half year I had cataract surgery (just so the specialist could physically see the back of the eye), and a few hundred more laser shots. Finally he determined that the blood had caked around the retina and would have to be surgically removed. By this time the eye was nearly blind. After the surgery the specialist notified me he had removed 95% of the blood, but the retina was totally dead, and I would never see out of it again.
He was wrong! The brain naturally adjusts to the use of one eye, so the problem never kept me from driving, reading or doing just about everything I used to do. Still, it was irritating that I’d lost vision in one eye. So I continued to pray for full restoration. I used to go up to the altar quite often to have hands laid on me, but I decided about seven years ago that God knew my heart and would eventually restore the vision in the left eye to 20/20 in His timing.
Around that time I began to see some improvements. First I could see forms, then the “large E” on the eye chart, and finally the second largest line of letters started to come partially into view. Today I still can’t read with the left eye alone; but if I had to, I could maneuver around without running into walls or people. Though it’s never kept me from ministering healing to others; I rarely volunteered information about this physical deficiency. I told myself that once my sight was 100% restored I’d declare it everywhere I went.
Today I’ve decided that in the future I’m going to include this story in my testimony of God’s goodness and compassion. It will be up to my Lord how He uses it to minister encouragement and faith to others.