It’s a Monday morning and the alarm clock was an adversary. I got prepared for work, kissed my wife, and was ready to leave out the door. I bent over to pick up my bag and a sharp pain pierced my lower back. It was so spasmodic I had to pause and stay in that position. I tried to straighten myself, but it was impossible. I just stood there, back arched like a candy cane, not understanding what had just happened. I managed to turn around and sit in a chair. My wife gave me a look that meant in secret code, “Yeh right mister. You’re going to work today, so don’t even try the act.”
Sitting in that chair I remember feeling like somebody impaled me with a corkscrew. It was torture.
Not easily convinced, my wife asked, “ What’s wrong?”
“My back baby. I can’t move”, I said.
I tried to stand up, but the pain was too much. I was in no condition to go to work so I had to call off. My wife left for her job, not fully persuaded I was for real. I sat in that chair all day until I was forced to crawl to the bathroom. That was all I could find the courage and the strength to do. Fear was taking over. I had no car and no medical benefits at the time so I was reluctant to go to the hospital. I figured it would get better in a few days.
The third day of my torment I had no choice but to go to the emergency room. I was able to walk slowly with my wife’s help. Thank God for a help meet.
Holding back howls of agony throughout the tempestuous bus ride, we finally arrived in Chicago’s Cook county ER. I could tell there would be a long wait. The place was packed. We got to the hospital at about 9:30am, and I was outraged by the time it was 4:00pm. Still not seen by doctor and ignored by the world, I sat in that pitiful excuse for a seat frustrated. Then I heard a soft still voice speak to me as if someone was whispering in my ear.
“Go home”, He said.
I ignored the instructions at first. Then He spoke to me again, and a third time. At that point I knew the Holy Ghost was trying to get my attention.
“Lord, I need to see a doctor today. This pain is too much for me to deal with, and I need to know what’s wrong”, I said in my defense.
“Go home”, He repeated. This was the only response to my plea.
I yielded, got up, and my wife helped me leave. She didn’t seem surprised when I said, “Let’s go.” I suppose she was tired of waiting as well. Amazingly, not one person seemed to notice a slumped six foot three inch man walking out the ER at zero miles per hour.
The fourth morning my wife and I prayed, just like always. She went to work and I was left in the bed. Later, I made my way to the living room to watch some tv. I had to do something to distract me from the pain. I laid on the couch and immediately I broke down. I had never been through any health problems all my life. “Why God? What did I do wrong? I can’t take this!” Then the Lord spoke to me again.
“You asked me to heal you, and I have. Why haven’t you praised me for it”?
“God, I’m still in pain. How can I praise you? I can hardly walk.” I shot back.
“You know my Word. You encourage my people to magnify me in the midst of their trials. Now stand to your feet and glorify me”.
I tried to stand and was immediately met with powerful spasms. I pressed through the anguish and attacked the pain the only way I could.
Over deep sobs I began to praise God. I thanked Him for all the things He delivered me from. I praised Him for my freedom from drugs, alcohol, lust, hatred, and a host of other habits that once enslaved me. I thanked Him for my wife and family. I thanked Him for shelter, remembering I was once homeless. I thanked Him for counting me worthy to be a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a message of hope, peace, love, deliverance, and ministering to the needs of others, knowing I had been a man of selfishness and hatred. I thanked Him for all things and praised Him for my healing.
I felt the presence of God, a heavenly visitation from God’s throne to my little one bedroom apartment. Oh, how he loves us! What an awesome Father we have!
I shouted praises for His mercy, His compassion, His grace, and His favor. Suddenly, I realized that I was not only standing, but I was walking around the living room without any pain at all in my back. I fell to my knees overwhelmed with joy.
That day I experienced what I preached many times in the past. Prayer, fasting, and faith are just the beginning of redemption. Praise is what completes our deliverance.