How do I know God is real? I’ve experienced Him in extraordinary ways; it’s as simple as that. To read what I’ve written in previous posts of this series, click here:
God is Real–Part Three (a hurtful e-mail)
God is Real–Part Five (a zany miracle)
Here is another example of my experience with God, proving Himself real to me. Years ago I had a skiing accident and tore my ACL. It was repaired and I recovered well, with the help of physical therapy. Then, several years later (perhaps 20 years ago now) I went to a couple’s home for a farewell party and their dog came running out to greet us. Since it was heading towards my bad knee I twisted to avoid it. Just like that, my knee gave out, for the first (and only) time since surgery. I couldn’t walk on it and was soon in surgery for an arthroscopic procedure to see what was injured. The ACL was broken loose and balled up in the center, so the doctor removed it through the tiny incision. I was supposed to undergo physical therapy for a few weeks, recover from the surgery, and then have the ACL repaired. For a while I was getting better, and no longer needed to use crutches. But after about six weeks I realized I was getting worse again and eventually had to use crutches again, due to the pain. Surgery was not possible until we could discover what was going on with the knee. After bone scans, a spinal tap and more physical therapy, it was decided that my knee had developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). As I understand it, it’s a nerve related disease with no apparent reason for the pain (it is now known as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). It has to do with messages being relayed by the nerves back and forth from the brain. We decided against knee surgery to repair the ACL and, in fact, my knee was very stable, surgery didn’t seem necessary, and it was not recommended with this new problem of pain.
Now fast forward a few years. They had said that “RSD” could develop anywhere in my body, and when I needed surgery in both shoulders for bone spurs, they were reluctant to do the procedure, and put it off as long as possible, for fear that RSD would develop. But the pain was getting worse and we eventually decided to do one shoulder; the result was great. We waited six months; I healed up from the surgery and had no RSD causing further problems, so we decided to do the other shoulder. However, as soon as I began to recover from the second surgery, I became aware of the fact that “RSD” was now in several areas–both knees, my neck, and both shoulders. I couldn’t reach for items in the kitchen cabinets without deep pain; it hurt to open a door or even carry a purse. I could hardly function in normal ways. One night, I prayed to God, “I can’t handle this. You’re the only One that can heal me, and I ask you to heal me. I can’t function.”
Lo and behold, when I awoke in the morning the pain was gone, 100%, even in my knee. I knew I didn’t need to take the Tylenol that I has been taking each morning. There was NO pain. I didn’t take anything for over a month. And then the pain returned, but only in the knee. Why? I believe He allowed the pain to return in one area in order to remind me that everyone has some kind of pain. Think about it: you do somewhere–relational, financial, spiritual, or in some other area. Somebody you love has died, or will die soon. Some relationship is not quite what you’d hoped it would be. Parenting is hard. Jobs are difficult. You’re frustrated with politics or the church or your community. Everyone has pain.
I’ll never forget the fact that God healed me overnight, and that it lasted a full month. I’ll never forget that others around me are hurting, too. I’ll never go running to another doctor to see if he or she can heal my knee; I already know that God is the One who can heal it, and He will if He chooses. Previous to this I had gone to many different doctors and was receiving suggestions coming from lots of people about how to find healing. I no longer need to run around to every doctor and clinic. I’m OK with the pain; I can live with it and be thankful every day that it isn’t my back, or a more serious condition. I use a great knee brace when standing for any length of time.
Do I ever go to doctors any more? Of course, but I’m no longer looking for answers to this knee problem. Why doesn’t God heal every disease and pain for good? I don’t know. He will when we arrive in Heaven, assuming we have trusted Him with our lives and salvation. But I do know, for certain, that He’s real. I’ve experienced His instantaneous healing more than once. A month without pain was heavenly, literally; how much better will the real place be!