Dear Readers, A former teacher of mine recently learned she has inoperable lung cancer. She sent her students and colleagues an email describing her illness and letting us know that we would not be hearing from her again. She did not know that only 15 months ago, I was involved in a serious accident that threatened to leave me crippled for the remainder of my life. At the urging of my friend, I am sharing the letter with you in the hope you will forward it to anyone you know who is in need of a real miracle. ~Jo
I am so sorry to hear this distressing news and my heart reaches out to you. I know I was only a student in your class, but I felt you were a kind and generous spirit, and you made a great impression on me. You were an excellent teacher and I thank you for all the “newsy” stuff you have taken the time to send over the years.
Helen, I want to share something personal with you too and I hope it encourages you during this difficult time.
It’s a true story about a real miracle.
In June 2008, I was struck by a car while riding my bicycle. My ankle was seriously broken, and had to be rebuilt with pins, plates and screws.
The surgeon who operated on me said it was one of the worst injuries he had seen in his 30-year career. My prognosis looked grim.
On top of this, because I work as an independent contractor, I had no medical insurance.
Suddenly my life came to a screeching halt. My ability to work was gone, my ability to care for myself was gone, and I was not eligible for disability. I was going to need a great deal of physical therapy and I had no idea how I was going to pay for it.
I had arrived to the dark night of my soul.
I cannot describe the physical pain I experienced. I had a difficult time with the pain medications, which made me very nauseous, and most of the time I was seriously numb.
The only thing I had left was my faith.
Sure, I had friends and family, but no one can truly understand the depth of such pain unless they have gone through it, for which reason I am reaching out to you now.
I wore a cast for nearly two months and could not leave the house except for doctor visits. Once the cast was off, I had to wait a few more weeks until the staples on both sides of my leg could be removed. Then it was a laborious process of healing, bathing and trying to get around the house on my own. During this time, I had two serious falls that added more pain to the already painful process.
Needless to say, my spirit was down. I wondered about so many things and since all I could do was sit on my tush, I had plenty of time to think. I mentally turned the pages of my life and wondered what I had done to bring me to this place – if I had contributed to it in any way. I think that’s a reasonable question to ask when one believes in the laws of God like gravity and cause and effect.
That’s when the light went on!
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. ~Genesis 1:1-3
I remembered that in the beginning, there was only God. Before there was light, there was darkness. And God was there in that darkness, alive and fully present.
I was determined to bear my hour of darkness knowing that God was there with me.
I was also determined to accept what had happened to me in spite of what looked like an obscure and rocky road ahead. This was the turn in the road my life had taken and God must have a purpose for it.
But Job said unto his wife, You speak as one of the foolish women speak. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips. ~Job 2:10
I began thinking about all the people who have suffered in ways that I have never suffered – people who have borne devastation and humiliation and did nothing to deserve it.
And then I thought of a suffering Messiah – someone willing to bear the evil of others and ultimately be executed for a crime He never committed.
Suddenly my pain seemed lighter!
Well, to get to the miracle of my story, I will try and shorten it for you. :)
I asked myself, what can I do in this condition? The answer was clear.
I can give thanks.
I made that my singular goal every day. Once I reached my goal, I was satisfied.
As I gave God thanks each day, for the pain and for the trouble I didn’t fully understand, it was bearable.
Each day I grew stronger, in my body and my spirit.
The doctor was amazed at how quickly I was healing.
I started physical therapy earlier than expected.
The therapist commented on my positive attitude and determination. He told other patients to watch me and follow my example. I became a cheerleader for others in spite of my own trouble.
That’s when I knew God had allowed all this to happen to achieve something beautiful and good. He was teaching me important lessons and He was using me to help others!
It made sense. God doesn’t have a body because He is a spirit. So He uses ours.
During physical therapy, I met a woman who had a nearly identical injury to mine. She had gone through six surgeries, was still using a walker, and it had been over three years since her injury. I later learned that she had tried to commit suicide only a short time before I met her. Since I had the same injury and knew the depth of her pain, I could encourage her to stand fast, to keep her faith intact, and to embrace her life no matter how unbearable it seemed, because God would never give her more than she was capable of bearing.
Imagine if I had tried to console her from an air-conditioned Rolls Royce! Or perched high above her on a cloud! No, I was down in the trenches with her and I could attest to the power of God to heal and raise our spirits back to life.
As I embraced the new life I had been given, I forgot about the money. I focused on living. What a great feeling! Yet the money arrived, to pay for my medical bills and to keep me going.
So my dear friend, be encouraged. It’s only been 15 months but I am walking and leaping for joy!
And know this, if I can do ANYTHING to help you, I would consider it a great honor.
I am only a phone call away. Please don’t hesitate to call.
In the meantime, I will keep you in my prayers and be cheering you on each day.