— Part V: Joy Comes with the Morning–
Against all odds, the levy of Hope held fast in the face of pain.
Each surge was met with a counterstrike of poignant and specific reassurance. Rarely have the gems of Scripture sat so gently on the surface waiting to be gleaned. The Psalms were like fruit trees shaking in the wind. When pain blew hard, the words of Scripture fell faster and sank further than doubt had the reach or right to go.
“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.” Ps 71:20-21
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
“O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death” Ps 30:2-3
On and on I could go, telling you of the Words that built walls to keep me from falling. Even now, as I thumb through the Book, the familiar verses are leaping up like soldiers volunteering for War. For each wave of assault that bucked and reared, a Truth mounted up to break it.
And if the Scriptures came up underneath me, all across the air flew the words of the saints: family, friends, those I hadn’t seen in years. The communication lines in unseen places were unmistakably buzzing. He was raising the saints to go to war. How many times did texts and messages wing their way to me with the words, “I woke praying for you”, “You’ve been on my mind”, “I was awake in the middle of the night, and I was praying”. “The Lord brought this passage to mind and I feel I am to tell you”.
I was being kept. Safe in the eye of the storm: not in my own power, resolve, or strength, but by the gracious hand of God.
16 days past the dream, on August 24th, the pain reached its summit. As I lay on the floor that early Sunday morning, I used my phone to submit my name to the church prayer list.
By that afternoon, it was obvious that the tempest in my body had begun to break up (praise God). While my spine still felt like it was either being violently compressed or wrenched apart, I was moving….and that was an answered prayer.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: the loudest peals and darkest clouds were drifting toward the horizon. While pain still yowled, its voice was growing dimmer.
Friday night, we sat at the table with dear friends whom we seldom see: the same couple with which we had shared a “last hurrah” meal the night before I started Gerson Therapy.
I woke the next morning, Saturday, August 30th, with the knowledge that something had changed in the night. I knew it before my limbs unfurled. Could it be? an August Easter, a Sunday resurrection on a Saturday morning.
I stretched, I tested it; and while there might have been the tiniest of pinches, something bound had been loosed in my hips and low back.
I said nothing, but in loving obedience to the whisper in my heart, stole silently out of my bedroom to gather the biggest, boldest, darkest pen I could find. In the solitude of my front porch porch swing, I dared say with ink what my mouth was yet unwilling to speak: “I think I’ve been healed”.
Could it be trusted? Was it real? Or had I invented the whole thing in some sort of Pollyanna delusion?
My Book fell open again to Isaiah 40, and the words gathered themselves to their full height and looked me full in the eye, “Comfort, comfort my people says the Lord. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned…”
I got up from my swing and bounded up the road, walking, faster, faster, faster. My legs swept over the pavement in full, long strides. The hips that had been bound for a year at the least, had broken free, and the Lazarus clothes were unwinding in the wind.
I returned, and with halting breath, sat beside Shayne on the bed and bared my too-good-to-be-true hopeful heart.
Could it be that the glorious and improbable Promise Maker had authored another? His art was unmistakable:
My lame legs had been made to walk one day shy of our one year anniversary on Gerson, and the same friends who marked the inauguration marked the miracle. Best of all, If this was really it, we were perfectly on course to finish the “four more miles” (months)– while still heeding the admonition to wait for last symptoms, then stay the course for three more.
Three weeks and one night had passed since the dream.
Cautiously, I began to tell others. I sent the text to a close group of friends, “I’ve woken for the first time in NO pain!”
Small twinges came with the daytime hours, but the mornings were a clean slate of wonder; the change had been nothing less than metamorphic. I felt like Pinocchio stretching his limbs as “a real boy”.
One relieved morning grew into two, and four, and ten, and fifteen.
…And if I were the Author of the story, this is where it would end.
Painlessness. Total and complete overturning of Night in one fell swoop that dazzled eternity, and struck back all shred of doubt and unbelief – the crescendo fortissimo that swells with cymbals crashing and tympani rolling. If I had gotten my way, the curtain would have fallen on this perfect high note.
But, thank God I am not the Composer. He was not finished with His fugue*.
*fugue- a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts.