Miracle or Providence?

 β€œ[the Lord] satisfies your desires with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103: 5

For about twenty years I ran about four miles a day, not because I enjoyed it, but because I thought it would be “good for me.” – WRONG!

By middle age I began avoiding some of my usual activities, such as tennis, because they caused serious knee pain. Still, I kept running, ignoring the message my knees were sending me.

My body started to pick up the megaphone when it became difficult even to walk without pain. I thought, Hmmm, maybe there’s something wrong here … (“Gee, ya think?!“) I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who informed me that I would probably need knee replacement surgery on both knees within the next five years.

I think sometimes we hesitate to ask God for help with a problem we’ve created ourselves. I don’t remember the words I prayed, only pain and tears.

The next day at school a fellow teacher knew something was wrong the moment she saw me.

“Annie, you’re not your usual happy self. What’s going on?” I told her what the doctor had said.

“I have a book for you!”

The next day she brought me a book entitled How I Beat Arthritis and Praise the Lord!

(Frankly, I had hoped the LORD would beat the arthritis for me, but I thanked her for it.)

The book began with the author’s “journey” from being unable to walk across a room, to being active and pain-free. Her first piece of advice was, if you don’t do anything else, Ditch the sugar. Although I thought I was eating very little sugar – a cookie here, an ice cream cone there – I accepted the challenge.

For the next couple of days, I avoided sweets like the plague, piled on the vegetables, and seasoned my food with things other than condiments with “sucrose” or “organic cane juice” hidden in the ingredients.

I was pleasantly surprised (shocked) that within two days I was walking without pain!

The rest of the book was pretty basic advice for healthy living, which I had been practicing anyway. I did increase some of the supplements I was taking and exercised with low impact activities like walking, biking, and kayaking. Cigarettes and alcohol weren’t a problem, since thankfully I had never picked up those habits, anyway.

It’s been over twenty years since that bleak prognosis, and I still have my original knees.

I don’t often give this “testimony,” because it’s not as exciting as a dramatic, instant “miracle.” But I do consider it a true healing from God, who made my body and has always known what I need. When I started to discover how to minimize arthritis pain, I was not a baby in the faith. I didn’t need God to prove Himself with an instantaneous healing, just so I could go on my merry way living the same lifestyle I always had.

As I have often told my children, and now my grandchildren, sometimes God gives us what we ask for, other times He give us something better. In this case, He gave me physical healing, but with the added bonus of self-discipline. And for someone who had struggled with an eating disorder, self-control was something I badly needed – not the “control” a bulimic teenager fools herself into believing she has, when she’s really out of control – but the healthy lifestyle of a child of God, who loves her Creator and wants to be a good steward of the body she’s been given.

These days I remain “sugar-free,” but I don’t preach it. Everyone’s body is unique, so if I give advice at all, it’s “This worked for me. You might try it.”

These days I bike, kayak, and walk with a spring in my step and gratitude in my heart. I’ll admit that when I come to a flight of stairs, I suddenly feel my age, but that’s just a reminder to thank the Lord for all the years He’s give me, and that I can still climb those stairs, however slowly.

Some of God’s “miracles” in the Bible can be explained by natural laws. Even the parting of the Red Sea happened after a strong east wind blew all night. (Exodus 14:21) An act of God doesn’t have to break the laws of nature – the laws He set in place. Sometimes it’s divine timing.

Why did the Red Sea “happen to” part just when the Israelites need to cross? Why did it “happen to” flow back just in time to drown the Egyptian army?

And why did I “happen to” encounter a fellow teacher with an answer the very day I needed it?

This is called Providence.

I have seen few miracles, but I have experienced Providence all my life. I only need “divine perspective” to recognize and praise God for it.

Prayer: Lord, You can do anything, any time You choose. Help us not to be lazy in our prayers, when You want us to partner with You in bringing about the answers we seek. Thank You for giving us knowledge and the power to use that knowledge for our benefit and the benefit of others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

51 thoughts on “Miracle or Providence?

  1. Oh, beautiful, Annie! Love it. Three cheers for the goodness of God and His providence.

    I too have learned how to listen to my body and I’m vulnerable to sugar. One thing I’ve learned how to do is slip in a lot of healthy fats, fish, avocado, olive oil, nut butters, coconut oil. It calms my blood sugar levels and serves to satisfy my cravings for sugar. The downside is that those things all have a whole lot of calories. I’m laughing, because on the other hand I can move a lot more and you won’t get any exercise if you can’t move.

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  2. I love how practical this post is, Annie. Often we spiritualise the things we could easily take care of ourselves. For example, I once heard a pastor say that he never needs to ask for guidance on whether to take a shower in the morning πŸ™‚
    I also love your comment that your aching knees today are a reminder to thank God for all the years he’s already given you. What a wonderful approach to the aging process.
    Thanks for another humorous, thought-provoking read!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love the reminder of the Providence of God. So many times, the voice I need to hear ” just happens to be there right when I need it.
    I’m seventy now, and still working. Physical job. Until recently, I was mostly pain free, but now, little injuries seem to bring more pain than in the past. The job is not as enjoyable when pain is ever present.
    I like sugar.
    But. . . Your advice is compelling.
    Maybe this blog is included in His Providence for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha. It’s not a death sentence, Randy. Check out stevia, monk fruit, or Truvia, which has both – they’re natural sweeteners that are surprisingly tasty. I use them to sweeten coffee and tea, yogurt, and my homemade chocolate. Once you’re past the initial “withdrawal” the absence of pain feels so good, that helps, too.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. β€œBut I do consider it a true healing from God, who made my body and has always known what I need.”
    Annie,
    I love this entire post but that sentence jumped out. And as you say so beautifully here, we only NEED Divine Perspective to recognize and praise God for His Providence in meeting those needs!
    Oh, that we have eyes to see and hearts of gratitude! Wonderful message. Thank you. ❀️
    Deb

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  5. This is great, Ann. Thanks. What a massive blessing. Someone was moved upon to write a book that contained the very answer you needed. I love it when a plan comes together! All glory to the Lord Jesus for all He does and what He did for you. AMEN

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  6. Great timing for me. I, for the most part, eat very little sugar but a week ago I happened to buy a package of reduced-priced treats from the bakery the problem was they were “bite” size. Every time I walked through the kitchen I popped another one in my mouth. Then felt ashamed of my lack of control when I had eaten the whole package in two days. I woke with achy joints for most of the week. Now I see the source of pain. Thanks, Annie, for sharing your experience.

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    1. (Yep, those “bite size” treats get me every time. :/
      Glad you made the connection – God’s timing again? All I can say is, it’s worth a try to avoid sugar for a while. There are a lot of tasty treats available that are sweetened with natural things like stevia leaf and monk fruit. I make my own. I buy plain Greek yogurt, add concentrated tart cherry juice (a natural anti-inflammatory), sweeten it with Truvia, and add a dash of almond extract for extra special flavor. Since the tart cherry juice also has melatonin, it makes a good bedtime treat. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is amazing and such a blessing. This quote made me laugh, β€œFrankly, I had hoped the LORD would beat the arthritis for me, but I thanked her for it.” Sometimes God responds with specific instructions and ask us to step out in faith and participate in making the miracle happen. I also like what you said aboutβ€˜being a good steward of the body that God gave us.’ We don’t often think of our bodies in this way, but consider money and resources when it comes to stewardship. Your article highlights the fact that our body is the most valuable possession given to us by God. Stay blessed. πŸ™πŸΎ

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anneta. Your phrase ‘specific instructions ‘ makes me think of Naaman, the great Syrian commander who had leprosy. The Lord told him through a prophet to go dip in the Jordan 7 times, and he was angry that the prophet didn’t come and heal him in person. It took a Jewish servant girl telling him, in essence, “Why don’t you just do it?” He did and was healed. (II Kings 5:1-19)

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      1. Amen πŸ™πŸΎ. The promises of the Lord are yes and amen. Lovely story and example of Naaman’s healing. There are so many in the bible. The leprous men were told to go show themselves to the priest. And as they went, they received healing. πŸ™πŸΎ

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Frankly, I had hoped the LORD would beat the arthritis for me, but I thanked her for it – that really jumped out at me. I feel like I have wanted the Lord to automatically sort things out. Like you shared besides physical healing you also learnt discipline. God always does more than we expect him to. A wonderful story of healing Ann. An encouraging reminder of his providence and care.

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  9. Amazing. I really like sweets. Chocolate. Caramel ice cream. A whole bag full of marshmallows. However… my doctor sent me to an orthopedic surgeon last month, to see about my very painful right shoulder. I was told that I have osteoarthritis and that the only surgery that will help is a complete shoulder replacement. Eek.

    Next week, I am going to see a cardiologist because I’m having heart issues all of a sudden. Good grief. I’m ‘only’ 69. I still feel like a very young person, on the inside. I exercise every day and I take health supplements. Why is my body falling apart all of a sudden?

    I like sweets SO MUCH. But, I really don’t like this pain. I will give the sugar free diet a try. Uhmm.. maybe…. πŸ˜‰

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  10. Ann, By the time I reached the end of your post, a verse had come to mind; it’s actually the second part of Nahum 1:7, which says, “He cares for those who trust in him.” I see that clearly in the story you told, and I’m grateful that you have no trouble walking! When I was much younger, I was afraid that I had really done something bad to my back, but it’s as strong as ever–my knees are fine, too. πŸ˜€ I would really miss hiking otherwise. Thank you, Lord!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keith, I think it’s good for us to lose some of those little pleasures of life now and then. It keeps us grateful. Every time I step outside for a walk, I always start with taking a deep breath of fresh air, smiling, and thanking the Lord. πŸ™‚

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  11. I agree that there is a connection between how we eat and how we feel. My diabetes has forced me to cut back on the sugar (and I didn’t just have a sweet tooth, I had a mouthful of sweet teeth). I find I have less arthritis pain when my eating habits are healthier.

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  12. That doesn’t surprise me, Debi Sue. I’m glad we don’t have to choose between healthy blood sugar and healthy joints. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and healthy habits benefit us in multiple ways. It’s taken me decades of being a “health nut” to learn, and I’m still learning. In some ways I’m healthier than I was fifty years ago.
    Stay well and happy! πŸ™‚

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  13. What a great way to explain Providence! I love sitting down sometimes and reviewing my journals because it’s then that I can truly pick out God’s Providence over the years. Sometimes it’s easy to miss πŸ™‚

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    1. That’s a GREAT idea, Jennifer! It’s like the “bug in the rug” after crawling around in the seemingly random threads, when he finally sprouts wings and flies over the rug and sees the whole pattern. – Not calling you a bug, mind you … πŸ˜‰

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  14. We definitely are all different. I always thought that running wasn’t for me and when I tried (because I can do anything, right?) I found out that I was right all along – it was not for me. My body quickly started yelling that on repeat until I was long done with trying to run. However, there are people up there in age who still run and are not complaining one bit about their physical health.

    Glad you found something right away that worked for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This is a great post Annie! I feel like Divine providence is something I often overlook, and this has been a great reminder, as that very verse from Psalm 103 is one God spoke to me about many years ago, and is why I try to eat healthy, but my sweet tooth has definitely been getting the better of me again lately. 😬 I needed this nudge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been getting so many responses like yours, and it occurred to me that there’s a verse in Scripture that was written before refined sugar existed, about eating too much honey – Proverbs 25:27. So I guess that “sweet tooth” has been around for a long time!

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  16. Given How God work often through providence I wish believers give more praises to God and testimonials of providential working as equally as important as miracles. Your description of hurt knees makes me think of how I can’t run anymore with knee pains every time I run

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  17. Thank you for sharing this story. It seems like half the people I know are getting knee replacements. I love that you found a better way!! I can’t help but wonder how many of my friends could have avoided knee replacement if they knew about the no sugar treatment! I just finished eating my cinnamon toast – you know, cinnamon and sugar! I have a sweet tooth, but I’m going to try and cut back! Blessings, Annie!

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    1. I hate to sound like a commercial for this stuff, but I enjoy cinnamon toast, too. I just replace the sugar with Truvia. (or some kind of granulated stevia and monk fruit) I get the giant boxes of it at Costco, the way restaurants buy it. 😏

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    2. P. S. As for your friends, I have told a lot of people about this, especially those near and dear to me who claim they really want a solution. When they find out it means giving up sugar, most of them have said, “Forget it.” Or a more polite, “Oh well.” They ended up eventually going with the surgery. Apparently when offered a solution that involves self-denial, it’s not acceptable to them. As I said in the piece, I would have liked an instant miracle, but God had other plans for me, and I’m not complaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I hate to sound like a commercial for this stuff, but I enjoy cinnamon toast, too. I just replace the sugar with Truvia. (or some kind of granulated stevia and monk fruit) I get the giant boxes of it at Costco, the way restaurants buy it. 😏

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  19. Congratulations on keeping your knees, Annie! And–did I know you are/were a teacher? I taught elementary school for 26 years. As for sugar, I eat very little except on special occasions–like a sliver of birthday cake at someone’s party. I do not feel my age (70-something!!), suffer few aches and pains, and stay quite active. Exercise and healthy eating habits make SUCH a big difference!

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    1. Yes, they do, Nancy! I am still learning about what exactly certain foods do – We are “fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139:14)
      I taught French and music to K-5th grade, English and speech at the middle school level, and English, Literature, Speech, and drama at the high school level – not all at the same time, or course. πŸ˜‰ Over the years, I taught in public school, private school, Christian school, charter school, and in a home school co-op.

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      1. Wow! Your teaching career certainly included a lot of variety! My experience spanned K-4th grade, but out of 26 years in the classroom, I spent 20 in 4th. Never got tired of it; tweaking the curriculum and strategies year by year kept it fresh!

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