“[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.