2. Strengthening Oneself (Physically).
In high school, I played football and suffered a knee injury which required surgery. Four years later, in college, I injured the other knee playing intramural football. It, too, required surgery.
Now, when I was young, middle age and arthritis seemed like a million years away. Won’t I stay young forever? I foolishly thought.
I paid no attention to work conditions. I just gritted my teeth and plowed through whatever pain I was suffering, knowing that four Ibuprofen tablets would relieve most of the pain so I could do it all over again the next day.
Then, at the age of 55, I could no longer jump an inch off the ground. Walking downstairs or upstairs was a painful experience. The years of climbing ladders as a painting contractor or walking on concrete for twelve hour shifts as a car salesman had destroyed what was left of the cartilage in both knees.
And arthritis? It was in my shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. Just standing up after sitting on a chair was a major undertaking filled with pain. And also, even though I was an easy going guy who hardly ever got upset, I was grumpy all the time. Constant nagging pain does that to a person.
Then what happened?
At the age of fifty-eight, Honey and I bought a home which had to be completely gutted and remodeled. I worked six months, tearing out walls, kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, carpet and whatever; and then redid everything. I even laid a thousand square feet of hardwood floors.
How could I endure all this work with bad knees and arthritis?
I felt that the Lord had whispered these words to my heart at the beginning of the project, “I will raise you up out of the remodeling.”
Did I suffer pain during the remodeling? Yes. But at the same time, there was an amazing grace that allowed me to endure it. It seems funny, right? Pain and grace being mentioned in the same context, but this is what happened to me.
It was three more years of agony and pain before a friend finally prayed for me. “Lord, you know what Larry needs, just do it for him now,” she prayed.
As you can see, it was not a pin-point, specific prayer, but rather a general one. But let me tell you, it was an effective prayer. All of my arthritis disappeared at once. It was gone!
Today, I am arthritis free, but I still have bad knees that cause me problems. So much so, that I quit exercising late last year, hoping rest would help the knees.
In January of this year, at sixty-four years of age, I realized that I needed to quickly do something. My physical strength was rapidly dwindling. It was an all-out effort to lift a bag of groceries or walk upstairs.
Thus, I began power-walking, lifting weights, exercising and eating properly. After three months of this regimen, my strength is up 50-60% and my weight is down.
Do I still believe the Lord is going to heal me? Absolutely, yes! There is not a doubt in my mind, but sometimes, you have to go out to meet the Lord.
And there’s another reason why I am putting myself through this work-out and dieting discipline:
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9: 26-27)
I have waited almost twenty-five years to be a part of a move of God and I don’t want to sit on the sidelines, watching others do the work.
(Continued in Part 10.)