Can I ask for your prayers please, for me? The last 12 months have been both amazing and tough, tough as any in the 40 years I’ve been in ministry. Countless healings, miracles, salvations, the incredible building for street kids in Cali, Colombia that was miraculously completed from nothing to beautifully functional in 8 working weeks last year… But the enemy doesn’t like it when God moves!
I’m writing this with some trepidation simply because I want to be really honest, and because I feel a bit of a failure bearing in mind what I do.
Early in January, I had a standard check-up with an orthopaedic consultant (not one I’ve seen before) for the osteoarthritis in my knees. He did such an unnecessary ‘manoeuvre’ with my right leg (already the worst one), the damage he did is beyond belief. I couldn’t walk from his room to my car (needed a wheelchair), and I couldn’t walk at all for 4 days (difficult when you live alone!). I could at least walk (with pain) prior to the appointment. I can still hardly walk now, 8 months on. That’s mighty difficult when you live alone.
I began to think that maybe God was saying ‘replacement surgery’, though I’ve always believed that God will heal me: but a 3+ years waiting list (I learned from my GP last week) makes surgery irrelevant. unless I go private, which financially is utterly out of the question. These months on, I still can’t walk without excruciating pain. I’ve been determined not to let the disability stop me doing what God’s called me to do (I’m not long back from Colombia, though it was ‘hell’ pain-wise to get – and be – there and back). I should have just gone again with Thanney, but I couldn’t move enough, and for another reason – that’s below!).
Previously I’ve seen an orthopaedic specialist in Colombia for cortisone injections, which are the only thing that ease the pain: I had an appointment with him within a couple of days of arriving in Cali. When I woke that morning, my legs looked as though I’d spent the night standing in a bath of beetroot juice up to my thighs, a wee bit unusual! The doctor wouldn’t inject my knees not knowing what was wrong.. He prescribed me an antibiotic – 10 days, 3 pills a day – lethally expensive – thank God for the NHS!). The medication I was prescribed in Cali wasn’t far short of £1000! . Next day, I saw another doctor – he’s a pastor too, it turned out I knew him (for 12-13 years, in fact) – and he instantly diagnosed chronic cellulitis (which can be dangerous), quite severe circulation problems (legs, and a partially blocked artery in my heart), and – something no doctor had ever diagnosed in 40 years when he told me I have a large hernia in my stomach – which explains something about appearing overweight!
8 months on, I can still barely walk more than about 20 metres. Apart from preaching trips (home and away in the UK) visiting the doctor,, and shopping (though mostly done online), it’s nigh on impossible to go out. I’ve left my house about 30-40 times since early January. Preaching presents its problems: I just CAN’T (psychologically) sit down to preach! It feels wrong, but of course standing doesn’t help my legs. It makes living alone a major problem! Sometimes I just can’t take a preaching invitation, which means a drop in my ‘income’ from offerings…
Some of you know that I have the most dreadful stairs in the house I live in: I use them as little as possible, and it’s my hands and arms that get me up and down! Frustratingly, it seems I’ve now acquired arthritis in a few fingers, and in my right foot.
I’m battling with feeling a complete failure, as someone who prays for healing all the time, who seems to be being assaulted by the enemy with illness and disability. I’ve also broke the little finger on my left hand – as a left-hander, a bit of a problem! In many ways, I’m ‘pleased’ that the enemy seems to want to attack me so much: maybe it means he’s worried about what God is going to do with and through me…..
If you’d pray that this onslaught would end, and that God does a miracle as he’s done for so many people, in my knees, hands, the cellulitis – I’d be so grateful. I hate complaining, and hope this hasn’t come across as that, I just wanted to say it as it is! There are lovely things that have come from the ‘knee’ problem (initially) in that I’ve understood extreme pain like never before, and feel that’s why Good heals so much pain, especially arthritis: I’ve learned what it is to understand loneliness, as, apart from Thanney, and another lovely ‘mission-inspired’ couple, I don’t see anyone from the church, and phone calls tend to be from people from other places.It’s helped me pray for the lonely in a new way.
Can I ask a question – please answer it, if you would?! I pray for thousands of people a year (not an exaggeration), and often, when I can get to my ‘home’ church when at home, people are delighted as they’ve ‘looked out for me to pray for them’. As I’ve hardly been able to get to church for 8 months, but no-one person has offered to pray for me, or phoned to find out how I am, or pray…. Is it because I pray for people and God graciously frequently heals them that people maybe feel as that seems to be my ‘gift’ they’re afraid or feel threatened to offer in case their prayer doesn’t ‘work’? Please tell me what you think.Of course, it might just be that the people don’t like me…!. Perhaps,too, you’d pray with me as to whether it’s time to move back to England: when I came here I thought it would be for a year, maybe 2. I’ve been here for 9 years!
I constantly thank God for his goodness to me, and thank him that he will heal me – no, he is healing me even though at the moment they’re getting worse. Please would you join with my prayer that that is the case, and that healing will come? – soon!
Bless you, and thank you.
With much love, Paul