A Healing Journey
A wise old doctor said, “Son, have you ever heard the term dodged a bullet? You just dodged a nuclear bomb!”
I never gave the word Stroke much thought. Sure, I knew it was a medical term that millions of people had suffered from but to my family that’s all it was. All of that changed September 24, 2014 at 11:00 am when I got the most terrifying phone call of my life. ”Brandi, Johns being brought to the emergency room…….”
*Psalms 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
When I got to the E.R. the doctors quickly notified me that my husband John, only 27 years old, was anguishing from “Stroke like symptoms”. My mind instantly clung to the word “like”. “There was no way John could have had a Stroke.” I thought to myself, “He is too young, there has to be another reason for this craziness.” The next few hours left me and my baby sister holding our breath at John’s bedside. After what felt like forever, my nightmare was confirmed. It was a Stroke. “Now what do we do?” That’s when the room spun and everything went dark.
*Psalms 23:4- Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
“God, why?” the question burned within me. After all we were Believers and I even ministered to others. I sing in a gospel group, sharing my faith with others all the time. (I still had a problem thinking the better I acted the more I deserved God’s blessings, now I know I can never earn God’s blessings) This seemed anything but fair. “John is a good man, He doesn’t deserve this!” “Why did you allow this?” “God, I love him!” In the middle of my panicked state God answered me in a very clear but loving way. He said, “I love him more. I did not cause this, the enemy did. You have to trust Me to see you through this. Remember My promises.”
*Psalms 30:2 – I cry out to the Lord and He heals me.
I wish I could say I had no fear after that but the feeling of fear still hovered. Sometimes it was so strong I felt completely numbed by it. I knew we would have to go through this together and I would have to put my faith into practice in spite of what my eyes were seeing. This caused me to think about the men and women of the Bible. I always admired the heroes of faith. I almost considered them super human. How could someone go through all the things they did and still believe and trust God through it all? They seemed like exceptions to the rule, people who had faith that could move mountains. But this was me and my problem, not a struggle out of the Bible. This is what I was seeing at that time: John was paralyzed on his right side, his balance was completely off, and he struggled to even walk down the hall. He lost all control of his right eye. He spoke like a child and he could not retain information properly. He could not remember things recent or very important events that had happened in our lives. He experienced fits of anger but most of the time, John just laid there day in day out with emptiness in his eyes. This broke my heart. He was very uncomfortable with monitors, I.V.s, and nurses parading in and out constantly. The weeks went by and the doctors had me on pins watching him, constantly reminding me of the seriousness of John’s condition. I felt like I would just get my faith up and then here they would come with another report, like cold water poured on a flame, they would quench my hope. They came in every morning with long faces and little encouragement. They predicted a very long recovery period and still could not tell me if John would ever be my John again. (I say all this to glorify My God. He took this from us! There is no other answer. Doctors are still baffled.) At times like this you automatically look to yourself. “What can I do to fix this mess? Do I have the faith I need? I need to find an answer.” Do you hear the mistake with this kind of thinking? It was all about what I could do to better the situation. I was putting all the weight on myself. Then I remember thinking, who really split the Red Sea? Was it Moses with his staff or God? Who really took down Goliath? Was it David with his slingshot or God? Who went into the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and kept them safe? God that’s who! It was not the person. I realized something very important- my heroes were people just like me. They did all have one very important thing in common; they loved God and wanted His will for their lives but they weren’t super human! God gave them the faith they needed and He would supply it for me too. I needed to look to Jesus not myself. He was the only one who could change my circumstances. I could do nothing for John except pray, believe God and let Him do the rest. This was my part. God wouldn’t do it for me. If I did my part -God would do His. This would take trust.
*Matthew 18:19- Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.
I called my family daily to let them know what we were up against and to ask them to pray for us. Between rotations they all practically lived at the hospital too. There is strength in numbers! The next thing I knew they had put John on every prayer list they could find. So people all over the world were praying for his healing. From our local church to well-known big ministries; if they had a prayer list, John was on it. I thank God for my family, everyone needs a group of believers they are close too. Everyone needs to be surrounded by the kind of people who will walk with you, through all of life’s challenges and difficulties; Loving, supporting, and correcting us if need be. People who know how to hit their knees and call out to God in any situation! This was so important to us because even though John agreed with God’s Word, he was still very weak and most of the praying was being done by me and our loved ones. I also needed reminded frequently of God’s promises and His love. My family was working as God’s mouthpiece speaking life into me in the middle of the raging storm.
*Proverbs 3:5-6 – I lean on, trust in, and am confident in the Lord with all my heart and mind and do not rely on my own insight or understanding. In all my ways, I know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He directs and makes straight and plain my paths.
The next three weeks in the hospital were filled with the greatest inward battle I had ever faced. I am very thankful for the doctors and all the medical staff that tended to John but the hospital employees seemed to share the same outlook. They were dealing only with the physical needs John had, which did nothing for his spirit. The staff was trained to share very broad answers so that if you weren’t very careful, would leave you leaning toward the worst. Some of their comments would scare me silly and it seemed unreal that they could share such devastation with very little emotion themselves. They simply diagnosed him.
*James 4:7- I submit myself to God, I resist the devil and he must flee.
At first, the more I prayed and tried to lean on God the scarier the thing seemed to get. I see now that John’s healing was already on the way in the Spirit and the devil was throwing as much stuff at us as possible to get us to give up. (Whoa! Are you blaming this on the devil? Yes I am. God clearly states in His word that we do have an enemy. Unfortunately most people choose to ignore this fact. This does not mean we should walk in fear but the truth is what sets us free. We are to focus on Jesus not the devil.) Again I prayed “God, why?” and the Lord said to me “Hang on Baby, Daddy’s got this! My arm is not short!” (When I say spoke I mean to my heart) Some people would stop me right there and ask why would I state that God spoke to me that way? Calling me Baby and Himself Daddy? Well I would ask them why wouldn’t He? I know God is Love and He shows no partiality between His children. I also know how I speak to my own children in their times of need, it’s very sad when Christians can’t see God as their Heavenly Father. He’s the PERFECT parent. I believe God looks at all of us as His babies. He is a Loving Daddy who wants a personal relationship with each one of us. Looking back, I know God was reassuring me of His love. He wanted me to know He was on our side. He knew just what I needed to hear and His words hit their target, straight to the heart.
*Psalms 91: 4- He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge;
Slowly but surely I made the transition from begging God for John’s healing to believing Him for it.( There is a huge difference between the two) Holding tight to the truth: Jesus had already bought and paid for John’s healing over 2000 years ago on the cross.
It is so odd how we pray sometimes. Why do we think God wants us to grovel and plead for our needs? Why can’t we see He wants us to ask for His help and then believe He will help us? God wants to bless every person who is a believer in Christ.
*Psalms 62:1-2 - For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock and my
Salvation, my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be greatly moved.
As time went by John started to recover little by little and I am happy to report: He is home getting stronger and stronger. We are still believing and speaking God’s promises. John is currently attending Outpatient Therapy. He is walking, talking, and improving daily. People we have known our whole lives cannot tell he had a Stroke, more proof that God rescued John. I am so grateful we could rely on God. I found out for myself, His Word is faithful and true.
*Ephesians 1:17 - That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
So what did I learn from all this? I learned that God has a very special way of showing His love for each of us. He will carry us through life’s toughest times! In the end God’s report was very different from the doctor’s. The doctors said most people who experienced John’s kind of Stroke spent the rest of their lives in nursing homes with feeding tubes in them, never to recover. God said by Jesus’ stripes John was healed! Here were two very different assessments of the same condition. So the question was “Who were we going to believe?” The problems we have in life are never meant to crush us. They can however, be used to draw us closer to God and show us how much we need a Savior. Whatever difficulty we face, the answer is always the same. God is greater than all things and we are much loved. Stand on the Word and dare to trust against all odds. God won’t let you down. The Lord healed John and He wants to heal you too.
*2 Corinthians 5:7- For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Without Jesus, we have nothing! He is where all life starts! He is waiting for you with open arms. Be certain about this He wants you healed. Will you believe Him?
-Special thanks to everyone who prayed for John Written by: Brandi Brizendine