Through The Valley of the Shadow of Death
No one enjoys physical suffering whether it be a small cut or serious injury. But as children of The King, afflictions, chastisements, and pain happen. Of Jesus Himself it is written in Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
and of us in 2 Corinthians 1:7 ... that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation
Job said it clearly to his wife in Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
As I reflect on the past two months, parts of the big picture have become more clear. In early June, the Lord spoke the same verse to me several times: "And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.5 But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce thee to thy face. 6 And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand; only spare his life."
In all my life, I had never been even once hospitalized or had a broken bone. When I heard those words in my mind, immediately my response was "NO", I don't want anything to do with that kind of trial!" My mind was made up on that point, and after a few times of hearing that verse, the reminders ceased and life went on. Then came Father's Day and the fateful weekend.
On Father's Day, June 15, 2008, we had had a pleasant family gathering and late in the afternoon I decided to go do some work on a house we were trying to sell that needed repairs. I thought that if I could just get a couple of small things done it would make my week easier as far as my workload was concerned.
While climbing down from the roof, the ladder I was using shot out from under me and I fell 7' landing on my side parallel to the ground, breaking both bones in my left wrist and cracking some ribs. I was hurt (I did not know yet how bad) and got in the truck to drive the 5 minute trip home. But as I drove home, I went into shock and suddenly passed out at the wheel. I came to consciousness in a bad wreck, the truck was on its' side and I was injured a second time, this time to my right leg, dislocating it, breaking the top of it and breaking the hip socket into 5 pieces, and in great pain.
The emergency people and ambulance extracted me from the wreck (I had hit and broken off a telephone pole, a tree, and some other things. Thank God I did not hit a child or another person!) In the hospital Emergency Room they x-rayed and scanned the injuries, and a special lady, Dr. Martin, was able to reset my dislocated right leg, although the leg socket was broken and would not hold my leg in place.
Dr. Martin determined emergency orthopedic surgery was needed and later I was Medi-vac 'ed by helicopter at 4am to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. My wife and daughter who had been with me at the hospital were in shock and tears as they watched the copter leave the pad and fly off into the dark,early morning sky.
Early Monday morning, at Stanford Hospital, in a semi conscious state and in a lot of pain, I was taken into an operating room. But before I got into the op room, a couple of the attendants moved me and re-dislocated my leg again! A dislocation is very painful...
My left arm was put in a cast, 5 stitches each above my eye and mouth, and a plate and pins were installed into the broken parts of the leg and hip during a 5 hour operation. When I awoke, I looked into the loving faces of my wife, daughter, two sons. and tears came to my eyes.
For the next 9 days I was in the hands of the folks at Stanford. On day 5, they wanted to release me but a new problem had manifested itself, -I would get very faint just trying to sit on the edge of the bed and when I tried to stand as a physical therapist attempted to get me to use a special walker, I passed out stone cold again. When I came to, there was a room full of nurses, yelling, and hands lifting me up and back on the bed. My blood pressure also kept falling to the low side. This was repeated the following day (Sat), and now, in addition to broken bones and pain, I was blacking out and no one knew why.
At this point, they could not release me because of danger of me suddenly passing out and compounding my injuries. This brought me to the attention of another round of physicians and a cardiac specialist. More tests, scans, heart sonogram, and a lot of blood tests to me, a man who absolutely detests needles!
Dr. Hsia at one point was thinking a pacemaker, which I would have refused, as my heart is just fine. Soon I realized they were playing a guessing game as they could not figure out the cause of me blacking out, and I had become a personal challenge to a number of physicians.
I really wanted to go home and been praying a lot over all that I was going through. The injuries were bad enough but now there was this black-out obstacle, and I was calling on the Lord and confessing His promises over my body, as it says "fight the good fight of faith". -and I was fighting as Iay there in the hospital bed. In addition to that, we do not have medical insurance and we live by faith for God to supply, and this too was cause for prayer.
Sunday: Into the Valley of the Shadow of Death
On Sunday morning, Day 7 at Stanford, an Occupational Therapist MD came to see me and he was determined to solve the fainting spell mystery. His approach was to start with blood pressure tests while laying down, sitting up, then standing. Laying down it was 135/72, then sitting up it dropped a bit to 126/68. So far, so good, although I felt a tad light headed while sitting. He had also hooked me up to a gaggle of electrode things on my chest and there were a couple of monitors for the heart, vital signs, and what ever else they had there .
As I tried to stand, the light headedness gave way to dizzyness and a cold sweat, I began to sway, and just as I passed out, the doc sat me down on a nearby seat. The fainting quickly passed and the next thing I saw was a couple of more doctors come into my room. We all discussed what I was feeling and they noted the various monitors. After a few more minutes they got me to my feet again and in a minute or so of standing with the aid of a walker, WHAM! -I went out cold.
But this time was completely different.
When I blacked out, I left my body. It was a actually a pleasant sensation as I left behind all physical senses, discomfort, and pain as I found my self in another dimension. There was no sense of fear as I observed a sort of foggy looking place with numerous pulsating lights, and I heard voices speaking, although I saw no one. The lights I saw seemed to be spirits and the voices may have come from them but I am not sure. As I tried to hear the words from the voices, suddenly and clearly, I heard "patience, understanding" spoken to me.
Then suddenly I was back in my body and in the midst of chaos. People were yelling and I felt myself being put back on the bed, possibly someone pressing my chest, and I was soaked with sweat. Later, after things calmed down, the doc said my blood pressure dropped to 86/67 and my heart had stopped.
I then knew it was exactly when my heart had stopped was the momet I left my physical body.
After it became apparent I was stable, even with the low blood pressure (which stayed that way all day), I was left alone except for the nurses and all the stuff hooked up to me. As I thought about my own mortality and the stopping of my heart, dark thoughts began to flood my mind: "What will Linda do without me, and the kids?", the possibility my heart could stop again anytime, and those blackouts!" I wanted to do more for the Lord, my family needed me, and I was not ready for leaving them. It was very crushing, depressing, and my emotions were surfacing as I wept over my situation there in in the hospital bed.
Later that afternoon my friend Darren from Pennsylvania called, and he prayed for me rebuking the cause and symptoms of the blackouts. I thanked him with agreement but was sure he could sense my spirits were low. I felt physically weak and still wondered if and how I would make it.
About 4 pm I began to pray and parts of the 23rd psalm came to mind:
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name`s sake.
4Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
I began to confess verse 4 out loud to the Lord, and prayed for some kind of help, "God, can you send me a messenger".
A Messenger Arrives
About 6pm a new attendant came into my room. She looked at me with kind of a strange look as she attended me, and finally asked me "Do I know you, have we met somewhere?" I noticed she was wearing a small gold cross, but that may or may not mean much these days. She told me "you look so familiar" but we found nothing common and our paths had not crossed before. I live in Los Banos 105 miles away. She lived in San Jose, and worked at Stanford only on the weekend, part time, yet in this large medical facility with multiple floors and wings, she was there in my room at a crucial time.
Then I read her name tag, it said "Evangeline". Her name means "Messenger of good news". http://www.babynames.com/name/EVANGELINE
Evangeline asked me how I was doing, and I responded "not too well". She asked "How's that?"
I told her I was hurt and strugglinng with my faith. I went on to say God gave His Word in 1Peter 2:24 that "by His stripes we WERE healed, and in Mark 11:
23 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass; he shall have it.
24 Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Also Hebrews 11:1 where it says "Now FAITH is the ASSURANCE of things HOPED FOR, the EVIDENCE of things not seen."
Although I was struggling to "hold fast the confession of your faith that it waver not", because of what had happened to me that morning, the pain of my injuries, and the low blood pressure, my faith in God's Word was being tested. However Evangeline spoke very comforting words to me and assured me of God's care, saying "you are going to be fine". She repeated those words several times before she left and continued her rounds.
After Evangeline left the room, as I pondered these things, I noticed it was the time of our Paltalk online Bible Study with Unleavened Bread ministries. I found out they were also praying for me at that same hour while Evangeline was with me. Then the Lord began to speak to me. He told me He had sent her, that He had made me appear as someone she knew in order for her to take the time needed for me to confess to her my struggle.
The Lord told me she was a "chosen vessel" who would receive the testimony of The Word (the scriptures written above) that The Lord wanted me to confess with my mouth, according to Romans 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (the word saved also means healed.)
Later, Evangeline returned and I told her what God had spoken to me. She said how she had prayed while on the way to work asking the Lord to use her to be a blessing to someone. Yet we were both astonished at the reality of God's hand directing multiple circumstances.
Since that day, not once have I blacked out or fainted, praise be to God!
Two days later, June 24th, I went home and am receiving my healing with each passing day. 3 weeks out I removed the arm cast and 5 weeks out I was walking (with a limp), unassisted. God is my Healer and our Provider. It is wonderful to be home and I have a new perspective and fresh compassion for people who have been injured and suffering.
4 months later I was working, climbing ladders, no limp. No return visits to the doctor since leaving Stanford. And I threw away the $10,000 worth of blood thinners they gave me "so I wouldn't get a blood clot and die" they said, nor did I use the stockings the wanted me to wear to squeeze my legs blood vessels.
I even went up on our roof using the same ladder in order to clean our chimney. (I did so to overcome any lingering fear.)
When the doctors at Stanford called to schedule follow-up visits, we declined, to their shock. When Linda told the nurse "he's doing great", she asked "where is he?". Linda told her, "he's outside in the yard'. The nurse was astonished "WHAT!!??".
I have a new found respect and admiration for those kind nurses and staff who attend their patients. So many of them showed real care and concern as they served in their job, I say this about both hospitals who treated my injuries and even the flight crew on the helicopter.
For my family, especially my wife and daughter, we thank everyone who prays for us and ministered to us as we go through these tribulations. The encouraging calls and prayers I received while in Stanford made a difference in encouraging and comforting us, thank you again.
"Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities."
the truck ended up on the passengers side and they extracted me thru the broken back window. My face had hit the windshield (5 stitches) and the steering wheel (5 more stitches). My right leg was broken at the top and the pelvis socket shattered into 5 parts. plus broken wrist (both bones) and several cracked ribs.
Aug. 2010 update
We are doing wonderful in God's healing mercy, having been walking regularly unaided since late July 2008. We have not returned to the doctor since leaving Stanford 6-24-08, thank God for His healing promises.
After arriving home, it took me two weeks to come to faith enough to remove the cast on my left arm as I confessed the Word over my body. God had answered my prayer to "HEAL THE RIBS FIRST!", and the excruciating pain I would get from body movement.
But when I took the cast off my arm, it HURT and ached terribly and every day was a trial not to call Dr. Santini to schedule the operation he said I needed.
God gave grace and we endured that trial of the flesh. Three weeks later I was helping lift an electric dryer onto the back of our truck, and the full weight of it rolled back onto the broken wrist as we lifted it up and over the truck bed.
Nothing happened, it was healed.
There are more stories connected to this such as the two dreams the Lord gave me the night I came home, and when I slipped and fell on the tiled steps to the family room. I went down full weight (200#'s) on the same bones in my hip that had been shattered and the same wrist that had been broken. Nothing was hurt.
We walk without a limp or hinderance and I even run on occassion when I get feeling good out there on the walking path! If God can do this for me, He will do it for you!
God bless you all