Neck Pain Relieved!
Life can be a real pain in the neck. Take a few sports injuries, mountains of stress, take many long driving stints for years, stare down at a computer for hours every day, and bend your neck to hold a phone in place while multi-tasking, and ultimately you look and feel like Quasimodo.
For many years I, like many people, have walked around with constant pain in my back. The neck had become so jammed up that I could not look over my shoulder to see if a car was in the blind spot. Thanks to side view mirrors I could make those heavy traffic lane switches without too much trouble. But at times, the pain had become excruciating to where that is the only direction I could turn my head.
There was a moment playing basketball a couple of decades ago that brought the permanent injury. I used to be pretty strong, I thought, until in a pickup game I reached up for a two-handed rebound. Little did I expect that the strength of the 6’6″ 300 pound no jump dude behind me was there to snatch the ball at the same time I did. He jerked the ball straight back and I was too stubborn to let go. I felt the heat rip through my left shoulder and neck. Afterwards, my whole back and neck was never the same again.
Ever since that day with never relieving stress pouring down, it has been a battle to not have constant pain. I bought every back and neck device advertised to ‘work out’ the pain. Routine visits to the Chiropractor, herb remedies, rehab exercises, pain killers, hot tubs, ointments, and anything else that would provide some pain relief became part of my normal routine.
Ultimately I just learned to live with the pain and accepted it as a way of life. I read the side effects of what all the pill bottles say about Tylenol, Advil, aspirin and the muscle relaxers that my doc prescribed for when the aches were more than I could handle. To try to keep my insides alive, I would only pop a pill or two or three as a last resort. I did find that working my tail off into exhaustion would keep my mind off the stress and aches all day helped. And ending the day with a couple of glasses of wine seemed to be the best cure.
I wished my neck pain could be relieved.
I just figured this was God’s way to keep me humble and to remind me of the pain maybe I deserved for all my years of rebellion. It seems like a good answer, doesn’t it? My church friends would remind me after their mission trips ‘there are those suffering worse than you, get in toughen up mode, dude.’
The Dalai Lama said – ‘Pain can change you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad change. Take that pain and turn it into wisdom.’
Try all the above methods for dealing with constant pain, or, if you dare to stretch your thinking, read on and hear of something I never dreamed could possibly happen…
Over a year ago from this date we had found ourselves much more open to ‘different thinking’. As a background, long story short, our son made it through some very difficult times. You can read the whole story here.
It was so bad tough I had to take three months of leave from work for us to get him through a horrid situation. Over that period of three months, he became well. I know it was not instantaneous, but we thought ‘maybe’ God did a miracle to bring him out of an awful state. We did our best to explain what happened and the people who with good hearts had stated the Facebook one word of help statement of ‘praying’ said, ‘wow, that is great that God answered our prayers.’
Maybe there is more to this spirit world and supernatural thing. I was taught it was nothing more than charlatanism. I had my doubts but was open like never before. (dueling doubts is part of my writing theme is it not?)
Circumstances caused us to leave the church, (which we did not take lightly) we had been attending for a number of years. After our sons miracle pull-through we knew there was something that was missing in our ‘beliefs’. I say we, as our whole family shared in our sons seeming demise. Few understood what we went through, but it also opened our eyes to a number of other things, as we saw experientially mainly,
that God is more than just words in a book, He is alive and has power to overcome any problem.
He showed us a glimpse, but we questioned why was that power only a once in a blue moon occurrence? Why is it that the only thing happening in churches are the number of ‘salvations and baptisms’ tallied, while the sickly, financially strapped, and depressed souls surrounded us?
For a short while we hopped from one cookie cut service to another before ending up at the smallest of churches near our home. There was something different going on and the Pastor did not seem to care about having a big building and lots of people. His main concern was that this concept of really knowing God and ‘His presence’ was more important than fitting the status quo. Maybe that is why it was the smallest of churches, I don’t know, but we liked it and decided to come back a few more times. We started calling it our new home, rather quickly, even though some of our former friends moved us to that ‘those type of people’, status.
One particular Sunday, only on our fifth visit a man whom I met a couple of times was given the reigns to teach a topic. That in and of itself was odd. Most churches never hand the mike to anyone other than the preacher, teacher, musician or staff beseecher. Of all the topics, this guy picked to teach about; it was about healing.
Just like I skeptically suspected such a teaching would include, he started off not talking straight from the Bible. He referenced some ancient saint named Augustine who wrote a book back in the year 426 called Retractions. Apparently this guy who had written about his beliefs, that many adhere to this day, decided in his latter days that too many healings had happened to say they ‘stopped’ after the book of Acts was written. I guess it is called cessationism. In his final writings he retracted some of his staunch stances when he wrote his memoirs way back in 426
I thought, well so what, but that is interesting. I have never seen a person healed but have heard lots of stories and seen what looked like fake stories on YouTube with crazies falling down after somebody smacks them in the head. Ha ha, we all know those were not real, er well, maybe, I don’t know. I have heard of people asking for prayer and getting well. And there was a story or two of people going in for surgery and the doctor comparing x-ray’s from 5 months ago to the last second right before surgery, and lol and behold they could not find the cancer. You know those crazy stories?
Wait a second I reminded myself. Just two weeks ago at this little church the guy sitting across from me told a story about his relative, where that very thing happened (she lived in Florida). He doesn’t seem like a nut. He owned a small barbecue store, just a normal average guy like me. I leaned in to hear more.
The not employed as a ‘pastor’ guy mentioned the word ‘heal’, when searched in most versions of the Bible will pull up at least 120 hits in the New Testament. But it is avoided in the mainline beyond, ‘we’ll pray for you,’ when someone says they are sick. Yet, only in a few places does it say to sit and pray for a sickness to be healed. In fact he mentioned Jesus sent 72 nobody’s (or Average Joe’s ha ha) with the instructions: “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’Luke 10:8-9 NLT
He asked some other thought-provoking questions; Did Jesus ask God to heal someone or did He just do it? In Acts 3 in Joe’s Portico, er (Solomon’s porch) did Peter sit and pray for the cripple to be healed or did he just say, ‘get up and walk’? In many examples, did Paul go away and beg God to heal people? Or, did it happen just by him laying on hands? In other cases it says many signs and wonders happened at the hands of the plain believers and the power to heal was given to ‘all’ of the disciples? One example being in Acts 8 by an average dude named Philip, who was not an ‘Apostle’.
He added, power and healing comes at a restful presence of God, not in begging Him to ‘do something’, nor in psyching yourself up like a power lifter ready to lift a free weight. The Authority to heal came from and comes from God through His established authority. This authority was demonstrated via simple commands: be healed, sickness go away.
With my many years of hearing church messages I of course know the great commission as mentioned in Matthew 28. This non-paid teacher asked a question, ‘why is the other version mentioned in Mark never talked about?’ It starts the same way as in Mathew: “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
But Mark 16: 15-18 adds in some weirdness – ‘And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
There was much more covered, but when all was done, the temporary teacher of the day said, is there anyone here with a sickness or ailment they want to have prayed over? I was like, well I have a lot of aches and pains, but the one that has been nagging me for years, what the heck… I have nothing to lose.
So I raised my hand and waited for him to come on over and say some magic words; just maybe this neck pain of 20 years would go away. I figured, worst case, nothing happens. I walk out of this little weird church and never come back, and nobody will know.
As I was waiting my shoulder ached from raising the hand so I gave up. I took it as a sign of see, this is dumb, get outta here. Then, I got a tap on the shoulder and heard this sweet voice say, ‘sir, do you want to be prayed for?’ I turned around and standing behind me was a young lady I later found out was in eighth grade. I was like, um sweetheart, I’m waiting for the man to come over here. But I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and shoot the poor kids faith down the drain. So I said yeah sure. (The dueling doubt was heavy in progress).
She asked, what did you want prayed for? I thought for a second, maybe I had a hang nail or something I could tell her about and get this silliness over with. But I had a loose chuckle inside going on inside me and I said, alright, it’s my neck. She goes, ‘the left side or the right’. I flipped my tin man neck (that’s what my kids jokingly call me when I try to dance as my neck and back has always been like a tin man to them, we joked about it often) back and forth a bit and said. ‘No doubt, it is the left side, can’t turn it at all’.
From there I have no idea what she actually said as she put her hand on the spot on my neck I had just pointed to; and she prayed something pretty simple. I honestly have no idea what the words were as a few other people joined in. I could feel a warmth roll from head to shoulders through the neck. When they were all done they asked, is it better?
I rolled the neck a bit and flopped my head from side to side. I really wasn’t sure if the heat from the embarrassment of all the attention was getting to me, or what, but it felt looser. I thanked her and the people around and wasn’t sure what was happening. Maybe something was better, I wasn’t going to take a chance though. No way this little girl had the power to heal somebody I thought. But then this guy said something on the mike as if my thought had been announced; ‘no person heals anybody, only God and His Spirit can heal someone, people are just conduits.’
Regardless, I wasn’t convinced, I needed to go see the man to be sure. So I bee-lined to the front and told him what I needed to be prayed for. He seemed to know I had people praying for me a minute ago and asked what I wanted. I told him, and he said, well sometimes it takes a while, so he reached his hand on my shoulder and immediately said, whoa – a bit of stress built up in there huh? I told him, I’m in sales work just like you, you know what that stress is like. He acknowledged knowing what some of us carry in our shoulders, all the time. He then prayed a bit more and asked how’s that? I said, it doesn’t feel much different from a minute ago, but I feel a bit more flexible.
We talked a bit more nonchalantly about his experience he personally had with his feet a time ago. He said he thought something was better but until he got home and had a chance to jump around and test it out he wasn’t positive. He said, likewise he was a bit skeptical. But, all was better and had not returned to that day.
I went home wondering. I had to test things out myself, so I went outside to shoot baskets. Swish on the first shot, things were loose. I did a reverse lay up and decided to test even further with a few of my old moves I hadn’t tried in years. I needed to be sure before, I’d tell too many people about anything wacky like this.
So,,,, I waited a month and things were still good. I could look in the blind side while driving and turn way way further than before. The surrounding pain, that really is what causes all the neck pain, in the shoulders and back, were all better. I did some lifting and more testing, everyday. I had to be sure before I go talking about this. Waking up in the morning and fearing that I would not be able to move from a stuck position, was gone. So at that one month mark I had to tell the people in this little church, there is something going on.
At the 30 day mark I was handed the mike, something I hadn’t had in my hand in a church in a long time because only the preacher, teacher, musician or staff beseecher are allowed to say something in front of people. You have to be qualified and approved, and who knows, you might say something weird in front of people. I told those in the little church just what I told you above. Instead of skepticism, we all rejoiced.
But I could never tell too many people beyond our new home and new family.
Now, exactly 365 days since May 3, 2015 I tell you. My neck pain was not only relieved, it was healed and still is as I hit the publish button for this story.
Believe it or not, all I know is before I was blind, and now I see. Oh wait, that was another person’s story. All I know is; before I had a constant royal pain in the neck, and now I am pain-free.