WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• When pain is so bad you cry out in the night
• Special song
• God-intervention — a prayer answer
• Disappointment before joy
We pray about things. And sometimes, when it’s serious, we pray and pray and pray. And sometimes no answer comes from God. Or it appears that way. A recent book called God on Mute explores unanswered prayer in an honest and refreshing way. The book may shake up our glib beliefs about prayer and the role of suffering.
While I was reading this book, and engaged in wrenching prayer, God provided an answer. I wanted to document it as an engineer would. I am an engineer after all.
WHEN PAIN IS SO BAD YOU CRY OUT IN THE NIGHT:
My good friend Mary Ann lives in Kansas. She was having migraines when I got in on the story……pounding migraines that completely immobilized her. She could do nothing but go to bed. This went on for almost two months. The migraines appeared like clockwork….every three days. During this time she discovered that Excedrin Migraine helped, and helped a lot…..two tablets took away the pain in about 30 minutes and she could function again. But Excedrin is a mix of Tylenol and aspirin and caffeine, and the aspirin can tear up your stomach. Mary Ann found this out one bad night when she had a migraine and became physically sick and spewed up blood.
She was rushed to ER in Bartlesville where they did a CAT scan of her brain, and gave her anti-nausea medicine. They found no tumors pressing on the brain, which at least was good news. No more Excedrin, was the instruction, but this meant there was nothing to take away the intense pain of the migraines. As a result Mary Ann had to be taken by her family to the Urgicare clinic several times, where Toradol was administered, This is the standard treatment for migraines, but it can take hours to click in before it knocks you out eventually. The migraines kept coming every three days. The only exception was that Mary Ann got a cortisone shot from a neck specialist, and for four days she was pain free and rejoicing. But then the migraines came back…..one every three days.
During one migraine on Wednesday 9 December, fibromyalgia set in as well, and Mary Ann felt like she wanted to die. Her daughters rushed her to Urgicare where she was treated between 8 and 9 pm CT. Even with the Toradol she was unable to sleep until 3 am. But here is a key part of the story: the Urgicare doctor recommended a chiropractor, and how often does that happen?? The doc related how the chiro had previously helped her own father when he had migraines.
When this last incident took place I was in Albuquerque and I went to the Living Free service at my church on that same Wednesday night. Although I was unaware what Mary Ann was going through at the time I prayed for her during the praise part of the service, when the band and singers filled the stage with glorious songs and choruses. Although this was an uplifting experience, I sensed there was something else to come……. After the message the band returned and sang one more song called Always by Kristian Stanfill. This had special meaning for me, because I had previously sent this song to Mary Ann and her daughter Staci when Staci was dealing with breast cancer. When the song played, I lifted my hands in praise and tears flowed as I lifted up Mary Ann in prayer. In that moment I felt distinct reassurance that it would be alright with Mary Ann. The time was 7:30 pm MT which is 8:30 pm CT.
How do we know when God intervenes? It’s often a subjective experience, and not amenable to objective proof. However time coincidence can be attributed to God with more certainty in my experience. To illustrate, the song Always which gave me definite reassurance was sung at 8:30 pm CT time, when Mary Ann was at the doctor’s and when the doctor recommended the chiropractor. Yes the same day and the same hour. This was Part A of the answer to prayer.
Another coincidence: The next day, Thursday 10 December, Mary Ann called about seeing the chiro, but wasn’t able to get in until Friday morning. On that same Thursday 10 December, in the afternoon, I sent out an SOS text to friends in Albuquerque who know how to pray. Friends of Mary Ann’s in the Kansas area were praying hard also. I think these diligent prayers may well have contributed to what happened next.
When Friday arrived, Mary Ann walked in to see Dr Null the chiropractor. She had a neck ache as well as a headache. He immediately took X-rays of the neck, which she always thought was the source of the migraine, and adjusted the top spinal vertebra which was pressing on the spinal column nerve. Mary Ann felt immediate relief from both neck and head pains. This was Part B of the answer to prayer.
DISAPPOINTMENT BEFORE JOY:
But it didn’t last. The next migraine came on three days later! Another adjustment by Dr Null, the chiro, who explained: “We nudge it back in. But then it can pop out again. So we nudge it back in again. And gradually, the misplaced vertebra gets used to staying in.” This gave us all hope. Meanwhile when she slept Mary Ann started to wear her old neck brace, left over from a previous neck fusion, to help keep the vertebra in place.
In early January she went 9 days without a migraine, which finally broke the three-day cycle. As of January 20 she has been migraine-free for 16 days, another record. This was Part C of the answer.
• To an engineer this looks like a three-part answer from God. Especially because there was huge uncertainty about what triggers the migraines, and anxiety amongst all of us about whether we could find any kind of solution. The regular GPs were at a loss, despite the high-tech X-rays of Mary Ann’s neck at their disposal.
• An alternative treatment appears to have solved the problem. And this was truly an integrative approach: the GP recommending a chiropractor. Further, the chiro took and interpreted his own X-rays, and saw an irregularity that the GP’s and the medical specialists missed.
• Sincere thanks are due. To God first…..thank you, thank you, thank you God (for the three-part miracle). And also highly important….to all the folks who were praying hard for a solution to Mary Ann’s migraines….our heartfelt thanks.
POST-SCRIPT: another miracle intervention which involved poisoning by carbon monoxide, is documented in another blog (if you go there, you need to minimize that article to get back to this blog).
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The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
Then they came to Bethsaida; and some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He led him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking around.” Then again Jesus laid His hands on his eyes; and the man stared intently and his sight was completely restored, and he began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” [Book of Mark, chapter 8].