Friday, May 10, 2013


(Parts 1 and 2 can be found by scrolling down on this blog. Part 1 is below part 2)
On that first morning after my logging accident, the bleeding from the two worst lacerations had slowed considerably. By midday, one of the cuts had stopped completely. However, the right side of my face had become badly swollen. The other cut in my face continued to seep blood for several days. This, I felt, was both good and bad. Certainly one wants the bleeding to stop, but I felt that all of the bleeding was cleansing the wound and preventing an infection to begin.
The cut had been worse than I at first thought. After a couple of days of a continual discharge of blood, I went to the doctor to see if he could stitch it shut. It turns out; however, I should have done this right away. I did not know that after about 24 hours, the skin around the wound becomes very tender, especially in the face. At this point, doctors typically no longer put in stitches. However, my sister had given me some butterfly bandages, which helped considerably. Thankfully, after a few days, the bleeding stopped altogether. No infection developed.
There was another small matter concerning bleeding that continued for more than three weeks. After the accident occurred, it was not only the cuts on my face that were bleeding, but I was also bleeding out of my nose. Of course this was not surprising to me, since I received quite a punch there from either my hard hat brim or from the branch itself.
The nose bleed stopped very soon, but I continued to spit up blood. After a couple of weeks of this, I began to wonder where it could be coming from. This blood came not from my nose exactly, but must have been coming from the sinus area behind the bone that was struck. At first it was a somewhat significant amount. Soon it decreased quite a lot, but it did not stop altogether.
          The blood was not a great quantity as if it would make me anemic, but because there was still snow on the ground during these weeks, it was especially noticeable to me. Usually when I would spit on the ground, there was a red spot on the snow.
In the larger scheme of things, three weeks is nothing. The gospel writers tell of one woman of Jesus’ day that had a continual hemorrhage for twelve years! In all this time, no one had been able to help her, despite that fact that she had spent all that she had on physicians.
One day the woman learned that Jesus was in her town. For some reason the thought came to her that if she could only touch Jesus, even touch his garment, she would be healed. But the woman with the hemorrhage faced great difficulty in getting close to him. At this point in the ministry of Jesus, wherever he went he attracted a large crowd. In this town it was no different.
Strictly speaking, the woman was not even supposed to be in a crowd of people. Because of her problem with the continual discharge of blood, she was considered ceremonially unclean. According to Jewish law, if she wanted to venture out in public, she was supposed to constantly announce her condition by saying, “unclean,” in order to allow people time to distance themselves from her.
The woman, however, must have thought that if she were to do this, she would not be able to approach Jesus at all. She decided to carry out her plan in secrecy.
As she made her way through the throng of people, she could see that she was getting closer to where Jesus was. The crowd was very thick. She was having difficulty in making her way. As she got even nearer to Jesus, the people were very tightly packed around him.
Finally, the woman reached the point where she thought that if she reached out her arm between two people next to Jesus, she could perhaps touch him. At last, with her fully outstretched arm in the midst of the crowd, she was able to reach the fringe of the garment of Jesus.
True to the hopes of the woman, when she managed to touch his cloak, her bleeding immediately stopped and she felt in her body that she had been healed. But that was not all that happened with her touch. At that same moment, Jesus also sensed power going forth from his body (Mark 5:29-30).
“Who touched my garments?” Jesus asked.
The disciples thought that this was almost a silly question. They said to him, “You see the multitude pressing in on you, and you say, ‘Who touched me?’”
The woman had not intended to reveal herself, but now she knew that she had been found out. Trembling, she fell down before Jesus and admitted that it was she who had touched his cloak. Perhaps she was afraid because she thought Jesus might rebuke her for her stealth, or because she was out in public while being in an unclean state.
But there was none of this in Jesus. He simply said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:34 NAS).

In the first couple of days after my accident, with the blood coming relentlessly from my face, I read this account from the gospels several times. Like the woman, I longed to touch Jesus and be healed. I admired her faith. By the very words of Jesus, I knew it was her faith that had healed her. I know of no purely medical explanation for the healing of the woman. The medical options for her had long before been exhausted.
Often when we pray for healing for ourselves or for someone else, we pray for a touch from the hand of Jesus. This is what he had done for the blind man. But in the case with the woman, it was not the touch of Jesus on her, but it was she touching Jesus. She had said to herself, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”
However, getting close enough in order to touch Jesus was not a simple matter. There were many obstacles. I am sure that there were some difficulties for the woman of which we are not even aware, but the main obstacles that I am thinking of were the people that were constantly surrounding Jesus. They were inhibiting her getting near to Jesus, in order for her to touch him and be healed.
These were not ill-intentioned people that were consciously keeping her away. They were not willingly hindering the healing of the woman. Indeed, they did not even know of her condition. Nevertheless, even though they were unknowing of what she needed to do, their very presence was something that the woman had to overcome.
In some ways, I was able to relate to what that woman had to endure. There were, of course, many differences between what I was going through and how the woman suffered, but there were some similarities as well. Like the woman, I faced some obstacles in getting to a place where I could touch Jesus. I am not speaking in a physical sense, of course, but in my own way, I felt as did the woman. I needed to touch Jesus. Even if I could touch even his garment I would be made well.

I do not mean to be over dramatic in relating all of this experience of mine, but in many ways it is a spiritual journey for me as well as a physical healing. Despite all of the resources that we have in our society in these days, in the end, we are no different than the blind man who received the touch of Jesus, or the woman, who reached out to touch Jesus. In the end of it all, Jesus is our only resource.
I also should say that I continue to heal. All bleeding has stopped, although it is now obvious that I will be left with quite a noticeable scar under my right eye. At the time that I write this, the vision in my eye also still has some issues, but it continually improves. In my journey of physical healing and spiritual learning I continue to need the touch of Jesus as I also reach out to touch Him.
And my Lord has told me, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Thursday, May 2, 2013


(for Part 1, please scroll down to the end of this post)
That night I went to bed wondering what the morning would bring. I slept in the room next to our bedroom so I would not disturb Vivian. I felt that I slept as well as I could reasonably expect, but even though I was in the next room, Vivian said I made a lot of noises during the night. Despite all of the bandaging of my face, in the morning my pillow was spotted with blood. Nevertheless, I still had the feeling that I was going to heal well, although I knew that it would take some time.
When I got up in the morning, my face had begun to swell. However, I could still open my eyelids with my fingers. When I did, I was much relieved to learn that I could see. The first thing that I saw with my injured eye was the concerned, yet very beautiful face of my wife. It was a bit blurry, but it was very distinguishable and in
I think Vivian took this photo two days after the accident
I look like Rocky Balboa after the fight in Rocky I

I told Vivian, “I can see you, but you look blurry. You are like a tree, but walking around.”
This was in reference to a passage of the New Testament where Jesus had healed the sight of a blind man. In that story, Jesus was in the village of Bethsaida, where some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch the man. Jesus first spit on the man’s eyes before laying his hands on his eyes.
Jesus then asked the man, “Do you see anything?”
The man responded, “I see men, but they look like trees, except they are walking.”
Jesus then laid his hands on the man’s eyes again. When the man again opened his eyes and looked intently, his vision was completely restored and he saw everything clearly.
This man very possibly had not been blind from birth, since he first made reference in his very blurry vision of men looking like trees, which he had seen before he lost his sight. Also, when Jesus healed him completely, the word that is used for the healing is that the man’s sight was restored, that is, brought to its former state.
I have long liked this account of the healing of this blind man for the very reason that it was not an instantaneous healing. Certainly, we may say it was almost instantaneous, since it all happened very quickly. Yet, there was also a process to it. First the man was partially healed, and then healed completely.
Neither was my healing instantaneous. Of course, I would not even call it a miraculous healing in the same sense, but it was a healing nonetheless.

Another biblical story that came to my mind was that of the Apostle Paul regaining his sight. Paul was struck blind by a great light that flashed from out of the sky. This light was in connection with the appearance of Jesus to Paul in a vision, by which Paul was converted from being a persecutor of the church to a believer in Christ, and one of the church’s most articulate and active apostles.
Paul was blind for three days. His healing came about when God sent a man named Ananias, who laid his hands on Paul. In this case, we are told that “something like scales” fell from Paul’s eyes and he regained his sight (Acts 9:1-19).
In Paul’s case and perhaps also in the other man’s case, blind men who previously could see were restored in their sight. In both cases, their restoration seems to be miraculous in nature. I do not mean to compare my situation to these two men, except that their examples helped to give me confidence that God would bring my sight back when he determined the time to be right.
But there is something else about Paul’s healing that I wonder about and that I should mention. Although his sight was restored, I am not absolutely certain that he never again was affected by the results of the appearance of the bright light and his temporary blindness.
Some time later, Paul wrote of a physical ailment of some sort that plagued him for the rest of his life. We really do not know what this ailment was; only that Paul metaphorically referred to it as his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Of this thorn in the flesh, Paul said that he prayed to God three times that the Lord might take this ailment from him.
The answer that Paul received from the Lord was not the one that he wanted. Instead of healing him, the Lord told him this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Although this was not the answer that Paul requested, he learned to not only be satisfied with the result, but even well contented in the response that he received from God. Paul writes, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV).
I am not certain that this disorder concerned his eyes, but it is my suspicion that it was. When Paul went to Galatia, he was detained there because of a “bodily ailment.” In fact, it was because of this very difficulty that Paul preached the gospel to these people for the very first time.
Paul does not elaborate on the nature of this ailment, only that he gave testimony of the people of Galatia that they did not despise or loath him because of his situation, but received him “as an angel of God.” He also said that the people received him so graciously that he knew that if it were possible, they would have “gouged out their own eyes” and given them to Paul (Galatians 4:13-15).
It is this statement that leads me to wonder if Paul suffered some lasting difficulties with his eyes. I do not know for certain, of course, nor do I know that if it was so, it was because of what happened to him on the road to Damascus when he was struck blind be the great light. The only thing that I do know for certain is that this bodily ailment, this thorn in the flesh, caused him to depend more heavily upon the grace of God.
As the Lord had told him, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

I will put on Part 3 of this short series (the final part) in a few days