I have believed for many years that God is able to touch and heal people in a miraculous way, but I have never personally experienced anything like what I am about to share.
Last Friday, May 28, I finished a 3 day long team building exercise in Eastern Europe. Wednesday morning I left Rijeka, Croatia to drive to Vienna, Austria to meet 4 other men and women who committed themselves to being summer interns in Croatia. Together we safely covered literally hundreds of miles on foot, by train, tram, subway, and bus as we navigated our way through unfamiliarity with one another and other cultures. We traveled all over Vienna. Then from there we went to Bratislava, Slovakia, then to Brno, Czech Republic on Thursday and Friday before finally ending up at the conference center headquarters of Josiah Venture near Frydlant nad Ostravici, CZ. After carefully navigating some of the busiest centers of plane, train, and automobile traffic that you will find anywhere, I managed to injure myself on the very last challenge of the whole 3 day event. "What was this harrowing activity?", you may ask. "Surely after all these other tests of endurance and intelligence it must have been something truly difficult to have finally gotten the better of you."
Alas, my friends, I injured myself in a ridiculously pathetic attempt to kick a soccer ball. I planted my left foot wrong and felt a pop in my left hamstring. I fell to the ground clutching myself in that somewhat vague area between the back of the thigh and the buttock region. I can honestly say that to my knowledge I have never experienced an injury that was so painful for so long. I have been limping around the hotel here for over two days unable to bend over or down, put full weight on my left leg, sit, lay, or sleep without significant pain and difficulty. I checked on the internet for pics of what a torn hamstring would look like. My leg wasn't nearly that bruised, so I figured it was probably a bad pull or strain. That knowledge, while comforting, did nothing to improve my physical condition. A curse upon that sport that God obviously never intended for Americans to play. Well, at least not this American. :o)
To come to the sincere, serious, God-honoring point of this story, I limped into our evening time of praise and worship tonight just desiring to bless my Father. The presence of God was awesome from the beginning and I began to sway, bounce, and generally move with the music. I could really feel in my body a difference from the pain I felt only minutes before when I came in. I knelt. Couldn't do that without great difficulty before. I praised and worshipped more. I stood. I became more excited as my leg felt even better. I quickly walked out the back of the room to the same steps that I could only climb earlier in the day by leaning upon the handrail. This time, though, I marched up and down them without limping, without leaning, and all the while praising God!
My leg muscles are still sore and tight, but compared to earlier in the day, there is a world of difference thanks to a God who can change our world in an instant. Never have I felt in my own body the transforming, healing power of God in basically no time whatsoever. I had not told many people about the injury before this, but I told Meredith the night it happened that I was sure this was the worst injury I had ever sustained. I even had thoughts like maybe God enabled me to finish the marathon recently in the time goal I set for myself because he knew it was one of the last times I would really be able to run. I thank him that now that doesn't seem like that will be the case. God, your mercy is rich, and I do not deserve it. I can only thank you for your love, and give you glory for your power. Now show your power again this summer in the lives of the youth of Eastern Europe so they may see and know you are real. You are God, and you love them!