Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. (James 5:13, NIV)
Is anyone among you in trouble? . . . I was.
Last month I had my yearly physical and it reminded me of my medical check-up a year ago (2019). At that time I was in trouble. I felt horrible and every day was getting worse. All my self-help efforts (better diet, more sleep, vitamins, more carbs, more protein, lots of water, … you name it) were futile. My brain wasn’t working (I was getting lost while driving), and my body wasn’t working (at one point I couldn’t walk)—I was sick.
My family physician ordered tests, made referrals and the gauntlet began. The doctors had no idea what the problem was, and I had no idea what lay ahead. It was a struggle, concern, frustration, inconvenience, and strangely, something that I initially left God out of in my life. I fell for the lie that I could handle it on my own:
Satan’s main strategy with God’s people has always been to whisper, “Don’t call, don’t ask, don’t depend on God to do great things. You’ll get along just fine if you just rely on your own cleverness and energy.” The truth of the matter is that the devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we lift up our hearts to God. –Jim Cymbala
Thankfully, in the midst of my pride and foolishness, the Holy Spirit mercifully nudged me with James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” So that is what I did.
Let them pray . . . I did, and so did many others
I shared my need with my church, my family and my friends and they all prayed for me . . . and they kept praying for me. I’m so glad they did. My medical diagnosis was a rare condition (found in only five out of every one-million people) and it was unknown territory for the local doctors and medical specialists that were caring for me. Over the months following my diagnosis I had three major procedures to address the problem and all three failed. Then came the frustration, the anger, the medical bills, the questions and the doubt. All the while, people were praying—they were calling upon the Lord on my behalf.
Is anyone happy? . . . I am
People were praying and God was working . . . in my circumstances and in my heart. He had saved me from my sins forty years earlier and in my distress and struggle he saved me again—from myself. I was barely hanging on. Yet in the midst of my struggle, He made a way. I was sinking in despair, and He lifted me up. In my weakness, He gave me strength. And when it seemed that all hope was gone, by God's grace and help, I found myself at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
After two trips to Minnesota and seemingly endless tests, needle pokes, scans, and a failed experimental procedure, I was scheduled for pancreatic surgery. All the while, my church, my friends and my family were continuing to call out to Jesus on my behalf. Thankfully, they kept praying.
Let them sing songs of praise . . . I will
In January, Dina and I made our third trip to Minnesota and I had pancreatic surgery. The doctor was able to remove the problem and I was physically healed! God made a way—He used the surgeon, the doctors and the hospital—and my health was restored. I am so thankful to the Lord for His help and healing. Every good gift comes from the Father above.
Here I am, free of the sickness and the struggle that plagued me a year ago—but it is bigger than that. True freedom began when I surrendered my all to Jesus and trusted the Lord with every step of the journey. I was in trouble and I obeyed God’s Word—I prayed and asked others to pray with me—and God helped.
A year ago . . . I was in trouble. But now I'm happy. Jesus has been so good and faithful to me. In the midst of my struggle He showed His hand at every point in my life, and I am thankful to say that through the challenging ordeal God gave me His peace, and my faith in Him has grown deeper and stronger. It was a test, but now I have a testimony. Along with the psalmist I can truly say, “In my distress, He has enlarged me,” (Ps. 4:1, KJV).
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
Please take five minutes and check out the video below. It is a worship song that perfectly expresses my heart unto God. He is due Every Praise!