This is an unabridged version first published in the Book “When Heaven Shakes The Earth” copywrite 2005 © Living Hope Fellowship, Inc. Aloha, Oregon. I have the right to publish this story here in by blog simply because I am the author of the previously published version. However I do plan to re-write a digested version soon for Stevens Gospel. So here goes and Enjoy… THIS IS A TRUE STORY…
…Turning off the ignition and picking up my purse from the passenger seat of my red Toyota, I reached for the door handle with my left hand and realized…I could not move. I was overwhelmed with fear.
Fear was not anything new to me. It had slowly started to influence my life six months earlier when I began a daily walking routine with my daughter. I was finding it more and more difficult to keep pace with her, as the distance we walked got shorter and shorter.
“I used to be able to clean my house in a single day,” I told her that first morning. “Now, I feel exhausted all the time. It takes me a week to do what I used to do in one day.” “I really don’t like the sound of that,” my daughter said. “Please, Mom, you’ve got to see a doctor.”
The symptoms continued to worsen and I knew she was right. Climbing the stairs drained me so much that I had to sit down on the bottom stair and scoot myself up one stair at a time to go to bed at night. One morning, I awoke with numbness in my thumb. I thought a spider bit me. Yet, over the following few weeks, the numbing and tingling took over my hand, my arm, and then, finally, the entire left side of my torso. Distressed, I went to see a doctor. He referred me to a neurologist.
“What’s happening to me?” I asked. “I’ve never felt so afraid.”
“I’m scheduling you for an MRI.”…
“An MRI? Is that really necessary? I’m afraid of closed spaces.”
“I wouldn’t schedule it if it wasn’t absolutely necessary,” he said gently. “You will be fine. By the way…make sure your health insurance doesn’t lapse.”
Those were dark days filled with fear. Yet, I often felt God’s presence. I knew the MRI tube was going to be a challenge. Upon entering the tube, I was overcome with claustrophobia.
“Mrs. Cook, how are you doing?” the technician asked.
“I am so afraid,” I cried. “I know God is with me, but this is so scary.”
“Are you a Christian?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said softly.
“So am I,” the technician said. “Let’s pray together.”
Tears of relief filled my eyes as his prayer comforted me.
“Holy God,” he said. “Be with us right now. You are so big and we are so small. Be the Comforter for Zoe Ann. Give her the peace that passes understanding. Cover her with Your love and Your healing light. Amen.”
God comforted me through the technician. He told me of his faith in Jesus Christ, bestowed words upon me of encouragement and prayers, and helped me receive the peace and courage I needed to get through my attack of claustrophobia…
Later that week, as I sat in my cube at work, the phone call came.
“Yes,” I said.
“Your diagnosis is multiple sclerosis,” the nurse proceeded. “The MRI results show visible sclerosis scar tissue on your spinal cord.”
I could have fallen through a cement floor. As hard as it was to hear this news, the diagnosis was just the beginning. The consultation with my physician came next.
He explained that MS is a disease capable of destroying the nervous system and that it could result in partial or complete paralysis, blindness, and a whole list of other debilitating effects. His final words that day were, “Zoe Ann, if you have an episode of paralysis that lasts longer than 24 hours, call me. Then we can prescribe medication.”
I know people with MS. I do not want this, God! No, I do not want this! The news that I have this disease, this MS, this multiple sclerosis, this is not real, it cannot be true!
And it didn’t seem true…until the day I found myself sitting in my red Toyota outside my office building, unable to move. It was as if my limbs were no longer mine. There I was, all by myself, immobile and overwhelmed. Six months of fear turned into horrible reality right there. Suddenly, it was very real and very true. I had MS!
Tears streamed down my face and onto my cell phone as I struggled to call my husband Steve. When he finally answered, I could hardly speak. Hysteria slurred my words and the tears would not stop coming. Somehow, Steve began to understand what was happening to me. Yet when He tried to comfort me with his voice and with his words, he realized they were not enough. Then my wonderful husband realized that only God could fix this pain and he began to pray.
In my heart, I was taken back to a night many years ago when we were new Christians. Our oldest daughter, then almost 4 years old, sat on the arm of an old, green, overstuffed chair and played with a toy American flag. Little ones seem to put everything in their mouths, and so it was with Tracy. I can still hear her scream as she fell from the chair arm with that flag in her mouth and hit the family room floor. The flag impaled her deep in the back of her throat. We swept her into our arms, dislodged the dowel from the back of her bloody mouth, and rushed for the door. I saw the blood and the puncture wound, and I can still remember our fear!
“We have got to get her to the hospital, now,” Steve said.
…Then he stopped, looked into my tear-filled eyes, and repeated aloud the thought that seemed trapped in his head,
“Do they even know how to fix this?”
“I don’t know,” I replied.
Together, we realized at the same time that only God could fix this. As we knelt and prayed, little Tracy miraculously stopped crying. The blood went away, and the hole in the back of her throat…the hole I had seen with my own eyes…just minutes before… the hole from which I had dislodged the flag, was gone!
Today the same realization took place. We understood that only God could fix my paralysis. Alone and trapped in my car, I was helpless. Tethered to my husband through the telephone, Steve prayed with me for over 20 minutes without any changes in my condition. Then slowly the paralysis subsided and I was able to move my arm and leg again.
However, I was not healed, Over the next few months, I had many more episodes like this one and I even began to believe I had the disease. Yet, God continued to provide relief through Steve’s prayers.
Then my sister-in law, Linda, invited me to a class at her church…the topic was “Healing.” It was impeccable timing. Through attending this class I came to understand that I could read God’s Word, the Bible, as if I were taking a dose of medicine. I could take His encouragement two, three, four, or as many times per day as I needed it to keep me focused on His promises. It seems that this is the only medicine anyone cannot take too much of.
Doctors and people I knew with MS encouraged me to read pamphlets and literature about multiple sclerosis so I could become aware of what to expect, and learn strategies for…Living With It… Someone even invited me to an MS support group. However, my husband and many others helped me understand that God did not want me to see myself as a person with MS, nor to embrace this as “my MS.” The words we speak are vital to our health and well-being.
The exhaustion and tingling numbness I felt did not improve, but as I read the Bible, I found comfort and hope in the promises of God. This is the best medicine and it is available to everyone. Steve and I decided to believe those promises and I put myself on regular doses of scriptural medicine. Over the next several months, every time I experienced an episode, I immediately called Steve and we prayed together until the immobility subsided. Sometimes it took 15 minutes, sometime 30 minutes or longer… But never 24 hours. We saw these as attacks from Satan because he wants to harm us and ruin our lives. MS was his way of trying to control and destroy my life. By then, I was having weekly episodes. Every time an attack came, we prayed and allowed Jesus to take over the fight for us. We could not win, but He could.
Then one day at a special church service about nine months after the whole ordeal began, our pastor called three people forward by name. I was one of them. He prayed for each of us specifically, and when he got to me, he said a word that stuck in my mind. He said, “LIVE!” loudly and with authority. “LIVE!”
After he prayed a bit more for me, I returned to my seat. Physically, I did not feel any different. Even while the pastor prayed for me, I had not felt anything special take place. Nevertheless, after that healing prayer, I never had another episode of paralysis again! Although I continued to have symptoms for a time, God started a miraculous healing process that very day.
Gradually, my energy level increased. Soon I could walk, and even run up the stairs. I could clean my house in one day again. The tingling and numbness in my body receded just as it had come; first, it cleared from my mid-torso and chest, then my neck and shoulder, and finally left my arm and my hand. this happened in a slow progression until the only lingering numbness was in my fingers.
Sometimes I would question God, “Why do I still have the numbness in my fingers?” Every time I asked, He told me, “Yes, you are still having some symptoms, but believe in Me.” He reminded me to review the promises in the Bible…is was my medicine. I read them to myself again and again. I trusted Him and thanked Him for all that He had done so far. Two years later, the last of the tingling left my fingertips. I have been completely symptom free for nearly twelve years now…God has indeed healed me!