Psalm 16: 7-8
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. NKJ
I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord‘s presence;
he is near, and nothing can shake me. GNT
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken. NIV
Healing comes in waves and at times instantly. Yet, the work of healing takes time deep in our souls before manifested to our face and physical experience.
Some years ago, God worked a tremendous miracle in my body that He continues to work every moment from that time to now and into tomorrow. Through the night seasons and in the mornings, I would pray an wrestle with my inner desires and intercede on behalf of others. These two activities brought me to the place of total healing and keep me there.
In the beginning I suffered from immense depression and unstable emotional upheaval. The root of this was a surgery to remove my thyroid glands. They were swollen, wrapped around my vocal nerves, and had growths. The thyroids had to be removed.
The day before surgery, I ran 3.5 miles at 7.5 minutes a mile in 102 degree Oklahoma summer. The day after surgery, I could not walk across the room. Two weeks after surgery, I could not walk a block. A year after surgery, I could not run a mile. Five years after surgery I had lost all my physical stamina and gained 60lbs. My system simply would not stabilize. My emotions were strained and tested.
During these years of stretch and strain was one of the greatest growths in a congregation I have witnessed. Our congregation went from 1500 white members to 5500 multi-cultural where no culture represented 51%. It was strenuous. My role was to oversee outreach, growth, assimilation, and operations. In that time frame, we launched over 50 new ministries, built a new campus, and developed a downtown mission serving over 20,000 meals a month. All the time, I was suffering from major hormonal imbalance and along with my wife raising my four children through their elementary and teenage years.
In 1997, one year after the surgery, I committed myself to daily prayer for the first hour of my day. I would rise, shower, put on my best clothes and sit with God and a bible and some motivational book and a notepad. This has been my habit since. It is now 15 years of living this way.
Through that time, I developed a method of praying through the book of Ephesians for the saints. I would pray the entire book every day for two years. At different points a developed outline included stops to pray for missions and couples and leaders and fathers and children and salvations and miracles and some 20 other subjects for the saints.
These morning times became my solace and healing. Of course, my body was deteriorating, my emotions were wrent, and my strength was waning. The congregation was growing and exploding and my personal health and welfare was struggling horribly.
The Three Women
In this time, there were three praying women who would call me at exactly the most strenuous moments. In my office at the church, I would be exhausted and received a call. “Pastor Phil I have been praying for you for two days. How are you?” These women did not know each other. They did not know the others were calling. They did not know their exact timings delivered of God. I would weep and be strengthened by the prayers of three sensitive saints and maybe countless others that just prayed and never called. I would continue to grow weaker and more strained. It was not the other pastors or leaders who reached out to me, but daily saints.
The Second Three Women and One Man
At the same time, I had three assistants in the front office. These three gave daily with excellence and compassion and coordination. Their service was outstanding and kept me encouraged and alive and working in the kingdom. They were always ready to do what was needed. Then there was the maintenance miracle man. Yes, all four of these were also people of faith and prayer and action.
After years of this situation, God reminded me of my call to serve ministers. Through understanding as He counseled, I went back into business endeavors. Weak, overweight, and committed, I entered a masterful time of change. For the next year as I worked in a large company, I would develop a team of 100 men to pray during each service. 9 teams of men prayed for 3 hours each Sunday and Wednesday from before service until the last person left the altar call. My life intensified in prayer for others.
Then It Happened
Something painful and wonderful transpired. After all these years of doctor visits and hours in the gym fighting for a body that worked and prayer for others, my condition reached the worst point ever. What a great result to such dedication and commitment. I finally reached total chaos and breakdown.
The doctor was stumped when he tested me. Every hormone in my body was out of balance. The thyroxin in my system was double the doses I was taking. He could not explain anything and took me off the synthetic hormones totally.
It is hard to explain to anyone how frightening that moment could have been. To miss my pill even for a half a day meant exhaustion to the point of someone having to drive me. To stop taking the pill just was beyond my comprehension. I made him give me his personal cell phone in case I collapsed.
Four Day Waves
Every fourth day for a month, I found myself exhausted. Then after a month, something happened. All the hormones and chemicals balanced. That was more than 10 years past. Every time I am tested today, all hormones and chemicals are perfect.
There is no thyroid. There is no synthetic hormone. Every test for ten years shows perfect balance. Last week, I ran over 30 miles. All I have to battle for weight now is middle age spread and a love for grease and pastries.
This small section of Psalm 16 outlines what God used in my ignorance to heal. It is also what He uses to sustain. You see, I still do not have a thyroid. My balance is dependent on being healed miraculously every minute of my existence. If you can live without a heart, you can live without a thyroid. There is no physiological explanation for my health. My doctor still looks for thyroid related issues every time I go for anything from a wart to a regular checkup. My last doctor calls me, “the man with no thyroid” and shakes his head. My new doctor just goes with the flow and keeps checking me.
So What Is It?
I was not praying for healing.
I was not looking for a miracle.
I was doing the right thing to receive just in simple obedience to daily meditation of the word.
Along with some other regimens of Christian discipleship, here are a few from these scriptures that lead to health and keep us there.
I will praise the Lord,
There it is. I will look for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I will expect Him to do good when all is going bad. I will call out and remind others of His goodness no matter the circumstance. I will not linger in pity and pain, but find a brightness in each day. I will praise the Lord in my home, my business, the congregation, my family, my friendships, and my personal meditations. I will not whine.
who counsels me;
I will listen for His voice and obey. I will dig into His written words and listen to wise and mature teachers of the word and put into action the counsel I receive. I will repent of my sins and find new paths of living to replace old patterns built by the expectation of the world and time weary ways.
even at night my heart instructs me.
I will respond to His call when I feel like it and when I don’t. If He asks me to go to help another when I am tired, I will go. When the journey is bleak, I will look to my conscience and commitment and not doubt in the dark what I knew in the light. Even the valley of the shadow of death, I will dig deep into what I have learned in meditation and study and apply the stirrings of my heart embedded over time by the voice of His Holy Spirit through scripture.
I have set the Lord always before me.
There is no other solution. I will take my medications and trust God for my solution. I will go to Him in the morning and through the day and before I sleep. His voice will be most familiar to me in all circumstances. When there is a hard decision to make, I will restudy the word and apply scriptural principles to resolve the decisions and actions needed. No matter my education and understanding in the ways of the world, the voice of my Father and principles of scripture will always have the final say.
Because he is at my right hand,
He is my strength. He is my joy. In the presence of the Lord is joy forevermore. Though the waters rise against me, He will be with me and I will not be overwhelmed. Though the flames kindle high and rob the oxygen from around me, I will walk through unscathed and unscorched. He is at my right hand. If God be for me, who can be against me.
I will not be shaken.
There is no giving up. There is no giving in. There is no giving ground. I may crawl, but I will not stop. I may cry deep tears of pain, but I will not stay down. I may lay unable to move, but I will look to Him and get up again.
Scripture, Meditation, Exercise, Intercession, Presence, Expression.
These keep me in motion.
Scripture: There is no higher wisdom. There is no greater counsel for living and decisions. Scripture gives life and counsel. God breathed words can put wind under the weakest wings. Live it. Breath it. Study it. Pray for understanding.
Meditation: Taking time to examine the scripture and listen and read the understanding of others and mull over it. Don’t be so prideful that you can grow on your own. Others are voices of reason and sometimes voices of God for your life. Consider what they say and write.
Exercise: Well did you think your body will just get up and run? Oh, your muscles and organs and tissues will just start working? Get real. You need to apply right wisdoms of eating, vitamins, exercise, rehab, whatever is prescribed for your condition. Do it. Obey wise counsel. Give God something to work with. He will multiply results, but you need to take actions in the right directions. Don’t just sit there… Move. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Treat it right. If you are overweight and your joints ache, quit waiting on God and push away from the table. Get a trainer to work with you. Use Godly wisdom for the human body He created and gave to you.
Intercession: Spend more time praying for others than praying for your own needs. Get other focused. If you want to be healed, forget your problems and focus on praying for the problems of others.
Presence: God is waiting on you. Put down your book, your 30 day bible reading plan, your motivational podcast, your television, your radio and your traditions. Get alone and quiet with God. Sit, listen, learn.
Expression: Live what God speaks to you. When you feel an urgent desire to go do something with Him, go do it. Give up all excuses and take fearsome steps of obedience. He will meet you in the path of obedience with provision. It is easier to steer a moving object than to get one that is sitting still started in motion.
Don’t look for super spiritual answers. Obey the word.