20: New Kind of Faith

20: New Kind of Faith

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

New Kind of Faith

Let God’s promises shine on your problems

~Corrie Ten Boom

I laid still and listened for my husband’s car. Since the disks in my back had herniated two months earlier, I’d been in bed. Now I could discern the sound of his car from others.

Normally, I’d be half wild to have him come home. Being bedridden was lonely. But today was different. It wasn’t the end of the day and Lonny wasn’t coming home with our two little boys. It was the middle of the afternoon and Lonny was coming home from work because I’d called him.

I believed that I’d heard from God.

“Stand and walk,” is what I thought I’d heard the Lord whisper to the quiet part of my soul.

Now I waited, heart hammering in my chest, and wondered if I’d gone mad.

My back had been my Achilles tendon for a long time. I’d had surgery several years before, and I was used to some struggle and pain. But this time was different. The pain was much worse, with sciatic pain shooting down my leg. Also, I was five months pregnant, and surgery, at this point, wasn’t an option. “We’ll do a clean-up job after the baby is born,” my neurosurgeon said. But that was four months away. I couldn’t imagine recovering from back surgery while recovering from a C-section. And how could I lift and care for a newborn when my core was stitched together like a Raggedy Ann doll?

The two little sons I already had kept me running pretty fast, so in the past I had dreamed about taking an afternoon nap. But now that I was bedridden, I longed to run with those boys. My heart broke for the walks we were missing, picnics in the park, swinging in our back yard. I even longed to wash and fold their T-shirts, to make peanut butter sandwiches, and to do even the most menial task for my family. I’d have given gold to wipe a smudgy counter clean. I wanted my life back.

Now the best time of my day was evening—when my three men came home.

“Mom, are you up there?” my six-year-old called every night. I’d hear his footsteps on the stairs.

“Where else would I be?” It was a game we played. “In the garden?”

“No,” he’d holler.

“Swimming in the lake?”

“No,” he’d shout. “There you are,” he’d say and burst into the bedroom, his blond hair tousled. He’d smell of sweet fresh air. “I knew you’d be right here.”

It was our daily ritual. Lonny and our other son would perch on the bed and conversation would run fast and free. But dinnertime would come too soon, and they’d gather around the table downstairs. They’d set up a baby monitor, so I could join their table talk too, but it wasn’t the same.

The days rolled into weeks and the weeks shifted to months.

I wriggled my toes under my flannel sheet. I felt anxious. It wouldn’t take long for my husband to come home.

The only good thing about being bedridden was the opportunity to read God’s Word. Every afternoon, I pulled my Bible from the bedside table. I’d prop it on the high stand of my belly and dig right in. Before my back issue, finding time for this had been a struggle. But now it was just me and the Lord, and opening His Word was hearing His voice.

Many of the passages I’d read before. But with the quiet house and nothing to tug at my mind or heart, it was as though I was reading my Bible for the first time. When I read that the Lord promised to never leave me, I felt it in my spirit. When He told me to not be afraid, the sharp points of fear would pull away like retracted claws.

And one afternoon, when the sun was high and the air was still, He told me to stand and walk.

I’d been reading the gospel of John when I came to the passage about a lame man. He didn’t know who Jesus was and he’d put his hope in supposed healing qualities of a pool. But Jesus sought him out and asked him if he wanted to get well. Then He told the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk!

Get up! Walk!

The words felt like a command to me. Like the Lord whispering to my very own soul.

It was personal.

Powerful.

And it scared me to death.

So I called my husband. And instead of deeming me a mad woman, his words were kind.

“If the Lord told you to stand, then I’m going to come home.”

The sun threw gold bars over my bed quilt while I waited. I ran my fingers into the light. Could this really happen? Was I imagining things? Did God still heal this way?

Before long Lonny’s work boots sounded in the stairwell. A moment later, he stood in the bedroom doorway.

“Are you ready?” he asked. “If you’re ready, let’s hold hands and pray.”

I wasn’t sure what I was ready for. My hands began to shake. But Lonny kneeled on the floor beside my bed. And he cupped his hands around mine. Tight.

“Lord, if you’ve spoken to Shawnelle, if You intend for her to stand and walk, I ask that you be with us now.”

My arms looped around Lonny’s neck. His arms wrapped around my back. The baby rolled and kicked in the basin of my belly.

And I sat.

I turned and moved my legs over the side of the bed.

My feet hit the floor.

And I stood.

“You okay?” Lonny asked. I couldn’t read his eyes. Surprise? Wonder? I wasn’t sure. But something in my heart broke and I was warm from head to toe.

“Steps,” I said. “I want to take steps.”

Lonny kept his arm around me, and for the first time in months, my feet moved across the floor. Baby steps. Just two of them.

But it was walking just the same.

“I’d better rest,” I said. My head felt foggy and thick. Lonny walked me back to the bed, helped me in, and then curled around me. We closed our eyes and didn’t talk. At least not to each other. I’m sure we were both thanking the Lord.

Those two steps were the beginning of my miracle. The next day, I took a few more. Soon I’d walked down the stairs. Within the week, I’d resumed care of my family.

And three months later, I walked to the nursery to peer at my newborn son.

That impending surgery? It never happened.

I believe all those disks were pushed right into place.

My back was made solid and firm. Steady and supporting and sure.

Just like my new kind of faith.

~Shawnelle Eliasen

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