years of back pain, Ross Mitchell found an amazing blessing
on the streets of Plymouth. This is his story...
several years I have suffered problems with my back, and some
periods have been particularly painful. After a couple of
comparatively pain-free years, problems flared up last autumn.
I suffered very bad sciatica and an MRI scan showed I needed
surgery in my lower back to free a nerve that was causing acute
pain in my lower left leg.
was scheduled for January this year, but I was so bent over
and my back so inflamed that the surgeon postponed the operation
until February to give the inflammation a chance to decline.
All this time friends from church and family were praying for
me, and I had many periods when I knew a measure of healing
and God's blessing.
February, some friends told us of their involvement with a group
of Christians who meet on the streets in the centre of Plymouth
on Saturday mornings and pray for anyone with any need. I first
visited this group the next Saturday on 7th February. At that
time, apart from being doubled over with the leg pain I was
also suffering from mouth ulcers and an unpleasant lump on my
spine just above where the surgeon said he was going to operate.
receiving prayer on the street, I went to the chemist to get
some mouthwash for the ulcers. On returning to the car I discovered
all soreness had disappeared. When I got home I noticed the
lump on my spine had diminished. Within 48 hours it had totally
gone. I went back for more prayer the following Saturday and
although I did not receive anything as dramatic as the previous
week, I was able to stand without pain and was more upright.
in for surgery in February but a more urgent case came up and
I was rescheduled for 4 March. I went back for more prayer on
Saturday 28 February and by this time I could walk with little
pain and had been able to reduce my morphine dose by half. I
also received more of God's blessing and wondered what was going
to happen when I turned up for surgery.
the day of the surgery the assessment doctor was quite
amazed at my rate of progress. He pointed out that the numbness
I still have in my feet would be unlikely to be cured by surgery
and the leg pain had now moved into a place where it was doubtful
if surgery would make much improvement. He suggested I saw the
surgeon. 30 minutes later the surgeon asked me the same questions
and I explained that I had received prayer on the streets of
Plymouth. After examining me he said that if I had had the surgery
6 weeks earlier he would not have expected me to have recovered
to the extent I was able to demonstrate. He said he was not
going to operate and he then discharged me completely. Since
that time just over 2 months ago I still have some discomfort
but I am no longer taking morphine or any other painkillers
and I have been able to return to work. I am confident that
what God has started He will complete.
lives with his wife Caroline in Milton Combe and works in Mary
Tavy where he manages the Hydro Electric Power Station. He attends
St Andrew's church in Buckland Monachorum.
Mind of God
we ever really get our heads round it? Chris Wright has
several places in the Bible it says that God's ways are higher
than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts;
that "His ways are past finding out", "His wisdom is unsearchable"
and so on. Sounds
very deep and significant, but what does it mean in day-to-day
life? Well, I think it means that if you seek God, if you try
to hear His voice and follow His ways, you have thoughts like
- "I think this is what God is saying, but it makes no sense";
or "Why would God do THAT?" Do you ever struggle with thoughts
find it comforting; I think I'd worry if I were cleverer than
God!! If his ways were not past understanding, we'd never be
puzzled by them. I don't need a God whose ways I can predict,
I need "a rock that is higher than I".
have been times when God has asked me to say and do things that
I wasn't sure about at all! But then if I understood, where
would there be any faith? God wants us to trust Him and obey
Him; you don't need to trust if you know. There
is also the point that God is so often doing more at any given
time than we know. We think He's sorting out our difficulty
that we've been asking about for so long, but actually He's
working on our character at the same time (ref Hebrews 12 v9,
10 and Romans 8vv28-31).
of us, the issue of allowing someone else (even a benign God)
to have control of the steering wheel of our lives is very threatening.
Some of us don't like surprises. What if God does something
I don't like?
where trust comes in. Someone said that 'faith' could be spelled
r-i-s-k. If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of
the boat! Trouble is that we often confuse wisdom with playing
safe. There are times when wisdom means taking a risk, stepping
out, deliberately going into a potentially stressful situation
and there you find that God can be trusted.