When What You Believe Becomes What You Experience

Bible pages

HE PROMISE of divine healing found in Holy Scripture has never been foreign to me. Being both the son and grandson of Pentecostal preachers, I learned of divine healing through expository preaching, Sunday school lessons, and great hymns of the church. And I have preached about healing since my teen years.

To know and believe in the concept of divine healing and then reach a physical crisis in your life where you need God’s healing touch are two very different things, or so I thought. It was in such a crisis that what I believed became what I experienced.

In April 2014, I underwent extensive surgery for a serious condition that had developed in my lower back. I had stenosis in my spine as well as herniated discs in the lumbar region.

My surgery was successful and, initially, my recovery went very well. I had started going back to my office on a limited basis and my prognosis appeared excellent. This was to be my calm before the crisis.

Toward the end of the second week, I began to feel overwhelming fatigue and loss of strength. After undergoing testing, I was found to have contracted MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus)—a deadly antibiotic-resistant infection that had invaded my surgical site.

I was rushed back into surgery. For a week, I stayed in the hospital with a wound vacuum placed in the surgical site. Then I underwent surgery again for removal of the wound vacuum.

After returning home, I was given a week of IV antibiotic therapy with one of the few drugs available to treat this powerful disease . . . but my fatigue continued. At the end of that week, the home healthcare personnel drew blood to send to the laboratory to gauge my recovery. That same evening, the laboratory called and told Judy, my wife, to rush me to the emergency room as the labs indicated that I was in critical condition. My blood count was dangerously low and my kidneys were racing toward failure; in short, my life was in jeopardy.

The doctors, nurses, and technicians were outstanding as they aggressively treated me to save my life. I received four blood transfusions and appropriate medications, but the situation was very bad. I thought of the scripture concerning the woman of Capernaum—she “was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:26).

On a certain night, however, things would change as they did for the woman of Capernaum when she “touched the hem of [Jesus’] garment” (Matt. 9:20). On that night, as I lay in the bed, I heard clearly the Spirit of the Lord ask me, “What is your name?”

I responded in that darkened room, saying aloud, “My name is David.”

I seemed to hear the Lord say to me, “I had a David once that I loved dearly. He was a man after My own heart. A giant was about to kill him, but I went into that valley and killed the giant that would have killed My David. David, a giant is now trying to kill you, but I am going to kill this giant for you.”

At that moment, I was filled with a sense of peace from a world far beyond this one. I remembered how David the shepherd had told King Saul, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:37 NKJV).

The next morning my phone was filled with text messages from people the Lord had awakened to pray for me during the night. Many did not know I was ill.

A lifelong pastor friend and his wife called to tell me they felt led to come and serve me Communion, lay their hands on me, and pray for my complete healing. They came and ministered to me that afternoon, and the next day all of my positive indicator numbers began to rise. My healing was now rapidly taking place and my kidneys and blood were climbing back to normal levels.

I had spent more than 30 days in the hospital and rehab, and would still have to do a lot of outpatient rehabilitation. Because of my severe edema and bed confinement, I had to learn to walk again.

Some might ask, “Why didn’t you receive instant healing from that condition?” I had to go from a wheelchair to a walker and then to a cane until I was able to walk freely, but God’s purposes were wonderfully fulfilled in my life throughout this progression. What empathy and appreciation I have gained for those who face life with handicaps! What I now know about the beauty and selflessness of my wife, who cared for me “in sickness and in health,” I may never have understood completely except for this experience.

I now know the courage of those who live with pain and uncertain steps, yet face life as they do. I have found that pride and self-sufficiency, based upon carnal over-confidence, create in us an arrogance far from the nature of Christ.

Being crippled, if only for a few weeks, filled me with gratitude for every blessing of God, and gave me a renewed total dependence on Him. He healed my body; more significantly, God became my Jehovah-Rapha—“The Lord that healeth thee” (Ex. 15:26).

Dr. David M. Griffis is first assistant general overseer of the Church of God.

From May, 2015