Facts of Life or a “Deadly Blessing”?

Steve, I can’t give you much hope here. You were infected by a common organism found in hospitals through the IV line that is feeding you. The specialists tell me you don’t have the equipment to sustain life so you need the IV feeding, but this is keeping the infection alive and thriving…. The only way to kill it is to get you off IV’s, which you can’t!

Surgeons will not do another open heart surgery on a guy with an infection like this” – Infectious Disease Doctor 2009

Steve Prog

October 2009 – was told I had 3-6 months to live (again)

I guess the only way you can understand if something was real is to look at the effect it had. The spirit of God plants a boldness in us that is crazy by human standards.

In 2008 after my encounter with God on while in Intensive care, after I woke up I knew that I had been given a gift by Gods amazing grace. What’s the defention of grace? That would be “unmerited favor”. As a pragmatic person, I knew that there was nothing that I had done right in my life to survive that night and the fact that I could be aware and conscious was the gift of life from the Father of lights.

PICCLineHowever, at that time looking at my physical condition, you would have said it was pathetic.

Medical Science is amazing. The skill by which the surgeons had operated on me was amazing and I will always think of them with the highest honor and thanks for what they did for me. But medical science has it’s limitations. We are designed a certian way and when we invade the natural system it creates certian side effects.

Mine were: Inability to process food to sustain life as they had removed the equipment to do so, lifetime feeding by an implanted IV line (PICC line), never being able to gain weight, weakness, lack of stamina which all surrounded being malnourished. I was on so many medications, the pain was unbearable. Laying in the hospital for months and later in a rest home, I kept trying to come to a parallel between my physical condition and the voice I heard that had simply asked me “do you want to live…?”

I had to go back to scripture to get a clear answer. Jesus said “I come to bring life and life abundant”. That’s pretty clear and I take that literally. This is truth uncolored by people’s feelings and limited understanding of who God actually is.

Since God is not the author of disease and suffering, and it is beyond the scope of his nature to say he allows it, many Christians create a victim theology that “God’s ways are mysterious.

12 hours to live

Thanking My Surgeon January 2009

In the “Christianeze” circles I was traveling in at the time, all I was hearing from MOST PEOPLE was “your going to have to come to your senses and understand this is the way it is”.

Many doctors and specialists had told me that facts were facts and there are no changing facts, and I agreed with them that those were facts as we humans see them.

I held on to the thin (at that time) belief in miracles.

But…..that isn’t what the bible says. I had to come to a realization that either the bible was a long list of myths and fables written to explain some ‘religious concepts of god” or it was all true as it’s written and was inspired by GOD the actual creator of the universe.

Three people stand out in my life at this time who powerfully encouraged me. One was a very special doctor who would wink and say “God can do anything”, one was my mother who has always been crazy enough to belive in miracles (thanks Mom) and the other was a Chinese doctor at the rest home who would say with a thick accent “YOU DON’T LISTEN TO THEM, GOD LOVE YOU, I SEE MIRACLES….

After I had received these very bad prognosis I went to say thank you to the surgeon who has so carefully put me back together inside and saving my life. I wanted to be sure I did this before I died. This was prior to my healing.

So who do you listen to? All the specialists and all the tests and the facts or 3 people with some crazy idea that God could or would actually heal me…

Trust God from the bottom of your heart…. don’t try to figure out everything on your own….Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go….he’s the one who will keep you on track….Don’t assume that you know it all….Run to God! ….Run from evil! ….Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!…. Honor God with everything you own give him the first and the best….Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over…. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction…. It’s the child he loves that God corrects ..a father’s delight is behind all this.”  Proverbs 3:5-12 (The Message)

ghostbusters(sm)

Crazy like a Fox

Now let me tell you that true disciples, are God’s kingdom here on earth, are crazy in the eyes of the world. Make that totally nut’s, certifiable, weird and crazy crazy crazy crazy…or are they……..crazy like a fox?

In December 2008. I was living in my parents house, I had a nurse and it was costing over $24,000 per month to feed me with this special amino acid mixture. That didn’t make sense to me. Why would God preserve my life and then leave society to pay over $275,000 per year to feed me, nerveless the incredible cost of the nurse and hospitalizations that would occur as a result of these complications. No that didn’t compare with the love I had witnessed that night and the love I had been given to be re-ignited to back to life.Plus there were better uses of the money.

I was researching alternative therapies which all turned out to be useless and the only possibility was to (sorry for the graphic images) transplant the insides of a dead person replacing my system which had a death rate of about 30%

Another important thing was that I really didn’t want to deal with all this. So I got the opportunity to go back to work and I rented an apartment on the third floor of a building without an elevator to force myself to climb back to life.

I carried a portable pump everywhere I went to feed me. I had begun to study a positive thinking course to help with my attitude, which is whole different story, but it did give me the opportunity to define what i really wanted. I was told to “visualize my dream”, they were focusing on money, big houses ect. So I carefully thought about what I REALLY wanted.

This would be one of the most important things I had ever done.

I wrote down: “I want to be a scuba diver”. Strategically it was because if I were a scuba diver I could not have a permanent IV line as seawater would rush into my bloodstream and kill me, so I would not have a IV line if I were a scuba diver.

Totally impossible but it makes sense at least right?

“A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years,  and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse”Mark 5:25-26 (NASB)

Around April 2009, I laid down in my bed in desperation prayed and imagined the following:

I was in the crowd where people were surrounding Jesus. The woman who had the hemorage was about to touch Jesus’s cloak. So when I saw her do that, I snuck around behind her and touched him as well. Now please understand that I believed to the bottom of my heart that if I had lived 2000 years ago and touched Jesus’s cloak that i would be healed.

Again, either the Bible is another interesting book which makes it useless or it was inspired by the GOD himself and it contains the words of life. One or the other.

I choose other….

The next morning I disconnected the IV line and went to breakfast. I bought a scuba diver sticker for my truck. Now I was crazy, make that insane for sure, a poor soul who could not admit reality. Pathetic for sure and another blind alley that would end in disappointment. So I kept this to myself.

March 2009

March 2009

12 hours to live

April 2009

Two weeks later I took my tests. They showed above normal total protein levels showing I was well nourished. Shocking, but maybe it was just residual nutrition? So I waited again. Next set of tests were above normal…I took them again above normal!

So I told my doctors. THEY WENT CRAZY! So much in fact that they were going to “51-50 me” or take me against my will into a mental hospital. They refereed me to a Psychiatrist and I didn’t go to the appointment. One doctor put his finger right in my face and said “YOUR GOING TO SHRIVEL UP AND DIE!” that was a real “Halloween moment”. Scary and it felt like someone coming up behind me and yelling “BOOOO…” when I was like 4 years old.

But God is the ultimate “ghostbuster”….

Some well meaning family members told me I had to come to my senses. Again, I listened to the few people who had given me hope and ignored the naysayers. In all, it was the Holy Spirit who had implanted me with the gift of boldness. I always had human courage, the ability to muster up human emotions to overcome obstacles , but this was something much different. This was true boldness not within my power and crazy to the “real world.”

And so It was, I was surviving and actually thriving with less that 18% of a human digestive system.

A Deadly Blessing?

You see, if I hadn’t got the infection in the hospital, it would not have put my back to wall in such a way that the only way out was to trust in God in a crazy by human standards way and live by faith. It was this deadly blessing that taught me boldness in Christ and built my faith in him as a living spirit and one in whom I can trust. This experience and the wisdom it taught me, carried me through another open heart surgery, a near fatal car crash and subsequent complete rebuilding of my body through multiple hospitalizations for a range of life threatening situations .

Another “deadly blessing” was that car crash as that caused my HMO to do a very expensive plastic surgery giving me a much better quality of life today.

scub(2)Positive visualization did not heal me, nor did my wish to be a scuba diver. Rather is was the deep belief that God was a GOD of his word in which I can trust. Down the road I will face more physical challenges eventually ending my life. I will say from personal experience that no matter what the outcome, I would much rather be a “crazy fox” than a “scared chicken” and go through whatever God’s will is with my head held high with the confidence that my heavenly father known what is best and uses everything for his glory and not mine.

Hey joshua said in Genesis 50:20 ” You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” He simply turns things around all for his glory!

I have been able to travel to India, work, attend my daughters wedding and eat so many delicious meals with My kids and really get to know them. I have enjoyed Christmas and Easter gatherings with my family and even have a big fat Cheeseburger from time to time…

All this is simple to explain:

Life is a school and we have to study for the tests to pass them. I’ve learned not to over complicate it. It was Gods will…PERIOD. It was in his will for me to be with my kids and really get to know them.

I do not pretend to understand how God heals while we are in this body, but I understand that more people are miraculously healed in foreign countries, most likely because they can only turn to God. God heals both through miracles and conventional medicine and I have learned how to navigate this through a living relationship with the Holy Spirit that leads me into all truth.

My whole life is nothing but a vapor in the light of eternity. We are to approach whatever comes our way with the knowledge that all happens in Gods will and being equipped by careful study of God’s word and most important it’s application to everything that comes our way.

BUT here the guarantee of healing: If your a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I can absolutely guarantee that in God’s time every believer gets healed, either while in the body or at the moment of death to be completely healed not only of sickness, but of all strife, struggle and pain forever.

How do I know this?

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” 1 Cornitians 5:6-9 (NASB)

I used to be a spoiled child that complained about all the “adversities” I was a “victim” of. It is the ongoing grace of God to empower me to think different which causes me to act contrary to popular medical wisdom when the Holy Spirit leads in that direction. But more important to be pleasing to him no matter what pain or emotional adversities I am experiencing in this life.

“How can I account for the people of this generation? They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’ John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called him a lush. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” – Luke 7:35 (The Message) 

And until I do leave this life, I TOTALLY LOVE the taste of a good roast turkey Thanksgiving dinner with my kids!

steve and chris 2013(2)

Me and my son Chris Thanksgiving 2013