The Great Fall!
continued from My Testimony...
Meanwhile, back at the Hill Country ranch and the "good life,"...
At 59 years of age, I decided to take up longboarding. If you aren't familiar with a longboard, it is a long skateboard that reaches the speed of light in about three seconds. Very fast.
Anyway, in April 2016, I decided to take a quick ride on the longboard from hell. I imagine Jesus whispering to the Holy Spirit, "This is going to hurt a bit, but we won't kill him." I can chuckle about it with them now, but not then.
At about 20 miles per hour, I fly off the longboard straight to the ground (not a safety pad on my body) and land on my left elbow. Somehow I was knocked unconscious, but when I woke up, it felt like my left arm was a box with countless puzzle pieces inside. Yep...I had disintegrated my left elbow.
The pain of reconstructive surgery was about to begin. Physical therapy three days after having two plates and 14 screws installed was a real adventure. When God wants to teach a lesson in THE FALL, I can assure you that He will do it just short of killing you. Fortunately, He has a plan that will change your life forever.
"Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none." Psalm 10:15 (ESV)
If you are wondering what prompted me to take up longboarding as a "senior citizen", I can assure you it was ego and pride! A couple weeks before "The Fall" my two grandsons came to visit. As usual, I offer the pushup challenge and win. But no...that's not enough...there needs to be a greater challenge for us to share. How about high-speed longboarding?!
My oldest grandson took me up on the challenge. The younger was far too wise and decided to pass, being content to watch how the insanity played out. Yes, pride does precede a fall!
Lifting Hands, Heavenly Rise, Seeing Jesus
I was developing a reputation with my orthopedic surgeon and physical therapists as someone who could "take the pain." I could take to pain. They asked me to do a presentation on the topic to a group of medical doctors. My presentation was titled, "It's Not Pain, It's Progress!"
Outside my scheduled PT sessions, I was "training" at home for three to four hours daily. For example, one afternoon, I was doing something called "lifting hands, heavenly rise. " It's a movement from Tai Chi that helps increase the range of motion in my left arm.
As I strained to lift my hands, there was nothing heavenly about the experience. The pain was nearly unbearable. My eyes were watering (from sunscreen, no doubt), and I thought I would pass out. I stood looking out my patio door, hands barely above stomach level, and an image began to form. I could see a figure sitting under a tree. It was Jesus! He stood in front of me and raised His arms up and above His head. He just stood there waiting for me to do the same.
My arms felt lifted to the exact position above my head. There was no pain. Only a sense of love and peace. A genuine Heavenly Rise! I am unsure how long this lasted, but the vision of Jesus disappeared, and the excruciating pain immediately returned.
My rational mind says this was simply a pain-induced hallucination; however, I know the difference between a hallucination and a vision gifted by God. For believers, you understand what I am saying. For the unbeliever, it will remain a natural sensation to an unnatural physical condition.
The "Jolt" at The Empty Cross, Kerrville, Texas
My physical rehabilitation was coming along well. I still had my left arm in a sling. The pain was still there, but hey, you get used to it.
One afternoon I went up to The Cross to have a visit with Jesus. Jesus decided to show up in the form of two prayer chaplains. One of the prayer warriors noticed my injured left arm. He asked if he could pray for my healing. Naturally, I welcomed any Divine Intervention I could get. The second man joined us when he finished praying and said, "The Lord told me to bring you into the Cross and that you would experience a jolt." He admitted that he didn't know what that meant and was simply sharing the message.
The three of us went together to the base of the Empty Cross. The One who shared the message said, "You are to place both hands here on the Cross. The place he indicated was shoulder height. After that, the two prayer chaplains left me alone with God.
As I raised my arms to place my hands on the Cross, the familiar excruciating pain awakened every sense in my body. I managed to put both hands on the Cross and waited...Nothing. I can deal with pain, but I am NOT a masochist.
Just as I was about to take my hands off the Cross, the most beautiful sensation came over me. It was like standing under a waterfall shower...the water flowing gently...bubbly...from the top of my head and down my back. It was INCREDIBLE. I thought, "This doesn't feel like a jolt, but maybe that's what it is."
The water flow was down to a trickle, and I felt ready to leave. However, when my hands lost contact with the Cross, I felt a powerful "punch" to the front of my body. It was like someone had struck me in the chest area as I stumbled back a few steps. WOW! My first thought was that the Cross had been struck by lightning!
Looking up, I expected to see an ominous storm cloud responsible for a lightning bolt. But no...not a cloud in the sky. It was one of the most inexplicable experiences of my life. Trust me, if God says He will give you a "JOLT," you won't be left wondering if He has or not. God's Jolt is unmistakable.
Since the Fall, seeing Jesus and the Jolt at the Cross, I have been in the "Boomers Mulligans" phase of my walk with Jesus. I am of the Baby Boomer generation (a Boomer) and have been given a "Mulligan"...a "do-over" opportunity. Like a casual golfer who slices the ball off the tee, sending it far off course, he asks for a Mulligan and gets a new chance to hit the ball again.
Thankfully, God Grants Mulligans! I have been taking my do-over opportunity and using it in the following ways:
1. Beginning January 16, 2022, I started reading the Bible from the first page of Genesis to the last page of Revelation. It took me over six months of daily reading, but the effort paid off. Distinguishing between light and dark, truth and error, is much easier. I'm now studying each Book in depth.
2. I became more open to and aware of the Divine Appointments (DI) that God had arranged for me. Each new DI has added new insights and understanding to my Christian walk.
3. I am writing for (and about) God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This blog is an example.
4. I am no longer a "lukewarm" Christian. I'm an all-in Believer, ready to pick up my Cross daily.
5. Finally, Off The Bench Ministries is my beginning attempt to put faith into action. After all, "Faith without works is dead." James 2:14
6. The adventure continues...see what's happening with the Off The Bench Water Ministry.
7. Most recently, God has sent me out door knocking..."Soul Winning"...consistent with The Great Commission. If anyone had told me in 2022 that I would be sharing the gospel person-to-person, I wouldn't have believed it! But God moves in mysterious ways and always according to His plans.