Monday, April 30, 2012

Faith or Failure?

This past weekend I had my Isshin-Ryu Karate Black Belt Test! It was supposed to be 2 days, 4 hours each day. In actuality it was 2 days, 6 hours each day! The Endurance testing was very intense…actually everything about it was very intense. In some areas I felt like I peaked in performance and others I fell short.

After the first day, just due to the sheer volume of pushing my body, my lower back became very tender and fatigued. When I finished at 4pm, I had to rush home, shower and get to church. I had already planned on Chris speaking for me. Plus John O was giving his Haiti medical report. I did lead worship however. The whole service went great but my back was still quite sore.

I asked Mary Ann Emerson to pray for me. She did with Wayne and Paul. I received my healing by faith, not just for the next day, but also for complete deliverance from years of low-back issues. I fully expected to wake up the next morning fully restored.

It was sore all night as I slept. I took Ibuprofen and had Juli rub some sort of analgesic on it. When I woke up in the morning, it was still stiff and sore. I got up, showered, ate, took Ibuprofen, rubbed in the analgesic…praying and speaking scripture the whole time, such as:

            “By His Stripes I was Healed…”  I Peter 2:24

            “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me…”  Philippians 4:13

Fear kept trying to take hold…what if my back goes out like it has in the past?! I would be instantly done and would not be able to finish the test without at least a week to recover and have the Chiropractor put it back where it belongs…

Furthermore, two of the five Senseis testing us flew in to be there for the test. The next one isn't scheduled for another 4 months.

It was an amazing battle in my mind. I did however choose to side with my spirit and the Word of God rather than fear. I got in the car, turned on some worship music, and shouted praise to God like a fool on the ride to the dojo, knowing, “He inhabits the Praise of His people!”  Psalm 22:3

Guess what happened as soon as I walked into the dojo for part 2 of my test?!


No change. No relief. No miraculous healing. This one was going to be a faith-walk...kick...and punch...

I pressed on, trusting him for the next 6 hours to keep me in place. “By Him all things consist (hold together)”  Colossians 1:17

With each requirement I gave it my all! Whether it was a flying scissors takedown on a Sensei 50 lbs. heavier than me, or grappling with the same, or my flying sidekick…I continued to trust Him. Every time I walked into the bathroom to refill my water bottle, I thanked Jesus for being with me and being my strength.

I did have to stretch it out a lot throughout the test but thanks be to God! He came through for me. The test ended with us doing 500 mountain climbers, a killer exercise, but I did it!

Funny thing, today my back feels awesome but my whole body aches…in a “good” way! Multiple bruises and cuts but I feel great. I have learned again through this that no matter how badly you feel like giving up or quitting, in Christ, there is always more strength to draw upon!

            “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!”