I was perplexed, and somewhat distraught, when I discerned that God had determined to remove the candlestick of the church I spoke of in the previous chapter. I had spent many years in this place, and had prayed and interceded fervently that the Father would raise up a people for His praise. I had expected that He would do so, and that He would use the people from this body of believers as a part of this work. The Holy Spirit led me to the following verse, which I often used as a basis for my prayers:
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind Yahweh, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Jerusalem is a type of the church, and I felt called as a watchman to cry out to Yahweh and to ask Him to make the church beautiful once more. The church had become as Jerusalem in her ruin.
Your holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised You, has been burned by fire; and all our precious things have become a ruin.
As I observed the church at large I saw that she had fallen from a great height. Her walls had been broken down, and the world was trampling her courts and filling her streets with much impurity and wickedness. The glory of the Lord had departed, and there was little faith evidenced anywhere. Few could be found who truly gave themselves to a pursuit of God. Yet I believed that Yahweh would have a righteous remnant prepared for the return of His Son, a Bride prepared without spot, or blemish. I wanted to see this people raised up, according to the words of Isaiah:
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.
I had seen one people fail due to a lack of faith. I had been ordained as an elder at this church just a few months before the end of her existence. Yet God had confirmed to me that my ordination was from Him and not from man. When I left this church God spoke to me and declared that His gifts and callings were without repentance. The Holy Spirit bore witness that I was still a minister to the body of Christ, and would remain so.
I was excited when God immediately showed us where we were to go next. He led us to a non-denominational body of believers in a nearby town. The name of this fellowship was “Living Faith,” and this was particularly encouraging to me, because I knew it would take a living faith to enter into the promises of God. While we were here God began leading our family further into the inheritance He had for us. We had already trusted Him to be our security, and now He wanted to prove Himself as our Healer.
Both my son Josiah and my daughter Kristin were born with a hereditary bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which simply means “imperfect bone formation.” The common name for this disorder is “Brittle Bone Disease.” Kristin was born first, and she entered this world already having suffered a fracture of the thigh while in the womb. This fracture had healed by the time of her birth. She then broke three more bones by the age of two, and at one time she had both legs in a cast simultaneously. Josiah was born two years after Kristin, and he also experienced a broken bone when he was only a year old.
When our children were at this early age, someone suggested to my wife and I that we should apply for government SSI benefits for children with disabilities. We were told that these benefits would pay for all medical expenses, as well as providing a monthly stipend for the child’s support. I did not seek God’s mind on this matter. The money and the free medical care both sounded appealing, so we applied for these benefits on both of our children. Remarkably, Kristin was turned down although she had already experienced four fractures. Josiah, who had only one fracture at this time, was accepted.
God was about to demonstrate something to me through this peculiar set of circumstances. Over the course of the next six years Josiah was to break eleven more bones, and have surgery twice to put a bone in place. Kristin, who had been turned down for these government benefits, never suffered another fracture. By the age of seven Tony and I had been in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices regularly. We were continually taking Josiah to receive medical care for his many broken bones. The knowledge that I was not having to pay a dime for Josiah’s medical care provided little consolation to me, neither did the fact that I was getting three to four hundred dollars a month for his support. My heart was burdened for my son.
It does not take much for a child with this disease to injure himself. On one occasion, when Josiah was about three or four years old, he was in the doctor’s office and had just gotten a cast off of his leg. When the doctor stepped out of the room for a minute, Josiah got up to walk over to a nearby trash can, and he fell down right before he got there. Tony recognized the tone of Josiah’s crying and knew that he had broken another bone. The doctor came back in and she told him what had happened. He agreed to x-ray him, and he found that he had fractured the same leg in a different location. The doctor was amazed, saying that he had never had a patient break a bone while in the office.
Seeing my son endure so many injuries was tearing at my heart. I knew that every time Josiah was in a cast that his muscles would grow weaker and this would compound the problem, for the muscles provided support to the bones. If both the muscles and bones were weak he would injure himself much more.
Josiah was seven years old when we began fellowshipping at Living Faith. I had often prayed for my son before, but on one particular day I really poured my heart out. I told God that I wanted my son to be able to play like other boys. I wanted him to be able to ride bikes, and play on trampolines, and play ball without breaking his bones. I wanted him to be able to have fun with the other young boys, and not have to hobble along on crutches, looking at the others play while he stood watching. God spoke to me on this day and He said, “I will heal your son, but you will have to trust me completely and not lean on any other for His healing.”
A number of thoughts began to come to my mind. I was reminded that since my daughter had been turned down for SSI benefits that she had not broken another bone, but Josiah, having the benefits, continued breaking multiple bones each year. Now, I suppose some could have looked at this and said, “See, God knew which child would break the bones, so He gave you medical benefits for that child.” This, however, was not what I was discerning in the spirit. I believed God had orchestrated this matter to demonstrate to me that when we lean on the arm of man we will have to depend upon that which we place our trust in. He was speaking to me that if I would cancel all SSI health benefits on my son that He would become his source of health, and He would heal Josiah even as He had healed my daughter.
Man offered no cure for this bone disease. All man could do was patch my son up every time he hurt himself. I much preferred that God should heal Josiah, than that I should receive free medical care every time he injured himself. To the natural mind what God was asking us to do seemed like pure folly. Josiah was freshly out of a cast, and had experienced two fractures that year. These government SSI benefits were hard to get, and many people employed the use of lawyers to attain them. Yet we were to cancel our benefits on Josiah and then trust God to heal him.
I knew this was the way God worked, for He had already revealed to me the principle of placing your feet firmly in the water before seeing His provision. God gave us one more encouragement in this matter. Our finances were fairly tight, and I would be losing about $400 a month in income. At this time the ministers of Living Faith had come to me and said that the Spirit had indicated that they were to ordain me as an elder and pastor among them, and they offered to pay me $100 dollars a week.
I really did not struggle much in making this decision, for I had a strong witness of what God had spoken to me. When I shared these things with Tony she also was willing, so we took the step of calling the SSI offices and canceling Josiah’s benefits. The SSI staff could not understand why we would turn down these coveted benefits, and they tried to talk Tony and I into delaying our decision. We were adamant, however, knowing what God required of us. We terminated benefits on our son.
When I was praying about this matter, the Lord told me that I would not need to baby my son. I felt that I was to instruct Josiah to ride bikes, play on trampolines, roughhouse with the boys, and play ball, while trusting God to protect him. I had to coax my wife some in this, for she was still leery of his injuring himself, but I believed God would prove Himself faithful in what He had spoken to me. I had asked Him to let my son play as other young boys did, and I trusted Him to keep Josiah safe in all of these activities.
Josiah is now fourteen years old, and he has not broken another bone. Kristin also has remained break free during this time. I have seen Josiah take some terrible spills on bicycles, which would have certainly resulted in fractures before, but he has come away with only scrapes and bruises. When I think of what God has done for my son my eyes well up with tears. Our Father in heaven is so merciful and compassionate to us. When we ask for bread, He will not give us a stone. When we ask for a fish, He will not give us a serpent.
God will ask us to do things that appear risky, or even downright foolish, to the natural mind. He has always done so with His children. He requires faith to be manifested on our part before He will reveal His provision. Great are the rewards for those who believe. It was not to be long before God would lead us to a greater dependence upon Him in the area of health, and we would once more see Him do awesome things.
This writing is from the book Evidence of Things Unseen: