Feature

“The LORD Has Heard My Cry”

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In August 2008 I headed to Salem, Oregon, to attend a private Christian college. I had my life figured out: I would major in health sciences and then attend medical school to become a pediatrician and reach children in Africa for Jesus Christ. But God had a very different plan.

Sudden Onset

It all started on a normal day in October 2008. I was on my way to my biology lab when suddenly my head began to pound. It felt like an elephant was jumping up and down on my skull. I fell to the ground. Everything went black for about 30 minutes. Slowly, my vision returned, but everything was blurry—faces, details and the ability to read words had disappeared.

I was scared. I was far away from home, and suddenly I could not walk or shower without falling. I couldn’t concentrate because the pain was unbearable. I couldn’t read my textbooks, notes or syllabi. This is how I spent the next year and a half.

I had no idea how to carry on, but I believed God was in control and was allowing me to suffer because He had a greater plan. I was taken to the ER several times, but after each incident I came back to my dorm room with more bottles of prescription pain pills and no answers or relief. My neurologist recommended that I return home to pursue more extensive medical help. At the time I felt angry, terrified and lost.

After seeing 30 doctors and enduring hundreds of failed treatments, I began to think that I was never going to get better. Then in July 2009, I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where I was diagnosed with intractable chronic migraines and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Unfortunately, my body rejected all known treatments. My doctors finally told me that I was going to have to live this way.

With that news I entered into a state of depression. I didn’t know how I could live in constant pain, unable to read or drive, unable to see the faces of my friends and family, unable to live on my own and always wondering if someone would be there to help me when I fell. One day during my quiet time with God, I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” While meditating on that verse, I realized that I could see only a piece of the puzzle. Although I couldn’t make the parts surrounding me fit together, God could see the whole picture and already knew how everything would fall into place. I told myself if I never see again or live a minute without pain, that that would be okay, because the Lord Jesus Christ has a beautiful plan for my life! This realization made the news I received in August that much easier to accept.

Envision a Future

At the end of August 2009, I began struggling with a neurological disorder. My right leg became totally unresponsive, and at age 20, I was forced to use a walker. In the midst this, the college group from Cody (Wyo.) Missionary Alliance Church began plans to send a team to the Envision missions conference in Taipei, Taiwan. When I heard about it, I told God, “I will get out of bed each day and fulfill the ministries you have laid in front of me, but there is no way that I am going halfway around the world on a missions trip for you. I can’t even see or walk!”

Although I made that “deal” with God, I felt called to at least pray about it. As I prayed, God gave me so much peace and joy about my health. But I was still holding onto my fears. Then I listened to a Podcast from LIFE 2007 in which the speaker talked about giving up our rights to safety, health and security for the sake of the Kingdom. At that moment I knew God was calling me to Envision. I sensed Him telling me, Meredith, trust Me. I have shown you time and time again that the things you consider impossible are possible through Me because I will show up.

On January 1, 2010, I and three other college students from Cody flew to Taiwan. When we arrived, my left leg stopped responding as well, and I lost my ability to walk altogether. My crutch and walker were no longer enough. My friends carried me from place to place until a wheelchair was found. I wanted to scream at God, “You called me here, and now I cannot walk. How will I be any help to anyone?!” But before those words came out, pictures of Taiwan plagued with temples flashed through my mind. It was as if God was telling me, Meredith, there is work to be done, and I knew before I called you here that your physical conditions would worsen when you arrived, but do not fear for I am with you!

Praying the Word

“Meredith, God just told me that He is going to heal you,” my friend Arleigh told me.

I looked at him like he was crazy. I thought, I know God can heal people, but I don’t think He is going to heal me. He’s using my condition for His glory.

On Tuesday morning the speaker challenged us to pick up our Bibles and pray the Word of God, which is His will. Throughout the session, Psalm 6 kept coming to mind. Since I couldn’t see to read, I asked myself, What is Psalms 6? I tried to push it out of my head, but throughout the day it was all I could think about.

After the conference activities, my friends and I headed back to the hotel, where we started praying the Word for our friends and community. I decided to put down my pride in wishing I could just read Psalm 6 for myself and asked someone to read it to me. As Michelle read the passage, we all began to cry. It was perfect.

Psalm 6 is a cry for God to pour out His mercy and healing. “My eyes grow weak with sorrow,” the psalmist wrote. It ends by declaring that “the LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD has accepted my prayer.” As my friends immediately began to pray Psalm 6 over me, the presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong that my legs began to shake. When they finished praying, I believed that God had healed me, and I was determined to try to walk. I was excited and scared at the same time. I thought, I just had a really awesome time with God, and I really don’t want to fall on my face now. I dragged my leg off my bed and took two steps. While my leg still didn’t cooperate, my knee bent on its own for the first time in six months. Within 30 minutes I was running up and down the halls of the hotel. God had given me full mobility!

Psalm 107:20 says: “He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” That is exactly what God did for me—not at an altar call or in front of hundreds of people or through someone saying a fancy prayer. It was simply God’s people, believing in the power of His name, praying His Word.

As if that weren’t enough of a miracle, later that week God restored my vision. On Friday morning we worshiped at an Alliance church in Taipei. As we sang praises to God, my eyes were focused on the blurred image of the big wooden cross at the front of the sanctuary. Suddenly, the cross became crystal clear. I wondered if that was the only thing I could see, but as I looked around, everything was sharp. Faces, details and words were visible to me for the first time in18 months. I love that the first thing that I saw was the cross. What a great reminder that if we look to the cross, things become clear.

If only you could have seen my parents’ faces when I walked down the stairs at the airport without a walker or crutch! I am able to drive, to read my Bible, to walk without help and to recognize people without having to listen for their voices. Most of all, I am praising God for reaching down His healing hand and healing me. I saw a lot of terrific doctors, but I needed the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, to make me well.

Our God is big! His love never changes, and He is capable of doing the impossible. I’ve learned that God’s Word is powerful and prayer really does work. Just look at what He did in my life!

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