God Heals Our Afflictions: Part III


This is the third article about the massive stroke I suffered on August 19, 2014. The first one was written about 18 months into the recovery, in February of this year. I wrote the second one early in July, some 22 1/2 months into this ordeal. This one, started on December 5, 2016, is 27 1/2 months in and will cover a little different aspect than the others. In the other 2 articles I focused on the progress of my recovery through faith, prayer, and my efforts to help in any way I could, recognizing that I have a role in the recovery and must fulfill my obligation in the process. In this article I will focus on Satan’s attempt to thwart the plan of God for my life by attacking my faith through my mind. Back in May I had a dream that I woke up one morning and found the healing complete, with my left arm and leg working as they should. It wasn’t THAT morning the dream was about and as I jumped out of bed praising and thanking God my left leg collapsed on me as it wasn’t yet ready for such exuberance. I fell but managed to twist my body enough to fall on the bed instead of falling on the floor. My wife’s cat was sleeping peacefully until I fell partially on her, interrupting her slumber. She squalled, jumped up and ran to the other end of the bed and glared at me for disturbing her. She apparently didn’t understand the circumstances and must have thought I was just being mean. She gave me the look Marsha calls “the stink eye”, a scornful “how could you do that!” look.

Since the dream I have prayed every night that the next morning will be the morning in my dream. It has been 7 months since the dream and I have not yet arrived at that morning but it will come. As I stated before, it is a question of when it will happen, not if it will happen. Over the last couple of months satan has come immediately after I pray for my restoration to mock me saying, “if your God was able to heal you or willing to heal you wouldn’t He have done it already? Your prayers are falling on non-existent or non-caring ears.” I know satan is a liar and a deceiver so I don’t play his game. I also know God will give me the restoration I ask for when the time is right and as much as I want restoration right now I know God’s timing is perfect and it will be done when He is ready and it will be the best time for me in the long run.

I must admit that I get frustrated and a bit discouraged at times because being partially disabled is very difficult for me, both mentally and physically. I have always been very active and not being able to take care of my duties around the house and yard is difficult for me to cope with. There are so many things that I enjoy doing and things I could do for others if totally well, especially helping my wife out around the house with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household needs, that I am not currently able to do and that causes anxiety in me but I try to focus on the things I CAN do rather than focus on the things I can’t do. I am so much more fortunate than so many others and count my blessings every day and thank God that the original and follow-up diagnoses were not accurate because the doctor first told my wife that I wouldn’t live through the night then told her that if I did by some remarkable twist of fate survive that I would be physically paralyzed and would be a mental vegetable for as long as I lived. God has brought me from there to where I am now, hobbling along with one good leg and an arm that is still not usable but is now movable. I can move my left arm some but can’t do anything with it yet, and I say yet because that is a temporary status.

I am able to drive a car safely and am able to function enough to at least be somewhat helpful to others, even at a limited capacity. I promised God that as He restored me I would use all ability He gives me to make myself as helpful as possible to others and to use the improved mobility to give Him as much praise and glory as possible. Along with mocking my nightly prayer satan hits me every morning with, “I don’t see you healed, you might as well give up because it isn’t going to happen. I won, you will never be restored, this is as good as you will ever get and you aren’t doing too well.” My immediate answer is, “Jesus defeated you when He died on the cross and was raised from the dead to provide for my eternal salvation and the healing I ask for. You have lost, I have won, even though it doesn’t yet appear to be so.” I know that satan cannot overcome the victory of the cross and I will never surrender to his attacks on my faith. Jesus died for me and as long as I stand on His sacrifice and plead His blood I win. I admit I get discouraged because I have human emotions but I also know that satan can’t defeat me as long as I stand behind Jesus as my Protector, Healer, and Savior.

Scripture is full of verses on healing and I stand on them knowing that my time will come if I don’t give up and surrender to satan’s mocking and deception. Satan can’t defeat God and I won’t allow him to defeat me by causing me to surrender to his mocking. Satan tried to stop God’s plan for me by killing me or rendering me incapable of fulfilling it but God has given me the opportunity to finish His plan and I am going to continue doing what is expected of me to carry it out. Many people have told me that I am an inspiration to them. They tell me that seeing me struggle yet keep going with a good attitude and a pleasant demeanor encourages them.

I thank them for their kind words and point out that it is God doing this, that I am merely the vessel He is using, which is a very true statement. I can’t do anything on my own, God is the one making it happen, all I can do is to be a willing vessel in His work. I don’t ever want any credit to go to me because the credit belongs to God. He gives me the physical and mental courage and strength to get through each day and I merely do my best to bring Him the praise and glory He is due. I hope everyone who reads any of these articles will be encouraged and strengthened in your life struggles and understand what God is both willing and able to do if we will allow Him to do it in us. I am one month out from my 67th birthday. I remember the story of Job from the Bible. Job suffered through much more than have I and his friends told him to “curse God and die” but he refused, remaining faithful in knowing that if he honored God and kept his faith that he would be rewarded, and he was rewarded for his faithfulness. I know God will restore me if I will remain faithful and continue in faith and prayer. I can’t say when the restoration will happen but I am confident it WILL happen.

I have asked God to grant me another 20 or 30 productive, healthy years so that I can attend to my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and to serve Him through serving His people. I am ready to attain my eternal reward any time but am not in any hurry as there is much more I would like to do before I leave this world. Time is in His hands and I will continue to be thankful for every day I am given here and will do my very best to use each day to bring honor and glory to the God that gives me breath and to the Son who suffered so much on my behalf. God’s Word says that He will never allow us to endure more than we can stand and will always leave a path of escape from any temptation. I firmly believe it and will keep my eyes upon Jesus, knowing my restoration is nigh.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell

Claremore, Oklahoma

December 10, 2016

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Bob Russell

Graduated from Classen High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in May, 1968. Enlisted in the U S Army on December 11, 1968, serving 3 years in the 7th Special Forces Group as a Heavy Weapons Expert, attaining the rank of Sgt. E 5. upon separation went to work at Southwestern Bell Telephone on January 17, 1972 and retired on August 31, 2003. Also spent 1 year on active reserve as a member of the 14th Special Forces Group. attaining the rank of Staff Sgt. E6. started and operated a business installing wiring for telephone, data, and video surveillance systems from October 2003 until December 2011. Suffered a debilitating stroke on August 19, 2014. Now recovering and doing volunteer work at the Claremore, Oklahoma Veterans Center. Attends church in Claremore at CedarPoint and LifeChanger churches. Married to wife Marsha since August 2, 1989 with 4 daughters and a deceased son, 12 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

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