by Bob Russell, ©2019

(Jan. 2, 2019) — On December 30 I attended the Sunday evening church service at Lifechanger Church in Claremore, Oklahoma.  The message focused on moving forward with the reference from 2 Kings, Chapter 7.  Pastor Ted Estes focused on a story about a Syrian army laying siege to a town in Samaria.  The town was in a famine state and the prophet Elisha said the famine would end at evening the next day.  There were four lepers just outside the gate.  They could not go back in, and if they did there was no food and they would die.  If they stayed where they were, they would also starve to death, so they reasoned that their only chance was to go surrender to the Syrian army.  If they surrendered, they thought, they would likely be fed and the worst that could happen was that they would be killed, which was their fate if they did nothing.

When they got to the camp they found horses, tents, food, weapons, and valuables, but no army.  They ate their fill and took some of the valuables and hid them but decided they should go tell the king what they found.  When they reported to the king he doubted them but heeded the urging of one of his generals and sent some men to check the story.

Pastor Ted’s point was that if we hear from God or get a word of prophecy how we react matters. He then mentioned the fact that I had a dream quite some time back in which I would be restored from the effects of the very severe stroke I suffered and that after all this time (it has been just over 2½ years), I am still standing on that dream as a promise from God to heal me and how proud of me he is that I still believe and profess my confidence that restoration will come.  That was very encouraging to me, not that he said it in front of others because it would have been just as encouraging if he had said it in a private conversation between him and me that no one else heard.  Pastor Ted is a very godly man, very knowledgeable, and very adamant about following the urgings of the Holy Spirit.  I respect and admire him very much and for him to express so much satisfaction in my faith means a great deal to me.

I belong to three separate churches and all three pastors have been very supportive of my faith and confidence in eventual restoration from the current paralysis from the stroke.  The other pastors are Rick Burke of CedarPoint Church, also in Claremore; and Don Couch of Vision, Friday night church, in Broken Arrow.  All have been extremely encouraging when I have expressed my belief that the dream was from God and that one day I will wake up totally fine.   I have at times had questions if the dream was really from God or if it was my mind trying to bolster me through wishful thinking, but I have never doubted that restoration will come.

A few months ago my wife, Marsha, had a dream that I came home from church one night just beaming, waving my paralyzed arm over my head saying, “Look what I can do.”  Last month at Vision a young woman saw my struggles to walk and the obvious paralysis of my left arm and began to pray for me.  She came up to me after service and told me that as she began to pray, God said to her, “Be patient; I am going to fix that.”  I take these two incidents as confirmation that the dream was in fact a Word from God, not my wishful thinking.

At the end of Sunday’s service, Pastor Ted’s wife had a word, not necessarily for anyone in particular, but as a general statement.  She said, “As we go into 2019 there may be things that we carry from the past, maybe even from several years back, that we wish were over but aren’t, that we still have to deal with going forward.”  I spoke to Pastor Ted afterwards and told him that she spoke to me because I have been dealing with the effects of the stroke since August 19, 2014, and it looks as if they may be with me going into 2019.  I stated that if so, I will do my best to deal with my disability and continue to wait for the restoration I know is coming but that tomorrow may very well be the day I dreamed about.  He said that when that day arrives he wants me to call him immediately so he can rejoice with me.  He is the first of many people I will notify.

I have been so blessed to have so many people encouraging me, believing with me, and praying for me.  The Holy Bible says, “Wherever two or more are gathered believing, I am there with them and will answer their prayers.”  I don’t remember exactly where it is but I believe it.  I KNOW that God is going to restore me; I just don’t know when because there was no time specified in the dream.  People say, “in Heaven,” but I tell them that in the dream people are amazed at my recovery, so that means “on this earth, in this life” because no one in Heaven will be amazed to see me healed.  People who tell me it will be in the next life mean well but accepting their idea would be unbelief in my mind.  I am positive that restoration in imminent because I am healed in the name of Jesus and just waiting on the manifestation of it.

The best thing about the stroke is that Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and of all things in it, is willing to let me be His hands,  feet, and voice in this world.  As broken as I am and as bad as I have been in the past He will still work in me and through me to spread the knowledge of His  power, love, and mercy to others.  It is such an honor and humbling experience to be given the privilege He has given me.  I think of my pastors and compare my life as a heathen to theirs and am amazed that God will allow me the honor of doing His work in my circle of influence.  I will likely never know how many people I have touched, as my testimony has already been shared with people all across this nation.  I do volunteer work at the Claremore Veterans Center and have been told that relatives of residents who live in other states have heard about me, people I will never meet.

Marsha and others have mentioned that the ripple effect of my testimony can cross many generations and my testimony may ripple to generations not yet born.  I know people I have met, particularly disabled residents at the center, have been encouraged by the progress I have made since starting there in May 2015 and knowing where I was at one time.  Volunteering there has helped me a great deal, improving me mentally, physically, and emotionally.  I can’t feel sorry for myself when I see so many people worse off than I am.  My left arm is paralyzed but one man there doesn’t have a left arm.  I hobble more than walk because of partial paralysis in my left leg and foot but many are missing one or both legs and some are in wheelchairs from strokes or injuries.  I count my blessings and give thanks to God every day that I have the abilities I have.  I acknowledge my disability but focus most on what I CAN do rather than what I can’t do.

The work I do at the Veterans Center isn’t anything major but things that need to be done.  I do the small things I am able to do which frees up more able-bodied people to do the more important and difficult tasks.   Pastor Ted, Pastor Rick, Pastor Don, thank you for your support and for mentoring and investing so much time and effort into me.  God bless you and Happy New Year!!!!!

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.