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by Bob Russell, ©2020
(Jun. 19, 2020) — I am now 5 years and 10 months into the worst experience of my life. The effects of the terrible stroke I suffered on August 19, 2014 are still with me. I am not going to rehash the whole story but want to point out how Almighty God has been with me throughout this ordeal and how faith is getting me through. I had a dream in May 2016 that I would wake up one day totally healed and that people would be amazed at my recovery. That day hasn’t arrived yet but I fully believe that it will and until that day comes I will believe, pray, and do as much as I can to help myself and serve God through helping others when and how I am able.
I often hear preachers say that if God brings us to it He will bring us through it. I believe that but don’t believe that this stroke was from God but rather, was an attempt by satan to derail my life as I had turned my life around and was living for God after spending most of my life living deep in sin. I got saved in my late 30s and by the time of the stroke at 64 years, 8 months, I was a completely different person than I had been for most of my life. I believe satan planned to use a horrible health issue to get me back but it had the opposite effect, moving me even closer to God.
Although still very impaired, I am better than the medical people ever thought I would be. I still expect to see full recovery and am thanking and praising Jesus every day for the restoration that I have already seen and what is coming through His life, death on the cross, and resurrection. I believe the dream was a promise from God that He gave me as a point of hope for me to cling to on the days when hopelessness attacks me. When I tell people of my belief in healing some agree and believe with me, some are skeptical, and some laugh and ridicule my faith as a waste. I know that right now it doesn’t look like I am healed but I just haven’t yet seen the manifestation of a healing that has already been done.
When the day of restoration arrives, those who believe with me will rejoice with me, those who are skeptical will be surprised, and those who ridicule and laugh will be amazed. Part of my dream was that when people see me restored they will be amazed because total recovery is medically impossible but God does the “impossible” on a regular basis and all I have to do is believe and wait. I could spurn God and have a pity party but that won’t help me. I believe that restoration is like a three-legged stool, requiring faith, prayer, and hard work. I know I can’t heal myself but God won’t heal me if I refuse to let Him, so I do my part and have faith that He will do His part.
I have seen two miracles already and expect the third any day now. The first prognosis, given the night of the stroke, was that I wouldn’t live through the night. The second, a few days later, was that it looked as if I would live but would be paralyzed, never able to get out of bed and be a mental vegetable, never knowing who or where I am. Waiting is the hard part as patience has never been a strong factor in me. My left arm is still totally paralyzed and my left leg isn’t much better but I know God is going to restore me to full use of both, just as my dream said. I believe God has a date on His calendar circled and things for me to do until that day arrives. I have kept a positive attitude in the face of a very negative situation and daily profess my belief in total recovery, factors that are needed. The Bible says that faith as a mustard seed will move mountains. My mountain hasn’t been removed yet but it will move one day because I believe it will and I will stand on the belief in the dream until the day I see it. One praise/worship song includes the phrase, “even when I don’t see it You’re working, and even when I don’t feel it You’re working,” and I believe God is working in me and through me whether it can be seen or not.
Many people have been affected by seeing the way I have responded to this crisis and I believe they have been blessed from seeing and hearing my response to this situation. People have told me they have been encouraged, inspired, or both and that in itself is very rewarding.
The best thing I can do during this time of disability is to honor God in my heart, my words, and my actions. Staying focused on Jesus and doing what I can for myself and others are very important in this time of trial. I like to think He is pleased with the way I have handled it. I have faced times of discouragement but have not let those times seat themselves in my mind or my heart because I know those thoughts are what satan wants to use to destroy me. I know God is with me, for me, and will bring me through this if I just continue to do what He expects me to do, nothing more and nothing less. I pray each night that the next morning will be the one in my dream but when it isn’t I say, “Well, it wasn’t today so tomorrow must be the day.” I have done this for four years and will continue to live by faith until I see the day of restoration arrive. God is always faithful and never fails, and I know this situation I face will not be an exception to His faithfulness, nor to His record of success.
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.