Follow by Email

Monday, September 19, 2011


In my second to last blog, I spent time establishing the fact that God is absolutely involved in our lives, to a greater degree than we give Him credit for. People tend to quote the verse, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," more as a faith builder, or a hope, than a present reality.

Because you are not intentionally, or actively looking for God, does not preclude the fact He is always with you. The realization of this truth can happen in a moment of time, out of no-where, and in a least expected way. You suddenly recognize it was God all along. This amazing reality hits you, "He has been leading and directing my life every day." In this blog, I want to follow up on the last one with a couple of real life examples. These will hopefully help you to see His hand in everything which concerns you.

In the last couple of years, while living in Ukraine, I continuously suffered from low grade headaches. I associated them with, what I believed to be sinus problems, which in turn affected my teeth. There were days I felt like pulling them all out. Have you ever had one of those days? So I went to a Ukrainian, dentist who after X-rays,determined it was an infection in the root. I proceeded to have a root canal, which should have by all intents and purposes resolved the pain problem. Two months later, I was in more pain than ever and swallowing Advil by the handful.

It's crazy how your imagination builds up weird and wonderful scenarios. I began to imagine the Doctor went too far and pierced my sinus sack, or all of the root was not properly removed, or one of the three roots on this particular molar had been missed. I could go on ad-infinitum with vain thoughts and imaginations about my jaw.

I, like many of you, am considered an expert, when it comes to Google, and self diagnoses. Plus, I am no stranger to the dentist's chair. I have spent thousands on trying to correct the poor hygiene practices of my youth. I think I know every dental procedure known to man.

Well, when we were three weeks away from this trip to the states, I told Noline, I should have my tooth X-rayed again, once we arrived in Denver. Sure enough, the Dentist said; "This is one of the most problematic of all the teeth." "You need a 're-do' on that root canal." He would not touch it, and sent me to the experts who perform 'micro-surgery.' Great, all I can see now were $$$ signs. Up to this point, all I know is that I am following a perfectly human deduction of alternatives. You just follow the 'chain-link' of choices and hopefully come to a good conclusion. I was not attributing any of this to the involvement of God.

Once in the chair of the 'micro-surgeon,' he gave me a choice. He could go in through the roots and try to address the infection, which was still there even after the root canal, or he could cut along the tooth and gum line and go after the infection in an exposed format. The tissue would be peeled back revealing the tooth, membrane, bone and sinus area. Gulp, that was a bit more information than I needed. At this point, Noline, tends to get queazy wanting to faint. I on the other hand, want to either see it on video, or have a moment by moment commentary.

He then proceeded to inform me there really was no choice, and all he really needed was my consent to; 'cut,' 'peel,' 'probe,' and 'remove' all infection. It truly was a surreal experience, being highly dosed with a local anesthesia, and then to hear the cutting and feeling the reverberation on my jaw, as he cut, peeled and clipped back my gum.
The end of the story is that the root canal done in Ukraine was good. That was a pleasant relief, because the doctor there is a wonderful and dedicated Christian, and a close friend. But the infection had started at the tip of the root and spread into the bone, destroying much of it's density. It had also begun to spread to the next tooth, so he cleaned that area as well. He redeposited bone into the once infected area and proceeded to sow up the gum. Seven sutures later, penicillin, pain killers, ice packs, and a full set of instructions in hand, and I was on my way to a full healing and recovery.

Stay with me for one more example, and then I will tie it all up for you.

After spending time in Colorado, with family we flew to Boca Raton, to our son and his family. Here in this community is a beloved brother and doctor from Times Square Church. He specializes in mole removal and other types of dermatology. I had a small lesion on my arm and no matter what I tried, it did not heal. There was also a small but noticeable growth on my nose, plus a few other items I felt needed to be looked at. This prompted me, along with my wife, to make an appointment.

After a full body checkup, two biopsies, and 10 blasts of liquid nitrogen to suspicious areas of skin damage, and I was again on my way. He rushed the two skin biopsies to the laboratory, knowing we had a limited time in Florida. Just one day later, his office called to get me into surgery immediately, since he did surgery on Fridays. My report was, Basil cell carcinoma. It is the most common, non-melanoma, cancer in the United States today. Being in a late stage, mine needed to surgically removed at once. My nose was not as bad, and all it needed was a long blast of liquid nitrogen, to freeze off all the sun damaged cells.

So there I was within a two week period and again under the knife. With my arm and not my jaw this time being anesthetized. I watched a piece of skin the size of a nickel being removed. Then the edges were quarterized, and the cut photographed. he then 'sutured' it up with seven stitches. There will remain just a thin scar along my arm, a reminder to stay out of the sun, or at least go out with SPF 30 or more. Again, I have not attributed any of this to the hand of God leading or directing me. Don't get me wrong. I am always grateful to the Lord and His involvement in my life. I just was not seeing it at this time.

Now let me close this for you. Since the ministry in Ukraine, was going so well, I told Noline I did not feel we needed a vacation. She informed me, in the way only a wife can say it., "I am going to see the grandkids, you can stay if you want to, or you can join me." It sounded like such a wonderful invitation I agreed to go. Actually, I could not stand the thought of her being with the 'grandies' without me.

I had prayed hard, and for a long time to have God heal, what I believed was my sinus issues. Now, pain free in my jaw, and basil carcinoma free on my nose and arm, I only have the scars of 14 sutures to tell the story of how God was answering prayers I had forgotten about.

On this trip, I WAS BUMPING INTO GOD. He was there all along. God, was using Noline, to persuade me to take the vacation. He saw the end result would be healing. So He guides you into His plan. He is answering prayer in the most natural of ways. He used the dental specialist, and the beloved brother and dermatologist, to bring about healing in my body. They were all God's hand in my life. All that was lacking was my recognition of His mighty hand at work in my life. Im not a numerics buff, but it is amazing that there were 7 sutures both in my gum and on my arm. Seven is the number of perfection. Thank you Lord!

What a vacation. You can look at it as a miserable one with so many different visits to the doctor's office; or you can see how we bump into God along the way. His guidance is always good and it gives us the opportunity to give Him the glory.

Take a moment now, and look over your shoulder, and just reflect on how God has been there all the time for you. He has guided your footsteps every day. "I will never leave you or forsake you."


  1. thanks for sharing this, God is good! And yes, 7 is a great number :)

  2. Thanks Neil - I needed that. How amazing that I found it by clicking on a photo of your wife that suddenly caught my eye in Facebook's right-hand column.

  3. I'm so glad you survived 7X2=14 sutures, perfection X 2=GOD....,And I'm sooo glad it was you Pastor Neil, God chose you because He knew that you would glorify Him in the END!!!!!, Now we too can glorify Him with you....,God is AWESOME!!!!!! I thank God for you Pastor Neil, your a man after Gods own heart and He knows it. May God continue to use sister Noline in your life<3
    God is good and all the time God is GOOD......,I'm so thankful you got to share this blog with me and with others:)
    praise the Lord!!!!!
    God bless you and sister Noline Pastor Neil<3