A ROUTINE THAT RIVALED THE RELIGIOUS.
We didn't miss a Sunday. In the rain we went, in the snow we went, in the heat we went, and in the freezing cold, we went. Me, my wife, and the kids. All the kids. Even our youngest child at the time, just a few weeks old joined us most frigid autumn mornings. This particular Sunday was no different. We broke from the huddle and I positioned myself at the line of scrimmage waiting for the snap. The air was cool and crisp as an apple. I loved playing on astro turf because you could count on level ground with no surprises. Ironically it was supposed to be safer. The entire play could have been no more than 5 seconds. I ran about 10 yards up the field and made a sharp left across the field when I saw the ball coming my way. The ball was thrown slightly behind me so I attempted to stop, pivot and turn back. My mind responded to the ball, and decided to change direction at full speed, but as my right foot dug into the ground preparing to turn back, the rest of my body continued in the original direction of momentum, over-pressurizing my knee. That's when I heard and felt, a "Pop!". I hit the ground and squirmed in pain. From the sideline I tried to walk it off. I even considered getting back in the game, but the instability of my knee was painful and frightening enough to keep me at bay. After the game, my wife and I went to Party City, a department store to shop for party supplies for a birthday gathering. I limped around in excruciating pain for several days before we decided to seek medical attention.
THE MRI RESULT WAS A COMPLETE TEAR OF the ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT. I TORE MY ACL.
In pursuit of further medical counsel, I sought out a specialist in the city. After reviewing my MRI results and performing a physical examination of my knee, he determined that I needed to undergo surgery to repair, or better yet, replace the ligament in my knee. First, I would need physical therapy to prepare for the surgery, and so I started the process. Physical therapy was awesome, I love exercising and stretching and learning about the human body. I felt my leg getting stronger throughout the process and as a result of my progress my physical therapist even speculated that I may not need surgery after all. This was odd, as the MRI pictures clearly displayed a complete ACL tear, and the specialist easily pushed and moved my knee in ways it ought not to move under healthy circumstances. One day prior to surgery I was at work, working on making a ground level repair without bending my bad knee. It was extremely painful working during that time. While working I got a call from my younger brother David. In hindsight, I realize that it was a divine call. We spoke about a few things, but the one thing that I recall is that he encouraged me to pray and talk to God. I hung up the phone and instantly gave his suggestion a shot. I talked to God about about a few things. Particularly, I remember praying for our older brother Chris. He was on my heart for some reason in that moment.
I ALSO PRAYED ABOUT MY KNEE.
I prayed about the surgery, and recovery. All while sitting on my left leg and heel, with a pair of pliers in my hand and my right leg fully extended to avoid the pain of bending it. A few weeks later I went in for surgery. Perhaps this may seem morbid but I recall being delighted to disappear into the abyss as they administered the gas that put me to sleep. Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually I was exhausted, and so rest even under these conditions was welcome. Post surgery, I awoke startled by the nurse who also seemed startled as she recommended that I call my surgeon immediately. I called him, and he told me, "this is an extremely rare case. I don't really know how to explain it. When I opened your knee I found your ligament intact and in perfect condition, contrary to the MRI and physical examination findings. I left the ligament alone. I only cleaned up minor tears in the area. You should be able to play sports again in a few weeks." Initially I was upset. I assumed they must have made some sort of mistake. I saw the torn ligament on the MRI images with my own eyes. I also felt the pain and instability of my knee sliding in all directions. When my wife arrived she was in tears and she said this - "Don't you get it? God healed you." I didn't understand. Maybe the drugs needed to wear off before I could recollect my prayer a few weeks prior and consider that the God I had addressed was now addressing me in a personal and specific way. I spent the next four weeks home recovering. A lot happened in those 4 weeks.
My little brother gave me a bible and I started reading.
I was more receptive than ever, but also very much confused and conflicted. I asked God to talk to me, and to help me understand and so he began. A few weeks later at physical therapy, I sat next to an older lady who asked about my injury. I told her that I tore my ACL and that "I believe God healed me". I guess she could sense the uncertainty in my voice, because she responded immediately, firmly, confidently, and emphatically said, "God healed you. Don't doubt it". Of all the people I could of sat next to that morning, it was this lady, sent by God to encourage my faith. Moments earlier I had just told the physical therapist the same thing, that God healed me. He dismissed the notion and began to explain away this apparently incredibly rare case attributing it to my body's natural healing capability and not God. I walked out of the room discouraged. That's when I sat next to the woman, perhaps an angel, and as a result left encouraged again. In less than two months, I was back on the football field playing again. It took some time before I let the game go, in order to focus my Sunday's on church and family. For some time we did football in the morning and church in the afternoon, or vice versa. Eventually, I had to prioritize and focus my efforts on what was literally producing life and vitality in and around me. I miss playing ball on Sunday. Praise God that I'm still able to play when I have the opportunity to. I'm healthy and strong and competitive as ever. Last summer I ran my first Spartan race, and I'm looking forward to running another this year. So why my ACL? Why football? Why heal me? I wasn't dying. It wasn't a life threatening situation. Why a miracle? Well, when I consider and compare my life prior to the injury, to my life after the miracle, I am tremendously grateful that it happened in the way that it did.
I LOVE RUNNING. PERHAPS I HAD BEEN RUNNING FROM GOD IN SOME SENSE.
Perhaps I was running toward a far greater injury. Did God cause my injury? I doubt that. Did he allow it? Maybe. I think a better way to put it is that I allowed it. The injury is not the focal point of the story. The amazing wonder is that when I spoke to God, He spoke back. The testimony is not only in the mirACLe of my restored knee, but in the miracle of my restored life.