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Spiritual Jewels


Dear ABQ Central Church Family:


It was so good for my wife and I to greet many of you before church this past Sabbath—so good because we miss you and it was medicine to the soul to be with you! Many continue to ask about my condition so I thought I’d give an update here and then share some spiritual jewels that I hope will bless you!


Less than a week ago, I had an epidural to treat the sciatica that has prevented me from walking and sitting up much. I am able to walk a few minutes at a time at some points of the day, and how I praise God to be able to walk at all! And while my case is a bit more stubborn than some, most of these kinds of cases do resolve, whether through procedures, surgery or just a matter of time. Soon, the medical clinic will conduct a follow up survey/consultation where they will assess the efficacy of the epidural and determine if any other procedures would be helpful. So we’re still in the ‘waiting room’ a bit with that!


Some have been asking how I got this way. I’ve had recurring back problems for decades stemming from an accident at school. And then a few years ago, over a period of three months, I spent time bent over helping to seal our new church parking lot—trying to help the church save money.  But ever since then, I’ve lived with daily, chronic pain that’s become worse over time.


In December, I couldn’t walk much with Noah anymore. Then pain began to go down my leg and I went to see my primary physician who referred me to a pain clinic but they couldn’t see me for several weeks. As the pain became exponentially worse I tried four chiropractors but to no avail. Then, it got so bad, I wound up making four ER trips—Steve Conyne so kindly and compassionately got me to two of them. He and Brenda have been such a blessing!


In the last trip I was carried downstairs by 8 people (am I that big??) and was finally admitted to the hospital. The pain was beyond bearable. I was placed on a gurney, alone for most of the next 35 hours in a hallway because rooms were filled.


When I was finally placed in an ER room I was alone for long stretches and had nothing but time to think and pray. What do you pray at a time like that? Of course, you want God to miraculously intervene and instantly save you from the desperate pain, the insecurity of wondering how long you’ll be in this condition; the added weight of what this will be like for your family; and in my case, what impact will this have on the church?


At that moment, I had no one with me who had the authority and skill and power to assure me that I’d be going home in just a couple of days and all the threats—potential and perceived would go away.


My humanity was terrified about all the unknowns. And I realized at that desperate moment—there was no surgeon, no pain specialist, no conference administrator, and not even my own precious family member who could give what I needed at that very moment: I needed to know that the God of the vast and infinite universe was personally with me and that He Himself would be enough for my journey. Nothing else could give me hope or prop me up: it was the God of the Cross or absolutely nothing! It was the God of the resurrection and 2nd Coming or absolutely nothing! If this infinite-intimate God didn’t come through for me that very moment—I had nothing else to prop me up. But He did! He somehow drew near amidst all that messy, dark inky night of questions and fears and told me that He Himself would be enough for the journey. I was enveloped in perfect peace—in a peace that only the infinite-intimate God could give.


Some day, each of us may find ourselves in a place where we realize it’s God or nothing! At that time, we’re also going to wonder if we’re ‘worthy’ enough for Him to reveal Himself to us in our great need. I wondered that myself. But then He came to me, and He said, “John, I wouldn’t be the Savior unless I did a lot of ‘saving’. You qualify for My healing presence simply because you’re in need of saving!


In your most desperate moments, how good it will be to know that empty of all props and distractions and temporary fixes—the infinite-intimate God is enough to be there for you along the darkest and hardest parts of your journey-even when you don’t feel worthy of it.


“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies…”(Psalm 102 selected))


“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isa. 9:2)


“Those who walk with God, always reach their destination.” ― Henry Ford


“Walking with God doesn’t lead to God’s favor; God’s favor leads to walking with God.”

— Tullian Tchividjian


Can’t wait to be physically walking again, and to keep walking with Him, spiritually!


In His Joys,


Pastor John :)