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Head and Shoulder

Saturday, 6 November 2021 — At 15:20, five of us we were driving to Efraim’s 50th birthday celebration at Saintsburg, on the east side of Pretoria.

Shifting the car into 1st gear with my left hand was so painful I had to lean across to awkwardly shift with my right hand instead (in South Africa the driver is seated on the right). Acute shoulder pain in one specific area of my rotator cuff resulted from overdone decline push-ups earlier the week. It was so bad, I awoke from pain last night. The whole day I was unable to lift my upper left arm infront of me—and that’s without even holding anything. At least my forearm functioned painlessly, which was somewhat useful. The injury had my spirits down, as the acute pain forced me to sit still with my arm, doing very little, feeling extra old and useless.

While driving on the highway, I prayed and asked God to bless the birthday celebrations, to help us bless other guests, and that we would also be blessed by them. The party was all that and much more.

We were about fifty people or more—adults and children—visiting, playing pool, table tennis, volleyball, trampoline, a water slide, and baking pizza in the newly constructed, arch-style wood fired pizza oven. We met Efraim’s lesser known family and friends, and enjoyed good company.

Pizza was on the menu for starters, main course, and desert. Using an extra long handle pizza peel, Efraim’s young adult son, Chris, did nearly all the baking. Wooden boards with dilicious pizzas were being sent around. The young ladies were indoors adding toppings to the main course pizzas, when a thunderstorm broke out, typical for our summer season, and accompanied by flashes of lightning. We paused the pizza baking, and found cover in the function hall, while two men’s teams concluded their volleyball game. Rain drenched players eagerly followed directions to the food table where sliced pizza would comfort them.

Benjamin, one of my new acquaintances, asked how I make a living, which led to talk about filmmaking, writing this book, walking with God, hearing His voice, and experiencing Him doing miracles. When the karaoke singing started, we moved our conversation outside. The young ladies were also on the patio, hiding from being called to sing, a plight I fully empathized with. Benjamin was amazed to hear the testimony of my dad’s healing (see chapter 13, Godfrey in Bed). Telling all these wonderful things God has done, to someone genuinely interested, stoked my heart with renewed excitement for God and His incredible love and power.

After our conversation, I returned to the hall to find Efraim at the microphone, tearfully asking us all to pray with him for his son, Chris. I stood outside, listening through the open sliding door. Since I had only caught the tail-end of his talk, I was at a loss, not knowing what had happened while I was out. After the prayer, I entered, and sat down. Right then the Holy Spirit came over me. A question shot through my mind, the clear voice speaking with dramatic alarm:

Where is Chris?!

In response, I started weeping for Chris, as if something terrible had happened to him. Wiping tears from my eyes, I left my chair, and asked my son Eden:

Where is Chris?

Upon hearing he had gone home to lie down, I exited the hall. On my way out, I tapped my son Daniel on his shoulder and he followed me. Together we went to find Chris.

While walking toward their house (on the same property), I asked God about Chris. The Lord spoke:

I will rise with healing in My wings.

This was a similar phrase He used years ago when miraculously healing Daniel of a back injury (see chapter 19, Trampoline). Upstairs, Daniel entered a dark room with the door open, where Chris was lying on his bed. We greeted him and told him we had come to pray for him. He desired prayer, and sat up, making space for us to sit. He had a terrible headache and felt nauseous.

We prayed and waited upon God for His reply. I received Word to lay my hand on Chris’ head, which I did. Instantly God’s power coursed through my body and right hand, and into his head. After perhaps a minute, the Lord told me to remove my hand and ask Chris to test himself. I asked him to tell us, on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad his headache was when we walked in, versus how he feels now. It was 9.5 but had just dropped to about 5 or 4 when God touched him, with the nausea gone. We resumed waiting on God. At some point, the Lord directed me to lay both my hands on Chris’ head, for which I stood up, sending God’s power flowing through both my arms.

It felt like we were there about 20 minutes, waiting on God, ministering to Chris, relaying what God was saying to him, feeling God’s anointing flow to him, and encouraging him in his walk with God. God spoke to Chris through me, confirming his sonship, the Lord’s blessing upon him, that God has a calling for his life, and that it’s not God’s will for him to be sick. Knowing it is God Himself saying such things to us is potentially life-altering, especially if we truly hear it, receive it, believe it, and hold on to it as ultimate truth.

According to Chris, his headache then dissipated to a 3 or a 2 out of 10. His parents came to check on him, grave concern visible on their faces. Had his condition not improved, they were ready to drive him to hospital. They doubled checked, were relieved he was indeed better, and left us.

Chris looked forward to a good night’s rest as we said goodbye. Even though it was about 11 PM, a sudden urge for ice-cream manifested in me. Walking downstairs, I realized my shoulder was mostly healed. This was unexpected. Outside I made my request known to Eliana, Chris’ mother. She walked us back to the function hall, where the lights were already off, to find bowls, spoons, and ice-cream. All the other party guests had departed, which had me confused. Wait… if everyone had already gone home, the lights were off, and our belongings already packed into our car, how long were we really in Chris’ room? It couldn’t have been just 20 minutes. And why was I asking for ice-cream when I had enough to eat earlier, and they had already packed up?

We sat down at their dining table. Vanilla ice-cream with chocolate toppings was served by one of their daughters. They told us about the head injury Chris suffered as a four year old child, and the operation he underwent to drain excess brain fuild. Efraim also reminded me about a previous time I had also prayed for Chris, when he also suffered a similar intense headache attack, then found victory in learning how to forgive those who had hurt him, something Chris reflects on as life-changing. I also recalled that years ago, as Softball umpire, I had once before prayed for Chris’ head during a game in which he was the catcher knocked down at home-base, his head hitting the ground hard. This makes it three times in which God led me to pray for Chris’s head.

The reason behind the ice-cream craving became clear to me—to sit down with them, eat at their table, and receive their hospitality was important to God. They had received us in their home in peace, and we departed in peace, leaving them with God’s blessing.

While driving back, I was able to shift the car’s gears normally.

Sunday, 7 November 2021 — This morning I asked God about Chris. He spoke:

Chris is fine.

At 08:21 a text message came through from Efraim on his party chat group:

Good morning everyone. It’s going much better with Chris this morning.

A little later came the text chat between Chris and my youngest son, Mishak:

Hey Chris, how are you feeling today? And did you sleep well?

Chris replied:

Better thanks. I slept really well.

I reflected on the party. Chris quietly did all the pizza baking while not feeling well. The testimony I had told Benjamin was of God sending me to administer healing to my dad sick in bed. A few minutes later, God sent me to administer healing to Chris sick in bed. That testimony was not just for Benjamin’s sake. Through retelling it, God had primed me with faith and excitement for what He was about to do for Chris.

When God told me to place both hands on Chris’ head, His healing power also ran through my injured shoulder. As I type this testimony, only 24 hours after praying for Chris, my shoulder feels about 97% healed.

Monday, 8 November 2021 — Just before bed (shortly after 1 AM) my shoulder was perfectly healed. I slept well, without awaking. While pulling espresso shots this morning, I remembered my shoulder and moved my arm around. Not a hint of pain. I lifted a heavy wooden step infront of me with my left arm, trying to induce pain. Nothing wrong at all. Push-ups on the kitchen floor produced no pain. This evening, my wife and I exercised outside, which included 40 decline push-ups and 20 dips for me. Everything in my shoulder was perfect. I never took any medication or pain killers of any kind throughout this mini-ordeal. Just like that, I’m healed and full of awe and appreciation for God!

This evening I phoned Chris to hear how he was doing. He still had a slight headache, but says he was thankful that we came to pray for him, and especially for God’s healing from that brutally intense pain. He slept well that night, attended church the next day, and went to work today. He expressed excitement when hearing about my shoulder, and was encouraged to have people willing to pray for him.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021 — Chris reported his headache had improved to a mere 0.5 out of 10.

It would be correct to say God was also a party guest. At first He just mingled quietly, but then proceeded to minister, affirm, lift up, and heal more than one person. The Lord heard a father’s heartfelt public prayer for his son, and of those praying with him. He saw a mother’s concern for her child. He had compassion on Chris’ debilitating headache. He pitied my paralyzing shoulder pain. Perhaps we didn’t openly acknowledge Him as the guest of honor but now—after the party—we honor our heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit with renewed fervor!