And then it happened; life came full circle. It normally does this for me. Sometimes I see it; sometimes a close friend has to point it out for me. This time, it happened right around New Year’s and knee problems. (Some of you may think you already know where this is going.)
If you follow me at all in my blogging journey, you may be aware of a few posts I blogged about my knee and a certain half marathon. Allow me to recap here:
In the following blog posts that you can go read by yourself by clicking on the titles, I explored and expressed the feelings I was experiencing in response to my runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) that I discovered I had 10 days before the Taipei Fubon half marathon some friends and I had registered to run:
As you will find from these words, it was not easy for my ambitious and competitive personality to feel slowed down. It hurt on a lot of different levels, but in the end I would not be daunted.
Right after all of this at the end of December is when life came full circle. A guy that I knew from college (Remember college, when I was a super cynical feminist? Still am, in some ways) spent 3 years at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California. He now travels the world teaching about and doing healing ministry. He’s been passionate about healing ever since being healed from cancer when he was about 20 years old. He was literally one of the guys at Crown who was known for being in the prayer ALL THE TIME. He studied, went to class, and prayed. This was my perspective. Paul (his name) and I knew each other and were always on good terms; he was simply running where I would not tread.
And now here he was, in Taiwan, bringing his teaching about healing ministry right into everything I’ve poured my life into the last three years. How ironic that at this same time I was suffering from knee pain.
By this point in my life, I had already released the anger and bitterness I had once held against overly “holy” and “pentecostal” Christians who I always felt judged me by my lack of faith. I had found freedom through forgiveness. And Paul’s a great guy, so I was actually a little bit excited to hear/experience whatever it was he did when he visited churches.
On Saturday afternoon, we all gathered for a session on healing and experiencing God, followed by pizza and a treasure hunt. During this session, Paul shared some things that really struck a chord and began to shift some paradigms about this whole healing thing.
- Nobody should disqualify him/herself to pray for a miracle. Paul spent two years of his life after he himself was healed praying for the healing of other people and saw nothing. Then one day, after watching someone who was not nearly as well-versed or theologically trained or as passionate a Christian as he was pray for someone to be healed and see it happen, Paul realized he had making this whole thing way more difficult than it was. It didn’t matter how often one prayed or read the Bible or sang worship songs. Healing was God’s thing, and it was done through the power of Jesus’ name. That’s it.
- Healing is a lifestyle, not an event. Hearing someone in the healing ministry say this was so encouraging and even a bit disarming. My eyebrows ALWAYS shot up in disgust when I heard people talking about a healing conference or a healing gathering or a famous healer coming into town. It was like there was going to be more magical healing power in the air on that particular night, so go there and get healed. This simply wasn’t true, and even Paul knew that.
- During this session, Paul led everyone in a “Do you want to feel God?” exercise and also in praying for anyone in the room with any type of ailment or pain. Of course, the first category he called out was knee pain. After everyone had gathered around someone and laid their hands on a knee, Paul said, “Before you even start praying for that person, just take a few minutes and have compassion on them. Some people may even start being healed simply through the compassion you have.” He had also pointed out earlier that in the Bible everyone who came to Jesus was healed, and Jesus had compassion on every person he healed.
- We have the cure for cancer living inside of us. It’s called the Holy Spirit. These were such extreme words to my ears, yet they are extremely true. Jesus came back from the DEAD. If that same power is inside of me, nothing is impossible. SAY WHAT!!!!????
After praying for people, Paul would always ask if anyone felt anything or if the pain was gone or if you could even tell right now if you were healed. Nothing discouraged him, and no one was rebuked. I had boundless appreciation for everything he had shared – and the manner in which he shared. I did feel like the pain in my knee disappeared after it was prayed for. I denied it for 5 seconds and then realized the pain was truly gone. Acknowledgement and acceptance of these things are not easy for me to come by. I vowed to go running the next morning to test it.
Sunday morning, just like I promised myself, I went running. I was sore afterwards, but I hadn’t been running for a couple weeks, so there were reasons for the soreness; and my knee hurt again. But that morning, the team was able to spend more time with Paul, just sharing our thoughts about healing in general and experiences from Saturday. It was really good, and I appreciated him more and more. He even addressed the whole idea of “losing your healing” and shared absolutely insane stories of people being “unhealed” for various reasons. It was interesting and just so good to talk about.
That night at church was The Aroma’s first ever healing service. Paul was the guest speaker. He started about by sharing testimonies and talking about his own experiences and the things he’s learned about healing. He even showed this CRAZY VIDEO some friends took at Disney Land when they started praying for middle school students to be healed and as a result a mini revival broke out. He took everybody through the “Do you want to feel God?” exercise. Then, it was time to pray for people’s healing.
Paul asked for a volunteer. Now the whole weekend, Saturday afternoon included, every time Paul asked for a volunteer, I wanted to raise my hand; but somebody else always beat me to it. And that’s what happened. Oh well, I guess I’ll just sit back and watch the miracles.
Then the unthinkable happened. After Paul had his volunteer sorted, HE CALLED ME UP TO THE FRONT. Let me make this clear. VICTORIA SCOTIA CROWLEY was called to the front during a freaking healing service. This never happens. Even all those times in the past when I felt like I should have been called up to the front so I could watch my ACL be miraculously healed, I never was. In fact, nothing ever happened; and I still couldn’t tell you to this day if I wanted anything to happen anyway.
So I go up. And Paul says, “Now I don’t know this for sure, but I think Victoria has one leg that is shorter than the other.” And then looking at me, he adds, “I think it might be related to your knee problems.”
This was crazy. This was completely crazy. My mind flashed back to all those times I internally scoffed at a person reporting a longer leg or longer foot miracle. It never made sense to me, and it seemed to happen all the time in pentecostal circles.
Paul had me sit down in a chair with my hips all the way back. He held up my legs and showed everyone (who by now had gathered to the front to the watch, since this was the opening miracle of the night) that sure enough, one leg was shorter.
I had no idea what would happen next. I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it, either.
Then the volunteer was instructed to put his hand on my foot. (The volunteer was great, because he kept the questioning the entire process. “Should we take off her shoes?” “Sometimes, people have things in their shoes.” “We should measure it with a ruler, so we can really make sure.”) Then the volunteer was simply instructed to say, “In Jesus’ Name, grow.”
There were too many witnesses to deny what happened next. I had closed my eyes and prayed the whole time. I felt like I was about to undergo a painless surgery. My roommate Sarah made a sound between a scream and a squeal and by the look on her face I knew she saw it happen. MY LEG GREW.
And there you have it, the miracle. Was it what you expected? Because it wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t even know how to respond. I decided to believe it. Too many people saw it. A little boy reminded me that I had a longer leg before saying good bye when he was leaving church with his mom. Little kids don’t lie about that stuff.
The next few days, I processed the whole thing through humor and research. I found comfort (I have to be comforted because of a miracle, imagine that) in joking with friends about how fast I was now or what a beast I was going to be playing Ultimate Frisbee with a longer leg. In my research, I stumbled across a statement in an article about runner’s knee and it’s causes that I felt answered a lot of questions, especially in terms of whether or not this miracle healed my knee:
“There are also factors that are out of your control that can lead to runner’s knee. These are biomechanical or anatomical aspects such as leg length inequality, over-pronation of the foot during running, pelvic muscle imbalance, or the alignment of your leg bones.”
It’s been a week and a half now, and there has been no more pain. Sitting for a long time, going up and down stairs, running – things that consistently irritated my knee for 3 straight weeks (I even got knee braces!) – no longer cause any pain. I haven’t been out running yet, but I’ve played Ultimate Frisbee twice now without any problems.
Am I still searching for proof? Yes. And I still want to see a diagram or some kind of visual that demonstrates how leg length inequality injures a knee. I still want to sit down with a doctor or knee expert and talk about the facts. I stil think people can convince themselves to feel or see things, and I’ve still never seen gold dust or felt the ministering winds of an angel.
But I believe. I believe my foot grew that Sunday night through the power of Jesus’ name and that because my legs are now even my runner’s knee is healed. I have chosen to believe this, because God did this; and He did it for me. Because he loves me and has compassion on me. And perhaps for me, the greatest miracle of all is that despite my childish groaning and complaining and angry tear-streaked attitude about my knee, God pulled through. He pulled me through. He didn’t leave me there in the pain; he healed me.
And that, my friends, was the miracle. The four-part miracle, because being me, there was no way I could have told you all that by saying any less.