By Joshua Chan
Towards the middle of last year, I suffered a slipped disc – a very painful injury on the lower back where the herniated disc in between my vertebrae bone bulged out and pressed onto my sciatica nerve. This caused severe shooting pain on my lower back all the way down to my right leg and foot.
The pain was so severe that it affected my whole being and I could not sit for long nor stand straight. Most of the time, I had to hunch like a gorilla. And during the initial 2-3 weeks, I could barely walk more than 10 steps each time. Sleeping was a torture. I could neither lie on my back nor my chest, and could only sleep sideway on one side. Over time, this caused numbness and pain on my arm. Most of the time, I could only manage a good 2 hours of sleep as the shooting pain literally woke me up, sending me crying for help in the middle of the night.
Doctors suggested surgery although I could also try out non-surgery options that included physiotherapy, acupuncture or chiropractic. I wanted to be relieved of my pain but I had the irrational fear of facing surgery – very much like deacon Teik Lim. If possible, I wanted surgery to be the last option. So I sought many opinions that included Chinese sinsehs and chiropractors. With the constant pain that I was experiencing, I cried out for help especially in the night. Many nights when the pain was almost unbearable, I told myself to go for surgery the following day but when morning came and the pain had lessened, I endured another day. The Lord somehow granted me the ability to persevere.
By His grace, I was able to recover without having to go for surgery. The visit to the chiropractor, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, acupuncturist and physiotherapist, and having hot/cold treatments helped me to recover over time. But I know the ultimate healer is the Lord.
Throughout this journey, I learned and am very grateful for a number of things. Firstly, in our vulnerable state, there is no shame in crying out to God. Even though there is pain, pain is not the final outcome of our affliction. I’m mindful of my own mortality and acknowledge that life is fragile. This has made me more dependent on Him than before. God is our ultimate Healer and to Him alone I cry for healing. He has assured me He is with me in my pain.
Secondly, it is important to belong to a community of people who love you. My cell group leaders and bros./sis., pastors, family members and of course my wife have been praying, caring and supporting me during this journey. It means a lot when one is hurting and feeling depressed. Hence a lesson for me to do likewise, to pray and care for others, especially those that are hurting and in need of help in our midst.
🪴 Are you in a community, such as a cell group (CG)? If you’re not in a CG, reach out to us and we’ll connect you to a suitable CG.
🙏 Pray for those hurting – physically, emotionally or mentally – that they’ll reach out and encounter the Prince of Peace.