Hi, my name is Dean Smith and in this episode I am interviewing Andy Becker and asking the question:
“Does God still heal today?”
Andy is lead of Lighthouse Ministries, an outreach ministry that provides hot soup, friendship and a church service to people of the core area of Regina. He is also a writer and speaker and I’ve been wanting to interview him about a healing experience that he had in April, 2016.
Dean: Welcome Andy
ANDY BECKER: Thank you for inviting me here.
Dean: So can you tell me a bit about yourself and what was going on before you were healed?
ANDY: Sure. First perhaps a bit of background on me though might be useful to help your listeners gain some perspective. I worked as a counselor for a a long time and at one time I was an Acting Clinic Coordinator for an addictions program. Then I also worked for Insight for Living Ministries, which is Chuck Swindoll’s radio program. My last position was as Executive Director for a hospice. I have been a writer for some time and I have always been drawn towards ministry.
Dean: So were you a professional, married and everything was going okay?
ANDY: Well, not really Dean. I was a professional and my life was working so we had good money. We had a nice condo, and we had a membership in a resort, you know all the things that make you feel successful. But it wasn’t all good. During that time, I was in severe pain while I was trying to work.
Dean: So, what the source, what caused your pain?
ANDY: I hurt my back several times in car collisions and work place accidents. See, I wasn’t always a professional so I had to some tough work right. Also I had a curved spine.
At one point, I was referred to a neurosurgeon. This doctor was quite well respected by the way and he showed us the x-rays of my spine and he explained how arthritis had set in and the facet joints were all jagged and catching nerves every once in a while. Then he showed us the discs and how they were flattened out and not able to stay in place. You know, he was the first doctor to inform us that there was no surgical help available.
Dean: Basically then you had to live with the pain?
ANDY: Yes. And I did. And then in the spring of 2001, at a volunteer appreciation event, I fractured a vertebra. That really hurt, Dean.
Then in 2003, I had a stroke and a heart attack and lost my ability to speak. And it was at that I point I realized I could no longer work.
Dean: So you were suffering with severe and chronic pain and then you had a heart attack and a stroke on top of that. You must have been really going through a tough time at this point.
ANDY: Yeah, to be honest after the stroke was the only time in several years I felt no pain at all. Mind you, I could not read or write or tell time either. After my brain rebooted and all the neurons and things were working again, the pain came back. And it got worse. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at that time. So back pain and fibromyalgia sure do like. Man, I was in pain every single day.
Dean Smith: So, how did you get through these difficult days?
ANDY: My world became very small indeed and instead of a high-profile position, being a successful professional, I was at one point needing a wheel chair. If it wasn’t a wheel chair, it was a scooter, you know those little mobility scooters. If it wasn’t a scooter, it was a cane. If it wasn’t a cane, it was a walker.
But it got even worse.
Are your familiar with the old saying that no good deed goes unpunished?
ANDY: Yeah, well I tell you, in the fall of 2015, so this is a few year’s later, we managed to get to Ontario to see Stella’s mom. Stella is my wife and we were staying with her sister. While we were staying with her sister, her bathroom faucet needed replacing and I am kind of stupid so I go, I will replace this faucet. I leaned under her sink and the base of the cabinet is about three inches off the floor. So, I lay back a little to hard and my back hit the edge of the cabinet, of the counter. That was the first day of what I call my 200 days of pain hell. Two hundred days from when I hurt my back that time to when I got healed.
After hurting my back, I managed to drive the four days home. When the pain wouldn’t stop though, I went to the doctor and found out that I had a stress fracture in another one of my vertebra.
The break this time though was at the point on my spine that curved forward. With each passing day, the break was being spread apart as the spine instead of splicing over the break, well-kept hunching me forward.
At this point, I was in such bad pain that I would carry around what the kids called my magic bag Now this was a small cosmetic-size bag that held all my prescriptions including morphine, methadone and fentanyl. And these medicines just basically made it so that I could help out a little bit around the house and go on a small outing once in a while.
Dean: Was there help available to you at this time?
ANDY: Because I had multiple issues with my back including the fractures, the curved spine, severe arthritis, it prevented some courses of action that might have helped.
My family doctor was also a pain management specialist by the way and he told me there was nothing they could do. I saw another neurosurgeon and they also told me there was nothing that he could do. The pain had become so bad Dean, that even to go outside to the vehicle and go shopping I had to wear a brace around my hips, another one around my mid back section, my mid-back section I mean and a special collar around my neck. My skin color was gray. I was puffed up and just feeling hopeless.
Then, I heard from God.
Dean: Ok, so what happened then?
ANDY: Well, you would think hearing from God is a good thing right. Well, in my case it wasn’t exactly. Before I tell you what I heard though, let me tell you that Stella says it was not God’s voice I heard. You see throughout the whole thirteen years of my disability, she was faithful in praying and believing I would be healed. Me, not so much.
Dean: So what did you actually hear?
ANDY: Well Dean, I heard I was not going to be healed. That this was my lot in life. I was still in God’s hands though. But that is what I heard that I would not be healed. Stella said this was a bold-faced lie from the pits of hell, that was her exact words, and she refused to believe it.
Dean: So that sounds pretty harsh that you would never be healed, so what made you think it was from God?
ANDY: Well that’s a good question. I thought it was from God, because I had been praying about being healed for a long time and after not hearing anything from God for years about it, I lost hope. Now perhaps Satan used that opportunity to give me a good one when I was down — like a good kick when your are down, you know. But I really thought that was it.
Now this was before Easter in 2016, just a couple weeks before. Now on Easter Sunday of that year, I woke up crying. Tears became common for me during those last 200 days. The pain was so severe I couldn’t sleep.
So, instead of enjoying Easter, Stella took me to the emergency and when the admitting clerk asked why I was there, I could only cry.
By the time the doctor saw me, the pain was shooting through my chest and affecting my heart. That was the moment at which my pain was beyond what I could bear. I was on a heart monitor at that time and I could just remember fading in and out of sleep. You know, I have no idea how long I was there, but I remember the feeling of utter despair when the ER doctor told us that there was not a thing medically they could do for me — again, hopeless and helpless.
We went home and I got to say I was in a real bad way. My poor wife never stopped believing and she asked everybody she knew to pray. I was isolated, frustrated and you know it felt like darkness had coiled around me, like this big, old snake.
And a voice in my head taunted me, man over and over again it never shut up, it kept saying: “Kill yourself. That’s the only way out.” That is the only way out, the only way to end the pain.
Fortunately, I had gone to a chronic pain clinic a few years prior and of course being a counselor, I knew some pain management tricks. These helped me fend off this evil voice. But the biggest thing that I used was my faith and that faith was not that I was going to be healed but that no matter what I was in God’s hands.
Even if my life was to be like this God was with me and I would hold on.
Dean: Wow. That sounds like quite a battle in your mind and your spirit. Now I see you now there is absolutely no sign, any kind of sign of anything going on in that matter. So what happened? What changed in your life?
ANDY: Well Dean, now we’re getting to the good part. You know out of the darkness comes the light. God healed me. In one second! And this is how He did it!
On April 17th, 2016, a day I remember very well, Stella and I woke up. We had not been to church for months because I just couldn’t sit that long. But that morning, I had an urge to go and I was thinking, you know, Stella has been kind of down about this too and maybe the music would cheer her up.
People have no idea how hard it is being a caregiver to someone in my situation.
So, we managed to make it out the door and we started driving to a church we had never been to before. Thinking it might be easier to go to where there were strangers. But when we saw the sign at the church, I realized I had the time wrong, way wrong. I though it was at 10, but it [the service] didn’t start until two and it was 9:45 in the morning.
So there was no way, I would be able to be out that long. Well we decided to go a different church that we had attended a few years ago. But on the way there, Stella noticed another church off to the left with a red roof. So we drove there and went in. That was Celebration church.
You know, I don’t remember the service, but I do remember that after the service, the pastor said there was prayer available off to the side of the stage. So, Stella, she always wanted me to go up for prayer, she asked if I wanted to go up for prayer. Like any good, strong faithful Christian man, I said “no.”
Dean: So, why would you say no?
ANDY: Well, I had been up for prayer so many times and nothing happened, so I thought what’s the point of it. There was also a bit of not wanting to disappoint the people praying for me, I mean after all God said I would not be healed.
But then, I had a flash of brilliance. I turned to Stella and I said “One more time wouldn’t hurt.”
Dean: So when you went up for prayer, it sounds like you weren’t exactly expecting God to do anything. You were just kind of doing the motions.
ANDY: Pretty much. Yeah, I mean everyone should listen to their wife, I guess. But when we went up to the front and there were three men waiting, So, I asked them if they were there to pray for people and they said yes. I told them about my severe pain and my situation and that I wanted prayer for the pain to be gone.
Now in the past, people had just went to prayer, so that is what I was expecting. But Dean, these guys didn’t say a thing. It was like they were listening to God. After a bit, one of them held my hand and I don’t remember the words they prayed, but you know I do recall feeling impressed by their prayers.
After a while, one of them asked how I felt. I said the pain was still there, just like I expected it would be. I didn’t feel any better, so I turned to go but the one that held my hand didn’t let my hand go. It wasn’t like he was holding me there, he just held my hand. Instead of letting me go, he said, “Andy” (because you know they asked your name, right so), “Andy, you need to pray.”
Well, the first words out of my mouth were from the Bible. I didn’t plan it this way, it just happened. The first words out of my mouth were “God I believe. Help me in my unbelief.”
Dean: Do you believe that God gave you those words?
ANDY: He must have. Cause it wasn’t like I was going, “oh my goodness if I get put on a spot, what am I going to say.” And it wasn’t like I was a Bible scholar, but those words were so true. I think I did want to believe Dean, but I was scared to believe.
After I said those words though, I started to pray in earnest. You know I started to actually cry. I hate crying in public especially around other guys. But tears were actually flowing down my cheeks and I asked God. “God,” I said, “take away my pain.”
This is the good part. This is where it gets really good.
Instantly, a bubble formed around me. I was surrounded in this great bubble of love, of power, of grace and peace. I never felt that before or since. It was like my eyes were closed but I could feel, I could actually feel like I was protected. It was like God’s arms were around me, like a loving father would hold a hurting child. It was amazing. You know my back went in and up at that time. It was something that was impossible for it to do.
Stella, my wife, had her hand right on that spot. Instantly the pain was gone and Stella felt it go in and she was excited when she felt my back go in and up. And an interesting side note here, is that Stella had fibromyalgia as well and when I was healed, she was healed at the same time. I think because she had her hand on my back and was in the bubble thing.
Now, I don’t know how long I was in that bubble, but the pain was gone! I was healed!
So I went home and I tried to say a prayer of thanks. And then I tried to lay down because I was used to having to lay down. But I couldn’t stay still! Stella and I went for our first walk in ages and at one point I actually stopped walking and started to laugh.
Stella turned around and said, “Andy, what’s wrong.”
I said, “nothing,” but I was walking so fast I could feel my hair move because of the wind I created. the wind in my hair! Man, we walked for a couple of kilometers. No cane. No scooter. No wheel chair. Not even any braces and then I went home and did yard work and even trimmed a tree.
You know Dean, it was unbelievable! And you know I haven’t slowed down that much since then.
Dean: How has this healing impacted your life today?
ANDY: Well, I don’t know if you have ever been in prison, but it is like getting a second chance. It is like being held prisoner for the 13 years where I couldn’t do anything and then having a sudden and unexpected pardon. It is not something I prepared for to be honest and I didn’t even expect it. I didn’t do anything to deserve it. There was no special formula or even a special thing or ritual I did to earn this miracle. God just gave it to me.
Dean: How did you deal with this miracle?
ANDY: Well I got to say, Dean, in some ways I felt guilty. I know it sounds weird, but I felt guilty because I was healed, but there were people way better than me who died of all kinds of things. But now I see that God restored my health out of His grace. As it says in the Bible, Jesus sets us free for freedom’s sake. I don’t have to give back anything to Him, yet you know what Dean, I chose to do that. I have been drawn towards ministry, even as a young man. Now God has graciously granted, both of us, Stella and myself, the opportunity to lead a dynamic ministry. Man, I love that.
I have also get a chance to be involved in men’s ministry.
So how I deal with this miracle is to understand the grace of Christ and to understand that even though I don’t have to give back, that wasn’t a requirement of the miracle, I want to give back.
- Lead Image: Nikolai Vassilieve/Flickr/Creative Commons