I played soccer growing up, and if I say so myself, I was pretty good. My life plan was to play soccer, get a scholarship, and then play professionally for a team maybe in Scandinavia. This was a route a lot of young American players were taking at the time. The thing about plans is though, they are generally futile. Plans almost never workout. When I was 16, I suffered a nasty knee injury while playing a game against a local rival. I tore my ACL and partially tore my MCL. If you don’t know anything about knees, all you need to know is that this was really bad. And if you want to play soccer, your knees are really important. I quickly realized I would never be the same player again. After a couple of surgeries and a few attempted comebacks, I had to face the reality that my dream was never going to be a reality.
On the outside, I recovered quickly. I am a pretty smart guy and went off to college and life moved on. On the inside, I hurt really bad. I was angry and depressed. I grew to cling onto this eerie feeling that my life was made to be one giant disappointment. I started to project that pain into all other areas of my life. If I failed with my family, school, work, relationships, or just about anything else I would always reason that this was just the state of my life. I was a disappointment. I would never amount to what I could have been. I was a failure. Through all of this my knee was constantly a painful reminder of just how broken I actually was. A physical reminder of an internal feeling. My knee hurt from the moment I would wake up to the last minute I would go to bed. It was ever present, as I felt my failures were.
About two and a half years ago, I started to do talk therapy. I had recently failed in a significant relationship, and I was at my end. I needed help. Therapy, and a willingness to be open to therapy actually working, was a game-changer. I began to sort through these feelings of failure and disappointment and was able to better understand them. The healing process was beginning and I am still on that road today. I’m still in therapy and still learning. But I am so much better than I was two and a half years ago. Still though, there was my damn knee. I had had another surgery and the pain was getting worse the older I got. Running was becoming unbearable, and though I continued to grow internally while doing therapy and through my journey here with Reunion, I couldn’t get away from the fact that my knee hurt. It was a constant physical trigger to the negative self-talk of the past.
About a month ago Nate and Kaitlin launched our Kingdom Come prayer ministry. You need to know that I am a skeptic by nature. Prayer has always been hard for me to understand and truly buy into, but I wanted to grow and I wanted to challenge my misconceptions about prayer. So I decided to go to our first prayer training. After doing the training we decided to do a prayer exercise in which we listened to what God was saying and if we had a prayer, word or image for someone in the room or apart of the church we were going to pray for it.
I totally misunderstood the exercise and thought we were just supposed to say if we had something we needed prayer for. So rather than listening to what God wanted me to pray for someone else, I asked for prayer for myself. My selfishness is next level. But for the first time in over nine years since my original injury, I decided to ask for prayer for my knee specifically. The weird thing about asking for prayer for my knee is that this was way more than just my knee.
Asking for prayer for my knee was like asking for prayer for all the other emotional baggage I had tied up it to over the years. It felt strangely vulnerable, and vulnerability is not something I am comfortable with. But I decided to do it mostly because I trust Reunion and I have grown to love the safety in this place.
So that night, I was prayed for, and people laid hands on me, my knee specifically. I am not going to lie, it was weird. Right after we prayed, something felt different, Mike asked me if I felt something and I think I said, "I am not sure".
My knee has cracked every time it bent - like 100 percent of the time without fail - for almost a decade. I realized while we were sitting down and I moved my knee around that it wasn’t cracking anymore. I didn’t say anything more that night then woke up early the next morning before work to put myself through a workout. I wanted to see what my knee could do. I went through the workout and felt a soreness that I haven’t felt in years. It was like muscles that haven’t been used in a long time were being used for the first time. I thought I was losing my mind. To be honest, I still think I might be losing my mind.
I don’t know what you believe about God and prayer, and quite frankly I still have lots of questions. But I know something changed that night. I am confident that when people come together and devote themselves to love people in prayer, crazy things can happen. I believe that on that night of the prayer training, my knee was healed.
Now, I am doing the real hard work. I feel like God has challenged me. I feel Him asking me "I healed your knee, why can’t I heal your heart? Your pains? Your shortcomings?" I am still grappling with this. When you have a pain that has been with you that long it’s easy to become comfortable with it. Sometimes healing can actually be scarier than actually dealing with the pain, which definitely has been my story.
To close (I am sure Mike is sick of reading this by now), I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know if this is weird, scary, normal, or what. Maybe some of you are not ready to ask for help. If you asked me to do this three years ago, there was absolutely no way I would have done it. But I dare you to try. I can promise you that God is after you. He was chasing me through my knee. How is he chasing after you? Pay attention to those things. He will meet you. He may not heal you. But He will meet you, and meeting Him will change you forever.