Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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2006 - My Year of Healing

healing hands

by Dennis Pollock

As I look back over the years of my life, now sixty plus and counting, the year 2006 has a special significance for me. In some ways, I look at it as perhaps the holiest year of my life – that is, the year when God seemed more real and present to me than any other. It certainly wasn’t the happiest year of my life, nor was it the most miserable. It was to me a season when Jesus the Healer did an incredibly beautiful and thorough work of healing my bruised and wounded spirit after a devastating loss the year before which had brought me lower than I had ever been in my life.

In the previous year, my wife of thirty years left me for another man. Actually, she left me four times, coming back to me each time after the first three departures apologizing profusely, only to leave again. The sin of adultery had caught her in a vice grip and try as she might, she seemed incapable of letting the unlawful relationship go. With each return and subsequent departure, the knife was driven into my heart a little deeper, until finally in desperation I stopped praying and hoping for restoration. I filed for divorce in late 2005, and our marriage was finally dead and buried.

As I entered the new year of 2006 I was a broken and terribly wounded man in an extremely frail condition, psychologically. In addition to my marital loss I had the pressure of trying to sustain a ministry less than a year old. At this point I had little heart and little hope that this ministry would survive. In meeting with our ministry board, I offered to resign but they encouraged me to continue. In my condition, I was hardly the man of “faith and power” one might suppose is necessary to build a new ministry.

I struggled with depression in those early days, something with which I had little experience until then. Now depression seemed to cover me like a cloud. In the last part of the previous year I went entire days without reading the Bible, something that was totally unlike me. I could pray, but my prayers were mostly declarations to God of how miserable and broken I was, something He, of course, knew. Still it was a little relief to tell Him all about it.

A Gradual Work

If 2005 was my year of brokenness and suffering, the year 2006 would prove to be my year of healing and rebuilding. I called on God to heal me, and He proved faithful. But he didn’t do it in the manner I would have preferred. I would have loved it if God had simply zapped me with a heavenly bolt that would take away my depression and misery, and given me instant and constant joy. It would have been great to have had all my pain removed with a single divine stroke, but it didn’t happen. From what I have heard and read from others who have suffered loss, it rarely happens that way. Instant healing of emotional wounds is not really God’s “modus operandi.” Gentle, gradual, day by day healing is far more the norm. And it certainly was my experience.

The healing I experienced was not one which left me entirely passive, watching Christ do His work with no involvement or application on my part. There were things for me to do. One of the first things God showed me was to spend time absorbing Christian praise and worship music. I have always loved music, and enjoyed praise and worship times at church, but over the previous years I had become pretty secular in the music I listened to at home. Often I would go to bed with a Willie Nelson or Louis Armstrong vocal playing softly on a CD player. Now, in my pain and gloom I turned more and more to Christian music. I began to order Christian praise CDs and play them frequently, sometimes throughout the day, but always at night, alone in that large bed for the first time in thirty years. While the wounds were still fresh I had a hard time falling asleep and often I would go through two or sometimes three CDs before sleep mercifully (but temporarily) took away my pain.

Don Moen was a favorite of mine in those days. Today’s Christian young people barely know him, or don’t know him at all, but in those days Don was huge. I had a CD of his hit songs, and played it over and over again. I can still remember that when the song “Celebrate Jesus” came on it meant that the CD was over, and I had listened to about an hour of music without falling asleep. After that song concluded I would get up and put on another CD.

Even in My Darkest Hour…

The song that meant most to me from that album was the song, “I Will Sing.” Some of the lyrics that were especially touching were:

… I don't know what to say
And I don't know where to start
But as You give the grace
With all that's in my heart
I will sing, yes, I will praise, even in my darkest hour
Through the sorrow and the pain
I will sing, I will praise, lift my hands to honor You
Because Your word is true, I will sing…

I can distinctly remember once lifting my hands to the Lord while in bed as that song played. I lifted them, not in some kind of exultant sense of victory, not because I was feeling so much of God at the time, but as an act of faith. I had preached often on the necessity of praising God even in our darkest seasons, and now it was time to practice what I had preached.

tea timeIt was in 2006 that I developed a practice which has continued until this day – I began a tea time with God. As I listened to all my new praise CDs I developed certain favorite songs, and decided to create my own playlist. After I had put together around forty minutes’ worth of my favorite songs, I started playing them each afternoon around 4:00 p. m. I would make myself a cup of tea, African style with cream, and enjoy a small snack. As the songs played I would sip my tea and talk to the Lord. It was a sweet break from my regular work, and it was during some of these tea times that the Lord’s presence would come upon me richly, as our loving, compassionate Jesus did His tender work of healing. There were times when His presence was so strong I would simply transfer from my recliner to the floor after the tea and snack were finished, and pray long past the length of my playlist. And sometimes God’s glory became so rich that at last words failed me and I would simply lie on the floor in the presence of the Holy Spirit, simply enjoying Him. Today I am up to eighteen separate playlists.

Mr. Mom

It was not all glory and power of course. I had three children living with me, and now I had to be the mom as well as the dad. Worst of all, I had to learn to cook. I was entirely devoid of this skill, as my wife had always loved cooking and I had gladly left her to do it all. Now my children were looking for me to provide their dinner meals and I was entirely unprepared. I was so ignorant that I had to do a search on the Internet to find a “recipe” for making a tuna salad sandwich. I specialized in easy meals in those days. Macaroni mixed with hamburger was known as “Dad’s specialty.” Any meal that took longer than thirty minutes to cook or had too many exotic ingredients was never given consideration.

But my domestic duties were therapeutic for me, as was my ministry work. The first African mission I did that year was in the town of Nakuru, in Kenya. I didn’t realize it at the time but the pastors in that area had been at odds with each other, and there was little unity. Perhaps for this reason, or perhaps for other reasons unknown, it was not an especially encouraging mission. The morning conference meetings went well, but the outdoor evangelism was disheartening. The attendance was scanty and the response was worse. The first night I preached with all my might, gave an invitation for the people to receive Jesus – and nobody came forward. I am not talking about a slim group; there was no one there at all. The second night came and the results were exactly the same. The third night, the same. We saw a breakthrough the final night, but those first few nights were traumatic for me and made me question whether I should even be doing these missions.

I had no choice but to press on and hope that we would see better things in future missions. I didn’t have to wait long to see those better things. In India, several thousand attended the evening evangelistic meetings, and the Indians freely streamed forward when the call was given to receive Jesus. It got better still. In Cumi, Uganda we had perhaps six to seven thousand people coming nightly to the evangelism meetings, and people surged forward in huge droves every night. Around three thousand responders were counted over the five nights of evangelism. On one of those nights, I looked in astonishment at the hundreds of men, women, and children rushing to the front to say “yes” to Jesus. As I waited for an opportunity to pray with these precious people I opened my Bible at random and saw the words, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). I no longer doubted whether I was in the will of God in doing these African missions.

A Quiet, Solitary Life

At home in between the African missions life was quiet. My children were often gone and frequently I had our apartment to myself. It took a while to get used to doing everything as a single man. I had married at the age of 22 and had little experience with going to church alone, eating at a restaurant alone, or shopping alone. Now these became common for me. I was extremely self-conscious about it at first. It felt like everyone was looking at this solitary man, and categorizing him as a “loser.” And to be honest, that was pretty much the way I saw myself in the beginning.

But as the healing progressed, and the divine healing balm was applied to my raw emotional wounds my attitude began to change. Seeing how God was providing for me, in my personal life, in my ministry, and in every other way, I began to realize that I was going to be OK. Amazingly, by the middle of the year most of the pain was gone, and by December I felt completely healed. I found myself enjoying my life again. I had entered 2006 fragile, broken, confused, and devastated. By the end of that year I felt whole, I was fully engaged in life and ministry, and I was deeply appreciative to God for my life. What a change 12 months, plus God, can make!

What I Learned

Time does not permit me to fully enumerate all the lessons learned and insights gained from my year of healing, but allow me to make the following observations:

First, being a friend of God by no means insures that you will escape intense pain in this life. Anyone who thinks God will so baby His children that they will never know pain knows precious little about God or Christianity. Being a child of God by does not exempt us from suffering. On the contrary, Jesus guarantees us that “in this life you will have tribulation.”

Secondly, if we will cooperate with God after a serious loss or tragedy, His healing will be so complete and so incredibly thorough that when He has finished His work, you will likely be stronger, happier, wiser, and imminently more useful that you were before your loss. Additionally, through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, one of these days we will all end our time here in this world of suffering and pain, and will go to live with Him in a place where we will never again shed a tear or experience grief. When Jesus first announced His ministry, He declared that, according to Scripture, He had come to “heal the brokenhearted.” And He is exceedingly good at what He does.


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