He sat in the corner of the room, his body filling the small chair. A self-described single father with two infants, he was having trouble keeping up at home and at work. He suffered from back pain for 3 months, but more concerning, he hadn’t improved with months of medications and therapy visits. He invested in a nerve stimulation unit, an expensive mattress, and an intense weight-loss diet, but experienced no relief. He was losing sleep and losing hope. I was tasked with getting him back to his job and minimizing disability. But the intensity of pain he felt was much greater than the physical signs found in his body. I couldn’t target muscles or bones, but I had an idea why his nerves were tormenting him. The stress on his shoulders was palpable, stress about finances, parenting, lack of sleep, trouble at work, and fear of worst-case scenarios. With that amount of stress and the ensuing inflammation, he had little chance to improve. His originally common diagnosis had led to routine medical protocols, and there hadn’t been time to address his underlying fears and conditions. Fortunately, I wasn’t too busy that day, so I was able to help him re-center and evaluate the external factors that were making his condition worse. We walked through some of the root causes of stress and inflammation in his body, and we problem-solved together how he could ask his family for help. He decided to have his mother help with the children and to see a primary care doctor help with the stress and sleep. He wasn’t a religious person, but he had a pastor friend who was always offering to pray for him. Before he didn’t feel right accepting the prayer because he wasn’t a Christian, but now he considered prayer as a potential adjunct to his treatment plan, moving him further towards whole-person healing. That one visit wasn’t going to cure his pain, but it was a turning point, a time when he was treated as an individual instead of a number, and he was able to come up with a plan to address some root causes of the pain and face some of his fears. I wouldn’t have expected that my part-time job in work-related injuries would afford opportunities like this to impact others, but it has been a blessing to move my patients towards healing even as I’m earning the funds for our living expenses here in America. I still can’t wait to get back to Malawi, to those villages, hospitals, and patients who still occupy such a large portion of my heart, but until then I’m appreciating the opportunity to minister as God has placed.
- This month, please pray that God will give us safe and productive travels as we road trip through several states beginning March 26th . Thank you for your prayers, support, and communication, - Greg and Christina