Note: This testimony is also a template for the "God of the Greatland" project. If you are writing for that book, this is an example for you. Please consider sending in your testimony to support missions trips and build faith in those that read it. I wrote this between 11:00 and 11:45, while eating lunch, using the template found here. Your testimony doesn't have to take long to preserve and share.
I'm a preacher now, but in high school I wasn't so wise. I was a bigger guy, wanted to be popular more than I wanted to be right, and so I picked up football. Football gave me an outlet for the aggression and sometimes anger I felt. It made me feel good to hit with heavy pads on and exert myself. When I did good for the team I got back-pats. It was a club of sorts. "We play ball together," was enough to have an invitation to nearly anywhere another player was going.
I liked to practice hard. I still do, though now I practice prayer and studies. Some days we had two practices a day. Most nights I'd eat two dinners. I played Offensive Guard (guarding the Quarterback) and Defensive Nose Guard. On defense I was a terrorist. I'd do my best to go through, over, or under the other team's line and tackle their quarterback. There were bruises and hurt feelings sometimes on the field. We broke a guys arm in a practice game once.
Part of practice was hitting drills. The coach didn't want us to be afraid of getting hit, so we practiced on our own team. He paired me against a 300# Center; someone not many people had a hard time tripping but not many could knock over. I was going to knock him flat. I charged as fast and hard as I could. He tried to stiff-arm my helmet away, pushing on my head right before impact to deviate my course. He just pushed my head down and I hit him with a straight spine. This is called "spearing" and it's illegal because people get hurt. My spine compressed and a vertebrae fractured. I felt it immediately, a super hot sensation.
The doctors confirmed the injury by injecting radioactive calcium in my blood and testing where it was applied by my body and seen in a bone scan. There I was, a 3D skeleton in the computer with a glowing line in my back. "Nothing we can do," they said. It's not like you can wrap a cast around a spine, and wasn't dangerous enough to warrant a body-cast.
From then on I would get pains and burning sensations in that area. It would hit me while sitting in church, or lifting something. I'd have to sit when walking a long ways, or get up after sitting too long. Sleep would become difficult some nights. More of a nagging reminder of self abuse and stupidity than anything - I longed to be rid of it and was limited by it.
After high school my pastor told me to go to Christian Life College. I did and got a lot closer to God. In the Landmark services they have we were worshiping after the preaching, and I felt my back align like a zipper. Hands raise, a cool feeling flushed over me replacing the burning sensation that had developed during my sitting. I bent over and touched my toes and knew instantly that I'd been healed!
Filled with joy and faith for the healing of others I immediately went forward to start praying for people. One older woman I felt specifically to share with and pray for, so I went to her first. She smiled wryly at me as I told her what God had just done for me. I thought maybe she didn't believe me. I asked her if I could pray for her, and she agreed. I put my hand on her shoulder, prayed to Jesus, and she started shouting. She was smiling fully now. Delight and wonder filled her eyes along with tears as she shared that she had suffered the results of a stroke. Half of her face had been paralyzed, but just as the preacher had testified she was now healed wholly! She was hopping and shouting, and I told her, "go tell the preacher!"
My back is strong and fixed. I don't have those pains anymore, though sometimes out of habit I expect them. When they don't come I just thank Jesus again, who bought my healing by His stripes.
Now ministering in Alaska and the Yukon, and evangelizing out from the Greatland, I am whole and filled with faith. I am convinced that God heals. I've experienced it. I've seen it, sure, but God healed ME too. I'll never doubt His power and will always lean on Him to complete His plans. I have no problem praying for the sick and injured, now.
In Jesus' name,
P. Derrick Seagraves