I was a Professor at the age of 28. I had the world by the tail, at least that I thought that I did. I published a book and numerous academic papers. I gave papers at National Conferences. I shared the stage with Stephen Jay Gould. I wrote a novel, "The Other World" which was a modern day fable of the demon goddess, Lilith. It bounced around New York for years. I even did a reading of it in a loft in Greenwich Village. I knew that Stephen Speilberg's mother had been a member of Beth Joseph Congregation in Phoenix. I tracked her down to the Milky Way Deli in LA. I sent her a letter to please tell her son about my book-it would make a good screenplay for him. She refused. I sent it to Speilberg, anyway. To Amblin Entertainment c/o Paramount Pictures. They sent it back unopened.
This book was the most New Age, demonic book that you could imagine. I glorified evil and Satan. I blurred the distinctions between good and evil, reality and dream and even male and female. I quoted from the lost gospels found at Nag Hammadi. I even gave to my future wife Paula to read when we first met in 1987. This sweet Christian lady read a chapter and gave it back to me appalled!
Here I found myself working for a Christian telemarketing firm selling precious metals to Christian listeners of a radio program. Me, a Professor, a leader in the Phoenix Jewish community working for Christians. My life had been turned upside down by the trauma of loss of job in Jewish community, divorce, my children had moved to Charleston, SC, my father had died and my health had begun to falter. I went into Barrows Neurological Center in Phoenix and they found extensive brain lesions with an MRI and other tests (diagnosis-Multiple Sclerosis... prognosis---wheelchair?). All of this, and I was now working for Christians to boot.
The staff (Paula) prayed for me, my clients prayed for me. How nice. When my coworkers tried to preach to me I slammed them. After all, I had not only been a Director of the Jewish National Fund, but I was also a part of the Community Relations Council in the Jewish community which investigated missionaries. I had lectured at the University of Arizona on anti semitism and the Holocaust. Who did these people think that they were?
I acted like Shaul to them. I flogged them with my tongue, a frequent Jewish tactic. We fight with our tongues , not our fists. One fellow said that he was so frustrated with me that he felt like throwing me over the balcony. I replied, "Oh that's Christian!" They waved the Bible in my face. "read Isaiah 53" read Psalm 22". I replied, "Read this!", shaking my fist!
One day I went to Philip's house for dinner while my new girlfriend, a Jewish New Ager, was at work. After dinner, we all stood in a circle holding hands. He had fed me dinner so I decided to humor him (actually his love was tugging at my heart). We prayed---at least they prayed. I closed my eyes and saw an image darting across the plane of my vision. I blinked. It came back. When we were finished, Philip asked me what I had seen. I said, "Nothing". How did he know ? He must have opened his eyes and seen me grimacing. He said again, "What did you see, Jewboy?" Finally I answered that it was stupid, "forget it".
Well Philip kept insisting. Finally I told them. I saw a man in a suit of armor waving his sword at a being in a monk's robe with no face. Philip's mouth fell open. He ran and got his Bible and showed me Ephesians 6:12f. I did not know what he was talking about. I did not know the Bible. Things like that began to happen as the Holy Spirit was showing me the word visually.
Not too much later, I was sitting at my desk at the office. We all had cubicles. I was trying to close a large deal when an image appeared in front of me. I looked around to see if anyone else saw it. Nobody! It was Jesus on the cross. His head was down. It was night, or the sky was dark, and there was lightning all over the sky. Quite a sight for a nice Jewish, New Age, College Professor, Pharisee-type person. I was dumfounded. I told no one.
The next day, I saw another vision. This time Jesus was on the cross, but it was daylight. He lifted up His head and light poured out of His eyes. He broke the fetters and got off of the Cross. He then proceeded to walk all over the earth with the light still pouring from His eyes. Remember that I did know the Bible at that time especially the New Testament, i.e. Jesus is the light of the world!
I had told Philip that I would not believe unless I saw the burning bush for myself. Scripture says that Jews seek signs. Well God was showing me! That night I had a dream that I had to die (be crucified) for all my friends to live. I anticipated the flogging on my back and the nails though my hands. It was a powerful experience which cannot truly be put into words. I knew instantly what Jesus had done for me. I awoke looking at my hands (Galatians 6:17).
The next day I said the sinners prayer and accepted Jesus into my life. My sister said that they had got me. Praise God. That was on October 3, 1988. Paula and I married on March 30, 1990. I had to leave the company in April of 1991. My health had been to hamper me. but do not pity me. God all along had a plan for my life. Do I miss my former accolades and achievements? No! As Paul said I count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).
I feel stronger and healthier than ever. I spend every day serving the Lord because He was there for me. He never failed me nor forsook me. He is my rock and my comforter and supplies me with all my needs. When I am weak physically as Paul said, then I am strong spiritually. His grace is sufficient for me. And I am still not in the "Chair"! Praise His Holy Name forever and ever!
On April 3, 1995, I went to work just like any other day except that I had an inkling in my heart to pray for my personal safety.
I was working with youth involved in gangs and felt that I was pushing it when it came to matter of holy dominion vs. satanic dominion over these young hearts and minds. At 9:30am, I slipped on the ice outside of the group home while I was bringing a girl who, on her 16th birthday, was miscarrying the product of prostitution.
I do not remember how I fell, but I was later told that I was airborne, with my feet above my head. I then landed on my head on two stacked Railroad ties, my neck landed on the ground at a right angle, then the rest of my body hit the ground. My head flew up, hit my chest and then rested back on the ties.
I remember floating above myself, hearing a voice from a large, protective being at my side telling me,"IF YOU DON'T GET UP NOW, YOU NEVER WILL''. Instant panic welled within my soul to use every bit of energy to pull my body up to a sitting position on the ties.
I went to the hospital, saw the right people. I was sent home to rest for a few days and told to take muscle relaxes. Three days later my (now) husband took me to the hospital and was diagnosed with dislocation in flexion, I later learned that if I looked down, my neck would dislocate.
I was told that if my neck was how it was in the X-rays I would be paralyzed. I was sent home again, told to go to physiotherapy where I had traction on my neck every day for three months. Needless to say I WAS BECOMING LOST, I could not even say a prayer with lucidity.
The blood to my head was being cut off, my teeth were gray and my hair was falling out. Upon research I learned that the treatment for dislocation was to find a good fitting wheelchair.
I had so many encounters where Angels whispered in my ear, or warned me. It is something I will document, but there was one day that changed my life. In November, I finally saw a Neurologist, he said that I am very lucky (some doctors even acknowledged that this was nothing less than a miracle). This neurologist said that I should have had surgery the day I fell, but this doctor moved to the States, taking all of his files with him. On the day I saw him I came home and lay on my bed, praying for grace, I knew I had absolutely no control over the outcome.
I was lying on my back with my left arm outstretched, my cat was sitting over my arm and had me 'pinned' like she liked to do. In an instant room changed, I saw Keisha look up after I saw what looked like sparks coming off of her fur as though she was petted. She then looked at me. The room filled with warmth, safety and love. I felt cradled. My left hand felt another hand hold it and I actually saw and felt my hand become held by another hand. My cat saw this too and sank into the warmth. I sensed a tall (7 ft) messenger of God letting me know that I was never alone.
That experience has been told to so many, in more or less detail and I know that every time I tell how I became a total slave to God and his will. Finally in January I saw a Neurosurgeon who did a fusion and instilled a titanium plate anteriorly at C4-5. In his OR report he said that he did not need to cut the muscles, tendons or ligaments to get the disc out.
Since that time I have been in a journey, a valley mostly. I believe in God's Holy Angel's, that they are at everyone's call. Psalm 91 has become a meditation for me. there is no fear, no enemy formed against me shall prosper. I think that God has plans for my life and talents that he gave me in exchange.
During my recovery, I painted, drew, and did leather crafts to keep my hand busy. I have now been picked to be in a calendar of Southern Alberta artists. I will give God all the glory, he created these hands and His work comes through them. I will share more next time. Shari
I lived what most people would call a typical happy life. Apart from the usual teenage difficulties things were going smoothly. Our family adhered to the Lutheran tradition. Every Sunday (well, most every Sunday) mom and dad would dutifully pack us all off to church. There I learned to parrot back lots of doctrine but nothing took hold. Honestly, it was all very boring to me. In 1973 I was 20 years old, in Germany, in the midst of a 3 year hitch in the U.S. Army. There was this weird guy there (and almost 30 years later he's still weird) who was also a Lutheran. He was different. He was a Christian. Aren't all of us Lutherans Christian? I certainly thought so. Wrong! Nothing he said took hold either. One day I went to the joke that passed for a book store on our post to get something to read, simply out of boredom. I had in mind science fiction. There was this book that had a really catchy title and great graphics on the cover. Hmm, The Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey. Never heard of it or him but it looked like a good story. I do not remember my reaction to the discovery (after the purchase) that this was a religious book but I do remember devouring the whole thing. I just couldn't put it down. There were all sorts of scripture references in there so I got myself a Bible and looked them all up. Hey! This stuff really IS in the Bible! What an awakening since I had been so utterly clueless before. On the very last page there was printed the sinners prayer and an invitation to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That seemed like the logical thing to do. There were no thunderbolts, visions, or overwrought emotions. The Lord simply walked me over from death to life. Life got considerably more interesting after that. I can not say that the Lord did all of the following but there were some lessons I needed to learn, the hard way. Since all things did work together for good the evidence (to me, anyway) points in that direction. After leaving the army I went back to the Lutheran church and I was angry. Why hadn't I heard any of this stuff before? Why hadn't I heard how to be saved?
Actually, I had. Remember, it just didn't take. Now I knew it all and I could see that there was nothing for me in the Lutheran church. What an attitude! I had set myself up for a big fall and fall I did. I spent two years in the Local Church cult of Witness Lee. It wasn't nice but it was a necessary experience. I had to learn that I didn't know it all and also how to be discerning. I never had any intention to leave that bunch but after some time it just became impossible to stay. The Lord's doing? I think so. Life went on. I completed my education and took a series of crappy jobs. Finally I was hired by a great company. The work was physically demanding but the pay was spectacular. The best part of it was that nothing short of attempted murder could get a person fired. Knowing that it was then that I had my Titanic moment, you know, "even God couldn't take this job away from me!" Instantly I was horrified by that thought and I repented but, guess what? Soon I was on the outside looking in. No, I wasn't fired, I quit! Anyone who thinks that God doesn't have a sense of humor is just plain wrong. What better way to get my attention than to make me do something and make me think it was my idea? I needed to learn humility and I was about to get a very big lesson in it. I went to Arkansas and after 6 months of fruitless searching for a job and exhausting almost all of my savings I decided that in Boston I could, at least, get a job flipping hamburgers. I returned to Boston but couldn't even get that hamburger flipping job. Homeless!
My darkest hour had now arrived but through it all the Lord was gracious. Some time before I quit the good job there was this guy who the Lord was calling. I did my best to answer his questions while the Holy Spirit was convicting him. He was gloriously saved. That guy, knowing my situation, offered me yard work. It was heavy labor but at least I had money for food now. Shortly after that another gent arraigned a summer job for me at a railroad museum. There I lived in an old freight car but again had money for food, a place to bathe and access to laundry facilities. It took almost two full years but I was eventually rehired at my old position. Praise God! I wouldn't change any of that. All things do work together for good, for those that love him. Had none of the above happened I wouldn't be where I am now. I wouldn't be living where I am. I wouldn't be married to the same woman (if at all.) I wouldn't have my dear son.
There is much more I could write. To paraphrase the Apostle, I suppose there wouldn't be books enough to contain it all. That is not hyperbole. The Lord truly is good!