PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.)
I developed a bad case of bursitis, so bad my arm was in a sling. My chiropractor, Dr. Nemeth, could do nothing for me, nor could a physiotherapist, to whom I was referred by Dr. Morgan, our family doctor. The physiotherapist said he did all he could and suggested my only remaining alternative was cortisone treatment, which I rejected entirely. I also tried Dr. Sillito, a chiropractor specializing in sports injuries, who also could do nothing substantial for me. I began to think I was never going to have use of my arm again.
I then tried Bik Lee, a Chinese acupuncturist in Calgary a neighbor of Lois’ referred to me. I had one treatment and experienced some improvement.
Bik was scornful of acupuncture practiced in North America, after one or two years of training. He had learned from his father, who had learned from his, and they took years of training before they felt competent to do an effective job. They also trained in herbal medicine, which could be very effective.
Chinese healthcare seems to make more sense than North American. Bik told me they determine the cause and treat the person, rather than seeking to alleviate or eliminate symptoms, for which the North American medical system is notorious. The American consumer seeks a quick fix, and there’s far more money to be made in extending illness and applying synthetic patented drugs than in doing the job right by natural means and medicine. No prevention, no cure, just extended care.
Our medical system is an unmitigated disaster, contrary to those who think we have much improved. Why is the average life span of a doctor only 58? Why is cancer taking out so many people? Why do so many people die at the hands of doctors and in hospitals from disease, misdiagnosis, error, toxic medications, and other complications?
Marilyn was also having neck pains and wasn’t improved by her chiropractic treatments. Our pains were likely from stress due to the erratic movement of the stock market and my constant fretting about our investments. Every morning, we’d listen to the stock reports on the 8 o’clock news, and most times, it was frustrating and frightening. Was I not trusting the Lord? Shouldn’t I be? Could I be, if going where I ought not to venture? Can we trust the Lord in disobedience and whoredom?
Marilyn feared having her neck snapped by the chiropractor because it was unusually painful for her, unlike in my case, where I enjoyed the relief. We didn’t want X-rays, so Dr. Nemeth was limited in treatment accuracy. And I didn’t know what else to do for Marilyn. We really didn’t have confidence conventional medicine could help us.
Then Archie and Cathie found Dr. Janice Noji, a new chiropractor who didn’t snap the neck. She practiced NUCCA, wherein only the atlas (top) vertebra was adjusted with the slightest pressure. The theory was that if the atlas was adjusted and enabled to take proper lead, the rest of the spine would follow.
Marilyn decided to try Dr. Noji and found great improvement, being thankful. I followed suit and I think my arm began to improve significantly, though not completely. We were Dr. Noji’s clients until truth was spoken to her – in return for her trying to witness to us in a “matronizing” manner.
Self-importance loves to be called “Doctor.” People take pride in superiority and jealously guard their self-image by generating and maintaining a formal atmosphere. “Call me – not Bill, or George, or Sue, but – ‘Dr. So and So’. You keep your lower place as my patient or client, and I will keep the higher place, where my nose is, as one who knows far more than you do – in most if not all departments. After all, I am an authority! Let’s know our places, shall we? I didn’t pay for my education for nothing.”
Have you noticed how some (not all) medical doctors, like “reverends,” must maintain their status as an authority on all matters of life? Where does one get such authority in a medical college?
And patients are vulnerable. Many hold physicians in awe. There are many reasons for this.
Throughout history, people have looked up to physicians as priests of God, if not as God Himself. I know my parents and extended families revered them, as do most people I know. They almost have the status of a Catholic priest among Catholics, only in a different department. Instead of being called “Father” or “Rabbi,” they insist on being called “Doctor.” Doctors, as priests, have psychological and social power, though not by virtue of godliness or character. Truly, they have spiritual power as well, because perceived as superior in serious matters.
Medical doctors have above-average education, uncommon knowledge, and skill. Because of their superior incomes, they have bigger homes, drive fancier cars, are therefore venerated even more, and generally enjoy a social status above many.
Perhaps one of the greater advantages doctors enjoy is that people come to them with pain and conditions that threaten wellbeing, even to the point of death, and look to them for physical and mental salvation. (You’ll recall my describing the vulnerability of those in medical need to their caregivers.)
I say give credit where credit is due, but not as to God. Doctors are merely human beings, with faults and weaknesses like anyone else. My parents used to say, “They go to the toilet just like we do, and their shit stinks just like ours.” Ironically, that knowledge didn’t seem to diminish their reverence – rationalization vs. reality. Those were envious, cynical remarks.
Dr. Noji professed faith in Jesus Christ, attending the Evangelical Free Church in Lethbridge. She posted Scripture on several walls of her office and waiting rooms. One would expect humility from someone professing faith, but it was evident she still preferred to be addressed as “Doctor,” not that she explicitly said so.
Although a novice in spiritual matters and even new as a practitioner in the NUCCA branch of chiropractic, she assumed an air of superiority in spiritual matters, whenever those were discussed. I had my hour of temptation cut out for me.
Did I fail? You’ll judge when you hear about it in Part 6 of wHaT tHe LoRd HaS dOnE wItH mE.
I’m persuaded we need not worship doctors or even be obligated to call them by their title. It’s interesting to see their reaction when calling them by their first names, even though I’m older than they. Some seem to sense they should have the humility to accept being called by their first names, but still find it difficult to accept.
Then there’s the odd doctor that takes pride in his humility, as though he’s highly magnanimous and personable in permitting one to, “Just call me ‘Doctor Ben.’” And then it can be hoped there is the rare and precious one who genuinely says, “Let’s cut the formality nonsense and pretense; I’m not interested (as he reaches out a hand in a sincere gesture of humility and goodwill); I’m Joe, okay?”
I appreciate those rare ones to whom dignity, character, and worth of their fellow man are of as great a value to them as what they expect from others for themselves.
The Arnoldussens sold their home to Casey and Vicky Overbeek, who moved in with their children, Jamie (their firstborn son), Calista, Sarah, and Kristina. Casey and his brother, George, worked with Peter Van Hierden operating Meadowlark Landscaping and reportedly thought I was a “looney tune” for claiming or thinking I was a prophet of God.
At first, they were understandably cautious with us, but not only because of what I had said to Peter a few years before. They had similar ethnic backgrounds and religious convictions to those of the Arnoldussens (Dutch/Christian Reform or something similar) and had apparently had social relations with them.
After several months, Vicky declared we weren’t as bad as they had heard. Casey eventually told us the Arnoldussens hated us with passion. “I mean they hated you!” Casey emphasized. I have already related the circumstances with the Arnoldussens and why they would feel that way, though we weren’t aware how great their animosity was towards us.
The Overbeeks were refreshing to have as neighbors, relatively speaking. I appreciated them all, though in years to come, they didn’t feel the same way about me because of things I had to say to Casey, not that there was any ill will felt or expressed – I simply withstood Casey’s religiosity and tried to correct his false religious and doctrinal notions, which correction he wouldn’t accept.
Dave and Cheryl Garratt came visiting with their two-year-old boy, who played with Jonathan. I sensed we were dealing with religious people upon whom God’s wrath remained, and suspected that, somehow, by being with them, we might be subject to some of the ill effects. But I didn’t heed my feelings.
Days later, Jonathan began coughing, which we assumed to be a cold or perhaps a reaction to the muriatic acid the stonemason used while doing our entrance and fireplace with rock. The cough grew worse. It wasn’t like a cold; it was rather dry and more frequent. I talked to Dave and, sure enough, they had found out their son had whooping cough when they visited us.
One of the seasonal vaccinations available for infants was supposed to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of whooping cough. Had we been wrong in refusing vaccinations? Had our attempts to protect Jonathan backfired on us, as medical authorities had warned?
We took Jonathan to the hospital for a checkup. It was confirmed he had whooping cough.
“Could this have been prevented by the vaccine?” we asked.
The nurse said, “No, the vaccine was for a strain other than this one; it wouldn’t have worked.”
We were surprised and thankful to hear this; it served to confirm and strengthen our convictions that there was no need for the vaccination or likely any other.
When I saw Jonathan suffer, coughing and coughing, God didn’t answer my prayers, and we didn’t know what to do, medically or otherwise, I lost it and cursed God. I hate to write of this now, but I think I need to testify of how wicked I’ve been before Him, in spite of His calling on my life that has mercifully remained. God has been gracious and patient with me, with great blessing.
I said, generally: “Why the hell won’t You answer? Why won’t You heal Jonathan? Why give me a son if You’re only going to make him and us miserable like this? Did I ask You for a son? No! So why put me through this hell? You promise healing. You promise answer to prayer. But You don’t keep Your promises! This is all bullshit! If we have sin in our lives, why won’t You tell us what it is, instead of hiding away like this? I hate it! You can go to hell!”
May God forgive me for repeating these words! I write them hoping for good. I wouldn’t advise anyone to do what I did, not for a moment. Don’t even think such things. He is indeed merciful, but let no one presume upon His mercy, not for a nanosecond.
Hadn’t I been warned? Had I not sensed there was something wrong with our visit with the Garratts? Blaming them, I could say, “Why didn’t they warn us their child was ill and stay away? They didn’t have to come over – they were irresponsible, not paying attention.” But they didn’t know what they were doing, and when it came down to it, the fault was surely ours.
Their agenda had been to win us to their church, while we had been trying to bring the truth to them. Did we not see there was no open door with them? Were we not giving that which was holy to dogs?
We were visiting with unbelievers, and worse than that, with those who professed faith in Him, while living in hypocrisy and self-righteousness. We had consequences coming to us for our waywardness. I’m reminded of this proverb:
“Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the LORD” (Proverbs 19:3 GNB).
I confessed my sin to God, apologized, and gave thanks for our circumstances. Jonathan soon recovered, without medication.
An important thing I learned from this was how Jonathan had become too precious to me, so much so I wasn’t recognizing he wasn’t mine, but the Lord’s; I had grown inordinately attached to him. The Lord was exposing idolatry.
There I was, expressing preference for him over God in my reaction and attitude. I asked for God’s grace not to go there again. I’ve prayed that prayer several times since. It’s one thing to love our children; it’s quite another to love them more than the Lord, to Whom belong all things, Who alone is true and faithful, and Who alone is worthy of worship.
Maria Demers called us to say those who wanted a feedlot were back to try again. I thought, “Did Marilyn hear correctly? Did she indeed hear from God that if we fought the feedlot, we would win? Did we not win? How is it we need to fight again? When will our victory be sure?” We decided to take the Lord at His Word and remained confident He would take care of things as promised. We didn’t need to do battle again.
Reports came in and, indeed, cattle pens on the property were being stocked with perhaps thousands of extra heads, and more pens were being built. It certainly appeared we would have a problem. The owners were re-applying for approval.
Still, we were granted to stand firm, believing the Lord. It wasn’t long before the owners canceled their plans and the threat passed. The Lord is faithful, even when it doesn’t look like it – as with Jonathan, the feedlot threat, and everything else – always.
Who says there is no God?
Our mutuals had gained over 20% within a year, up to $350,000 from $280,000. We were now hearing of a “correction” coming – a downturn – in which we would lose our gains, more or less.
At the outset, Bill Welton had asked us what degree of risk we were able to live with when we decided what funds to buy. While some funds stood to earn more, they were also more volatile and stood to lose more. I thought I could handle risk, so I greedily went for the riskier.
What I was really thinking was that loss would never happen to me. There would be no risk because there would be no losses, especially if the Lord was leading us. Well, is that so!
As I watched our birdfeeder one day, I could see that house sparrows were survivors. They would eat almost anything any other bird ate at a feeder, even suet at times, and they were very skittish, more so than most birds. At the least sign of danger, they would scatter for cover, all at once. Only when they felt safe did they return, but ever watchful. You’ll find house sparrows thrive in most parts of the world.
Why are sparrows such survivors? One of the reasons I perceived was that they know enough to get out of harm’s way at the least threat. I thought I should learn a lesson from the sparrow and get out of the market. However, I red a Scripture that would change my mind:
“I have taken refuge in the LORD. How can you say to me: ‘Flee to your mountain like a bird’?” (Psalms 11:1 GW)
But do sparrows not adapt to all kinds of climate and weather? Do they migrate? No, they stick it out wherever they are. So what does one do? Flee or endure?
We talked to Bill, who (you guessed it) advised us to stay in and ride it out (the usual advice of heartless or ignorant stockbrokers). I was learning Kenny Rogers’ words, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em….” I didn’t know enough not to listen to Bill, who was advising according to his agenda.
While I can understand holding stable stocks through temporary downturns, I now see one doesn’t do so with riskier ones. We stayed in. We held our funds, our greed, our breaths, and our wrists for pulse. There would come a day when we would hold our heads in our hands and I would hold my nose at the stench of my ways. The stocks began to lose the gains – and more.
The stockbrokers who introduced us and “broke” us were hard, merciless, mercenary men. One was in his sixties, with supposedly powerful connections in the industry, having been in the business for many years. You might think he was intelligent, knowledgeable, and skilled at making money. I soon learned by revelation and experience he was skilled at making money all right – for himself, not for me or anyone else.
I had a vision or dream of Bill Welton in which he was inside a tunnel, much like a large metal culvert. In this culvert, about six feet in diameter, with flat bottom, little school desks were set up, single-file, at which sat stockbrokers. They were looking through peepholes no larger than two inches in diameter – only one peephole per desk. The stockbrokers would look out their peephole for a stock market statistic, then holler it out with authority, as though they knew what they were talking about. All they were doing was looking at a posted board outside and mechanically repeating it to their audiences or clients.
That was very typical of the man handling our money, all the while barely even pretending to know or care. God subjected us to all this to deliver us from worshipping mammon, and to do one more thing as well – to gain understanding and compassion for the rich, who are quite tormented in their riches.
But there were other factors with Altamira, unsavory ones I was to find out later from other brokers. Bill knew very well what he was doing.
I loved Jonathan. I spent time playing with him. There were many times, however, when he would ask me to play with him, not having other children around, and I didn’t take time to do so.
Sometimes when I played with him, I was preoccupied, and he knew it. “Dad, don’t listen to the news while we’re playing, OK? Don’t watch TV, OK, Dad?” I can’t say how much I have regretted my failure to give him undivided attention. Often I was there in body only.
Herein is the enigma: I thought I loved him so much, yet I didn’t expend the uncompromised energy and attention for him, as Marilyn did. So how did I love him? Wasn’t it by the fleshly, earthly, selfish, sensual love – the only kind the world knows? Did I love him for him or for me? Was it love, after all?
It is true Jonathan saw his father far more than most, because I was constantly at home, so I did spend much time with him, relatively speaking (though I had responsibilities, too). But did I give him enough time and attention? Was it acceptable to God? How important was it?
I was tormented by this. I suppose I was comparing the amount of time spent with him personally to the time I had with him generally, and such a comparison may not be valid – a little quality is better than much quantity. Still, it has bothered me, and if it weren’t for the conviction God is in full control, ordering all things according to His will, which I’ve seen so many times and in so many ways, I’d be one sorry man.
Worse still, just when I could have enjoyed Jonathan in his formative years, I was preoccupied with mammon, namely the mutuals and downturn in the stock market. I heard the news each morning of the TSE and the Dow dropping like rocks. Checking my funds in the paper, I found they were diving faster and deeper than the exchanges. I thought, “Why am I putting myself through this? Why don’t I pull out? This isn’t good!”
As if that weren’t enough, in my fears and anxiety over our “investments,” more accurately “divestments,” I brought great trouble on Marilyn, morning after morning, day after day. This in turn would deprive Jonathan of a mother’s undivided attention, affection, and peace. How awful! Folks, it was hell.
Yet, as if I didn’t know the right thing, I’d ask the Lord what I should do. Each time, I felt like I should pull out, but then I’d ask Marilyn and Archie, seeking confirmation of what I was feeling or receiving. They would advise me to stay in, believing they were hearing from God. Because they weren’t in agreement with what I heard, I concluded I was in unbelief, affected by my fears, so in my greed, ignorance, and unbelief, I remained for more bloodletting.
I had an only son, a gift from God (the meaning of his name, “Jonathan”), and for the sake of mammon, I was missing the pleasure of enjoying his person, youth, and growth.
Memory is established by repetition and degree of intensity of attention to a matter. Because of my preoccupations during Jonathan’s early years, I fail to remember his face and many of the things we did. Occasionally, I am reminded through certain incidents occurring with other children.
I came to know the reality of the words from the apostle Paul to Timothy:
“But they who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which plunge men into destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all evils, of which some having lusted after, they were seduced from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10 MKJV).
However, the day came when I saw how unimportant to God time with children can be. Think of Job and the ten children he lost, of Jacob and his parents when he had to flee from his brother, and of Joseph who, at seventeen, was torn from his father, subjected to murderous cruelty by his brothers, and traded off to foreigners. Or how about Hannah, who, upon weaning Samuel, delivered her young child to the Tabernacle as she had promised?
Paul was not the only one we sent away. Lois was a very miserable person. Archie expressed how difficult it was to be around her. Constantly, we prayed, wanting to know her problem, but there was no answer. One day, I decided Lois must go, so we left her to herself.
A man’s golf slice out of the course netted him $3500 out of my pocket, years later. Jonathan and I were going around to garage sales, and as I was driving north by the Exhibition Pavilion, I suddenly heard a “thunk” on the car roof and saw the bouncing golf ball. I pulled over and found a dint in the roof. I was dismayed, but I thought, “What can I do about this? How would I ever find the golfer from the Henderson Lake course and, even if I did, would the person own up to it?” So I left it and drove on.
But I thought, “Why not at least try? What is there to lose?” Little did I know!
I returned to the “scene of the crime,” saw two golfers on the hole near where we were hit, pulled over, went to the fence, and called to them. When they came over, one fellow denied anything had happened, but his partner, Harold (owner of Harold’s Auto Service), confessed to it, gave me his card, and instructed me to call his insurance broker. I was impressed with his honesty and cooperation. I got the car repaired and the insurance paid for it.
If only that had been the end of the story, but sadly, I’ll have to tell you the “rest of the story” that would unfold a few years later.
I touched base with Karen Alm, wondering how she was doing. This girl could be religious and profess faith in Christ, but she was very troubled and hurting, along with her dominant twin sister, Theresa. I was always hoping Karen could experience a level of spiritual victory, a deliverance into freedom few people have known despite trying circumstances.
Many have known a satisfied life of confidence and ease in various ways, but a spiritual rest in Christ is something else. It became clear during the months of visiting with Karen during this time it was not to be. Perhaps another time?
We all want to be somebody of importance to others. We want others to recognize and value us. Religious circles promote individuals to be “workers for Christ” in whatever capacity. Some persons seek to be active in their churches. Many nominal Christians will go to seminary or Bible school to become a pastor, teacher, or evangelist. Some may presume to become a prophet or even an apostle. Some aspire to be counselors or consultants.
I met Ken Fabbi at his office on 5th St. South. A very friendly fellow, he was counseling people in spiritual matters and praying for their healing. Ken presumed to have developed a methodology to healing (as have many others). While he pointed to several examples of miraculous healings, I found some problems with his claims:
One, consider… did Jesus use methodology? Did He tell His disciples they needed to take certain specific steps, much less five of them, to bring healing? Or did He simply speak the Word, lay hands on people, and counsel them to simply believe?
Two, did He counsel them to delve into the backgrounds of those in need? There’s no such record or testimony in Scripture. When God heals, He heals by principles of simple faith, request, and repentance. There is no psychological assessment or analysis.
Three, Mary and the saints weren’t involved, whether those in need believed in them or not (Ken was Catholic).
Four, one can’t remain a devout Catholic, support its doctrines and practices, and be a true minister of God. God doesn’t share His glory with other gods, of which there are many in the Catholic Church. He says:
“I am the LORD; that is My Name. I will not give My glory to anyone else or the praise I deserve to idols” (Isaiah 42:8 GW).
So how did Ken’s alleged healings occur, if they occurred? I have seen and heard of faith working wondrously in many cases, apart from the personal touch of Jesus Christ. Many have been deceived in such circumstances into thinking God’s favor and work were present. Here is the testimony of Scripture:
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 MKJV
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, so that all those who do not believe the truth, but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned.”
Thousands presume to be ministering in God’s Name, and He is nowhere to be found among them. They are there for their own glory, not His.