What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Three

Part 3 of 3


I’ve discovered that there are typically four stages that one goes through when dealing with chronic pain.

Helping Stage. In the beginning the doctors prescribed medications for me so that I could cope with the pain. In this stage I went through innumerable tests, assorted physical therapies and a variety of medications. They were truly trying to help. When none of these provided much help in relieving the pain, the doctors, because of their busy schedules and frustration that nothing was working grew weary of dealing with me. I admit that this may not have been the case but it was my perception of what was happening.

Shuffle Stage. After being shuffled about to numerous doctors, one finally said, “Even though there is a discernible injury, there is nothing we can do about it so you will have to live with it!” Not willing to accept this I pressed on until I found a doctor who would sit patiently and listen to my story before prescribing treatment.

Up until this time one of the most frustrating experiences with the doctors was that they would breeze into the room with my chart tucked under their arm, ask a couple of questions, prescribe some medication and fly out the door. None of them actually sat down and listened to me tell them how the injury occurred and what I was feeling.

Being the persistent fellow that I am I continued to push for more testing, therapy, medication or even surgery if that would help. Whatever it was going to take to get rid of this pain I was willing to try. I was insistent that we could not stop until all the options had been explored. After a great deal of testing and probing by specialists scattered about the state they finally decided to try surgery.

Frustration and Confusion Stage. One doctor, highly recommended and one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the world for neck injuries, (why would I pick any less than the best), diagnosed the problem and said, “I can fix it and there is an 85% chance of getting rid of the pain completely.” I responded, “Great lets go for it!” However, before I went for surgery my HMO required that I to go back to see another one of their specialists. He advised me not to have the surgery for two reasons. First, that it wouldn’t help and second that it was very risky. Oh by the way, I was told that he was highly respected among his peers and also one of the best Orthopedic Surgeons in the world.

So here I am at the frustration stage, having dealt with this pain for years, standing between two of the best doctors in the world in dealing with this type of surgery and they are giving me totally opposite counsel. By this time I am willing to do anything to stop the pain. I had even contemplated cutting the more painful of the two hands off, hoping that would help. At one point there was such desperation that the thought of suicide entered my mind. I quickly dismissed it since I remembered hearing, as a little boy, that if you commit suicide you will go straight to hell. That thought terrified me more than the pain so I knew I didn’t want that. What’s a poor guy who only wants relief from pain supposed to do? Whom do you believe?

Desperation Stage. I finally decided, hey, what have I got to lose? I have tried medicine, I have tried physical therapy, I have tried meditation, and I have tried prayer. Nothings worked yet so let’s try the surgery.


In desperation I went with the advice of the “best doctor” and said, “Let’s do the surgery.” When the morning of the surgery arrived I was lying on the table outside the operating room, with a needle in my arm and the anesthesia flowing. Just as I am drifting off the surgeon comes walking over and says, “I have revised the outcome to be a 50% chance that I can do anything about the pain!” As I am going down into the black hole I am thinking to myself, what do you mean 50%! I only did this because you said there was an 85% chance that all the pain would be gone!

Picture this; I am on the table waiting to go under the knife when he tells me! That’s the last thing I remember before I wake up in recovery. After he does the surgery I’m recovering in the hospital thinking everything is great until the morphine begins to wear off. It’s then that I realize the surgery didn’t work. Not only do I still have the pain in my hands but I now know that because of the surgery scar tissue will form that will increase the pain. Which was why the other world famous surgeon told me not to have the operation. In addition, I am placed on medication that, if I take as much as is needed to completely dull the pain, makes me into a mental zombie


Let me recap this for you. I have tried everything I know to get rid of the pain. I am in a ministry of healing prayer and over the years I prayed for my own healing and I have asked numerous times for prayer from others. After awhile you tire of asking, not only because you begin to feel you are a bother, but you get this unspoken feeling that people are tired of you asking for prayer for the same thing over and over. You feel they are thinking, “Can’t you come up with something else, we’re getting tired of this?” You also begin to feel like a failure yourself. That there must be some reason why God is not healing you and as soon as you figure out what that reason is He will heal you.

I started this article with the question; “What If the Pain Doesn’t Go Away?” Let me answer that question as best I can. In our training manual, “Learning To Do What Jesus Did” we state emphatically that we believe healing is for today and then give a solid biblical basis for our belief. We touch on questions such as: What about believers who do not get well; are suffering and sickness from God; does everyone who believes get well; if you have enough faith will God heal you?”

We have answers for all these questions, but I still have the pain and it has been there for over 20 years eating away at me physically and emotionally. How do I deal with it? Honestly, some days better than others.

In this journey I have come to realize two things. First, although God did not cause this, He has used this pain to help me become more sensitive toward people in relentless, debilitating pain. I pray for them with a better understanding of what they are dealing with.

Second, it serves to remind me that we are in spiritual warfare and there may be numerous reasons why I have not been healed. It always brings me back to the issue of trust. Do I trust God or not? I know it is God’s will for me to be healed. I have absolutely no doubt that my Father in heaven can heal me in a flash if He so chooses.

Until then, I will live with the pain, sometimes under it, but most of the time above it. I remind myself that I am precious to Him and that He is helping me to overcome this adversity.


If you are reading this, I trust this will have helped raise your level of sensitivity to those of us dealing with continual pain. We need your understanding and sensitivity to what we are dealing with daily. I did not say we want your pity. We do not want your pity. We need your encouragement and we need your persistent prayers. We do not need trite, religious dribble. We need you, operating in love and grace, to come along side and walk with us through the pain.

If you are one of those dealing with never-ending pain, know that there are others who truly understand and likewise are walking in obedience and trust that someday healing will come.

Do not give in to the pain. You can learn to deal with pain in one of two ways. You can allow it to beat you down or you can live above it. Most days I can live above it, but there are days when it beats me down. When this happens, I accept it, and hope for a better day tomorrow. Do not allow the pain to keep you from seeking the healing and restoring love of God. Do not allow it to shut him out. He is a God of infinite mercy and grace and you are His beloved. This you must hold onto at all costs.

See also:
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part One
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Two

It Has Arrived!

bygh-cover-full-400My newest book, subtitled Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today.

Chapters include:
The Importance of Forgiveness
The Traps of Unforgiveness
A Look in the Mirror
I Will Never
Harmful Words and Harmful Connections
Let Yourself Be Loved By God
The Recovery of Intimacy
and more…

Before You Get Here is available here at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com both as paperback and Kindle.

TESTIMONIES thus far from those that have read the book:

“Thank you for your wonderful new book! It arrived with it’s wonderful content at just the right time for me, laboring with a load of guilt for some rather unchristian behavior on my part yesterday and asking “how could I be so stupid and unkind, and it’s Christmas week!”…so bless you for your timeliness.”

“Mike I’m halfway through your book and I can’t put it down. It is absolutely excellent! Thank You!”

“Mike, I’m enjoying your book. I’m reading it slowly but it’s causing me to search for unforgiveness in my heart. I’ve usually only looked at big things but I’m asking God to show me all of it! Thank you.”

In addition I received a letter the other day from a lady that read my book Why Not Waste Time With God?

“I’m writing to let you know how your ministry impacted me 8-10 years ago. I was attending a conference and you talked a lot about Wasting Time With God and on how God formed your identity. I remember you said that for a long time you thought you knew God but it turned out you just knew about God. To know God we have to spend time (waste time) with Him. You talked about being picked on as a young fellow and how it impacted your identity, but that God gave you a sport that you excelled at, which helped bring you out of that time.”

“Since your ministry I have realized the truth of what you said, that we Christians may “know” God too superficially. I have begun to spend a lot of time with God and the difference is incredible. Your words settled into my heart and have stayed there for these 8 or so years. The Holy Spirit is still using your words. God bless you richly this day and may many be healed and blessed under your ministry and greatly impacted for Jesus.”

Both of these books are available in the Wholeness Ministries store at wholeness.org/shop

January 21-25, St. Dennis Catholic Church, Lockport Ilinois
Healing Conference with workshops Friday and Saturday.
For more information contact: 815-838-2592

Be sure to follow us to keep up with all the latest happenings at:
Wholeness Ministries







Thank you for your faithful support over the years. You are very much a part of all we do both here in the U.S. and overseas.

Have a blessed and Happy New Year.


What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Two

Part 2 of 3


If you are suffering from pain you will typically hear three reasons for your pain which are meant to adequately explain why you are suffering. And, once you hear and accept these reasons, they should bring you immediate comfort. Right!

First, God wants to heal you. Therefore, if you are suffering from pain there must be something wrong with you. This is always very helpful to know because it means that as soon as I figure out what is wrong and take steps to correct it God has to heal me. Makes sense to me.

Second, this is from God and it is your cross to bear. Just like Paul this is your thorn in the flesh and it will work for your greater good. (You know, I hear that one a lot, it seems to be a favorite.) So God is going to make you bear this physical pain to build your character. I know from first hand experience that God can take whatever circumstances we find ourselves in and bring good out of those circumstances. But I don’t believe He causes things to happen which bring pain in order to make you a better person.

Until this accident, for most of my life I have been very healthy. I did not have to deal with any chronic sickness or pain and therefore I had little empathy for people who were dealing with it. However, all of that changed as a result of a skiing accident. I now have a better understanding and empathy for those who have pain, which they can do nothing about. I have watched how in my own life God has brought some good out of this debilitating accident. However, I find it difficult to believe that God will not heal me because He wants to further refine my character. This way of thinking is not only discouraging but brings a sense of hopelessness. A pain filled future is not very appealing.

This type of thinking also affects how I pray for others. If I believe that the reason they are suffering is because God is building their character, isn’t it presumptuous on my part to pray for them to be healed? I heard a man once say, “If I treated my children like this I would be arrested for child abuse.” Honestly, would I use pain to build character when there are better ways to build character?

Third, this is suffering which you must accept because God is using this to teach you something. (Hey I’m listening God, what are you trying to teach me!) This one is especially demoralizing since you often have no clue as to what God is trying to teach you. It logically follows that the sooner you figure out what He is trying to teach you the sooner you will be healed. The problem is He rarely reveals what He is trying to teach you. If you were going to teach me something it would be helpful if you revealed to me what you are trying to teach me. Chances are I won’t get it if you don’t. This too is always uplifting and encouraging.

For most of us these three reasons are easy to give to someone else. But, if you are the one living in pain, these are the last things you want to hear. I have no doubt that perhaps there are times these statements are true, but I believe we unthinkingly speak them and expect the person suffering, once having heard our wise counsel, to accept their lot in life and move on. It’s sort of like when someone comes to you needing food and shelter and you say, “the Lord bless you and fill you my friend,” and you send them on their way without any food or shelter. What good is this?


In my twenty-year journey with pain I have heard all of these statements. Believe me when I say that they do not help. Moreover, I know that I am not alone in this journey. We need to be more sensitive to those in pain when we throw these statements around as if they are the last word from God. These words can and often do, cause deep wounding.

Over the years I have on occasion needed prayer for the anger I’ve felt towards others due to the emotional and spiritual abuse I’ve suffered at their hands. Admittedly, this was often unintentional and misguided help, but nevertheless it happened. Those of us in pain can suffer much emotional wounding as a result of being prayed for or given “Godly counsel” by well meaning but misguided “friends”.

I know this is a journey that is walked by many people, but I am in the healing ministry and logically it would seem that God would want me to be healed. What I do in full time ministry is travel around the world and conduct prayer seminars and healing conferences using our training manual Learning To Do What Jesus Did: How to Pray for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Healing. I pray for people to be healed and a number of them are healed. Obviously if someone should be healed it would be me. What better example for God to use than me, right? Wrong!

Not only do I have to deal with the constant pain from the injury but also I occasionally wrestle with the tough questions regarding my own lack of healing. Questions which quite naturally arise as a result of spending much of my time praying for people dealing with a variety of physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Pain from which God heals them! There is also puzzlement over the fact that when I pray for people for extended periods of time my hands often throb with pain long after I am finished praying.


We know that pain brings desperation. Chronic pain can cause one to do stupid things. You may have a fairly high pain threshold. But even at that you can come to the point where you are willing to try anything to make the pain go away. This includes allowing yourself to be prayed for by some very unorthodox people. Their style and approach to prayer is a little over the edge for you but because of your desperation you are willing to try anything. Often the result is not spiritual or physical healing but spiritual abuse.


Let me share an example of spiritual abuse, which I have found to be quite common. I’ll call him Alex. I was attending a pastor’s prayer retreat and one afternoon we set aside time to pray for each other. In the process of sharing my needs I asked for prayer for the pain I was experiencing in my hands as a result of the injury to the nerves in my neck. As all the pastors gathered around me to pray, Alex, being the gregarious, get in and get after it fellow that he is, grabs my head with both hands and begins to loudly petition God to heal my neck; proclaiming all doubt to be cast away, and citing all of the scriptures that seem to indicate that if you name it, believe it, claim it, loud enough and long enough it’s going to happen. While he is doing this with his hands on my head he is turning and twisting my head and neck with no concern that he might be doing even further injury in his enthusiasm to get me healed! The most incredible part is that I sit and let this happen! Did I say earlier that pain brings desperation?

After the “healing prayer” I immediately got up to leave. I needed to get outside and take a walk. I felt violated and found myself becoming angry over what had just taken place. Also, in some strange way I felt as if I had failed, but I was not even sure in what way. I know intellectually that was not the case but that’s how I felt. As I walked down the road I became increasingly angry at what had just happened to me. As I later thought back on this incident, the only way I could explain allowing this to go on was that I was so desperate for healing and relief from the pain that I was willing to let anyone who could pray, try anything! When this was all over, the pain was still there. In fact it increased as the hours went by due to the irritation to the nerves caused by this twisting and turning of my neck.

I felt as if I had been spiritually raped. Later that evening I found myself still angry over what had been done to me and that I had allowed myself to be subjected to that insanity. How could I have been so stupid? When I left the retreat and headed home I was angry with Alex and I felt betrayed by my brothers in ministry who didn’t stop this nonsense. Soon I was asking, “God, how could you have let this happen?” Now I had to deal with anger, not only towards Alex, but my brothers, God and myself. It took some time but fortunately I did get the anger dealt with.

See also:
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part One
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Three

What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part One

Part 1 of 3

How do you handle chronic physical pain that hurts every hour of every day? Or, what if you have a life-threatening disease like cancer that has been prayed for by countless friends and it continues to slowly kill you. Or, you have prayed for a friend with some debilitating sickness believing that they will be healed and they are not healed but have died from that sickness. How do you deal with these situations?


You believe that God heals the sick. Maybe you have prayed for someone who was healed or heard stories of miraculous healing. As a result your faith is strong and solid. You do not doubt the existence of God and know that He loves you. But you have chronic physical pain that hurts every hour of every day. You believe in the power of prayer and have been prayed for countless times by friends, casual acquaintances, even the “big guns” in the healing ministry. You have attended countless healing meetings. At some of these meetings prophetic “words” were given specifically for the physical condition you were dealing with. You have worked harder and prayed harder and longer than you thought was possible. You have tried fasting, thinking maybe this was the key to your healing. You have named it and claimed it more times than you care to remember. You have ignored it and denied it but the pain is still there. You have knelt in front of the TV and placed your hands on the screen, as the healing evangelist looked you square in the eye and prayed for your healing. Nothing changes. You have begged, cajoled, pleaded, bargained, cried, screamed in frustration, and yet the heavens remain silent and the pain is still there.

The pain slowly eats at you, demoralizing you, breaking your spirit, and bringing with it a desperation that only those in chronic pain can know and understand. You will try anything to make the pain go away. Both medication and surgery have been tried and they do not help. The pain is unchanging. To cope you may turn to alcohol, drugs, pornography or some other escape to be distracted even for a short time.

This is unrelenting pain, which the doctors can do nothing about. Pain which prayer seems to be unable to touch, pain which causes your emotions to swing from anger to acceptance to despair and hopelessness. Perhaps you are emotionally and spiritually wounded by what has been said or done to you from well meaning friends. You have heard all the standard answers from your Christian brothers and sisters like; “You need to have more faith and claim your healing.” My question would be how much is more and how much claiming do I need to do? Some are fond of saying, “I think there must be some sin God is trying to reveal in your life and when you deal with that sin your healing will come.” My response, “Okay I’m ready to deal.”

If you have tried everything you know to rid yourself of this chronic physical pain and it still persists, what do you do? How do you cope? How do you continue to smile and go on with life believing that God will heal you? Is all this healing stuff just false hope? Are you kidding yourself? How do you hold onto hope? How do you keep from screaming, “God, are you listening, do you even care,” or “Why God,” and turning away from God for good?

The answer to these questions is critical because the message you often hear from the Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical church is that we worship a healing God, it is His will that we be healed, therefore you should not be suffering from pain. If you are there must be something wrong with you.


I’ve been told that somehow my pain is a part of God’s “secret plan” and I must endure it while hanging on to the hope that one day my healing will come.

Christianity is founded on the assumption that God can and does unilaterally intervene in the affairs of humans. If that were true the logical question is: why does God’s intervention in the world seem so arbitrary? Yes, God can heal blindness, but why does God heal one blind person and not another?

The reasoning goes something like this: If God can heal one blind man at one time, it seems he could heal any blind man any time. Thus it seems the reason many remain blind is because God is unwilling to heal them. And if he’s unwilling to heal them, it must be his will they remain blind. Hence whether a person is born blind or with sight and whether he or she remains blind or is healed is all part of God’s “secret plan.”

This line of reasoning is then applied to all diseases and personal tragedies. Therefore, it is concluded, whatever happens must be because God wants it to happen or at least because God didn’t want to stop it from happening.


It couldn’t have been a better day to snow ski. It was a warm, spring day in the California mountains and I was at a popular ski resort, on the last run of the day, finishing up what had been a tremendous two days of skiing. As I headed down the ski slope and neared the end of the run I jumped over a small mogul. When I landed my skis came to an abrupt stop in the wet, sticky snow. However, my ski bindings released and my body did a somersault slamming into the snow with such impact that I momentarily lost consciousness.

I knew I was in trouble as I lay on my back in the snow. I didn’t fully understand how much trouble until I tried to reach for my ski poles. After the initial stunning blow, I realized that I had no feeling in my hands or legs. That realization brought fear like I have never experienced before as my mind very quickly translated all of this into, “you have broken your neck and are paralyzed.” As I lay there trying to comprehend what had just happened, suddenly the pain came like hot needles down my arms into my hands. After a period of time I was able to stand and slowly, painfully make my way down to the bottom of the ski slope where my friend was waiting for me.

After I told him what had happened we drove back to Bakersfield where I was admitted to the hospital. After hours of Xrays, probing and MRI’s the doctors gave me the diagnosis. This traumatic accident had broken my wrist, severely sprained both thumbs and seriously damaged three discs in my neck. The doctor told me that I was fortunate to be able to walk. The trauma to my neck could very easily have left me totally paralyzed.

As a result of this accident over twenty five years ago I have been dealing with constant pain in both hands due to the injuries to the discs and nerves in my neck. This pain is with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only way I can cope with the pain is through medication, which makes the pain tolerable.


I do not believe that physical pain and suffering are from God. He does not send pain and suffering to build our character. He does not cause accidents to teach us lessons. If that were the case how does one explain to a mother whose child was run down in the street that this is something God allowed because He has a greater purpose for this child? This is not the God that I worship. He does not bring about the horror of a 9/11 because somehow it fits into His “secret plan” which we will one day understand.

We must come to a place where we accept that there are many things that happen in this universe that are outside of God’s plan. He created both us and other spiritual beings with a free will. We know some of these spirit beings made a choice to rebel, as man did, and that there are consequences for these choices. Because of His love for us he allows these choices to be made. Sometimes these choices clearly go against His will.

See also:
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Two
What if the pain doesn’t go away! Part Three

Coming In December 2014!

bygh-eng-book-cover.back-600My newest book is scheduled to be available in early December. Subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, it is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today.

Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, I Will Never, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies will be available at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com

The other thing that has been happening that you may not know about is a complete overhaul and redesign of our website. Jimmy Iaccino, the designer, has been diligently working on this for some weeks now and it has come together beautifully. It’s simple, readable, easy to navigate and showcases the heart of this ministry. In the whirlwind cyber world that we live in it’s important to be able to look fresh and current with a site that quickly catches people’s attention as they surf the web. I believe we at Wholeness Ministries have much to offer people, so check it out!

It’s hard to believe that this year is almost gone and we are heading into 2015! A lot has happened in the last year for which we are very thankful. Besides the new book and website we celebrated our 20th Year Anniversary!

mike-P1020072-txt-600To think all of this started with my attending a healing conference in 1984. I was on staff at First Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA. My boss and Senior Pastor Dr. John Lavender insisted that we go to a healing conference conducted by John Wimber at the Vineyard in Anaheim, CA.

What I observed at that healing conference and the encounter with God that I had, left me a changed man. I came back to First Baptist Church and began forming prayer teams to pray for the sick on a regular basis. Over the next ten years I went to every training event, and healing conference that John Wimber conducted. I read every book I could get my hands on that had to do with healing. This led to writing our first training manual, Learning To Do What Jesus Did.

God has opened many doors for us in various denominations, ministry streams and other countries outside the United States. There have been trips to Qatar, Kuwait, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Serbia, to name a few. Plus we have been to numerous churches around the United States.

God has been faithful in providing for all the needs of our family. Not once have we wanted for anything that we needed. Admittedly, I didn’t know how God was going to provide, but He always did. In addition, along the way He surprised us with gifts that went far beyond our needs. Much like a loving father would do for his children.

It has been an exciting journey and I cannot express how grateful that He chose me to walk this journey with Him. Indeed I want to give God all the glory and I look forward to many more years in this exciting journey. Thank you for your continued support. Without you we could not have done all this.

Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

God bless,