Ervin Johnson: A crisis showed me I wasn't in control

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But God was willing and able to take the wheel and steer me securely.

I had always led an extremely physical lifestyle, working long hours six to seven days a week and participating in several recreational sport leagues. This all changed suddenly in early 2000.

Lower back surgery and ensuing health complications resulted in a partially collapsed lung and a month spent in the hospital.

When I was released I was tired, weak, and had lost sixty pounds. I was facing a year of recovery, without even enough strength to walk without a walker. I began to wonder if my life would ever be the same.

When I was re-evaluated a year after surgery I was told it was very doubtful I would have any type of active lifestyle again. I found that news hard to live with, and I was determined to bounce back. I thought had control over my progress and success.

I worked harder on my recovery than was recommended, but my efforts backfired. I was straining too hard, and more complications resulted.

Because of the pain and discomfort it was impossible to live my former life. I struggled with frustration, helplessness and feeling worthless. My marriage suffered, as did other important relationships. Because I allowed these emotions to control me, I became a different man than I was before the surgery.

After two years of temporary disability, I began to work toward re-entering the workforce. During this time I re-examined my circumstances. Instead of being bitter because of what I’d lost, I began to thank God for what I had. I started to appreciate my life, understanding that I could have easily lost it during my time in the hospital.

In Hebrews 13:5, God asks us to be content, promising that He will never leave or forsake us. As I read this verse I realized God was changing my life into something different, and that I wasn’t meant to be who I was before.

In May of 2002, I was able to find a job. What a true blessing that became! What started as a part-time summer position transformed into eight years of employment, being continuously promoted.

During my time there I felt progressively stronger and had a renewed sense of worth again. I learned to focus on how much God had given me instead of what was taken away. My new five-day work week allowed me to spend time with family and friends like never before.

In 2004, my wife I began looking for a new church home. I personally wanted to be involved in Church worship to thank God again for the gift of salvation I received in 1977.

In March of 2010 Barbara and I met with another couple along with Pastor Boren and became official members of this church. At this time we rededicated our lives to Christ. I’m not the person I once was, but I am the person God wants me to be, so that I may perform His duties, not mine.

It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
— Psalm 18:32

Shortly after joining I was given an opportunity to work with a wonderful group of children in the Awana Program for three years. This was a wonderful opportunity to be physically challenged again by doing God’s work. I never lost faith in God, but I now appreciated His gift more and I am living for Him. My faith has continued to grow tremendously as I let God lead me in His path.