By Chris Baker, NEC Worship Leader

Part 1

“Your hands are…’jacked,’ Chris.” 

Those were the first words my doctor said to me when he walked into the exam room holding a stack of x-rays, EMG results, and MRI scans.  Come to find out… “jacked” was the technical term for “you’re about to lose the use of both of your hands if you don’t have surgery next week and, even with surgery, there’s a possibility that you will still have issues the rest of your life.”

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Christopher Baker. I am the Worship Leader at North Elevation Church.  I’ve played guitar for more than half my life (started when I was 13 and I’m 41 now).  I work in IT. I’m in front of a keyboard 5-6 days a week for work. That being said, my hands and fingers are not only my way to a paycheck but they’re also the tools God gave me to help lead His people into His throne room every week, especially since God did NOT give me the greatest singing voice.

It wasn’t just the possibility of losing a paycheck or not being able to play guitar anymore for church or for fun that scared me… it was the fact that it was more than likely possible I was not going to be able to do simple things that we all take for granted every day. Things like opening a door, or a can of Dr. Pepper. Or cutting my own food like a 41-year-old should be able to do.  Here’s a good one, use the restroom by myself…again…like a 41-year-old should be able to do.

Along with my hands/wrists being in the state, they were in; I was also having SEVERAL other medical issues.  I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy by my Cardiologist, I was/still am being tested for narcolepsy, and at times, I have been unable to drive due to my sleep deprivation/insomnia. I was under the care of a neurosurgeon for a possible fourth neck surgery and am still under the care of a Chronic Pain Specialist due to being in some form of pain 24/7.  Still…through all this, I am a husband and father of two adopted girls.

This is about the time that the Devil started talking to me, or at least, one of his minions, who was told to make me as depressed and anxious as possible.  You know what? He/it did a good job of it.  I started to feel so hopeless and helpless as I sat there hearing that the nerves in my hands were nearly dead and possibly irreparable. ”How am I going to pay for my house each month when I can’t have a job that uses my hands 100% of the time? I don’t know how to do anything but computer stuff. I HAVE TO HAVE MY HANDS! But I’m not going to have them anymore! And GOD IS ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME!!!!!”

John 10:10a says, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” Well, he certainly laid the trap to steal my peace of mind and joy. He laid the trap to destroy my hope and wreak even more havoc in my life. Looking back, I can see how he wanted to destroy my testimony by taking my focus off God. After everything else doctors told me this year regarding my health, this was the final nail. I was walking in fear and not living by 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Did you catch that last little bit of what I was hearing in my mind??  “God…….is ALLOWING this to happen to me…….” Dude (me)… you should be ashamed of yourself for even thinking that.  At the time, that’s what I felt.  Those were the words that kept running through my mind.  The words that I kept hearing in the back of my head. Again, this is not the truth of God. As a Christian I know Jesus told me in John 8:36, “He who the Son has set free is free indeed.” and in Romans 8:1, “There is, therefore, NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I don’t have to be ashamed for asking God why He allowed something to happen to me. Even Job and David did that. However, as a Christian, I am told to simply trust Him, just as Proverbs 3:5-6 says. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. Do not lean on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Satan has a way of taking up residence in the back of your head if you’re not careful and don’t have a good pest controller in your mind. In this instance, Pest Controller = The Word of God and The Holy Spirit!  Without the Word of God living… yes… I said “LIVING” inside your mind and heart, the Devil can and WILL run amuck in your life.  He’ll make you believe that you’d be better off dead or that your family would be better off without you.  Let me tell you right now…that is a load of MALARKEY! Thank you, God, for giving us the power to call the Devil out and banish him.  James 4:7 says, if we “submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Emphasis being WILL. You submit to God and walk in His power…well then…Satan cannot withstand!

“So… What’s the next step Doc?” I asked, rocking slowly forward and back in my chair.