Chapter One, Life Crashes.


(Rough DraftÖ)


Thudda Thump, Thudda Thump, the drums played though the sound system - a pulsing primal beat, stealing us away to images of distant lands. Hoots and hollers threatened to drown it out. In the darkness, lit only by the hot coals strewn across the grass in front of me, adrenaline pumped. The line to the fire became shorter, and tensions rose. Suddenly, I'm there. Hot coals are glowing in front of me, and I'm actually thinking, "should I ask them to stoke it up first?" I focus on the "catcher" at the other end of the coals, I do my primal scream, and I feel myself launched across the coals.

Next thing I know, I'm being held back. What? I'm not going yet? Slowly I realize that they're telling me to wipe my feet. I was across! I walked across glowing hot coals without a blister to show for it.

That was the opening night at the Anthony Robbins course in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, August 1997. I was still searching for something to complete my life, something to bring contentment and satisfaction. Despite having been baptized four years earlier at the dedication of my first daughter, I still felt lost and fearful and was looking in the wrong places for security. I was an "unsaved believer". I had not repented of my sins, never read the Bible, didn't know the word of God, and made a poor witness.

One of my colleagues and her husband had recommended going to see "Tony", and they neglected to tell me about the fire-walk. I showed up the first day, and heard people talking about it, like it was going to be a demonstration of some sort. Who would have guessed what we were facing? After it was over, I thought it was a breakthrough for me. During the four days of intense hypnotherapy and of conditioning my emotional and mental responses to physical stimuli, I convinced myself that I knew what the rest of my life would be like if I continued in my ways. I developed a game plan, and pursued it without considering what God had planned for me. I was destined for disappointment. Anthony Robbins didn't teach me how to go to the Lord for what I need, he taught self-reliance.


I had always lived beyond our means, mostly due to my poor control of spending habits. My busy medical practice always seemed to require more money to cover expenses than I could raise from seeing more patients. They say that it takes money to make money, but I was going backwards. The harder I worked, the less I made. The patient load would overload my medical assistant, and the cost to hire more staff soon out-weighed the increased revenues. I had begun to consider the possibility that having two physicians share the office expenses would be more profitable, but was too frightened to take that step. I left Anthony Robbins determined to take the risks that would lead to my success. I was in control of my destiny. This was just what I needed, or so I thought.

Tony served as a swift kick in the pants, leading me to rapidly expand my medical practice. The doctor who covered for me while we were on that vacation came aboard to work part-time. Then, I invested our life savings in a $400,000 business property with a monthly expense of FIVE times more than when I was renting my old building. Shortly after we signed the papers for the new property, our new doctor announced he would have to go full-time at his other job and that he would be leaving soon. When it didn't work out with the new doctor, I started to get scared.

It was at this time that I began to seek God. During one sermon by Pastor James Ryal, of Truth Works Ministries, on the topic of "Breaking the Spirit of Poverty", I realized the need to tithe. It suddenly seemed to me that things never worked out because I didn't faithfully tithe our ten- percent. As a matter of fact, I don't believe we'd ever given more than half that. My attitude had been that a proper tithe was one that was fifty dollars more than I felt comfortable giving. I thought I had the solution again. I'd give my tithe, and God would do anything for me, like a bribe paid in full. I wrote out a check for everything but the last hundred dollars in the checking account, and considered us to be "fair and square". Then when things started to fall into place again, I assumed it was from God. I certainly thought I was headed in the right direction, giving away all my money in faith that it would be returned.

However, Satan is a great impersonator and deceiver and he took away the need for us to pray about things. We had poor credit, yet here was an offer to acquire an expensive business property at only five percent down with the owner carrying the loan. Even though we could not get a conventional mortgage on the property, our bank surprisingly gave us a second mortgage on our house to make the down payment on the new property. My new office manager was incredible, and she was married to the best contractor in town, so we could turn the building into a medical facility. And, we immediately found a replacement physician who could start the same week that the first one would be leaving.

Then, things started to fall apart. We gave glory to God for our good fortune, but never felt 100% comfortable with the decisions we made. I didn't involve God in our decision making process, and thus began the spiritual warfare - the constant struggle to discern whether the good or bad events in our lives were from God or Satan.

We missed deadlines for plumbing inspections, and failed an electrical inspection for an improperly set breaker, and were going to miss our deadline for having the new office ready before our lease in the old building ran out. Collections dropped 30% in the month after I gave all our money to the church, and we had to take out a $20,000 construction loan to keep the project on track. We finally moved into the new building, but we had to set up a temporary clinic in some unused in-patient rooms at the local hospital for a week. Then the post office stopped delivering our mail for almost four weeks, with the forwarding instructions being placed right before the Christmas rush. So, we stopped getting paid!

I went to the church, and prayed with the elders daily, and things suddenly changed. Within a month, business was up thirty percent and past due collections started to come in, catching us up on some bills. The replacement doctor that we hired was going to be delayed out of the country for several more weeks, right at the time that I wouldn't have been able to pay him anyway. But, was it from God? We were now praying about our circumstances, and I was sharing my witness with others. But, my prayers were not asking that God's will be done, but mine.

Spiritual warfare continued. The second physician started working for us, after a two-month delay starting; but after working only seven weeks, he had a stroke while seeing patients in the office. This forced him into retirement, and left us searching for another doctor again. I was also constantly caught between my office staff and the church. I was being told that our billings were not enough to support the income we were seeing, and I was under constant advice by my staff to not pay the bills or tithe out of faith, but to save the money for the "really important things". I worked myself to death, and started to feel the effects of failing health. I could not understand why it seemed I was working harder than ever, yet my billings were so low.

Month after month, and computer printout after printout told a grim story. With the extra staff and office expenses, we were billing out only three fourths of what we needed to charge to meet our budget. For a while, I held true to my faith, and dictated that the bills would be paid, even if it was questionable about our having money for payroll that week. As a result of my faith, the money was always there when it shouldn't have been. And, I felt that we were experiencing a "real-time" interactive relationship with the Lord.

However, I viewed the relationship from the eyes of "born and raised" Jew and lived in the blessings and cursings of the Old Testament - not in the grace and forgiveness of the New Testament. I was behaving like a "Probationary Christian", saved by Jesus but then forced to retain my salvation by my good deeds. I began to attribute ALL good things in my life to be from God, and ALL bad things to be punishments for my sin and lack of fellowship with the Lord.

Finally, after eight months of fighting the battle, I was at my wits end. I didn't feel that I could continue to survive under the stress. I did not want to have to keep praying about our situation and hope God would hear and answer. I couldn't continue to put my faith in God that he would provide. My spirit was broken.

During that time, my health had gotten worse. What originally started out as a nuisance of occasional coughing up blood and mild asthma, turned into worsening asthma, and then chest pain and shortness of breath. Then, one night as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, "This is it, I'm having my heart attack." The chest pain was increasing, radiating into my jaw, and even breathing was difficult. I felt like a weight was on my chest, and became sweaty and clammy.

Like everyone else who has chest pain, it didn't seem bad enough to call 911, so I called my pastor at 3:00AM, and he came to take me to the hospital. Remember that doctors make the worst patients. During that hospital stay, we found that my heart appeared to be normal, but I had enlarged lymph nodes or a mass in my chest. We knew that 15 years earlier I had been treated for a whole year for a fungal lung infection, and thought the problem was gone forever. As a matter of fact, I'd gone fairly symptom free until about five years ago. But, these findings were worsening on recent x-rays. I became low on oxygen after only six minutes on the treadmill stress test, and required five liters of oxygen to make it over ten minutes with still borderline oxygen levels. My asthma was becoming more severe, and my energy and endurance was worsening as well. With all that going on, I was referred to a specialist.

To make a long story short, the CAT scan of my chest showed a significant amount of scarring in the central part of my chest, felt to be a result of a lung infection that I'd had years earlier. Apparently the condition is a result of the body not turning off the fight against a germ that was long gone. I had scarring and inflammation in my chest that could eventually obstruct the blood vessels going to and from my heart. As a formerly healthy 36 year-old, with three children and a love for skiing and camping in the mountains, this was devastating to me. I had to face the truth, and started to look for an assistant to help me see patients, months before our third doctor was scheduled to start.

But, despair began to overtake me. I became more depressed. I asked, "Lord, is this how you answer my prayers?" And, at the top of my mind was, "What am I doing wrong to deserve this?" It was a Bible study night when I went to the church for what I thought could very well be my last time. I had no future, and wanted to end it now. Sometimes I would imagine myself driving into a tree along the side of the road, and I was closer to making that a reality. While sitting there in the pew, one of the teenagers in the church shared some poetry with me. Her poetry seemed sad, and dark, and troubled to me - especially for someone who seemed so well adjusted. Suddenly, I had the urge to stop reading and start writing.

Words poured out onto the paper. I was consumed as I poured my heart out. As I wrote the last words, I looked at the poem that had appeared on the paper, and began bawling like a baby. I Cried my heart out I did. There was complete release of emotions, pent-up fear and anxiety. As I read the first draft of the following poem, I knew that God was gifting me through my pen. The Holy Spirit inspired these words.




I sit here and I wonder, why my life is so unsure;

it seems a mess, is this a test, to see what I'll endure?


I've got a wife, and wonderful kids, but feel like nothing gives;

like God was challenged by Satan, to prove that I am his.


I'm saddened and not joyful, with the fruits of all my deeds;

which used to be, at harvest time, like dreams that sprung from seeds.


And with all of those dreams, that end in sweet bliss;

where did they go, how'd my life get to this?



I try to control it, it kicks with recoil, like an untamed horse you see;

but a gentle touch, go with the flow, and broke this horse would be.


So I search for answers, the Bible's there, but difficult to read;

the parables, the miracles, and multitudes to feed.


Then Satan temps me, obstacles rise, my goal in life gets lost;

I forget the power of Jesus Christ, and my soul is to be the cost.


So I'll surround myself, with those in Christ, a fortress they will be;

surrounded by the holy spirit, Jesus lives in me.


And in his arms, he'll carry me, through hard times when I'm lame;

and with his love, reborn I'll be, I'll never be the same...


Larry Ganz (c) August 5, 1998


This poem scared the heck out of my wife, and I believe it was the first time that she realized how far I'd gone. She remained troubled by it for weeks. I thought the poem was quite cathartic. I felt as if I had dropped my burden, and my heart felt lighter. However, I didn't know what to do with the poem. What did it mean?

Hindsight is 20-20, and I now know what God was trying to tell me. We cannot find happiness as a result of our deeds and under our own power - nor can other people become more important than God. Only through God can we truly find happiness. How often do you find yourself thinking, "If only I had that, I'd be truly happy"?

Secondly, the bad things that happen to us, as confirmed by the book of Job, may be a test or trial from God, and these will only serve to purify us and our faith. God may allow Satan to temp us or allow us to become hurt, as part of our growth in The Spirit. The Apostle Paul says, "For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation." [2 Cor 7:10]. In the book of Judges, when things would be going well, the Hebrews would turn away from God. But, once they were under the domination of a conquering nation, they would turn back to God and repent, and God would send a Judge to rescue them. Remember that God is Sovereign and all things, good and bad, stem from His allowing these things to happen - only to extent that we can handle them. More often than not, the "curse" leads to a blessing that will not be realized until later. Hebrews 12:11 says, "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." How often do people turn to God in times of calamity - in the wake of the devastation of a tornado, or in the tears of a high school shooting? The end results are usually that many more people come to Christ and are saved.

Blessings that do not fall within God's will may be from Satan, to detour us from seeking God to provide for our needs. The Bible says, "Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers." [2 Cor 11:14]. Do you examine the things that happen in your life, and ask where it came from and what you can learn from it?

Many times, we come under attack by Satan because of our unwavering faithfulness to God. The Bible says that we will suffer persecution for preaching the Gospel and that Christ will comfort us [2 Cor 1:5]. Just look at Paul and his "infirmities". He experienced great suffering and persecution in his travels, while sharing the Gospel. God allowed these things to happen to Paul, because it made his witness all that much more powerful. God's grace was sufficient to carry him through it. He says in Philipians 4:13, "For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need". And, through God's comfort Paul was able to comfort others [2 Cor 1:4], as my friends in Christ can comfort me.

The poem reminds me that God will always be there, and when I am weak, to seek fellow believers in Christ who will help remind me of Christ's power in my life. They will help point me back to the source of my salvation, and away from things of the world. When in doubt about the source of a blessing or curse, we are to seek those in Christ. "For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them." [Matt 18:20]. Therefore, they will be able to help lend an objective eye, with the help of the Holy Spirit. In the section discussing the Epistle of John, the Quickverse Life Application Bible states, "Through the Holy Spirit, Christ's presence and power are multiplied in all who believe." Do you seek others in Christ to share your deepest worries and fears? Do you seek the Holy Spirit for answers?

Unfortunately, I didn't understand what God was telling me at the time. I only saw the poem as my first real attempt to ask God for help. I didn't see the answers, only the questions. One thing I did know - I was going to write a more positive and uplifting poem by the end of the month...


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