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The 700 Club

Healing the Incurable

John Martin - 700 Club Producer

“I was crap, I was dirt, mud, all that good stuff. And wasn't worth nothing. And that's the way I lived my life.”

As a young boy growing up in a small, Indiana town, Tony never felt anyone could love him – including God.

“He just wanted to throw lightning bolts if you even stepped one little bit out of line.”

Raised a Catholic, he tried to hold on to some belief that God cared… until two of his friends were killed in a car accident. 

“The only way I knew how to deal with it was through the anger and through cutting myself off and through not caring. Because if there's a God like that, I ain't serving Him.”

Tony went on to serve 8 years in the army before taking a job as a welder. In all those years, he was still angry at God and the world.  And looking out for number one.  

“I always looked at it like, you're out to get me, so I'm gonna get you first. 01:39:03 Hurting people on the job, be-beating people up on the job, I never got fired for that, because I was good at what I did. 01 In my mind, I was the force.”

Then, at 39 years old, Tony met Deb, a Christian, who saw tony much differently.

“There was something about her that I never experienced. And She always said she saw gold in me in spite of my actions. I wanted what was best for her, and that was very unusual for me.”

But a woman’s love alone wasn’t enough to soften his calloused heart. That same year, Tony started having symptoms that came without warning.

“I would wake up and be deadly tired. Could not keep my eyes open. I would end up eating like every other day or something like that. I didn't care. I mean, to me I'm just gonna barrel through it.”

For two years, Tony kept getting worse.

“I'd get weak. Just all the sudden, get weak. My legs, my arms, just out of the blue.”

Still, he refused to see a doctor.  It wasn’t until a near-fatal accident with a co-worker in March, 2009, that Tony decided he needed help. 

“I'm holding this piece of steel, and all of a sudden, I could not hold it. It almost fell on his head. It was like, I can't risk another person’s life.”

Tony went to several specialists, but none could find a cause.  Eventually, he was forced to use a cane, and then he lost his job.

“I had always been able to overcome everything on my own, and now I'm getting fired? That really hurt.”

One night he saw a preacher on television that made him think he might need Jesus after all.

“I mean, emotion hit me that I had never experienced. That's the moment I knew Jesus was real.”

But he still didn’t believe Jesus could love him. Meanwhile, Tony and Deb married as he continued to deteriorate. Eventually he was confined to a motorized wheelchair.

“I mean, I couldn't breathe. Uh, speech was a huge problem. And it was around that time that my fingers were starting to crump up.”

Finally, after three years of testing, doctors concluded Tony had a fatal neurological disorder, most likely ALS.

“Oh my gosh. It's gonna get worse than it already is. So I mean, I was going through all the gamut of emotions all the time, between fear and anger. At that point, I'm like forget it. Just let me die.”

But on July 4th, 2012, Tony was thinking about something very different.  It was an article about Jesus’ crucifixion.

“I saw Jesus at the whipping post, being scourged, and just seeing chunks of flesh being ripped off. And in His eyes, there was a deep – a-a truly deep love that was unending. Jesus – suffered far worse than I did, and how much He had to have loved me then.  And It was like I knew because He loved me that much, He wanted me to be whole. My anger just evaporated. ‘Back pain, be gone!’ It just came out of my mouth. All the pain left. What in the world. Then I said, ‘Fingers, move.’ And then my fingers are moving. And then that’s when I said, ‘Jesus don’t let me fall.’ And all of a sudden my legs hit the floor! Is this really happening? ‘Wow, My Lord, My Master, My God! You did this for me?’”

Today, Tony is still strong, pain free, and eager to share how Jesus’ love healed his body, and his soul. 

“The fact that Lord loves me – in spite of me totally being set against Him.  He loves you, as you are, right now. And He sees you as the most precious thing on the face of this earth.”

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