BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Rick Heil: The Days of Miracles
By Mia Evans
The 700 Club
If you’re a fan of Christian music you’ve probably heard their name before. Sonicflood travels the world and performs before thousands. But the lead singer of the Grammy nominated group doesn’t let fame go to his head. Rick Heil’s mind is on one thing… lifting up the name of Jesus.
“It’s almost like eating lots of candy,” Rick tells The 700 Club. “I mean you get to spend time with brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world, sing worship songs to Jesus, and dance for the Lord.”
When Rick takes the stage, you’ll see a living, breathing miracle – a man healed of an incurable disease. Now he lives to tell about it… years of chronic pain, God’s healing power, and how he went from death to life.
“I guess I felt like my hope had been lost when I was growing up with the illness and dealing with it and really not feeling like I had any hope for a change in life,” says Rick.
Rick’s life didn’t start out that way. He was a healthy child with a passion for playing the guitar. But by age 11, the pain hit, and Rick began losing weight. Doctors found evidence of Crohn’s Disease, a severe intestinal disorder.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was dealing with a lot of pain I’d never felt before, and the pain is not in your arm or in your hand or your extremities. It is in the core of your person.”
Rick underwent multiple surgeries to remove eight feet of his intestines.
“As I got older and the disease continued to progress and I spent a lot of time in the hospital going through many tests and being fed intravenously for long periods of time. I really started to think that I was sort of alone in this.”
Bitterness and depression swallowed any hope of a healthy life, and his will to live began to fade. But at 15 years old, Rick surrendered his heart to Jesus.
He says, “I didn’t know about the hope of being healed. I was brought up believing that the day of miracles was over, and I really needed a miracle. Here comes this woman into my life saying, ‘Well, He still does miracles, and He’s gonna do a miracle in your life.’”
That woman was CeCe Nolan. Her radical faith changed Rick’s life, and she became his wife.
“She really was the first one to come along and say God’s gonna heal you,” Rick says.
CeCe adds, “Probably my biggest struggle with Rick’s disease is I wanted to see the healing quickly. I knew that the Lord had His hand on Rick but I wanted to see Rick free from the pain.”
Their faith was tested in 2004 when Rick’s condition worsened. He could no longer eat food by mouth. He had to be fed intravenously -- a cost of $5,000 per night.
“Being at the end of the rope, I let go and trusted in Jesus. He has a way of getting us to these places of brokenness where you have to trust,” says Rick. “I just layed it down, the anger the bitterness, the Crohn’s disease. I layed it down at His feet, and I said, ‘If you heal me, I’ll worship you and serve you forever. If you don’t heal me, I’ll worship you and serve you forever. Not my will but Yours be done.’”
Rick was still not responding to traditional medical therapy.
“The doctors that were attending me [were] really washing their hands of me, basically not able to do anything for me,” Rick says. “They were saying, if I had an operation, it would leave me with a short bowel -- meaning I’d be fed intravenously for the rest of my life.”
Rick wanted a second opinion. His search led him here to the Cleveland Clinic Digestive Disease Center in Ohio. It’s ranked No. 2 in the nation for treating intestinal disorders. It would be here where Rick would experience the healing he’d been praying for.
“I treat all my patients the same,” says Dr. Church, “but I felt an instant connection with Rick because of our shared faith. I always pray before every operation, before every colonoscopy, and I pray for my patients regularly. I know that God answers prayer.”
Dr. James Church operated on Rick to and removed some scar tissue. Then he told him what else he found.
Rick recalls, “But it was like, ‘So you didn’t find any CD. No there’s no CD in your body and there’s no need for you to be on those medications.’”
“ The scientist in me says he’s doing very very well, and I’m pleased about that. The Christian in me says this could very well be God’s work at hand,” Dr. Church says. “Certainly I think God does all the healing. I think it’s just a matter of what instrument He uses. Often it’s medicine and doctors and occasionally it’ll be a healing that we don’t understand.”
Today Rick has no symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. He can eat normally ,and he hasn’t required any further surgery or treatment. Now he’s on a mission to tell the world that Jesus heals.
“It’s a miracle to be without this pain and to have the kids jump on my stomach, love on them, wrestle with them and hug my wife,” Rick says. “Psalms 103 says, ‘Praise the Lord, I tell myself. Never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death surrounds me with love and tender mercy, and he fills my life with good things.’ I want people to know that He’s a good father.”
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