Adapted from an interview with Micah Nichols
Believing in God is to believe in the supernatural. So why do we often doubt God’s intervention in the world in supernatural ways?
The flu. That’s what Micah thought it was. But days passed and his symptoms worsened, pain twisting relentlessly in his stomach. It was the summer of 2013 and he and his wife, Amanda had recently returned from Africa. Maybe he’d picked up a bug somewhere along the way.
As test after test ruled out potential culprits, Micah remained a guitarist and songwriter on Seacoast’s worship team at the Mount Pleasant campus, but his body continued to weaken. He was only in his late 20s.
Eventually a doctor diagnosed his condition as Crohn’s disease and for a while, the prescribed medication seemed to help. But soon Micah was supplementing with pain and nausea meds four to five times a day.
He sought third, fourth and fifth opinions that varied wildly and led to out-of-pocket costs of over $20,000. He lost 40 lbs. off an already lean frame, eyes bruised, cheeks sunken, and clothes hanging loose.
In January of 2017, Micah went to see the head of gastrointestinal issues at the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s not Crohn’s,” the doctor said.
Micah slowly took in this news. “So what is it then?”
The doctor shook his head, looking grim, unable to give him a diagnosis beyond idiopathic—any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. In fancy doctor-speak it meant they didn’t know.
Am I crazy?
“Do I need to go on psych meds?” Micah was starting to worry it was all in his head.
“No,” the doctor said quickly, “you couldn’t make this up. The evidence is all there. You’re passing blood. You have skin lesions around your eyes. But I also believe the medications you’ve been on have exacerbated your condition.”
Returning home at a loss, Micah met with a naturalist doctor who diagnosed him with a rare form of MS and recommended eating clean. Following the doctor’s advice, Micah began functioning at about 20 percent of normal—which was much better than he had been. Still he took nausea and pain meds like candy and there were many days he couldn’t get out of bed.
“We really learned to pray without getting answers for a long time,” Amanda said. “But it was very painful.” As a Physician Assistant who runs two hospital emergency rooms, Trident and Summerville Medical Centers, she found it hard to watch Micah go through something she couldn’t fix. “I’m part of people’s healings through medicine every day. But I couldn’t help my own husband.”
“In our darkest moment,” Micah said, “we were praying desperately for healing. We had prayed for others and seen results, but it wasn’t working for us. I kept asking, God what is this for? Why have someone serving you suffer this much? We started to doubt the goodness of our beliefs for a while.”
Still Micah continued as part of Seacoast’s worship team. In the spring of 2017, he posted on Facebook about writing their new song, Lament, which meant something dear to each member.
I had the honor of writing this song with my bros @thismartinchalk @natedavis @brandonlake & @garrettabe. We wanted to write a worship song from the perspective that we all have lived – a place of honest brokenness and despair. this is real life. The beautiful thing about lamenting is that God is still good, even when everything around us is broken. If you’re in a tough spot right now, listen to this song and find hope that you’re not alone.
Seacoast Worship recorded Lament in the summer of 2017 and is available here.
“The naturalist doctor’s regimen helped enough for Micah to accept the opportunity of a lifetime—to tour with the band Need to Breathe over the summer of 2017. But by the end, he felt worse than ever. “I was so deep and dark in my own pain and situation, it was hard to see out of it.”
A God-timed word from his friend, Brandon Lake helped keep him going. “I know you’re sick, man. I know you’re not doing well right now. But I can’t shake the feeling that the Lord’s going to use your story to help people and it’s going to happen soon. So hold on.”
Things continued much the same into 2018. During the weekend services at Seacoast the week before Easter, Micah was throwing up in between worship sets. Backstage in the bullpen, during the message, he told his team, “Just come wake me up before next set.”
“Easter is the Super Bowl for churches,” he said. “It requires a huge outpouring of energy. And rehearsals are intense, lasting 6–10 hours.”
Amanda said it straight out. “There’s no way you can play at Easter this year. You’re too sick.” Micah’s face was so gaunt and shadowed, it looked like someone had punched him in the face. It was the first time they both felt they had nothing left to give.
‘I’d gotten to a place with this sickness,” Micah said, “where I was thinking this was just my burden to bear, the thorn in my side. I was feeling pretty lost.” Desperate, Micah sought out fellow guitarist Lance Gatch, knowing he was part of a healing prayer group. Lance of course prayed with him, but he also mentioned a friend in Nashville, Joshua Silverberg, a pastor and songwriter who’d had success in healing prayer. “You should call him,” Lance said.
With nothing to lose, Micah connected with Joshua Silverberg via text. On March 27, a day when Micah was very ill, Joshua happened to call. He offered his own testimony of healing and how it had led him to pray for others.
Over the Phone
Still on the phone, Micah sat down with Amanda on the couch—the same couch where had spent years being sick. Hunching over as he told Joshua his story, he felt his wife lay her hands on him. Then Joshua began to pray, his voice relaxed, calm, disarming. A low electric buzz began in Micah’s body. But then Joshua paused. “How are you feeling?” It was better, but still there was some underlying pain, nausea and fatigue.
So Joshua began again, his voice stronger and more authoritative. “Jesus, give Micah back everything Satan has stolen from him.”
“The only way to describe it,” Micah said, “was this jolt of electricity, a burning and bubbling up in my body. I literally jumped off the couch. If you had seen me, if you knew me at the time, this was completely opposite of my state, complete fatigue, completely broken down, but suddenly jumping with energy. Joshua told me to go do something I couldn’t do before. So I went outside and ran around the yard. It’s hard to explain this overwhelming feeling, this love, this surge of compassion.”
“If he had gotten healed gradually over weeks,” Amanda said. “I would’ve been able to chalk it up to science, to medicine, to something we had done, but when it happens right before your eyes, you can’t explain it with anything but the Holy Spirit. I had my hands on him. I felt that electricity.”
Letting Themselves Believe
“Something that we had dealt with for five years, that we had accepted as our normal, the Holy Spirit changed in our living room…over the phone, with a stranger that I’ve still actually never met.” – Micah Nichols
For the next few days they told no one. Each morning, Amanda would ask, “You still healed? Everything still okay?” If he winced or sighed, “You still healed?”
Even then, the enemy tried to make them doubt it had really happened.
“Something we had dealt with for five years,” Micah said, “that we had accepted as our normal, the Holy Spirit changed in our living room…over the phone, with a stranger that I’ve still actually never met.”
Seven months later, Micah’s life has radically changed. He did serve on the worship team for all Easter services, and for the first time in five years went surfing this past summer, played basketball, and although keeping to his clean diet, occasionally visits Lewis Barbecue. He just finished touring again this summer with Need to Breathe—a completely different and amazing experience.
Gifts of the Spirit
Now Micah is passing on the miraculous blessings of prayerful healing that he received. In 1 Corinthians 12: 4–9, Paul says the gifts of the Spirit are available to us all. Sometimes we forget that. We read it in the Bible, but have a hard time accepting it in our own time, in our own lives.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom…to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit….”
“I don’t understand how it works,” Micah said. “And you can’t predict how it will happen. I’m just so grateful for it. Just dive in and trust. God loves you and wants you to be whole and wants you to be healed. The Holy Spirit’s real. So real.”
What about you? Do you believe the Holy Spirit is at work today? Join us for our series, Ghost Stories and learn to recognize just how active he is in our world and in your life.