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Is this the end of the road?
Going into the Jesus Experience project, I had had a lot of confidence. HM Readers pole consistently had me on top of the favorite vocalist results in their voting. I felt totally invincible and in many ways, I was really fooling myself. God gave me whatever talent I had I deep down I knew this singing ability was a gift from Him but I do not recall really being thankful nor appreciative for it. It just seemed like I could get on stage anytime I wanted and really belt out the screams.
During the Jesus Experience rehearsals and going into the project, I felt restrictive. It was like my mind was telling my voice to do one thing when my vocal just would not produce. I had never given anything much thought before. I would just warm up to the mic without warming up, nor prayer of thanksgiving and just sing. It was like I was taking this for granted and God was receiving no glory.
Many vocal tricks and acrobatic techniques just would not work on The Jesus Experience. I could not get it to come out. No one was alerted to the fact that vocally something was wrong and I did not let anyone know that I was having trouble. Most people contributed the lack of real power and screams to the new style we were playing. I tried to convince myself there was nothing wrong and made up excuses that "screaming" just was popular anymore. After the recording, I remember a show we played in Ohio. Before the show my throat was experiencing sharp stabbing pains and I was drinking gallons of water and had a pocket full of throat drops went I went onto the stage. After about six songs (with extremely poor monitors and the mains feeding back), my vocals were fried. I had never been so helpless on stage before. It seemed like the stage grew to Brazilian size and I was all-alone. I became paranoid and anxiety arose in me. I felt as though everyone in the room was thinking "Dale sure has lost it ain't he." No one in the building realized that something traumatic had occurred but they did take it personal as I stormed off stage. The 300+ crowd did not approve of the short set or the way I left stage. I was not angry at them but I was upset. I don't know if I was ashamed, embarrassed, if my pride had taken a good whipping or what? The promoter approached me, fans stopped me as I tried to duck for cover and I made excuses but the bottom line was something terrible had happened on stage and I was in pain. For the next few shows the sets got shorter and shorter until I broke down and went to a throat specialist.
I was very hesitant to go because "I was Dale Thompson King of the screams" or so I believed at the time. The doctor sat me down in a dentist type chair and explained to me what he was about to do. The procedure would be quick and painless and was for diagnosis only.
After numbing my throat with a spray, he put a long tube up my nose and into my throat to look. He quickly informed me that my singing days was over. He said the best he could do was to give me a short-term quick fix shot and then operate. It seemed I had an ulcer on my vocal chords. Sudden fear took hold. He informed me that maybe I needed to take some vocal lessons (which I had always refused) to maybe strengthen what remained. He said if I opted for an operation that the surgery would take away, range for sure and there was no guarantees that I could sing again.
I was totally devastated. It would have been better for me to have heard I would loose an arm or a leg but not my vocal abilities. While I pondered what to do and prayed earnestly for the answer "The Show Must go on." The next few shows were real struggles as I sang in excruciating pain. People were beginning to talk that I had lost the ability to hit the notes. In reality, I had lost the ability just to carry on conversations without having to clear my throat a dozen times. I know the guys in the band must have thought this was the end.
There were two different Pastor's who I mentioned this to and both prayed for me. One was at my home church at the time and the other was while we were on the road. I felt a stirring after the prayer back stage and instead of going back for my six week checkup as recommended by the specialist with the bad report I thought I would practice what I preached and put my faith and trust in God. ROM 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
I had been battling this thing for nearly two years, at shows, while I ministered and anytime I would speak but the Lord was expecting more than the prayer of "God I know your faithful and if we ask anything in your name you will do it. I believe you are the God that saves, heals and delivers and sets free" it finally dawned on me and a light came on.
"Father wants His glory." He desires and requires my thankfulness.
It was time that I turned it over to the Lord once and for all. ROM 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. There are so many things in life we take for granted. This one episode woke me up to a whole new reality. Physically broken and desperate it wasn't prayers for God to heal this condition that was expected or that He would receive, God just wanted a word of thanks.
The scripture comes to mind Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful;
Just an offering of thanksgiving and praise is what Father was expecting. Psa 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
Each day I have many things to be thankful for. Psa 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
I didn't know it all starts with thanksgiving. Phl 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
I now was beginning to understand what the scriptures mean: JOHN 15:4-6, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
I had attempted to act independently at times from the Lord and boy I felt the refiner's fire upon my head and in my bosom. He didn't have to test me too long before I wised up. The desert of uncertainty is a dry and lonely place but we all must go through it. I have experienced many similar instances, which teaches me more of the nature and attributes of Father each time I go through a trial. Our whole life is a life of trial, and testing in order to prove us, mature us and complete us in Him.
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