Within 24 hours, Haler, a 20-year-old college student at Hope College in Holland, Mich., said he found himself paralyzed from the waist down.
It all started last October when he was in health class doing the Insanity workout, a popular exercise routine. At first he thought nothing of the popping sound and since he had back problems since he was a child, the initial pain wasn’t all that foreign.
But then he lost strength in his legs and it became difficult to walk. Later that night, Haler went to the emergency room and doctors, unable to do much, sent him home with pain medicine.
The next day Haler says he woke up paralyzed from the waist down, with doctors unsure of what, exactly, was happening. After they reportedly found no physical damage to his spine that would cause paralysis, he was inevitably sent home in a wheelchair.
Joel Haler is walking after being confined to a wheelchair following an injury in October (Image source: Joel Haler’s Facebook page)
“At first I was in complete shock and I was just like, ‘Wait a minute. What just happened?’” he told TheBlaze. “I’ve never suffered that traumatic of an event. Mentally, at first I was trying to replay everything … I quickly realized, ‘I’m paralyzed. I’m just going to have to start getting used to this.’”
Over the course of three months, Haler saw numerous doctors but to no avail. His life, in many ways, was on hold. While his professors allowed him to finish the semester at home in New Castle, Ind., he decided to take medical leave for the spring semester.
Despite his Christian faith and his personal quest to come to terms with the situation, Haler, the son of a pastor, felt the impact of his new-found limitations.
“At first my faith was extremely high. I just had a real sense of peace about the situation, but then as I got out of the hospital and things started to progress [it] spiraled me down into almost a depression,” he said.
“God, why are you doing this to me?” Haler remembers asking.
But while he felt despair as he wondered if he’d ever be able to walk again, the athlete said he soon experienced signs that he would soon recover — messages he believes came straight from God.
Messages From God?
This is the part that some will find hard to believe.
Sometime in early January, Haler said he had a dream in which he saw a big banner that simply read “J23.” He awoke confused and turned to his faith for the answers.
“I tried figuring it out and my dad alongside with me. We started looking in the Bible … at books that began with a ‘J’ and then looked at chapter 23 [in each],” Haler said.
He and his father, Pastor Eric Haler of New Covenant Worship Center, New Castle, Ind., couldn’t find anything. But then Haler said something else happened — yet another sign that helped put the pieces together.
“Literally that next week a little boy at church [named Braxton], 4 years old, came up to me and was like, ‘Joel you’re going to walk on a Thursday,” Haler recalled.
While some would have surely dismissed the child’s claim as nothing more than a silly prediction, Haler said he began thinking about the dream and then the child’s message and felt that the boy might actually be right.
“I know God told him this for a reason,” Haler said.
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SOURCE: The Blaze, Billy Hallowell
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