Even in suffering, having faith can be difficult, but faith is something that grew stronger for one Lubbock couple who faced years of hardship. In this week's Power of Prayer, we introduce you to a husband and a wife who spent 20 years praying for one thing: healing.
Imagine not being able to tie your own shoes -- a simple task many of us take for granted. But for Andy Velasquez, injuries from a car accident many years ago left him with chronic back pain. Pain so severe that simple tasks were impossible to perform. But for the last 20 years, the Velasquez family found hope and strength through the Power of Prayer.
"Our marriage has strengthened definitely because we were committed first to God and then to our marriage," says Irasema Velasquez.
For the past 20 years, the phrase "for better or for worse" has special meaning for married couple Andy and Irasema Velasquez. An accident two decades ago permanently injured Andy's spine and caused it to degenerate. Slowly he lost movement, and says the pain was so paralyzing he couldn't even tie his own shoes. 14 surgeries later, doctors told Andy there was nothing else they could do. He would have to live with the unbearable pain.
"Throughout that time, they really didn't know what else to do to help him," says Irasema.
"I prayed to the Lord everyday just to give me strength to make it another day," says Andy.
Andy was forced to give up the things he loved: work, hobbies, and helping out at the church.
"Andy has always wanted to serve. He has always been a man that wants to serve God, but he was limited because of his pain," says Laura Hernandez, pastor of Pathway Assembly.
But Andy says physical pain paled in comparison to what he felt seeing his wife suffer 20 long years right along with him.
"Seeing her go through that by herself, I felt terrible cause I know it's putting her through something and I can't help it," says Andy.
"Not being there was never an option," says Irasema.
And it was Irasema's undying devotion to her husband and a covenant with God that kept their family together and gave them hope.
"Every step of the way, the Lord opened doors and provided opportunities for our home and provide for our daughters and everything. It was so obvious his hand was on us," says Irasema.
And on Easter of last year, a miracle 20 years in the making happened.
"I told the Lord that Easter Sunday, that's enough I can't take it," says Andy.
"That night Andy was healed. It was the culmination of the prayers of so many people throughout those many years," says Irasema.
And for the last year, Andy's gone back to enjoying a life without pain, a life he hasn't had in 20 years.
"You have to see him right now. He plays the bass and he does the sound booth at the same time," says Lauro.
"The fact that he can bend down and tie his own shoe without pain, the little things we take for granted, it's been awesome," says Irasema.
The Velasquez family tell us doctors can't explain what happened. Andy's degenerative disease was once incurable, but thanks to the Power of Prayer, he experienced a miracle and functions normally as he did before the accident.