Tony Myers knows the darkest depths of pain and despair. He has been through the worst of illness, the hopelessness of ongoing failed diagnoses. As a full-blown atheistic teenager, he detested everything to do with Christianity. But years later, his brave faith in Jehovah Rapha delivered him to wholeness after a crippling season under Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
He is now free and healthy with a hunger to offer God's healing power to everyone he can reach through his organization, Outside the 4 Walls Ministry.
Myers entered the world of drugs and alcohol at an early age. By his own admission, he was a tough kid. A simple reference to the Jesus of the Bible could push him into violence. By the time he finished high school in the early 1980s, the military seemed like his only reasonable alternative. He could either join the military or end up in prison—if not the cemetery.
He joined the U. S. Army in 1986, serving a little over eight years in the infantry.
"I spent lots of time on restriction," Myers says with a laugh, calling himself "a bad kid who was a good soldier."
"I had a lot of Article 15s," he says, referring to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, in which a service member can be reprimanded for generally minor offenses beneath the threshold of a court martial. He did his duty well, but the bad attitude he carried forward from adolescence often got him into trouble.
Among his tours of service while an infantryman in the U. S. Army, Myers spent almost three years on the Demilitarized Zone, the infamous DMZ separating North and South Korea. Although China, North Korea and the U.S. signed the armistice agreement in 1953, South Korea did not. Therefore, in the strict legal sense, the Korean War never came to an official close. Myers spent several high-tension seasons in South Korea that left him with severe PTSD following his honorable discharge in 1995.
His post-traumatic stress disorder went undiagnosed for years by the Veterans Affairs treatment sites he visited; he later sought treatment for a back injury with much more response from the VA. Myers found himself facing lingering physical and psychological troubles from his military service stacked on top of challenges that followed him from his latter teen years; he carried multiple burdens of unresolved anger, despair and injury. And things were not about to improve any time soon.
Myers returned home to Alabama after his military service and found work as a welder. But he still had neither interest nor use for anything about the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Who was He, anyway? He wasn't anywhere Myers could see, and if he had to go looking for some guy who might not even exist, then why bother? The whole dead-end equation made it that much easier to seek solace in a bottle, a pill or other illicit drugs—anything for respite from the noisy chaos that ravaged his soul. Something had to give.
Unfortunately, that something was his health.
Entering his second decade of civilian life following his military service, Myers began to notice a few isolated health symptoms that at first didn't add up to anything he could make sense of.
"I was never one to go to the doctor that much," he recalls. By 2006, he was noticing how often he felt tired. A few months later, he had moved into a state of constant exhaustion.
"I was never hungry, either," Myers says. It would be another few years until he would find out the source of his symptoms, which he later learned were the first signs of ALS, a degenerative disease that causes progressive loss of voluntary muscle control.
He moved from Alabama to Virginia in 2008 to live near Debra, the woman who would later become his wife. After a brief period of stability, his physical health spiraled downward. The VA denied his regular requests for in-home health care, deeming his rural location too far from available services.
"They ignored my symptoms," Myers says. And those symptoms had returned with a vengeance. By 2009, he could only walk using crutches as canes and was soon confined to a wheelchair. He had chronic exhaustion and little appetite, going days without a proper meal or even part of a normal night's rest. His speech slurred, worsening to the point he could hardly communicate.
By early 2011, his symptoms were so overwhelming he spent his days in his wheelchair, wishing for death. But the VA finally acknowledged the pattern of his condition for the past few years, officially diagnosing him with ALS that March.
Later in 2011, Myers and Debra, a Christian, were married. They had gone to church together a few times since his move to Virginia, but regular church. attendance became difficult because of his wheelchair. Yet small buds of faith had begun to sprout deep in his soul. The lifelong avowed atheist responded to the ALS diagnosis with the words, "The Lord Jesus is going to heal me!"—a surprising declaration from a man who did not yet know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.
Living in a peaceful rural area far from health care service providers, Debra had no assistance with his daily care and could not lift him from his wheelchair onto their bed at night to sleep. Consequently, Myers spent most nights in his wheelchair, which exacerbated his chronic back pain, initiated by an injury suffered during his military service.
One day when Debra had gone to town to run errands, Myers decided he was done with the endless pain, suffering and hopelessness. He wheeled himself to the end of their dirt driveway and into the path of oncoming traffic on the county highway.
"I guess no one was having a bad day that day," Myers says of his unsuccessful attempt to end his life. Physically and emotionally spent, he rolled back up the driveway and into the house, where he turned on the television and landed on a Christian ministry broadcast.
During the TV pastor's message, Myers suddenly found himself so moved and overwhelmed by emotions that he leaned forward to fall onto the floor. At that moment, all the years of pent-up frustration and anger and exhaustion let loose as a dam breaking, the past hurts flooding out of him. When the invitation came at the end of the sermon, he didn't hesitate to respond, shouting across the living room, "Dude! I accept Ya!"
A few weeks later, Myers was baptized at the church he'd attended a few times before. Four men lifted him in his wheelchair into the baptistry.
In the span of a few months, God had begun to turn Myers' life around. He was now married to a Proverbs 31 daughter of God. He was saved through Christ, his newfound Lord. And he had been baptized into the family of God.
One final challenge remained: his worsening health, which was becoming a crisis. But for the first time in his life, Myers could press into hope and faith, believing for breakthrough.
Myers' physical condition continued to decline. By early 2012, he could barely speak and had little muscle mass left. His digestive system had effectively shut down, and he was unable to eat or drink anything. All but paralyzed, he was trapped in his wheelchair.
"That was the Lord sustaining me," he says of the first half of that year.
On the afternoon of the Fourth of July, Myers had a clear vision of Jesus going to His cross, as if it were a hologram. The specific use of the cat-o'-nine-tails to scourge the Savior on the way to His crucifixion captured his attention.
"I was thinking about how Jesus was whipped, and it was horrific even for a veteran like me," Myers says. "And I realized that Jesus suffered much worse than anything I was dealing with." As he concentrated on the image in his mind, "There was such love in Jesus' eyes while He was hanging on the cross," he says.
When the clock on the wall ticked over to 1:45 that afternoon, a wave of peace washed over him.
"I had never felt such love and peace like that before," Myers recalls. "It was liquid gold." God's healing power flooded his being, "and I had a feast on it," he says. Moment by moment, he felt the terrible back pains he'd carried since his military service—and which multiplied over the years in his wheelchair—dissolve and disappear. The fingers on both hands, which had been frozen, claw-like, over the past few years, slowly opened, restored to their healthy, normal shape. He believed he should try to rise from his wheelchair and stand for the first time in years.
"If the Lord is willing, I'll come back," he told Debra as he attempted to stand from his wheelchair in their bedroom and walk out into the living room.
"Legs, move!" Myers spoke in faith and proceeded to stand up from his wheelchair and walk, striding into the living room and then back to his wife. They hugged and celebrated, praising God for his wonder-working power before attending the evening worship service at their church. Some of their friends at church were so happy for them they insisted on a celebratory dinner at a nearby Cracker Barrel.
"I was actually hungry!" Myers recalls triumphantly. "It was the first time in a few years I actually felt that 'hunger pains' sensation in my stomach," he says. One of the friends at dinner that evening was a nurse, who further confirmed the miraculous healing and deliverance. After eating so little for so long, the first bite of supper at the restaurant should have sent him into shock, she told Myers. Instead they all enjoyed a glorious feast celebrating God's faithfulness.
"Wednesday, July 4, 2012, was my personal Independence Day," Myers says. "And it shows how the Lord was sustaining me," he says. Despite his worsening health, he remained hopeful, trusting God for His perfect plans. "Just because you can't see anything yet does not mean the miracle is not there," he says.
Myers was eager to share the blessing and the message of his deliverance and healing. A terminal ALS patient still suffering PTSD from his military service, he was now free, healthy and hungry to share the healing God had given him. He founded Outside the 4 Walls Ministry, which is "dedicated to training and encouraging believers to walk in the fullness of their inheritance as children of God in their daily lives. ... to teach believers to walk in the supernatural power of God in constant communion and reliance on the Holy Spirit," according to the Outside the 4 Walls website, tonybelieves.com.
"I want people to see themselves healed," he says. "God and Jesus love us so much and want a better life for all of us."
In the interest of growing his ministry, Myers became a Charisma Podcast Network partner in the summer of 2021, where he serves through his show, Pushing Boundaries. Although he didn't think he could afford such a new venture, a friend called the same afternoon he was considering the podcast and offered to sponsor him right away. He cites the seminar teaching of Charisma Media's Dr. Steve Greene as one of the key selling points that persuaded him to join the network.
"The Holy Spirit showed me how much the Charisma Podcast Network could help this ministry grow," he says.
Myers also recently completed a video interview about his ministry, his five books currently in print and the three new books he's working on. Outside the 4 Walls Ministry is also pursuing a movie project based on the five books he has published since his deliverance. Myers welcomes donations and participation at the ministry website.
Lawrence Tate is a freelance writer.
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