Four years ago yesterday I went on my first date with the woman who would become my wife. I figured it was safe to make our first date Valentines Day - it would keep me from having to buy multiple gifts, and would ensure that I never forgot the occasion. I was pretty sure I was going to marry Kari before our first date, so I needed to have my ducks in a row. The flowers, candy, dinner, and a movie that night turned into a pretty great investment.

I was pretty sure that Kari married me for my stunning good looks and charming personality until a year ago today. A year ago today, I was sitting in the ER of Baylor Medical Center Plano thinking I had suffered a stroke.

I'd been battling what I thought was an awful inner-ear infection that had completely immobilized me and confined me to life on the couch in constant excruciating pain. Needless to say, the charming personality went out the window. I wasn't a bad patient necessarily, but I'm sure I wasn't a lot of fun to be around. At least I still had the stunning good looks...

I laid on the couch for several days, only getting up to use the bathroom or to allow Kari to help me to the car for a doctors appointment. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with my ear, or why it wasn't responding to medication.

A year ago today, as I laid on the couch in excruciating pain, I felt a weird sensation go through the right side of my face. I struggled to the mirror to find that the entire right side of my face was paralyzed. The stunning good looks had dissolved into a person who appeared to have been made of candle wax that was placed too close to the furnace.

We rushed to the emergency room, a year ago today, fearing a stroke or brain tumor. Instead, after being referred to an ENT, I was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome - shingles on the inside of my ear that had killed the nerve in my face that regulated all movement. I couldn't blink my eye, drink from a straw, or say the letter "P."

The doctor said if the nerve was damaged more than 90 percent, I would need brain surgery to regain any muscle movement. Tests came back at 88 percent. The good news was, no brain surgery. The bad news was, I was in pretty bad shape and the prognosis for ever smiling again wasn't good.

The wife who married me for my stunning good looks and charming personality stood by me when I had neither. She smiled for me when I couldn't, told me my melted face looked "cute" when I knew the truth, and never let on that she was as scared as I was.

I'm thankful for a faithful God and a faithful wife.

In the months since the diagnosis, God has amazed the doctor with my progress. We prayed that God would do something miraculous, and the doctor says He has. I've now got about 85 percent of my smile back - you would only notice the difference if you looked hard for it. My hearing is back to normal, my eye shuts on its own, and I can wink again at the wife who loved me through the whole ordeal.

This morning I visited with an older friend of mine who will be going in tomorrow for his first doctors visit following surgery for prostate cancer. He's experiencing many of the same anxieties and insecurities I felt following my own struggles. And here's what I told him:

If I could turn back the clock to February 14th, 2006, and do something that would prevent me from coming down with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, I wouldn't do it. Because today, February 15th, 2007, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we serve a faithful God who is with us even in our circumstances, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I married a faithful woman who didn't just marry me for my stunning good looks and charming personality (although, I might add, I've regained both).

Sometimes in our frailty and suffering, God reveals more of His goodness to us than we might have ever known otherwise.