In need of an Emergency Response

I spent last night in the Emergency Room. It started out with me writhing in pain, indescribable pain in my back and groin, my whole body shaking uncontrollably, fits of nausea – the pain was so intense that I couldn’t talk,  only groan and cry out. I couldn’t even open my eyes and see what was happening around me as the ocean of pain remained at my neck and the waves carried well above my threshold of control.

I cried out to God in my mind,  because my words, my very tongue failed me in the midst of the stripes of pain that ripped through my torso as if my very insides were being torn apart. I clung to my Bible, my faithful sword that remains by my side day in and day out,  and I cried out for mercy,  for the pain to be less, for us to be in the hands of the doctors miraculously faster as mom drove the Interstate to Pelham ER.

Now I must point out, even though Spartanburg Regional ER is just down the street from our house, my mom suggested we make the drive to Pelham instead. I am continually learning the value of listening to wise council, so I took her lead on this and we were off.

As I fought the pain, I opened the sunroof so that I could “lift my eyes to heaven” (my study this week). The pain was so bad that I was beginning to lose feeling in my extremities,  and I was wretching and convulsing. I had given up any hope of masking my pain from my heartbroken mother as she hurriedly rushed me to the place she knew was best to help me with my physical pain. She was downy in getting me the help that I needed so desperately. Praise God for the work He does through the hands of my loving mother.

But as she was traveling with me along the interstate,  the Lord was traveling with me along a path as well – and He was most concerned with bringing me closer to Him spiritually through this experience. His eyes were set upon the glorious spiritual healing and gifts eternal that He had in store for me in the midst of this fiery trial.

His ways are very different from mine,  and on that Interstate, He took us past the cross.

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:5 NLT
http://bible.com/116/isa.53.5.NLT

I do not even feel right quoting 1 Peter 4:13 or 2 Corinthians 1:5 here,  even though it applies so well, because even my writhing pain was NOTHING IN COMPARISON to what He endured for me on the cross. As I cried out to Him,  I was humbled as each stripe of pain wracked my body and reminded me of His torture,  of what was meant for His shame because of the hardened hearts and short sighted plans of men – but the cross was the road to victory eternal at the right hand of God the Father. This was the road that we traveled together this night.

Yes,  He used the kidney stones,  the pain,  to bring me to the heartbreak and victory of the cross fresh and new on that Interstate as we rushed towards the physical healing that my body cried out for. But the call of my heart,  the cries of my soul was greater, and He brought me first the closeness of His spiritual touch upon my heart, giving me peace even as I cried out in the pain. He reminded me over and over again of the cross, and He proved himself Faithful and True yet again.

As the night’s events progressed,  His miraculous nature continued to reveal itself,  not in a magic show put on to dazzle a crowd – and not in signs and wonders as He bent the fabric of time and space itself in a visible and recognizable exercise of His power for the one He calls his own. But nevertheless,  His amazing hand revealed itself in the answer to my prayers. We arrived at the ER and I could barely function because of the pain. Within 3 minutes,  they had me headed to a room. Within 5-10 minutes,  they had the IV in and were starting the physical healing.

And as the clouds of pain rolled back, and as I could see clearly again,  as I could once again think clearly and loosen my death grip upon my Bible – I found myself afraid to move. I didn’t know whether it was the medicine, or if I had passed the kidney stone, or if I was just getting a respite from the pain so that I could once again take whole breaths. But I knew to remain still in this wonderful taste of relief that had curbed the pain so quickly.

I was amazed. We had driven to Pelham instead of to the hospital right near our house,  and with as many times as I visit the hospitals to pray in their chapels and to sit and pray in the emergency rooms for the families being impacted by the pain and sufferings in this life – I know the time that it takes to get processed and into an emergency room.

Yes,  the scoffers will say,  but they expedite people in pain,  you’re making something out of nothing. But I’ve been in real pain at the ER before, and they don’t just hand out pain meds willy nilly to everyone claiming pain – ask any addict that has tried to score pain meds from an ER.

Yes,  He answered my prayers. And He did it in His time and His way,  and it was amazing and glorious. I got to praise Him all night with my mom by my side and with grateful praise to everyone in that facility. And not preaching to them about God – and not by making them uncomfortable trying to win a “convert” over to the “Christian religion”. But they saw my gratefulness for their service. They heard us listening to praise songs and thankful even when the CT scan was delayed. They saw us focusing on the positive and glorious and wonderfully blessed life that God has handed us – these peculiar Christians who praised God and honored them,  and who loved them and appreciated everything they had done for us – even as I clung to that Bible like it was a valuable treasure that I had just found buried in a field.

I don’t know if any of last night’s events will testify to the glory of God in the eyes of those in that ER, and that was so far from my mind at that moment. In fact, if it had been in my mind,  it might not have rang genuine and true and may have smelled like just another religious hypocrite. But the sweet aroma of the presence of the Lord was with us last night on that Interstate and in that ER – even if no one else caught a glimpse or a whiff of His touch upon our lives – even if He didn’t make a huge show of parting the red seas in a miraculous and undeniable way to the eyes of men – He really did do it in a way that His children could see and recognize.

Praise God for His amazing ways.
Praise God for His mercy and His faithfulness.

He is – truly,  truly,  truly,  I tell you – worthy of all praise.

Secrets, Dark Secrets

Secrets. Dark secrets. How many of us have things in our past that we have done that might shock others if they knew? How many of us would be embarrassed if others knew our darkest thoughts?

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.  For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
Luke 8:16-17 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.8.16-17.NLT

Continue reading “Secrets, Dark Secrets”

Flowing? Stopped up? Polluted?

image

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Luke 6:45 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.6.45.NLT

Do you have a heart touched by Christ and made new?

Do you have His love alive in your heart?

Are you bearing fruit?

Continue reading “Flowing? Stopped up? Polluted?”

Long term strategy

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Luke 5:16 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.5.16.NLT

When was the last time that I withdrew from the world? Not just rising up early to pray before the distractions of the day arrive,  but truly withdrawing from the world,  going out into the wilderness to spend a day alone with the Lord.

Yes,  I like doing this occasionally – a retreat from the world. And many times it is just me going out by myself, and other times it is with friends – but the focus is to step away from the hustle and bustle of the world and get things back into an eternal perspective,  back into a Kingdom mindset.

Am I focused on the little things,  worrying about the details that really don’t matter in the end? Or am I resting upon the one thing that does matter eternally,  my relationship with God – lived out as my faith,  my discipleship, my example to others of not being a stumbling block.

Sometimes a strategic retreat is necessary for the battle to be won. Sometimes we must lure the enemy into the valley,  into the wilderness with us, so that the enemies of God can be struck down mightily by the hand of God, not just fought by the sword.

The valley of death is not for our end and destruction when we walk through it,  for we are eternal children of the Most High. He walks the valley with us and leads us through to the green pastures and living waters on the other side,  friend. Don’t fear the valley,  don’t fear the trials – His blessings are on the other side,  friends. And those eternal blessings far outshine even our wildest imagination.

Is it time for a strategic retreat from the world? Is it time to lay down the distractions and temptations and pleasures and comforts of this world and step out into the wilderness,  trusting only in the Lord and seeking Him more earnestly?

Turn to God

http://bible.com/116/isa.55.6-7.nlt
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously.

Seek God
Are we seeking and finding the Lord daily? Or have we given up and denied Him? Or do we pridefully think that we’ve found Him and don’t need to seek any longer?

Continue reading “Turn to God”