I thank God for my life. He has answered so many prayers during this present health crisis, not the least of which was to open a space for me to get into the best Surgical Rehab facility in Athens. I’m writing this at 7:30am on day 15 in the hospital. I have had a heart attack at St. Mary’s, another at Athens Regional and now I’m back at St. Mary’s in rehab. (One of my grandson’s asked his parents if Papa had a drinking problem since I am in rehab)
Before this crisis there have been others – and not all have been physical. God has been very patient with me over the years but He has kept me strong through all my faith struggles – and I struggle a lot. He has provided not only His Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the church as lifelines to cling to in hard times but also significant people to be with me in the trenches. The most significant person is my wife. Other than my salvation the most gracious act of God in my life was to lead me to Sheila June Sewell and to open her heart to marry me 42 years ago. (Honey, I’m sorry that I’ll be in the hospital over our 42nd anniversary but I’m just grateful to be alive and for every additional minute I get to spend with you.)
I thank God for all these things I remember, but I wonder how much of what He has done I actually remember or was ever aware of. Thanking God for what I see is easy, but what about what I don’t see?
I was a willful child who became a willful adult. So naturally I prefer to follow my own lead, I know better and have learned to overcome my willfulness and submit my will to my heavenly Father. But when I go my own way I find well-disguised traps I happily and willfully walk right into without a second thought. I hate to admit it but I am often tempted to think I can handle every situation that arises. One of the many truths I’m learning from nearly dying (again, but that is for another day) is that I can’t handle any of them on my own. All of life needs to be submitted to Jesus if we want to live abundantly.
When I submit my will to my Father and follow His lead, He keeps me from walking into some of those traps. Sometimes He pushes me to the side of the trap quietly. God’s modus operandi is to work behind the scenes so we learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Sometimes He lets me walk into the trap but He has already provided a way out, if I’m willing to take it. This is God’s scarry way of doing strength training.
Psalm 91:14-16 says “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
My love for God is so weak that I know that His promise of rescue and protection come into play not because of me but because of Him. Please keep praying for me and my family that we will cling to God’s promise of long life, satisfaction (contentment), and knowing His salvation.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”