Praise the Lord!

Connecting Points

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today’s Topic:  Praise Him

Today’s Text:  Isaiah 25:1  O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name

For the last 8 days I have been caring for my dad following surgery and a major flair-up of his arthritis in his knees. For the last 7 days he has been immobile, unable to walk or rise to a standing position on his own. He needed to be lifted so he could move from one place to another. What a privilege it has been to be able to help him, first in his home and then for the last 5 days in mine.

During this time I have had to listen and watch – and I might add suffer – as God dissected my heart. I was so unaware of my selfishness. I was so blinded to the way I had built a life of comfort for myself. I was so distressed to discover that I had been in control of what I did and when I did it. God used my dad’s physical needs to humble me, and boy did I need humbling.

On Tuesday I surrendered myself to the realization that at any time God should be able to interrupt me and invite me into His work and I will accept His invitation. There can be nothing in this life that is so important that it causes me pain to surrender it for the sake of the King. There can be no possession so precious that I grieve over its loss. There must be no activity or pursuit so significant that the thought of not be able to do it causes me to even think about shedding a tear. I must and I will be able to say with the Apostle Paul that I consider all things rubbish compared to the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Last night, as I prepared my dad for bed, we both noticed that his feet smelled. We laughed about it, but it was bad. His special elastic support socks he wears to prevent swelling and cellulitis had not been changed for a week. So as he sat in his wheelchair I carefully removed his socks. Then in a warm basin of water and gentle soap, I washed my dad’s feet and legs. As he sat there he simply said, “You are doing a very Biblical thing, just like Jesus.”  At that moment there were no thoughts of anything else I could have been doing. I was doing the work God had prepared for me to do, and I was doing it with a heart that He had also prepared.

This morning, dad woke up early. When I walked into the room there was a gleam in his eyes and a smile on his face. As I pulled back the blankets, he lifted his legs. He rolled to a sitting position all by himself. When I put the walker in front of him he grabbed it and stood up. He took a few steps to the center of the room and stood there the whole time I helped him get dressed. Then with his walker he walked all the way to the living room and got into his lift chair unassisted.

When I arrived at my office this morning my devotional Bible was opened to these words in Isaiah 25 –

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago…You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Keep praying for my dad…and for me…but it appears that he is healing us both.

Pastor John

3 thoughts on “Praise the Lord!

  1. Powerful stuff, Pastor John. I think we don’t always realize it, but “the excellency” of knowing Christ our Lord is sometimes found (as your story shows so well) in our imitation of his humility and getting ourselves dirty for the sake of others. Have you read the story of Henri Nouwen, who spent the last 10 years of his life taking care of mentally ill and challenged people?

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  2. I also had a similar experience in 2007 when my father underwent surgery on 2 knees. What a priviledge to serve those who once served us! Thank you for sharing..I have you on my FB newsfeed, as your words are worth reading..I love having Christian family to share with…not just genetically, but in the Spirit. May God bless your ministrations..

    cousin Leslie

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  3. PJ –
    Thank you for teaching us about submission and what is truly important. Most of all, thank you for teaching by example and from your heart. Wonderful news to hear Pastor Paul is getting stronger – we will continue to pray — for both of you!
    Rick and Rhonda

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