Monday, November 19, 2012
Today’s Topic: Be Thankful For It
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:67-68 (ESV) 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
We arrived at the hospital yesterday at 1:45 PM and were met in the hallway as we got off the elevator by Tim’s sister and her husband and son. After hugs and greetings, they showed us to the waiting room where the rest of the family was gathered. There were many tears as we greeted each member of our family and then were introduced to the members of Barb’s family.
Barb is my cousin Tim’s wife who had undergone heart valve replacement surgery just four days earlier. She wasn’t going to survive, and the family had come together to say goodbye to this 59-year old servant of Jesus Christ. The reports from the doctors were that she had less than a few hours to live. She was being kept alive by a heart/lung machine and respirator.
For the next ninety minutes additional family members arrived and we listened and shared as we all tried to comfort one another. Then, following a time of devotions and prayer in the waiting room, the nurse came in and said they were ready in the Cardiac Critical Care room where Barb was. The family filed down the hallway and into the room, circling the bed. I asked the nurse for time for the family to say goodbye. After some powerful prayers of thanksgiving – that’s right, thanksgiving – for the grace of God, the faithfulness of Barb’s life, and the certain hope of glory for all who trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, we sang a song…
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns
Then it was time. One by one all of the medications were shut off, followed by the heart/lung machine, and finally the respirator. Eight minutes later the heart monitor read zero, and Barb was in the presence of her Savior Jesus Christ. No more suffering, no more pain, and never any experience on her part of death, for Christ has conquered death for all who believe and it had no power over her.
The afflictions of this life are God’s powerful invitation into deeper intimacy with Himself. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. This one thing I know now more than ever – I can count it all joy when I meet trials of various kinds, for I know that the testing of my faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3)
God is good, and always does good, so I can truly thank Him in all things at all times.