Getting Out of God's Way
Once we have felt the very presence of the LORD in our midst, it becomes so much easier to, by faith, trust in His will for our life. This is just what happened to our family. Jesus turned an apparent tragedy into the fulfillment of his promise. Unconditional obedience to God's known will for our life is mandatory, if we expect to see God's power work in answering our supplications.
My husband, J. W., called me to meet him at the trucking company where he was employed as an over- the-road truck driver. When I got there he insisted on driving himself to the Veterans Hospital. I knew something was wrong, but he would not tell me what it was until we were on our way to the hospital. He was on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia when he started experiencing sharp chest pains and difficulty breathing.
After a few hours of waiting and examinations, we were told that he had Spontaneous Pneumothorax. His left lung had collapsed again. In 1971, while he was in the Army, his lung had collapsed, but they could never find out the cause. Since he had been stationed in Vietnam, we suspected exposure to Agent Orange. That could never be proven to the V.A.'s satisfaction.
The doctors said when he was admitted to the hospital that he could have passed out at any point along the way wiping out anything in his path. None of them could understand how he drove that far in so much pain. Someone was watching out for us and all the other motorists that day.
I had never driven in a large city in heavy traffic. The Veteran's hospital was about twenty-five miles from where we live. I would drive to see him each day and leave early, so I would not have to drive in the dark on the way home. Each night I would listen to Charles Stanley preach on adversity as I drove the unfamiliar roads toward home. Each night he spoke the words I needed for the events of the next day.
At home were our three children who had never been left alone. Our oldest daughter Elizabeth, 16, was old enough now to watch Kim, 13, and Mike, 9, until I returned home. Still I was concerned at having to be away from them. With only one income, money was becoming scarce and we had no idea how long things would be this way. I should never have worried. When our church family heard of our plight, our needs were supplied. We did not have to ask, they gave as they were led by the Holy Spirit.
The doctor selected a day to operate on my husband. J. W.'s doctor said that they must inject an acid solution on the outside of his lung. After they inflated his lung and the outside healed, the lung would be permanently attached to his chest wall. Without the operation there was a 95% chance that his lung would collapse again. With the operation there was only a 5% chance of it collapsing again.
As I packed some of his clothes that next morning, I finally broke down and cried. I prayed that the Lord would bless J.W. and make him better. I could not stand the thought of him being in so much pain. We loved him and we needed him so badly to be well again.
My husband and I had been out of church for eight years, when I started back with the children three years earlier. At this time we had several churches praying for my husband's spiritual condition. I phoned my pastor and asked him to help me pray for my husband. I was confused when he asked me what I prayed when I prayed. I told him that I was praying for him to get better, of course. I did not understand when he told me that I was praying wrong. My pastor was reminding me that I needed to pray that the Lord's will be done, even if it meant that J. W. died. I just could not do that. At that time it felt like I would be wishing him to be dead.
Our pastor and his wife, members of both of our families, friends, and our church family visited off and on for most of the day to make sure that we were not alone. When it seemed to be too late to start a procedure that night, everyone left, except me.
Just as soon as they were gone, in came the doctor and some residents to perform the operation. After being instructed by the doctor, the residents attached J. W. to a machine. Then the unthinkable happened. They had attached the machine backwards. When the doctor returned, he said that my husband was in critical condition and could die. J.W. was in so much pain that he kept pushing me away. Nothing the doctor did was bringing any relief. J. W. was in serious trouble and I felt totally useless. I was just in their way. It finally got to the point that I could not watch anymore.
I left the room and stood out in the hall all alone, scared, and in tears. The man I had loved all my life was in horrible pain and might die. At that moment I turned my husband over to the Lord. As I stood in the dark stairwell looking through that window into heaven, still not fully understanding, I prayed in faith that the Lord's will be done. Only God knew what it would take to bring J. W. back to Him.
Immediately a warm calmness engulfed me. There was a loving presence close beside me as He placed His arm around my shoulders. All my cares and burdens were lifted away. At that moment I understood. Just as I felt my husband's pain, Jesus feels what we were feeling. His Father had felt Jesus' pain as He watched His only begotten Son hanging on the cross because of our sins. We are healed by his stripes. Now Jesus stands making intercession to the Father for us.
When I was praying for God to heal J. W., I was hindering God's plan for his life. When I prayed in obedience to God's will for our life, the blessings began to flow and earthly conditions changed, immediately. I had to take myself out of the way, so God would work with no interference.
Now I was free to go back into that hospital room. J.W. looked up at me and smiled. He was not refusing my help anymore. As I held his hand and put a cool cloth to his head, I knew that everything would be alright and was totally assured that we are never alone.
At the beginning of the very next year, J. W. rededicated his life to the Lord. My whole family was seated together in God's house. Although we cannot see how, even when our worst fears are realized, we must remember that God's will is always what is best for us.
Shirley Anne Cox firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.