A convicting testimony of two Senior Saints who knew the power of intercessory prayer.
Being a Registered Nurse has it’s advantages, one of which is the ability to understand what the Physician is talking about when you are in need of his intervention. Many friends have turned to me over the years for assistance in deciphering what they have been told at the Doctor’s office. This has been a ministry of sorts and I would like to believe that I have alleviated some of the apprehension associated with their illness. My skills have enabled me the pleasure of caring for my Dad and my Stepmother as they battled the torments of cancer. There developed a bond during those months of palliative care that have given much comfort as I reflect on those days. After retiring, my stethoscope sorta got hung on the back of the closet door. Well, it seems that the Lord has given me the need to hang the stethoscope around my neck once more.
The death of a parent can be most devastating especially is there was a close bond. My friend had a special close relationship with his Mom and even wrote an article commemorating her passing. (http://jpfinn7,wordpress.com ) Since I was a survivor of an abusive childhood, I did not share this type of deep emotional attachment to my parents. As a young mother though, I often broke into tears over the thought of losing a child. A dear sweet Aunt lost two of her sons, three years apart at Easter time; one of cancer (age 17), one from injuries sustained in a car wreck (had been home from Nam two weeks) It aged her tremendously. And the Lord God said, Diann, it is your turn!
Recently, my sweet firstborn granddaughter developed some black irregular growths on her left foot and her back. She is preliminarily diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. As she begins this year she will turn 16 on January 3rd. The potential challenges which she could face are extremely difficult for an adult let alone a young lass in her prime years of youth.
The process of her treatment began with the successful removal of the tumor on her foot. The Podiatrist was pleased that he was able to remove all of the affected tissue. On the 8th of January she will be examined by a Dermatologist specializing in melanoma’s and an Endrochronologist to assess the tumors on her thyroid. Although this Clinic is noted for its aggressive treatment of cancers, her Mom has wisely decided to seek confirmation of any adverse diagnosis via a second opinion.
Our family is holding these truths to be divinely evident; 1 – That God is in control and he knows all about this trial of our faith; 2 – Our Heavenly Father is the Great Physician and should the final diagnosis confirm the presence of metastatic melanona he is still in the business of miraculous healing, and 3 – the promise of Romans 8:28 is still in the Living Word of God, and the Lord is allowing this difficult time in her life to show forth his glory and honor.
It is not unusual in clinical settings to discover that in the process of treating one disease, other ailments rear their unsightly head. The Physician is then bound by his promise within the Hippocratic Oath to render appropriate treatment. In my granddaughters case the Great Physician has already began to heal ‘spiritual’ ailments within her and also in our immediate family. In allowing this trial in her life, the Lord is not only using this as an opportunity to deal with malignant tumors of sin in the lives of others, but also as a catalyst in helping us to draw nigh unto Him.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that I needed to keep short accounts with God in order that my prayers for my granddaughter would not be hindered. As I diligently bring her before the Throne of Grace I am pleading with the Holy Spirit to reveal to me those sins which the tempter has caused me to conveniently forget. In doing so, I was given the opportunity to make things right with a Sister-in-Christ that I had offended years ago. It will be most important that the Holy Spirit has free reign within my heart!
For those of my Blog family that know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, I covet your prayers as Tori and our family begin this New Year with challenges from God. May we face them with His strength and grace as our mantle.
Even in today’s realm of Christian folk one is aware of young married ladies who have not been able to conceive. It can be an emotional turmoil that can disrupt a less than stable marriage. Acquaintances of mine have been blessed by being able to adopt an infant thereby fulfilling that need to have a family. In Bible times the society norms were such that a barren woman was often scorned and looked down on for not being blessed with a child. such is the case with Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. unfortunately for Hannah, she received a double dose of peer pressure if you will, in that she shared her husband with another woman, who was a fertile Myrtle and bore Elkanah many children. Peninnah, was harsh and provoked Hannah grievously. Peninnah had such contempt for her rival that whenever Elkanah comforted Hannah she would set out to taunt and ridicule Hannah, thus attempting to rob her of any relief from her grief. It was evident that Peninnah was aware that she was not the favored wife, because of all of the extra gifts which Elkanah gave Hannah.
We glean from scripture in 1 Samuel 1, that Hannah was deeply loved by her husband. Elkanah was very much aware of Hannah’s emotional pain related to her barrenness. He did try to comfort her by asking her is he was not better than 10 sons to her. The desire for a child was so intense that it consumed Hannah day and night. However, in all of her sadness and distraught of not being able to bear children, Hannah did not lose sight of her God. She is a beautiful example of how the most unpleasant circumstances can produce a Godly character. It was not easy living all of those years with a nasty woman like Peninnah, but Hannah retained her serenity of soul and was a rose among the thorns.
Her name meant graciousness and favor, yet she lived a life full of difficulty, emotional pain, suffering and sacrifice. God chose to use some dark threads when he wove the rich tapestry of her life, She had to share her husband with another woman; she had no children; and she was harassed by her husbands other wife. Hannah had marital problems, she was denied motherhood. Provocation, cruelty and ridicule were part of her everyday life. Bitterness of soul and anguish of heart clouded her spirit. Her soul may have been dark, but her faith was radiant as she knelt down and poured out her distress and disappointment to God.
Being the devout woman who she most likely did not complain her heart to her husband about the relentless aggravation that she suffered from his other wife. Scripture does tell us that she did pour her heart out to God. She knew that her Heavenly Father would listen as she knelt down in worship. Hannah went to God for wisdom in dealing with the daily difficulties in her life. When she worshipped God it was a personal matter of her heart leaving her open to the love of God and ergo wanting to submit to his will.
Hannah’s afflictions were so grievous that her tears flowed freely. In verse 7 we are told that she wept and did not eat. Her heartfelt prayers were so intense that her voice could barely be heard. In fact. Eli, the Priest thought that she was drunk. However, once he learned of her maternal desire for a child, he then blessed her with the assurance that she would have her prayer answered. And, indeed she did! God opened her womb and she bare a son, Samuel.
What takes place next boggles the mind of even the most spiritual of earthly mothers. Hannah gave her beloved, earnestly sought for son back to the Lord. Friends we are not just talking about going to the church altar and dedicating our child to he Lord. Hannah literally gave her beloved son to minister for the Lord in the temple with Eli, the priest. Once a year she would visit her son, each tmie bringing him a coat that she had made for him. What sacrifice, what devotion.
We see a similar scenario within the Hallowed Writ in the love which our heavenly Father bestowed upon us when he sent he beloved Son into the World to die on the Cross of Calvary for our sins. Such love, such devotion. How can we escape if neglect so great salvation which has been provided for us? We absolutely cannot.
As much as he loved the mission field, Paul was looking forward to sharing the blessings that God had wrought in the ministry over that past four years. It would be a physically tiring year with all of the traveling especially since he and his wife were getting older. They were eager to see their children and grandchildren. In all the preparation and planning, neither were prepared for the life changing events that would take place in the coming months. However, God was in control, and He promised never to leave us or forsake us.
Paul wasn’t sure whether he did not hear his daughter correctly or whether he refused to believe what she was telling him. He had said goodby to his dear wife yesterday morning as he headed out to visit supporting Churches in the nearby cities. Much to her delight, he suggested that she remain home to spend more time with the family. And now, now he was being told that she had a massive stroke and was in the Intensive Care Unit at the Local Hospital. After making his apologies he headed home, praying for a miracle that God would spare his beloved co-laborer in the Lord. Hours passed into days, and there was no evidence that God was going to perform a miracle. It was decided to lay a fleece before the Lord. If no brain activity was apparent by the time their son arrived in the states, then they would remove the life support an let her go home to be with the Lord.
The support and love that Paul and his family received from the Brethren was a soothing balm to their wounded hearts. Cards and condolences from all over the United States and the mission field came pouring in. It would indeed be difficult to respond to every one, but they would make the effort to do so. Then came the second phone call.
The Mission Board had requested to have a meeting with Paul. He was ready to get back to the business of visiting his supporting churches and was somewhat disappointed that he had to cancel some meetings in oder to meet with the Board. Once again, Paul was in the situation that he was not sure he was hearing what he was being told or just refused to believe what they were telling him. Apparently the Mission Board felt that the would be a problem of him serving in his current ministry as a single man. Paul was devastated. What was he to do? Was God not wanting him to be a Missionary any more? So many thoughts pelted his mind. An intense struggle welled up inside of him as he tried to make sense of the changes in his life recently; losing his beloved wife and now, being told he can no longer be a Missionary. What to do? What to do?
There was only one thing Paul could; so he got alone with the Lord for several days, poured out his heart to his Savior and pleaded for wisdom and guidance. He knew that if he was to remain a Missionary that he would need to find a wife! His prayer was that if the Lord wanted him to continue in his present mission work that He would provide a wife for him.
Paul shared his desire with the Mission Board and they agreed to allow him to finish visiting the supporting churches. It was understood that if at the end of the year the Lord had not provided him with a wife, that he would tender his resignation.
The months were going too quickly and Paul was beginning to have anxious thoughts. He needed to submit to the fact that perhaps the Lord was closing the door on his missionary work. There were but three more churches to visit before reporting back to the Mission Board. He was finally able to say with all honesty, “Not my will, Lord, but Thine”.
At his next meeting he had decided to share his testimony concerning returning to the mission field. The evening before he had dinner with the Pastor and some folk from the Church. It was a delicious meal, especiallyl the desert, which was prepared by Lydia, a widow from the church. It just happened to be Paul’s favorite.
The next morning during the service, Paul shared the entire story of his pleading with the Lord in regards to his continuation in the ministry. It was a stirring message, one that brought one young man to his knees in surrendering to the Mission call. Afterward, Paul greeted the brethren at a luncheon, prepared in his honor. The fellowship was great and Paul felt in no hurry to leave. He enjoyed talking with the young man who had surrender to the Mission call. When he finally decided to leave he was approached by Lydia whom he recognized from the night before. After sharing with her that the desert she made was his favorite she replied by saying, “I have another surprise for you” I am willing to help you return to the mission field.
Paul and Lydia have been serving the Lord on the Mission field for over ten years. Their love for the Lord and for the people has borne a love between them that only God can create.