Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - The Miracle of an Illness

During the past two weeks, I have been in the hospital. I had so many people enter my room. Doctors, nurses, nurse technicians, lab technicians, housekeepers, food service and so many others came to visit me on a regular basis. Each brought more than just a task to perform. Each of them gave me a part of a miracle.

As I think about it, the experience reminded me of an anthill. All the ants scurrying around with their task. All working together to do what was necessary. In my case, the healthcare team raced to save my life. I am indeed fortunate to have received their gift of a miracle.

Now I am in recovery, but that does not stop me from ministering to the needs of others. I have seen other people in the unit that I was in struggling for their lives. Each dealing with pain, loneliness and depression. Some asking the same questions I did, "Why me?"

That is a classic question for all of us. When something goes wrong, we all ask that one question, "Why me?" The one thing I learned is that sometimes we have to rephrase the question and look at it from a different angle. I have been in prayer and asking God to reveal the bigger picture to me. My question is, "What is my purpose in the Kingdom, Lord? What is it that You want me to do?"

Early this morning, I finally was able to change the question to something different and it profoundly impacted my heart and spirit. I asked, "Why not me?" God does everything for a reason and all things are in accordance to His will and His plan for our lives. I was reading in 1 Samuel 3 about the calling of Samuel by the Lord. The Lord called Samuel repeatedly and he thought it was the priest, Eli, calling him. Eli, each time, told Samuel that he didn't call him. After several times of this, Eli discerned that it was the Lord and instructed Samuel on how to respond when the call came again. Instead of jumping and running into Eli's room, Samuel responded, "Speak, LORD, your servant is listening."

That is the lesson that I learned while I was in the hospital. No matter what happens, the Lord will use my illness and all of the other things I face for His greater glory and will use me as the instrument to serve His children. By going through this, I have seen the love of people poured out on others. They have seen my love for them poured out as blessings on each of them. The nurses spending hours helping me and listening to me. This experience has had a deep and lasting effect on my life. 

In the past couple of days, I have had to face even more challenges. I will not go into the details of them, but I can tell you that we are experiencing financial problems. With the medical bills and other things, we are considering all of the options we have available to use. As a minister, I am not exempt from trials and troubles. No Christian is exempt. Sometimes, it seems we get more than our share of problems. But, the one thing I have to cling to is my faith in God and knowing that He loved me so much to send His son, Jesus, to die for my sins and to give me the gift of salvation. I am His child and He is my fortress and my refuge in a dark and weary land.

David, in Psalm 61, gives us his beautiful words that capture God and what He is able to do for us in times of trial and trouble. Starting with verse 2 and reading to verse 4 of the New Living Translation. Let these words soak into your soul. "2 From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, 3 for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. 4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!"

God is our sanctuary and grants us the peace and comfort we need when we face insurmountable problems. Do you have that peace and comfort? Do you worry all the time? I used to, but I realized that there is One who is greater than all the powers in the world. I serve a living, loving God who reigns from Heaven above and is my Father. 

As I close, I want you to read these words from Psalm 27:1 and let them minister to you. "The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?"

If you are afraid and tremble, I can tell you from my own experience that God is there for you. He sent His son for you so that you could have God as your light and salvation. You don't have to be afraid. With God there by your side, you can truly stand firm in His grace.

May God richly bless each of you!

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