Friday, June 28, 2019

Could Hollywood Compete With This Story?

Could Hollywood Compete With This Story?
The Church spent the day in fasting and prayer.  Lydia was fading quickly at her tender age.  Only 9 and the cancer was devouring her liver.  Anxiously we awaited a report.  Her Parents camped by her bedside, fearing the worst, but praying for healing.  “God can bring a Miracle,” her mom, Naomi said.

Years before Lydia was born the doctors said that Naomi herself wasn’t strong enough to bear a child.  In spite of their concern Naomi had indeed carried Lydia to full term.  Better yet Naomi was expecting her second child in two more months.  Now she would have a family of four.  But in the hospital Lydia’s health wasn’t improving and the doctor couldn’t do anymore.

Two weeks went by.  Then another.  Then sweet Lydia lost her battle.  As her frail lifeless body lay in front of her, Mom wept deeply.  She couldn’t stop.  Her anguish was shaking her whole body.  She groaned.  She was distraught. No one could comfort her.

The pain began.  She felt nauseous.  More pain.  Increasing pressure and discomfort.  A nurse called for the doctor to come quickly.  He said, “She’s having contractions we must rush her to maternity.”   Then Naomi passed out.

When she awakened she sleepily looked around the room.  It was a two-patient ward.  She called out for a nurse.  “What has happened?” she asked the nurse.  “You went into labor...and now you are recovering.”

“Well, where’s my baby?  I want to hold…” Then Naomi froze as she read the nurse’s tear-stained face.  “I’m so sorry Honey but your baby was... stillborn.”

At the Church we heard the devastating news.  Not only had Lydia passed away but Naomi’s second child didn’t survive.  I ached in my soul.  Crying filled the sanctuary.  Some doubted their faith.

One even said, “How could a loving God let this happen?”  But our Minister asked us to pray for Mom’s health.  “This is a jolt to her whole being.  I’m going to go see her now and pray with her.”

The Minister pondered what he should say to Mom.  He knew she would be horribly crushed.  Entering her ward he saw her lying there so pale.  So exhausted.  So feeble looking.

Gently he came to her side and held her hand as he prayed that the Lord would heal, not only her body, but her heart and soul also.

When he left she turned to the wall and silently wept.  The tears kept coming and she almost didn’t feel the hand on her shoulder.  She slowly turned and saw the other patient at her side.

Forever afterward she will never forget a single word: “Dear you can have my little baby...we’ve got a house full of children already.  You raise him as your own.”

A dozen years later Naomi brought her son to the church camp I managed.  When Naomi began to leave I watched her give him a big hug and kiss.  I couldn’t stop praising the Lord for this miracle that even Hollywood couldn’t have scripted.

“His kindness lasts for a lifetime.  Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning… You changed my sorrow into dancing. Y ou took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.  I will sing to you and not be silent. Lord, my God, I will praise you forever.”  Ps. 30:5b,11,12 (NCV)
As the poet wrote and Mercy Me movingly sings:

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

5 - 3 = 2 : God Is So Good

5 - 3 = 2 : God Is So Good

     Church buzz.  Why doesn’t she corral him?  Disgust.  “If my kid acted like him I’d…”  “Why should she be able to let her brat run the aisles?”  With frosty disdain they insisted she must get counseling.

     In my office she was upbeat and smiling warmly.  Pleasantries done, I kindly asked her about her life.  I needed a history before nosing into her Son’s behavior.  Something
about her eyes spoke: Tread Carefully.  Very carefully.

     When she mentioned her many children I was puzzled.  She only had a crippled child in a wheelchair and Dennis the Menace...right?

     “Heidi, how many children do you have?”

     “Five. I have five blessings from the Lord.”

     “Five? I’ve just seen two.”

     “The others don’t live here.”

     “Where do they live Heidi?”

     “They live in Heaven.”


     “Yes; God is so good!”

     The lump in my throat blocked my voice.  I gestured...please continue.

     (Her first baby)

     “The Nurse whispered, ‘I’m so sorry,’ as she lifted him from my breast. I cried and asked, “Why is he so quiet...Is he just cold?” ‘Sweetheart’, she softly spoke, to me, ‘he’s in Jesus’ arms now.’"

     (Her second baby)

     “Jenni lived for three and a half days.  They...said her little heart gave out.  She’s in Heaven now.”
     I was nearly mute...but whispered: “Your heart must be so sad...heartbroken.”

     “Oh No! God gave me another baby.”

     (Her third baby)

     “God gave me Danny...such a bubbly little guy.  I nursed him. Cuddled him.  Loved on him.  God is so good.  But then he choked or gasped and a monitor started beeping.  The nurse rushed in.”  Softly she breathed: ‘I’m so sorry,’ as she lifted him from my breast.  I wept.  Couldn’t stop.  I begged her: I want to hold him.  Don’t take him from me.  I’m his Mother.  I need my little boy.  Please...give him back.”

     “Honey, I knew you’d ask but…”

     “Please lay him in my arms. Please!”  My tears wouldn’t stop. They couldn’t take Danny away.  They must be wrong.  I knew he just needed his Mom to hold him tightly.  Please Jesus help him breathe better.  Make him OK.”

     Heidi quietly said, “I must have cried myself to sleep.”

     (Her fourth baby)

     “Tell me about your little girl in the wheelchair, Heidi.”

     “God is so awesome cause in a year he gave me adorable Maggie.  And she didn’t die.  I held her and she smiled, cooed and cried tiny tears.  She is so sweet.”

     “Why is she in a wheelchair, Heidi?”

     “She has spinal bifida.  They think she’ll go to Heaven in a few years.”

     (Her fifth baby)

     My supposed objectivity had fled, replaced by empathy. “When did Tyler come along?”

     Excitedly Heidi gushed, “Almost two years after Maggie.”

     “He seems really healthy.  How is he doing?”

     “He is perfect!  The best boy on God’s earth.  I can’t say Thank you enough and I praise Jesus every day.  I am so blessed.”

     Her smile flashed beams of sunshine as she left.  Never will I forget her final words: “God is so good!”

     Now when he runs up and down the aisles my soul silently cheers him on.  Run Tyler!  Run!

"Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8a, NIV

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Saturday, June 22, 2019



     By faith we accepted their offer and moved our household goods 1,700 miles from Oregon to Missouri.  The small church couldn’t help with any of the moving costs which stripped our wallets bare.

     We had not negotiated a salary either and were underwhelmed when we were told the amount.  Full-time ministry was $60 a week.  By faith we trusted that our God was faithful and would provide our needs as He always had.

     Selling our small hand-made trailer would help our plight.  But our efforts were unsuccessful.  Nickel Ads yielded zero responses.  A second attempt had not a single inquiry.  But we refused to doubt our Heavenly Provider.  He had never failed us before and we knew He would be true to His word.  Like the poet wrote and sung by Jeff and Sheri Easter:

I've stood on the bank of a wide raging river
Trusting that I'd get across.
I've made my way through some valleys and deserts
Believing that I'd never get lost.
I've been at the foot of what felt like Mt. Everest
Knowing I'd have the strength for the climb

'Cause through every trial, each test and temptation,
One thing is sure every time: 
Over and over, again and again,
God is faithful.
Over and over, again and again,
Through it all He's made me able
To stand and survive, to come through alive
When it sure looked like I couldn't win.
Jesus is with me so I claim the victory
Over and over again. 
If you ask me why I have no hesitation,
God does what He says He will do.
I'd simply say every battle has taught me
There's nothing He won't help me through.
So why should I dwell on the hardships and struggles
When I look just beyond them I see
The way this will end is with great celebration,
Deep in my heart I believe:
Over and over, again and again,
God is faithful.
Over and over, again and again,
Through it all He's made me able
To stand and survive, to come through alive
When it sure looked like I couldn't win.
Jesus is with me so I claim the victory
Over and over again.
     I moved the trailer behind our small home as it was an eye sore to our neighbors.  Since we lived a half block from the highway we realized it surely wouldn’t sell now: as it was nearly invisible from the road.  No one would even know it was there.

     But actions taken by faith allow the Lord to perform a miracle.  It happened the next day.  As we gave thanks for our dinner we also prayed that somehow our Lord would provide a buyer.  As we were praying a disturbance arose.  Knock, knock, knock.  Someone was at the door.  Hurriedly I opened it and saw a senior couple backing out of our driveway.  I waved and stepped into the yard.

     From their car they smiled and said, “We thought maybe you weren’t home since you didn’t answer the door.  But we see you’ve got a trailer.  Any chance you’d sell it?”

     All our efforts failed until we earnestly asked our Lord for a buyer.  He responded as only He would… In His Time.  Never quit praying and always believe God cares for His own.  

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”  (Psalm 55:22, NIV)

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