This title came to mind about a month ago, without any idea of this post.
This week it has come together. For two weeks Jerry was really going down. Last Saturday and Sunday he slept non-stop except to get up for what was necessary. After eating, he was so tired and weak that he had to lie down. He would not let me call 911 even though at times he was a little short of breath. He said that Dr. Jackson, his primary care physician would put him in the hospital when he went for his scheduled appointment on Monday morning.
We left the doctor’s office after an x-ray and blood work, with the instructions that they would call us in thirty minutes with the results. At first, we thought about going home fifteen minutes away, but he decided he wanted a Sonic burger. While he ate, I ran into Publick’s for fruit. We sat in the parking lot to wait for the call. The phone rang.
Tyler, the nurse told me Dr. Jackson wanted to talk to me. The bad news was that Jerry’s hemoglobin was down to 6. The last check was good at 13. He sent us to ER to get a blood transfusion. I was thankful that Jerry had lunch already. I hadn’t, but at times like these, even at my age, I seem to run on stored fuel. We checked into a crowded waiting room around 1:00. As usual, for the past twelve years, we had to find a parking place for Jerry’s wheelchair out of the way of other patients. And, it is usually a place where we have full view of all that is happening.
From triage for vital signs; waiting again for more blood work (they like to have their own and for more testing than the doctor’s staff did), we went back to the waiting room until an examining room was available.
During our waiting, we were privy to the sounds of names being called, coughing, babies crying, a two-year-old tantrum twice, and security officers coming and going. But during all this, I knew the Lord’s presence there. Even though Jerry has lost much of his hearing, (getting a hearing aid is at the bottom of our list) we had time to communicate as i sat close to his right ear.
We watched as a mother who was there with her sick teen-age daughter take a snack to the screaming child. When a daughter became impatient because her mother was not getting the attention she wanted, she complained to a security officer. Soon after, another woman there with her son walked over to the impatient daughter to show her something on her IPhone.
It was a blessing to see that most of the patients were accompanied by a loved one. But one man got tired of waiting. When his name was called, someone said that he had left. The security officer and the other staff member went outside looking for him. There were other interesting patients, some with the whole family accompanying.
Well, we waited longer, but no room was ever available. (The last time we came on our own we sat in the hallway outside the ER rooms with the overflow of patients. You get immediate attention when you call 911.)
They finally took us back to the same hallway as our last visit, but this time gurneys were lined up next to the wall, where Jerry lay while they continued their exam. We probably repeated why he was there at least ten times. There was a steady stream of doctors and nurses passing through the hall where they started the IV for the first transfusion.
We finally met the ER doctor, a young attractive woman who had passed by before. I thought she was a nurse. A doctor from the hospital talked with us about any signs of blood. Another one walked by two or three times with his hands in his pockets. Three student nurses walked single file past us several times. Jerry called them the three musketeers. A patient down the hall waited with his feet exposed and his head covered.
When the IV spilled when Jerry bent his arm, the techs were very compassionate and started another IV in his other arm. I was impressed of how well they all worked together, especially in such close quarters.
Volunteer pink ladies stopped to see if I needed anything. Water was enough for the time being. Our daughter, Lee came and waited until they took him upstairs to a room at 8:30. I came home just before dark, ate, got a shower and went to bed. She was there part of every day so that I had a respite.
He was taken off all three blood-thinners and Tuesday we understood the possibility of internal bleeding, with the suggestion for a colonoscopy.
He received a second transfusion on Tuesday, while they kept doing lab tests. Thankfully, they were putting in more than they were taking out.
We came home late Wednesday afternoon with plans for home health care until Jerry is stronger. If his hemoglobin does not return to normal even without the blood thinners, we will look at the options for further testing.
This was our fourth visit to ER in this new hospital. With all the doctor’s visits and close calls, we are reminded that whatever we must endure, God is present, with us through it all. It is in these times that we see the reality of His presence with others, hospital staff and patients working through the everyday trials of this world. More and more, we learn to wait patiently to see what the Lord’s plans are for us, and how we may help others through their difficulties. On elevators, with the staff ministering to Jerry and others, there are people who need the Light of Christ; a kind word, a smile, peace and patience where there is chaos. A touch of gentleness and compassion is sometimes better than medicine.
During Jerry’s blood transfusion, especially when it was spilled, I was reminded of the blood of Christ our Lord, spilled for us that saves us for eternity. We are thankful for the blood Jerry received from a donor, but it would not save his life. Jesus gave His blood to give us eternal life. How grateful we are to our Creator and Redeemer for all that He has done, is doing, and promises in the future.
Gracious Father, there was more to these last few days than I can recall and write, but as always, you are wherever we are. In the hallways of our lives, in the waiting rooms, in our yesterdays, the present days, future days and forever, your grace, your word are real. We thank you for Jerry’s care this week and that we will know your plans for him as you reveal them. We thank you that all is for your glory and our good. We praise you in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
How amazing these last three days have been, and how blessed to see how God carries us through what He begins in us to where He wants us to be. When I write it is usually because I need to learn something new, or to confirm and shore up what I have been learning. Such is the case with the last post, What Matters?
The following are quotes from those who responded to the question.
Gail replied, “how we treat each other”
Jean, summing up her answer, which is worthy to be considered by us all, and in the same path that the Lord has been leading me as we have contemplated this question: “Peace with the Lord, this relationship of continuing to learn of His grace and mercy; He is our life as a loving Savior and Father, a faithful God. He is all in all.”
David expressed the desire for his family ~ “the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that he has experienced.”
Andi: “preparing ourselves and others for the second coming of Christ; happiness and protection for children and grandchild.”
Lee: “resting in the finished work of Christ”
Joey: “God and people, in that order”
Kim: “knowing Him”
Gadol: a personal matter for “fulfillment of purpose, vision, call and will of God”
These were all good answers that attest to another thought.
What matters depends on who and where we are at any given time in our lives. It depends on our circumstances and our relationships. From these thoughts let us find a general answer that applies to all children of God, living as joint-heirs with Christ in His kingdom. What matters to us will be different than what matters to those of this world, who do not claim an inheritance in the kingdom of God.
What matters to those outside the kingdom are the things of this world, their possessions, their families, themselves. We will not list those things here, but let’s follow on to a conclusion of what matters to us.
What matters to us as God’s children can be summed up in one word, overall.
GOD matters ~ first, because He is our creator and redeemer, He has given us life twice, and continues to sustain us as His people, preparing us to share His glory, eternally.
God, the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in each of their roles matter in every life, in every circumstance, in every relationship, as He becomes our main relationship and unites us in relationship to others of His family.
Prayer matters because this is His gift to us as His children and the means of communion and contentment with Him that carries over into our relationships with others.
God’s Word matters because He teaches from His Word what matters in our relationships. Love might be the first thing that comes to mind, but love alone, in how we perceive love, may not be enough. We see the manifestation of love in humility, commitment, faithfulness, discipline, accountability, patience, kindness, forgiveness and other marks of Christ’s nature and disposition in us. These apply to our relationships with the Lord our God and with others, even if they are not of the “household of faith.”
It matters that we keep the same obedience to the Lord, composure, confidence, and self-control with those who are of the world.
This brings to mind another matter, that of light. No one can live without light. This light is given for new birth into His kingdom through the gospel, the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel matters to us and to His church for the matter of our salvation.
We need a certain time of physical darkness, for rest and sleep, but spiritual light is needed for the darkness of the mind and spirit. This too is given us by His Spirit in His Word so that we know how to live in this world, holding forth ‘the word of life” that is ours in Christ.
We learn about other things that matter from God’s Word, such as Philippians 4:8: “that which is true, honest, just and pure, that which is lovely, of good report, of virtue (excellence) that which is worthy of praise”
What matters to God?
If we continue to think and write about it, we could go on and on, but hopefully we have posed a question that our hearts will consider as long as we live in this world, so that our Lord will continue to teach us what matters in His kingdom, in our lives, and our calling to serve Him in His kingdom. You and I matter to God. At one point this week we had considered that God is over all and that everything matters to Him. How then should we look at everything? Whatever we know and wherever we go, we should consider how God wants us to relate to the people and circumstances in which He places us. As Gadol pointed to the call and will of God, it matters to God how we respond as His people to those around us, in obedience and acceptance to where He wants us to be to fulfill His plan in us.
When looking in His Word for the word “matter” or “matters” we found one reference from the book of Ecclesiastes. Before we end with this, we will add one more to our list, that of wisdom. How does wisdom tie in with Ecclesiastes 12:13?
Since we are in the area of what matters to God, what other things from His Word would you add? What other things matter to God? We have but to read and glean these things that matter to God, our Father and to us.
Gracious heavenly Father, thank you leading us to consider what matters, and bringing us to see that the answers come from you. Thank you for being all that matters and that everything and everyone matter to you. Bring us to understand more and to find our contentment in you and your kingdom alone through the salvation that is ours in Christ. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Since Wednesday of last week I have been in the process of making a video that could be published on YouTube. The audio was in my music file, with other recordings converted from cassette tapes, through Garageband to ITunes. This is my first attempt, and having the impression that it would be an easy task I set out to collect some images to use with America the Beautiful that our daughter Lee, and I had sung at Smokerise Baptist Church in 1986. My project was begun on July 1, with high hopes of publishing it on July 4th, but that did not happen because I didn’t really know what I was doing. The Lord led me first to Don Detrick’s website, and his permission to upload images from his Flickr photographs, so I did not need to go anywhere else for images.
A lot of Google searches turned up many different ways to make a video on a Mac.
I first tried PowerPoint but there were problems with this program. A second try with a free trial software did not work out. After hours and days of trying different methods I stumbled across the application of IMovie on our Mac.
The format was similar to others, so synchronizing the music to the photos was the main thing. Finally I had a decent video (for a beginner) but instructions for importing from IMovie to YouTube did not work. After struggling through the midnight hour of Wednesday, this week, I gave up and put everything to bed. My continual prayers resulted in plans to try again Thursday morning for 30 minutes. If no progress was made I would leave for a time, take the remainder of the day for something else I needed to do; try again for 30 minute intervals whenever I had time until I experienced some progress.
Thursday morning after setting the 30 minute limit I opened the movie file where I had imported from IMovie. It still looked okay. I then signed in to my YouTube (Google) account and clicked the upload button, after which it took only a few minutes to publish. Here is the finished product. I praise the Lord for His leading me through with patience, persevering by His grace, for His glory. Whether there will be more videos or not depends on the Lord’s leading. Whatever His will He always leads through or over every obstacle.
Gracious Father, thank you for the country you have given us, a country where your people still fear, love and obey you. Thank you for enabling us to see your goodness, even in the middle of wars, chaos, oppression, persecution and rebellion from others against you. Thank you for your plans in which you follow through to accomplish all according to your will. Thank you for your continued leading by your Holy Spirit in the lives of your children. We pray that your brotherhood throughout this nation will continue to grow stronger. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
In this Year of Humility we have been learning from Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) the meaning, the means, and the working of humility in the Christian life. In this tenth chapter we come to the aim of humility, the end goal, and that is, death. Let us remember where humility originated, and follow its course to the effect it has in our own lives.
Humility began in heaven with God. In Jesus He condescended to the human level, so that He might save us from our sinful state. Christ, in humility and obedience to the Father’s will, with no plans of His own, gave up His position of glory to live a life here on earth, a life that He would share with us. For Him to accomplish this act for our salvation He had to humble Himself in order to die.
What if, in a very strategic situation, you need help? Someone offers, but you refuse, because the terms of the one who is able to help you are not to your liking. You die because you refused what could have saved your life.
What if, in a life-threatening position, you have the opportunity to live, but you cannot let go of something that you are holding on to.
These are both cases that are analogous to refusal of the salvation that is offered in Christ.
Again, think of life that is promised if we not only let go of things that we hold dear in this life, but to give up our own life. Death to self is the only means of true life. And humility is the only means of coming to the end of self. Without humility there is no promise for life. True humility leads us to die to self. In all this we see that the true life is the humble life that is ours in Christ; now and for eternity.
“Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Revelation, Desire, Prayer, Reality
I speak from experience, as I say that humility is not a human trait, but that gift from heaven, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, given to men for the abundant life that He promised those who come to Him. As much as I desire to live the humble life it seems still a supernatural life that I look forward to and pray for. As soon as I think I have a little humility, the oppressive spirit of the enemy assaults, and pride rears its ugly head.
(Oppression is a subject that I am studying and hope to write about.)
In Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians he teaches us that the flesh and the Spirit are at war against each other. The hope (another gift) that we are given keeps us in prayer and more watchfulness against the wiles of the devil. He wants us dead, but not to self.
These truths are revealed to us by the Spirit, regenerating us with a new heart and a new spirit; so that we, seeing our ignorance and pride come to repentance and faith, our first step of humility toward growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. One step leads to another as we desire this humility, pray for it, and by His working, humble ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.
God Uses All Things for Our Humbling
Every time I read this book I come away with the same impressive statement Murray makes in this chapter. It is similar to Romans 8:28-29. It has made a difference in my life to see everything under God’s sovereignty working through everything whatever He wants to do in my life.
“Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-man as a help to remain humble before God. It is by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit that God reveals Christ fully in you.”
“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Dear Father, you knew when you started all this, that we would need everything from you to make it work to your glory. All that you expect from us is supernatural and beyond our doing; but you have put it into our hearts and promised us, that you are exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask for or imagine, by the power of your Spirit working in us. Thank you for coming down to us that you might bring us up to yourself. Enable us to die to self; to raise up by your divine power to live in praise unto you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
(How well our heavenly Father teaches us this truth as we experience the trials of this life.
The original article with this title (below) was written almost five years ago while we were waiting for Jerry’s healing after the amputation of his leg.
(It took 4 1/2 years and a third surgery. Now almost six years later, he is able to wear a prosthesis a few hours a week.
October 24, 2007
Today is exactly a year since Jerry’s amputation. He has been three weeks in rehab, wearing the prosthesis a couple of hours a day, more just for sitting and getting used to it, a few minutes of exercise to put weight on it, and a few minutes walking on it with a walker. Because of soreness he has not worn it the last two days. Monday the prosthetist put in a small pad to help buffer the sore area. It was feeling better, so he wore the prosthesis for about forty-five minutes this afternoon. When he took it off, his leg was bleeding. We have to wait again for healing before he can wear the prosthesis again.
Sixty-eight years takes its toll on those who have not learned how to wait. By this time most think that they have arrived at the point of having all things under their control, getting things done when they want them done, settling down to the golden years, and being happy in all their progress. This is not our case, but we can attest to something better.
How do you explain to those who are impatient that waiting is good for you? Whether it is for a response to a letter, the arrival of a guest, a special event, for our children to grow up, or healing, the process of waiting is a part of life. True waiting is the essence of hope, and a means to the end of obtaining contentment in this life as we wait for glory.
Waiting is a natural trait for God, but not for man. Impatience was born in the Garden of Eden, and plays itself out in every person’s life, from the time of birth until death; except as we are given new hearts that know how to wait. We learn from experiences that as we wait we receive blessings we did not expect.
Why do we not want a baby to be born before its full term? It will not be fully developed, or, not live at all. Why do we not get a diploma until we have finished the required courses? Why do we not marry at the age of eight? Why do we not eat green bananas? Waiting is not only necessary for life, but, the means to attaining true life. It is not something we play at, or think about when we want to. It is not a game, but a reality, that when practiced enough will become the beauty of life, without wanting to be the winner.
Waiting is serious business, in the same family as endurance, the big brother of patience.
Waiting is the will of God for us, and serves His purposes. “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:36)
Waiting gives Him time to accomplish His work in us to His glory. God waits for the precious fruit of His husbandry, and so must we. (James 5:17)
Hope, and quietly waiting for the salvation of the Lord is synonymous with patience, the characteristic of the saints mentioned in the Book of Revelation. (13:10, 14:12)
“I had fainted, unless I had believed
to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
Waiting strengthens our faith, letting patience have its perfect work, that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4)
I praise the Father for teaching me to wait. It comes more naturally now. He is waiting with us, teaching us, loving us through it all. I thank Him for all of you who have waited with us. I pray for more patience, more strength, more faith, more grace for us all—for His glory and our joy.
“The LORD is good to them that wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
(Excerpt from In Prayer and In Touch~ Articles and Stories of Faith)
Music: Wait on the Lord Psalm 27:14
They That Wait Upon the Lord Isaiah 40:31