Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Sacrifice of Praise

As the season of giving thanks is upon us, I cannot remain silent, for my eyes have seen a great work of God.  Yet, it is nothing like I expected.  In fact, this year could be summed up in one word--injury. However, in the midst of hurt, God remains faithful.  I cling to Him as my refuge and strength.

Last spring I experienced a setback in a ministry that was close to my heart.  The very people I was trying to reach, lashed out in hate, causing my presence among them to end abruptly.  I was wounded in my spirit, and, though outwardly I tried to carry on, inwardly I was bleeding to death.   My heart wilted and I grew faint with discouragement, thinking I could never be useful to God again.

However, God reminded me over and over through Scripture and song that His love never fails and His mercies are new every morning.  My accusers had no ground on which to stand, because my life is hidden with Christ in God, and the blood of Jesus declares me righteous.  Yet, never in my wildest imaginations, did I realize that God was about to give me a vivid real life illustration of His great work on the cross to heal my heart.

It was Aug. 1st, my husband's birthday, when he awoke to profuse bleeding.  As the morning wore on, his condition became an emergency.  But once at the hospital the bleeding stopped and we were sent home.  I felt foolish for bringing him in.  Yet, the next two days at home were sober, for the bleeding started up again and he could scarcely crawl without fainting.  We took him back to the doctor who stared in disbelief, for my husband had no standing pulse. He was then sent immediately to the hospital where we learned he had a stomach ulcer.

I watched as the nurses set up equipment to give him blood.  But it could not be given in one big whoosh.  Rather, we waited...and waited...and waited, while 3 units of blood were infused into his body, one. drop. at. a. time.  I began to see his energy gradually return.  By the time we left the hospital two days later, my husband was his usual upbeat self.  Weak, yes, but the blood continued to circulate through his body bringing healing in its time.

It was in the quiet of that hospital room, during the patient waiting on the blood to be transferred into his body, that this message came to me.  "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isa. 40:30-31

The visual of the blood hanging in its plastic case, caused me to see that I needed a blood transfusion from my Heavenly Father!  I needed His blood to heal my spiritual wound. Yet, this life giving blood required that I wait on the Lord.  Yes, I had His life at my initial salvation, where, at nine years old, I placed my faith in Jesus as my Savior.  But the death of Jesus on the cross to pay for my sin runs even deeper than that.  It also means that His very life is infused into mine daily. Because He rose from the dead, I live.  Not simply breathing oxygen, but real, vibrant, soulful, abundant life!

The injury, of which I spoke above, had zapped my strength, even the will to lift my head, for I was filled with shame.  I could scarcely walk my Christian life without fainting, let alone think about soaring like an eagle. But as I looked only unto the Lord, and cried out to Him with my pathetic heart, He delivered hope to my soul.
One. Drop. At. A. Time.

This Thanksgiving, I can honestly say that I am thankful for these experiences.  Though they brought great pain and came at great expense, God revealed Himself to me in a deeper way, a personal, tender, year long drawing of my heart into the ocean of His great love.  He is my shield and the lifter of my head.  My heart now understands the value of faith in the waiting and has seen the healing result.

The fall season, (pun intended), has brought great fruitfulness in my life.  Through the brokeness, God has launched me into areas of ministry that are beyond what I could have imagined.  He has fine tuned my listening so that I have a sharper recognition of His voice.  I seek to follow His lead, His agenda, not my own.  And last, but not least, He has confirmed that He is not done with me yet, for His blood covers a multitude of sins.  What was meant for evil, God used for good.  My fainting heart has been strengthened to soar, and I am truly thankful.

May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the cross.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  
The Lord delights in those who fear Him, 
who put their hope in his unfailing love." 
 Psalm 147:3,11