As many of you are aware, I have not posted in several weeks because of back surgery that was conducted on September 8. I was in the hospital for 3 days and then was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for the next 10 days at which point, on September 21, I was discharged to come home.
I thank each and every one of you for the prayers and kind wishes extended to me during this time. The Lord has been very real to me as He has minimized pain as He extended healing to my body, through the good work of excellent physicians and skilled rehabilitative caregivers.
I am still on a walker (which is quite cumbersome) and in physical therapy 3 days a week, so I am not yet ready to undertake scheduled posts on The Ruminant Scribe. I did want to update you and let you know that our God is our ever present help in time of need. Psalm 46:1 He is ready to heal and comfort His children even if it relates to the horrific actions taken by someone we cannot understand.
I do want to encourage you to pray for those who were injured in the mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this week, and to pray for the families of the many who lost their lives through the evil actions of a man shooting rifles at random people in a crowd.
And, thank the Lord for the actions of the first responders who were able to get to the hotel room and subdue the shooter before he could unloose untold hundreds of rounds of ammunition onto the street below. Praise His holy name that the carnage, as bad as it assuredly is, was limited by the intervention of the police and first responders.
Blessings to each of you, and I again thank you for your prayers.
There are times that nature moves quickly and with an intensity that man can only watch and admire. But, nature can also move slowly and with a deliberation that allows us peace and unruffled living. The swans at Bellingrath Gardens, in Alabama, provide a peaceful scene in which quiet contemplation is possible.
The swan must exert herself under the water so that she can majestically glide over the water, but she is able to do it with truly “unruffled” feathers.
How do we respond to things that upset our schedule or which create a problem for us to overcome? Do we have peace? Are we unruffled? While we might have to work at the response to the situation, do we worry and fret all the while? What about while we are at work or have family troubles, do we stress and complain or do we have peace, even in chaotic circumstances? What about healing? Do we squirm because we are not as physically able as we want to be? Are we willing to submit to His loving care and see what He has for us, even if that includes physical pain?
The past two years have been an exercise in waiting for me. I retired so that we could have time to do things like travel and visit family around the country. Nine months later, I had a left ankle break that required surgery and over 9 weeks of non-weight bearing; then there were months of physical therapy as I healed from that event. I then had meniscus repair surgery to my left knee with resulting physical therapy, and I am just now beginning therapy after having surgery for a total right knee replacement. Each of these medical situations has found me, at times, accepting and, at other times, frustrated.
My schedule was stopped cold. Now all I had to do was to heal. Wait, and yield to the caregiving provided to me … frustration and humiliation at not being able care for myself, even in fundamental ways, had to be let go so that I could appreciate the effort and care being rendered on my behalf.
As an example, I came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day and the next day my daughter Liz and my daughter-in-law Mandi prepared an incredible Thanksgiving Day meal for 12 people, served in our dining room, and all I had to do was to get up the steps and walk to the table. This was the first time that I had relinquished the holiday meal to others. I praise these two wonderful women for their efforts which were absolutely successful, and I am thankful for the great celebration we had together. (The day of our Thanksgiving Day meal was our wedding anniversary, so it really was a celebration!)
Then too there is the wait for the doctors to practice their skill with still more waiting for the healing to come. Multiple doctor office visits and many more physical therapy sessions, with even more to be scheduled and endured. Wait, be calm and do the therapy so that healing will be complete.
There have been times when I wanted to scream “Doesn’t God know that we had plans? Doesn’t God know that this is messing with what I thought He wanted me to do? Doesn’t God care …?”
Of course, the answer is that “Yes, God does know. In fact, He knows everything!” That is the very definition of omniscience! What I need to know is that He is sovereign and He is in control of everything. That is the definition of omnipotence! And, God does care — the cross is our confirmation of His love, mercy and grace for us.
What I need to remember is that I am not God.
This time of testing has a purpose, unknown to me, but important to God. Perhaps He has something that I am to learn about Him, about my life in Christ, about myself and the best way for me to do that is to experience this diversion that I would not have selected on my own.
In Mark 4:39 Jesus was with His disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a storm arose. His disciples were terrified and they woke him pleading that He help. Scripture says:
“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
This became a teaching moment for the disciples! It should also be such for us, for me.
The Almighty God who spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1) and His Son, Jesus Christ, who could stop the storm instantly by commanding “Peace,” has promised to provide peace to us in our time of need through the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 26:3 instructs:
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Jesus promised that we would have divine help through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
We are not guaranteed a life of ease as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, but we are guaranteed eternal life with Him and His presence through the Holy Spirit in the here and now. Such peace will transcend the frenetic pace of the world and calm our hearts if we read His Word and listen to the Holy Spirit’s instruction. If we turn our eyes upon Jesus, He will help us to learn the lessons that He has ordained, and He will encourage and support us even as we go through the difficulties attendant with those lessons.
Blessings to you. May you find Peace through your relationship with the King of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord and may His Spirit reside within you to comfort and strengthen during difficult times, even physical therapy!
Father, thank you for loving me so much that you are working in my life to transform me into the image of Jesus. Forgive me when I rebel and don’t want to go down the road you have ordained. Help me to remember that I am yours and that you are sovereign and in control of all things. Thank you Heavenly Father for your Son, my Savior and Lord, and thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to instruct, guide and comfort as we go along our way, even if it is to physical therapy.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 [ESV]
I am a self-admitted planner. It is difficult for me to just “go with the flow”. Even when I am “going with the flow,” I am planning what I will do whenever the “flow” gets to wherever we are going. Digression from the task ahead is difficult for me to allow … but praise the Lord that my planning confronted divine guidance through prayer today.
I was scheduled for surgery and a number of beloved friends and family members said they would be praying that all would go well, that I would be protected from complications, and that healing would be sweet. As usual, there is a great deal of preparation for surgery and we did all that stuff, as directed, including packing the overnight bag, taking the book and Bible along with the Ipad, etc.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 [ESV]
The hospital directions were that I could have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, but a note stated that I should take my morning medications before coming to the hospital with a sip of water. I drink milk with the medicine due to the taste if I use water: so, I took the meds with 2 sips of milk, much less than ¼ cup, and we were off to the hospital.
At the hospital, we were conducted into the surgical wing and I received the beautiful gag-green hospital gown to replace my clothing. Then I was placed under a warming blanket and was getting ready for the IV and monitors, etc. That’s when my plans went awry but God intervened in His providence and answered prayer.
The anesthesiologist came in and asked what meds I had taken. I told him, and he said, “ok”.
Then the nurse came in and went over most of the same questions again and confirmed I had taken the morning meds at home. She then asked when I took them. I responded “my husband poured the milk about 7 and I took them right after that.”
The nurse’s head popped up from her clipboard and she said “Milk?” and that was the beginning of the end of the surgery as planned.
She left the prep room saying that she needed to talk with the anesthesiologist about the milk. I was stunned – all this havoc over 2 sips of milk?
The answer to the prayers for protection and no complications became apparent when the anesthesiologist came in and told me that even a small amount of milk causes acid in the stomach. When you go under the anesthesia, all muscles are relaxed and that includes the muscle that keeps stomach acid in the stomach. So, if you have acid there (like from milk) when laying on the flat surgical table under the anesthesia, you can have reflux of the acid into your lungs without anyone knowing it is happening. [Without getting into the science of it, even I know that this is not something that would be considered a good thing!]
I don’t know if God directed me to take the meds with milk so that surgery could not be done on the day that was planned, but I am confident that He answered prayers in prompting me to mention the milk so that I would be protected from adverse consequences otherwise.
The surgery is now rescheduled and I will not be using milk for my meds.
Praise the Lord that He answered prayer by bringing to mind the milk that I had consumed at just the right time so that unwanted complications could be avoided. God has been in the business of hearing and answering our prayers since the beginning.
Back in Genesis, Isaac prayed for his wife:
“And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” Genesis 25:21 [ESV]
Many years later, David said:
“O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.” Psalm 54:2 [ESV]
“But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” Psalm 66:19 [ESV]
Then, in the New Testament, 2,000 years ago, we have the church praying for Peter.
“So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” Acts 12:5 [ESV]
As a result of those prayers, God sent angels to the prison and released Peter at night. He went to the house where the church was praying for him and almost did not get in because no one believed that their prayers had been so miraculously answered!
In speaking of prayer to God the Father, the writer of Hebrews 4:16 tells us:
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” [ESV]
Beloved, the same God who answered Isaac, and who answered Job, and who answered David, and who heard and answered the church’s prayers for Peter, hears and answers the prayers of His children today when we come boldly to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Think praying is only for old people?
Think praying doesn’t do anything?
Think praying is a boring waste of time?
Father, forgive me when I take lightly the gracious gift of prayer. Forgive me when I fail to recognize the awesome privilege of coming in prayer to the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Forgive me when I forget that I can only come to you because of Jesus Christ, my Savior, who covers me with His righteousness and has forgiven me of my sins. Thank you Father for hearing the prayers of your children, even those raised on my behalf. Praise your Holy Name!