Faith Messages to build your faith

Monday, April 30, 2012

A LETTER FROM GOD


God speaking:

“I know you’re mad at Me right now. 

That’s alright. People have been mad at Me before and will be again. 


Being mad is part of being human. 


My Son got mad, too. 


It’s alright to be mad sometimes at injustice, for example, or the lack of charity.
You probable think I am unjust and uncharitable when an airplane goes down like that. 

All those people lost. The children gone. It doesn’t seem right; it can’t be loving. 


You ask, ‘Where was God?’ Why did He allow that to happen?’
I allow it to happen because I allow you freedom. 

I could have left you on a string and made you dance all day without getting tired. 


I could have moved your mouth for you and made you sing all night without growing hoarse. 


I could have pulled a wire that would have let you soar skyward and never fall.
I could have, but I didn't because I love you so much. 

I want you to be free to decide when to dance and sing.


Free to determine when you will come to Me in faith and hope. 


Because you are free, some of you choose not to dance or sing. 


Some of you select hatred over love, revenge over forgiveness, bombs over a helping hand. 


As you choose, I watch. I do not disappear. I listen to both the songs and the bombs. AND I REMEMBER.
‘Where was God?’ you wonder…I was there. 

I whispered in the ear of a little girl. ‘Don’t be afraid, I am with you.’ 


I held the hand of a business woman as tightly as she clutched mine.


I cradled a pilot against my shoulder as if he were a baby again.
Amid the paralyzing fear, I was there, as I was there with my Son in the garden. 

Amid the unbearable pain, I was there, as I was with Him as He was whipped. 


Amid the terrible realization that life was ending too soon, I was there, with Him as He hung on the cross and asked, like you. 


‘My God, why have you forsaken Me?’
I had not forsaken Him. I did not forsake them. 

I was there as they fell, as they rose to eternal joy. 


I listened to their anger, answered their questions and showed them why they had been created. 


Not to end that way, but to live with Me forever
In an instant, they came into existence. As you did. 

In an instant, they left this world As you will. 


But beyond that last instant, I kept my promise…A little girl dances, a business woman sings, and a pilot keeps his wings forever."
My brother, Ralph, sent this to me quite a while ago, and upon finding it today, I felt it was a “must read” for us all. Tears, no doubt, did come, as you read what is God’s answers to our heart’s questions about His awareness of evil and trouble all around us.
Ralph’s Sunday School class had written this as their project one month in their Methodist church in Scotia, NY. The following are those who actually signed the paper (without last names). Martha, Clarence, Dane, Annie, Bob, Ralph, Kay, Elsie, Martha, Shirley and Rupert. (If I've misspelled a name, please forgive me.)

Tomorrow morning's post:  WELL-TIMED TIMES OF PRAYER

UNDAUNTED RADIANCE




“The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”  Rom. 8:37
         
‘Paul is speaking of the things that might seem likely to separate or wedge in between the saint and the love of God;  but the remarkable thing is that nothing can wedge  in between the love of God and the saint. 

These things can and do come in between the devotional exercises of the soul and God and separate individual life from God; but none of them is able to wedge in between the love of God and the soul of the saint.

         The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can and never shall merit. 

         Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.



         The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. 

         Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things—tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. 

        We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it—"I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation," says Paul.
        
 Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter. 

         The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Taken from Devotions for MORNING and EVENING with OSWALD CHAMBERS  (for March 7th, pg 138)
[Google images added]
 
          “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live: I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness (abundance); And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You upon my bed, I will meditate on thee in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. My soul follows  close behind You: Your right hand upholds me.”  Ps. 63:3-8, NKJV

God Loves You and Wants You to Know

God loves you and wants you to know
He is right here with you.
Open His Word and He will show
 Just what you are to do. 

Christ longs for you to know He brings
His peace which comes within.
You can be born on eagle’s wings
When you can trust in Him.

The Bible tells us what happened
 When first God’s Spirit came.
It was His Promise that He’d send
 His Spirit in Christ’s Name.

When once we are in Christ made clean
 from inherited sin,
We need to know what God does mean;
  He wants to come within.

There are many who were forlorn
But in Christ they believed.
These folks found they’d been “reborn”;
 God’s Spirit they’d received.

It’s so important that we see
The Lord’s way is the best.
Obey His Word so you will be
Someone who finds God’s rest.

 by Jean Oathout
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I
bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
Ex. 19:4 NKJV

Father, may Your Word guide me daily. Amen

Be sure to check out tonight's post: "A LETTER FROM GOD: A Must Read" [This was originally posted 12/10/11 from a letter my brother sent me that his Sunday School class had composed as an assignment.] 

Tomorrow's post:  WELL-TIMED TIMES OF PRAYER: Prayer Note # 35  Dutch Sheets




Sunday, April 29, 2012

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO: AIR LIFT

 

SUSAN ORNECK tells us, "Sandigo to Tampa--a long flight. 

I was on my way home from a real-estate agent workshop. 

If only I could relax,I thought as I shifted in my seat. 

Even a lucky upgrade to first class wasn't enough to calm me down.

My nephew had been diagnosed with melanoma. Jordan was in his early twenties, just starting a career as a songwriter. 

He faced His disease with incredible courage, believing in God's plan for his life, whatever that were. Lord, I am so worried about him, I thought.

I noticed the man sitting next to me--long hair, ratty T-shirt, headphones and tattoos. 


He looked like a rocker dude from the seventies. 'I'm traveling with my band,' he confirmed as the flight attendant served us a beverage.

'Really? My nephew wants to be a songwriter.'

He pulled off his headphones and asked me more about Jordan. 


I talked about his cancer, how much I feared losing him. 

Usually I was good at keeping my feelings in check. But here, with a complete stranger, I suddenly felt free to share how anxious I was. 

'I see him fighting so hard,' I said, starting to cry.

'Chemotherapy is so difficult. I don't know where he finds the strength to bear it.

'I had cancer myself a few years ago,' my seatmate said after a moment. 


'I know how hard it can be.' A tear streaked down his cheek. He grabbed my hand and held it tight.' 

You can pray for your nephew,' he said. 'I'll pray with you.'

A woman spoke up from across the aisle. 'I'd like to pray for him too.'

'Me too,' said the man behind me. I hadn't known everyone was listening!

The next thing I knew our entire cabin was on its feet and holding hands--including the two flight attendants. 


I didn't know anything about leading a prayer circle so I just spoke from the heart about Jordan. 

For the first time since his diagnosis I didn't feel so alone in my fear.

God was with me 30,000 feet above the earth, and so were these people who were praying--and would continue to pray--for my nephew.

Jordan's cancer went into remission. He is still writing songs. And I am still lifted by what I learned about the power of prayer."

SUSAN ORNECK of Palm Harbor, Florida

The article is found in MAY 2012 issue of GUIDEPOSTS page 65. www.guidepost.org


PRAYING FOR VERSUS PRAYING THROUGH





        


Mark Batterson tells us, “Our generation desperately needs to rediscover the difference between praying for and praying through.

There are certainly circumstances where praying for something will get the job done.


I believe in short prayers before meals because, quite frankly, I believe in eating food while it’s still hot.

But there are also situations where you need to grab hold of the horns of the altar and refuse to let go until God answers.

Praying through is all about consistency.

It’s circling Jericho so many times it makes you dizzy.

Like the story Jesus told about the persistent widow who drove the judge crazy with her relentless requests, Praying through won’t take no for an answer.

Circle makers {see the post –THE LEGEND OF THE CIRCLE MAKER on the 4/6/12} know that it’s always too soon to quit praying because you never know when the wall is about to fall.

You are always only one prayer away from a miracle.

Praying through is all about intensity.

It’s not quantitative; it’s qualitative. Drawing prayer circles involves more than words; it’s gut-wrenching groans and heartbreaking tears.

Praying through doesn’t just bend God’s ear; it touches the heart of your heavenly Father.

I [Mark Batterson] recently attended the president’s Easter prayer breakfast at the White House, along with a couple hundred religious leaders from across the country.

Before breakfast, a seventy-six-year-old African-American preacher who served alongside Martin Luther King Jr. In the civil rights movement said a prayer.

I could barely hear his words, but his faith was loud and clear. He prayed with such a familiarity with the Father that it was convicting.

It’s like his words were deep-fried in the faithfulness of God. After he said amen, I turned to my pastor-friends, Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio, and said, ‘I feel like I've never prayed before.’

I felt like he knew God in a way that I didn’t, and it challenged me to get closer to God.

I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

His prayers were so qualitatively different that they felt like they had never prayed before.

When was the last time you found yourself flat on your face before the Almighty?

When was the last time you cut off your circulation kneeling before the Lord?

When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter in prayer?

There are higher heights and deeper depths in prayer, and God wants to take you there.

He wants to take you places you have never been before.

There are new dialects. There are new dimensions.

But if you want God to do something new in your life, you can’t do the same old thing.

It will involve more sacrifice, but if you are willing to go there, you’ll realize that you didn't sacrifice anything at all.

It will involve more risk, but if you are willing to go there, you’ll realize that you didn't risk anything at all.

Make the sacrifice.

              Take the risk.

                          Draw the circle.”

Taken from Mark Battersons The Circle Maker  by  Zondervan.com  (pgs. 33, 34)

“I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live."  Ps. 116:1, 2, NKJV

           “I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? ... It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”  Ps. 118:5, 6, 8, NKJV


Be sure to check out WHAT PRAYER CAN DO:  AIR LIFT on tonight's post.

Tomorrow’s post:  UNDAUNTED RADIANCE Oswald Chambers 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

LETTING THE WORD WORK WITHIN YOU

 
Michael Brooks shares with us that“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 

The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 

For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God."    Acts 10:44-46

Thoughts for Today:

 Colossians 3:16 tells us to "Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you." Ephesians 5:18 tells us to "be filled with the Spirit."

 Both of these verses, one beginning in the Word and the other in the Spirit, continue almost identically -- speak to or teach "one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," "wives submit to your husbands," "husbands love your wives," etc. 

Here's a question from our passage today: When did the Spirit come upon them? 

 Answer: while Peter was still speaking the Word.

Do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit? 

Do you want the full power of the Spirit? 

Do you want the power of the Spirit to help you change? 

Then "let the Word of God dwell richly in you." Something happens when we read, study and ponder God's Word (Scripture): the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us (verse 45) -- "even on the Gentiles." 

That means even on you and me. The only thing required is to be in God's Word.”

Pocket Devotions   www.ptl.org
[Google image added]
 
“Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; On you I wait all the day.” Ps. 25:4, 5

“The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple…Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over….Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes….Your word is very pure’; Therefore Your servant loves it…The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live.” 
(Ps119:130, 133, 135,140, 144, NKJV)

Our Daily Bread (4/12/12)
“If your soul is parched and thirsty
And you feel weighed down by care,
Go to God’s Word for refreshment—
You’ll find strength and comfort there. Sper

Only God can still our hearts and quiet our minds.”

Tonight's post: THE BIBLE, THE BIBLE! MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD! (from 9/1/11)

Tomorrow’s post:  PRAYING FOR VERSUS PRAYING THROUGH  Mark Batterson

Friday, April 27, 2012

UNDER THE JUNIPER TREE





Mary Southerland - “Elijah is a great example of a man in need of rest. One day he was the conquering hero, the next we find him sitting under a Juniper tree, wallowing in self-pity – and begging God to let him die. 

The poor man was simply exhausted. True, it was an exhaustion produced by victory, but it was still exhaustion.

              Elijah called down fire from heaven, proving the existence of the only true God, destroying idols and idol worshippers. Big stuff! In fact, it is my personal opinion that he should have been celebrating. 

So why was he so discouraged? It was a woman, Jezebel, who was largely responsible for his discouragement.

              Jezebel was the evil and influential wife of Ahab, King of Israel, and widely known as the real power behind her husband’s throne. Jezebel did not worship the one true God of Israel. 

Instead, she was fanatical in her worship of the pagan god, Baal, and tried to impose her beliefs on the people of Israel. One man stood in her way – Elijah.

When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel, God answered Elijah's prayer with a stream of fire from heaven. You would think that a miracle like that would have convinced Ahab and Jezebel to believe in God. It didn’t. 

In fact, Jezebel was furious. When she learned what had happened on Mt. Carmel with the fire and idols, she put a contract out on Elijah. Now stop and think about that for a moment.

              Elijah had been in the presence of God. God had heard and answered Elijah's prayer, putting on an impressive fiery display for all to see. 

Idols had fallen. The prophets of Baal had either fled or been destroyed. And Elijah is worried about one angry woman? 

Elijah was tired and needed to rest – big time. He found that rest while sitting under a Juniper tree, waiting in silence for God to show up. 

I know. God had showed up in big ways for Elijah, but this time, Elijah needed a personal, one-on-one encounter with his Father. I’ve been there, haven’t you?

              I’m not very good at waiting. I don’t like to wait on anyone or anything and often view the waiting rooms of life as missed opportunities and unproductive circumstances to be avoided whenever possible. 

And as far as silence goes, if there is a word to be spoken, I will gladly speak it. In fact, for much of my life, I have tried my best to avoid silence and solitude. 

However, I am learning that while the seasons of silence and the waiting rooms of life are different in nature and purpose, they are always for my ultimate good.

              Silence sometimes falls like a sweet, gentle and refreshing rain. I don't have to do anything, be anything or seek anything. I am just with Him and He is with me. I crawl up into my Father’s lap and wrap my arms around Him and find healing and restoration. 

I fall in love with Him all over again as He reminds me that His love for me is unchanging and unconditional. The Father gently reassures my frightened heart that He is not going anywhere and that I can count on Him to be with me – no matter what!

              But there are also times when waiting in silence feels more like a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. The darkness is filled with fear and unanswered questions threaten my peace. I am lonely and don’t understand what God is doing. 

I am tired of being hurt and disappointed and quitting seems like the easiest way out. My energy is gone and no one seems to understand.

              It doesn’t really matter what compels us to crave time under the Juniper tree. It only matters that we come. Clinical depression brought me to my knees and drove me to seek God as never before. 

It was there that His truth pierced my heart and changed the course of my life with the promise found in Psalm 40:1-3:

              “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:1-3 NIV).

              Oh, I had read the book of Psalms many times, but in the silence under my personal Juniper tree, it settled into my soul and really took root. 

I began to learn how to wait on God. I came to the precious place of desperation and cried out to Him. I made the deliberate choice to trust Him like the helpless child that I am. 

During those precious moments, we laughed, cried, and talked about the trials that brought me to the pit of darkness. For the first time in my life, I began to realize that anyone or anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.

              I am learning to embrace the silent times of waiting as gifts from His hand to my life. So time under the Juniper tree is good. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. How about you?

Let’s Pray
                  Thank You, Lord, for arranging the circumstances of my life so that I must stop and rest and sit at Your feet in quiet solitude. Thank You for the healing I find there. Thank You for the new truth and redefined purpose for my life. Help me apply the truths I find under the Juniper tree and then give me the strength and determination to share Your plan of deliverance with those who need your restoration. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.”

My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5, ASB).

Under the Juniper Tree by Mary Southerland September 29, 2011 www.girlfriendsingod.com

 www.jean-oathout.blogspot.com

Tomorrow morning's post: KAIROS, A TIME TO PRAY

MYSTERIOUS WAYS More Than Coincidence



   



Christy Caldwell  "Beans and rice again. 

Can't really blame the kids for not cleaning their plates, I thought, scraping off the dishes into the sink. 


I was sick and tired of having the same thing night after night too. 


It was cheap and filled our bellies, but each sad supper made me feel emptier inside.


     "Lord, we're really struggling here,' I prayed. 'I want some real food. Not tomorrow, Lord. Today''


     Five years earlier, my husband had gotten a job in the oil fields and we had moved from Kentucky to Texas with our three children. 


    Then the oil boom went bust, and there were mass layoffs. 


    We were trying to get by on the hourly wages my husband made doing maintenance work.


     I didn't know anyone I could turn to for help. 


     I'd started going to church and joined a prayer group, but it had only been a few weeks.


     Will things ever get better? I was tired of waiting. 


     Frustrated, I plunged the plate into the soapy water. 


     'Lord, real food. Not tomorrow, today. Please!'


     That was silly, I thought. What was it they said in church? All in God's time, not when we want it.


     Just as I finished the dishes, there was a knock at the door. I glanced at the clock. Almost nine. Who would be visiting this late?


     It was Tico, the husband of Elvira, a woman I'd met at the prayer group. In his hands was a big platter wrapped in foil. 


     'Im sorry for bothering you so late,' he said.


     I told Tico it wasn't a problem.


     We were having a cookout at our daughter's house down the street,' he explained.


     'A lot of food was left over, and we thought that maybe you could use some of it.'


     He loosened the foil. There had to be four pounds of Barbecue brisket, plus fresh sliced tomatoes, lettuce and bread.


     My eyes went wide. 'Thank you! You have no idea how much I needed this tonight.'


     "I thought we should wait until tomorrow to bring this over to you, late as it is.' Tico replied. 


     'But Elvira insisted. She said,'No, not tomorrow. Today!"


CHRISTY CALDWELL

Nazareth, Kentucky

As seen on page 41 in GUIDEPOSTS- MAY 2012    www.guideposts.org


THE LEGEND OF THE CIRCLE MAKER

        
Mark Batterson“Young children danced in the downpour like it was the first rainfall they’d ever seen. 

And it was. 


Parents threw back their heads, opened their mouths, and caught raindrops like they were libations.


 And they were. 


When it hasn't rained in more than a year, raindrops are like diamonds falling from the sky.


          It was the first century BC, and a devastating drought threatened to destroy a generation-the generation before Jesus. 

          The last of the Jewish prophets had died off nearly four centuries before. Miracles were such a distant memory that they seemed like a false memory. And God was nowhere to be heard.


 But there was one man, an eccentric sage who lived outside the walls of Jerusalem, who dared to pray anyway. His name was Honi. And even if the people could no longer hear God, he believed that God could still hear them.

          With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. 

          His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred eighty degrees. Two hundred seventy degrees. Three hundred sixty degrees. 


          He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn. Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. 


          With the authority of the prophet Elijah, who called down fire from heaven, Honi called down rain:


          ‘Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children.’

           The words sent a shudder down the spines of all who were within earshot that day.

           It wasn't just the volume of his voice; it was the authority of his tone. Not a hint of doubt.


          This prayer didn't originate in the vocal chords. Like water from an artesian well, the words flowed from the depth of his soul. His prayer was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming.


          Then it happened.

          As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth.

          An audible gasp swept across the thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi. Every head turned heaven ward as the first raindrops parachuted from the sky, but Honi’s head remained bowed. 


          The people rejoiced over each drop, but Honi wasn't satisfied with a sprinkle. Still kneeling within the circle, Honi lifted his voice over the sounds of celebration:

          ‘Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.’

          The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour that eyewitnesses said no raindrop was smaller than an egg in size. 

          It rained so heavily and so steadily that the people fled to the Temple Mount to escape the flash floods. Hone stayed and prayed inside his protracted circle. Once more he refined his bold request:


          ‘Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Your favor, blessing, and graciousness.’

          Then, like a well-proportioned sun shower on a hot humid August afternoon, it began to rain calmly, peacefully.

           Each raindrop was a tangible token of God’s grace. And they didn't just soak the skin; they soaked the spirit with faith.


           It had been difficult to believe the day before the rain. The day after the day, it was impossible not to believe.

          The prayer that saved a generation was deemed one of the most significant prayers in the history of Israel. 

          The circle he drew in the sand became a sacred symbol. And the legend of Honi the circle maker stands forever as a testament to the power of a single prayer to change the course of history.”

    This was taken from Mark Batterson’s book The Circle Maker (pgs 9-11) by Zondervan.com

Later in his book, Mark quotes the Hebrew historian Josephus as saying “Now there was one, whose name was Onias, a righteous man he was, and beloved of God, who, in a certain drought, prayed to God to put an end to the intense heat, and whose prayers God had heard, and had sent them rain.”

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”  Eph. 4:20   NKJV

 Tomorrow’s post:   LETTING THE WORD WORK WITHIN YOU by Pocket Devotions

Thursday, April 26, 2012

FACING FEAR






“In Sunday school, I memorized many Scripture passages about fear, and I learned to draw on them when afraid.”

(The following are excerpts from “Facing Fear”, taken from Life Savors, Savory Stories to Inspire Your Soul, page 25.)


Cindy Hval had a baby boy who was born with “congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a life-threatening birth defect with a 50-80 percent mortality rate. 

Early in gestation, a hole in his diaphragm had not closed as it should have. His intestinal organs had pushed into his lung cavity, squashing his developing lungs.


He was flown by helicopter to a local hospital immediately after birth. He looked beautiful and healthy… As the crew wheeled him away, the flight nurse turned to me.

 ‘You need to understand that your baby is very, very sick,’ she said. ‘The next time you see him, he won’t look like this.’


Numbed and exhausted, I pulled my Bible out of my overnight bag. 

Too overwhelmed to read, I opened it to Psalms and laid it on my chest, hoping to gain comfort from the nearness of its pages.

 ‘Lord, you are asking me to face the one thing I cannot face. But if your plan for me is to experience the disability or death of my son, you will have to help me—this is too big for me.’


The following morning I went to see my baby, Sam. 

I’m not sure what could have prepared me for the sight of my child that day.

He was in a medically induced coma, so fragile that that the touch of my finger on his toe raised his blood pressure to a critical level. 

We had to whisper because the sound of our voices was too stressful for his delicate system. 

We could only wait to see if he would stabilize so he could have the surgery he desperately needed. 

I went home that night and saw his empty cradle at the foot of our bed. I cried.


I thought fear was a familiar foe, but it was nothing compared to the mind-numbing, energy-sapping battle I now found myself engaged in.


Surgery had corrected Sam’s birth defect, but risks and complications are associated with this particular disorder. He had just one lung. 

The doctors were cautiously optimistic; I was unabashedly terrified.


A winter storm was raging the last day of 1999. I drove slowly to the corner grocery to get some medicine for Sam, made my purchase, and dashed back to the car. 

As I sat behind the wheel, the nameless dread rose within me, and all the fear I thought I’d conquered broke over me in waves of terror.


I couldn’t live another minute dreading Sam’s death.


      In the deserted parking lot, I cried out to God. Did I really believe God was good? All these years I’d tried so hard to trust him. 

But fear and faith can’t exist side by side. I’d struggled so many years to be free, yet when it came to what was most precious to me, I found I really didn’t trust God after all.


      I began to speak aloud Scripture I’d memorized as a child. And I prayed, ‘O God, I choose to believe that you are good even though you’re allowing me to walk through my deepest fear. 

I know your character as revealed through your Word. It is impossible for you to do evil. If you choose to take Sam from me, I promise you I will say, ‘The Lord gave me what I had, and Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!’


      There, I had spoken it. My fear was exposed and lying before me in the cold winter light.

      And I knew that even if Sam were to die, I would live.


      Peace descended as I sat in the snow-covered parking lot. The knot in my stomach eased for the first time since Sam’s birth. 

I would not let fear steal one more minute from me. Whatever the years brought, I would choose to face them with faith instead of fear.


      I drove home and welcomed the year 2000 with my family. We were the first ones in the urgent-care clinic the next morning. 

After a careful exam, the pediatrician said, ‘This little guy’s got his first ear infection.’ I wept with relief.


      That same week, Sam’s surgeon requested new X-rays and made an amazing discover. 

At the time of his surgery, X-rays had revealed a few tiny pieces of tissue called lung ‘buds’ where his left lung should have been. 

The doctors hoped that during the next fourteen years, these buds would grow enough to form a partially functioning lung. 

The new X-rays showed that only three months later, God was answering prayers that I couldn’t even pray. 

Sam had miraculously grown a fully functioning left lung.


      I can’t say I never struggled with fear again, but faith is like a muscle that grows stronger when exercised. 

Then circumstances arise that make my faith shaky, I sit down with a photo album. 

I look at the pictures of a baby with tubes and monitors attached to every part of his body, and then I go to the window and look outside at the sturdy seven-year-old roughhousing with his brothers.

I serve a God who loves me enough to turn my weaknesses into strength. The name we’d chosen for his son before his birth is so appropriate—Samuel, ‘God has heard.’ ”

This post was originally posted 12/11/11