Thursday, May 5, 2011

Praising God in all Circumstances

(Dear Friends: Today is the National Day of Prayer. Please take time to pray for our nation today.  I will deal with important issue tomorrow.  Today, however, I felt led of the Lord to share the following devotion.  I pray it touches you as it did me - God bless you.)

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. -Psalm 91:1, 2 (KJV) 

A few months ago I took on the responsibility of being a part-time volunteer chaplain at the local hospital.  This involves being on call every Tuesday morning and also one full day per month.  Each week I have the privilege of ministering to people who are going through extremely difficult times due to illness.  The other day I met a lady named Linda, and of the many patients I have met she blessed me in a particularly powerful way.  Several years ago Linda survived a house fire which left her severely burned over a large portion of her body.  Since then she has underwent 38 surgeries and skin grafts.  The pain and discomfort this woman has suffered is beyond comprehension.  Yet, her attitude remains positive, her laughter and smile are infectious, and her faith in God is unwavering.  I walked into her room hoping to bring her comfort in Christ, yet I was the one who ended up being encouraged and strengthened because of her faith. 

Linda shared how after the fire as she was rushed to the hospital she actually died on the operating table.  She testified how she recalled being led by the hand by a bright and beautiful angel who was leading her up a garden path toward the gates of heaven.  As they neared the gates, however, the angel turned to her and said, “I’m sorry, but you have to go back.”   “I don’t want to go back,” She replied.  “I want to go onto heaven.”  “I know,” the angel answered; it’s not your time right now.”  Linda testified how she later awoke in the recovery room in intense pain.  “I certainly wanted to go to heaven rather than have to go through all these surgeries and procedures,” She said, and she actually laughed.  “God must have a plan for me because I’m still here.”   

Was Linda’s experience the result of a fevered brain and overactive imagination?  I think not.  Linda has a home in heaven; it simply was not her time to go.  God indeed has more for her to do while here in this world.  My friends, if this dear lady, who has gone through intense suffering and agony, whose fingers were all burned off from her hands, and whose face is disfigured; if she can laugh and give praise to God, then surely you and I can praise God in the midst of our struggles. 

Whatever you are facing today, know the Lord is with you and He has a unique and definite plan for your life.  Do not be discouraged, do not give up, and do not be afraid.  Trust in Jesus, rejoice in the Lord, and move forward in faith.  The Lord is with us! 

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