Aug 16, 2012

"Here I am Lord, Send me."

Habakkuk 1:5 “Look among the nations and watch-Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you.” (NKJV)
One day, I received a prayer chain email from my Pastor’s wife. “Please pray for this particular church member. He was in a tragic house fire and is in critical condition.” I was bewildered! I immediately hung my head, closed my eyes and began to pray.  “Please Lord Jesus help this hurting man. Take away his pain. Please Lord Jesus! In Your holy name, Amen.”
A few days later, while preparing for the day, I began thinking about the man from church again. I started to consider the sovereignty of God. Unexpectedly, the Lord began to whisper to my heart. “Go see him.” He said. “He is waiting for you!” My mind began to question God’s intentions. “Why me? Why would God choose me to minister to this particular man?” I wondered. We weren’t very close to one another. Sure, we had attended the same church for several years and had even been baptized together, but somehow our relationship never surpassed surface level conversations.” A feeling of incredible doubt overwhelmed me! Yet, I stood silent and tried to allow my hesitant heart to remain open.  “Go!”  God said again with holy authority.
The next day, I felt an incredible urge to visit the man facing unimaginable pain. So, I called my Pastor’s wife to inquire of the man’s last name and the name of the burn center where he was being treated.  Then, I searched on line for directions to the hospital. Next, I shared my intentions with my seven-year-old son. My son knew exactly who the man was. Often after church services had ended, this same man spent time with my young son, usually inquiring about how he was managing without his father being present in our home. Naturally, when I shared my intentions to visit the man in the hospital, my son chose to accompany me.
We arrived at the hospital early mid-afternoon. As we walked through the entrance doors, I prayed, “Lord, please help me to do Your will.” Then, I grabbed my son’s hand. I looked at him and said, “I am not sure if children are allowed in the intensive care unit. You may have to wait outside the main doors.” However, when we arrived to the ICU, the nurse surprisingly welcomed us both inside. My son waited at the nurses’ station while I prepared to enter the man’s recovery room. A plastic blue stretchy hat, a matching gown and sterile gloves and I was “ready” to enter. I said, “Son, wait here and read your bible. I’ll be right back.”
I slowly walked over to the man’s bedside. I said, “_____, it’s Donna. Can you hear me?” The man rolled his eyes towards me. Our eyes met! My heart began to beat faster. I continued, “Travis is here too! We came to tell you that God is with you and we love you. I love you! I love you!” I was amazed at how the words “I love you continued to unconsciously pour out of me.”  The man’s chest rose higher and then dropped lower each time I repeated the phrase. He could hear me!
Next, I opened my bible. I let the pages fall as they may. They landed on Isaiah chapter 22. I began to read, though I didn’t understand. Isaiah 22? This wasn’t the comforting message that I had hoped to deliver! Yet, I knew in that moment that I was merely God’s instrument. So, I took a deep breath and prayed, “Rid me of myself Lord.”  I began to read each verse out loud. I read until verse 18 without hesitation.  However, when I began to read the words, “You shall die,” in verse 18, tears filled my eyes. I paused to pray. “Please Lord; don’t make me say these words.” “Read!” God said. “You shall die,” I said faintly. That’s when I started to feel faint.  So, I closed my bible and exited his private room. I thanked the two nurses. Then, I placed my cap and gown in the trash can.
Before we left, I shared a quick version of my personal testimony with the two nurses on duty. One of the nurses personally walked us to the exit. She said, “We bent the rules this time. So, don’t tell anyone he was allowed in.” Then, the nurse softly grabbed my hand. She said, “Pray for me too!” I promised her that I would and we walked to the elevator. As we walked down the hallway, my son excitedly announced, “I made a paper airplane and ate orange Jell-O, Mom.” Still in shock from all that had transpired, I remained quiet.

During the drive home, I decided to stop at my parents’ house. I needed to spiritually unload on my father, a strong believer in our Lord, Jesus Christ. I just knew he would understand the heartache was experiencing. But before we could exit the freeway near their home, my young son vomited all over the back seat of our car. Unbelievable! He hadn’t shown any signs of sickness prior to that moment. “I am so sorry Mommy.” He said, as he wiped his mouth. “I hate that guy! Satan I mean! Why does he have to pick on me?” I tried to comfort my son. “It is just a car. I’ll clean it up. Don’t worry Son!” I replied. Then, I cried out to God for help in preventing any more of Satan’s schemes.
A week passed and I hadn’t heard much about the man’s condition. Consequently, I was under the impression that he was improving. I began to share my heart with others. “Just imagine what his testimony will be like. I almost can’t wait for his complete recovery!” Around this time, I had a dream. In the dream, the wounded man appeared to me. Only now, he was wearing all white and his skin was restored.  When I reflected about the dream the next day, I rationalized that I was simply remembering how the man was dressed on the day of his baptism. “It was only a dream.” I thought.
Afterwards, God spoke to my heart a second time concerning the man. “Go see him.” God instructed. This time, without hesitation, I responded, “Here I am Lord! What shall I say?” Then, I opened my bible. Right away, the pages landed on Job chapter 19.  I began to read. Tears overflowing!

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,” (Job 19:25-26).

Later on, I raced to the nearest department store and purchased a greeting card. I wrote those two verses in the card, dropped my son off at vacation bible school and drove to the hospital. This time, I was unable to personally see the man. He was in the middle of receiving a dressing change and I didn’t have enough time to wait for the nurses to finish. So, I handed the card to the nurse. She promised to read the card out loud to the man.

Sunday morning came only a few days later. Still new to the area we were living in I searched online for a nearby church to attend. As God would have it, I found a Calvary Chapel near our trailer park. The directions led us to a local elementary school. Excited, my young son and I drove to the school. However, we arrived only to read a sign with another church name written on it. “What do we do now?” I wondered.
I decided to return to the trailer and simply read God’s Word with my son. But on the way home, another church around the corner from the elementary school caught my eye. “Let’s give it a try.” I told my son. As we walked through the door, we were warmly welcomed inside. “I was looking for a Calvary church.” I said to one woman. She replied, “Oh, that’s us! We just changed our name.” Instantly, I felt at home.
My son walked with a purpose in his step to his new bible study class. Meanwhile, I was embraced several times by church members.  Next, I took my seat in the small and friendly church sanctuary. “We have an announcement.” The Pastor said. “Today, we have a guest speaker. He will be leading us through the book of Job.” My eyes welled with tears. Was God confirming His will? The guest Pastor began to speak. “Today my sermon will be on two specific verses, 25 and 26.” Tears overflowing!  
I few days later, I was completely shocked to learn that the man had passed away.  I instantly began to grieve. “I thought he was supposed to share his testimony Lord?”  I spent the next few days intentionally and deliberately reflecting on my heartbreak.  Each time I began to cry, God whispered peace into my soul. Then, God used others to speak to my broken heart. One person even said, “Maybe the man was lying in that hospital bed wondering, ‘Where are You Lord? Why have You done this to me?’ Then, you showed up and repeatedly said, “God is with you and I love you.” Incredible!  

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