Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Seeing the Hand of God in a Heart Attack

Ever wonder what God was thinking when you go through a challenging time? I don't mean the whiny "Why me?!" Just wondering how a sovereign God who loves you will work it to good. He does promise to do that. So I think by faith a "Hey Father, what's up with this?" is a great question. That being said, we need to remember He doesn't owe us an explanation. And He does tell us in His word trials teach us endurance.

Yet, sometimes He does show us more. Maybe ten or twenty years down the road. Like the ahh haa moment I had the day I helped a family in a home crawling with cock roaches make a roach free move. About fifteen years before Bill and I were resident apartment managers. It was my job to escort the exterminator through the complex when the building became roach infested. I had roach night mares by the time we got the building insect free. That man gave me a thorough education on roaches. The information seemed trivial at the time but  years later there I was using the knowledge that only that unpleasant trial could equip me with. Then there are times, like last week, when God gives me instant glimpses of what He's up to.

Wednesday, August 26th, Bill waited with me in the ICU for the doctors to get me in for an angiogram and probably a stent. It proved to be a long wait. I didn't go in for the procedure until 5 pm. Sometime around lunch, or at least what felt like lunch time because I couldn't eat before the procedure, we heard a code blue called over the hospital's PA system. Bill and I instantly responded in prayer, "Lord thank You that you know who needs Your help now, even if we don't know them. Give the medical team wisdom and grace as they seek to preserve this life. Care for the family members who may be present. Please help each one and be glorified in this dire situation. Amen"

Ten minutes later we became part of the answer to that prayer. Bill got a call from a woman in our congregation (Bill, my husband, is a pastor). She told him one of the widow's in our church had just lost her son. Yup, that was the code blue. My husband took off to the room where this poor mother had just watched her son slip into eternity. I continued in not only prayer but praise thankful Bill could go be with her.

Had I not suffered a heart attack that Monday Bill would have been in California for duty. He's also a Navy Reserve chaplain. Not only had my heart attack kept him in town but it placed him in the hospital for just this moment in time and not only this need, yes there's more.

The next day as I recovered from the angiogram, Bill faithfully at my bedside, he got another call. This one about a retired medical missionary in our church family. Dr. B. had broken his hip.  Dr. B. also had major heart issues over the last few years and is in his eighties. Once again God had Bill right where he needed to be. He headed out to the ER to be with the Dr.,his wife, and son. They prayed together for wisdom in deciding what should be done. The decision was to take him to Topeka where a cardiac surgeon would also be available. In case you wondered why I was in ICU instead of intermediate cardiac care now you know: small town, small hospital.

We also had a chance to be blessed by three special nurses. In each area of my hospital stay, first the ER, then ICU, and finally on the regular floor, there was a nurse who had come to our church. The ER nurse I had met for the first time two days before. She was a friend of a friend who had invited her to Grace (Grace Baptist Church in Manhattan, KS is where Bill & I serve). Then my ICU nurse that first night recognized Bill right away . We had not met her before but she shared she and her husband regularly attend Grace. Finally, on the floor I met a young gentleman my husband had told me about earlier who is new to Grace. All three of these nurses provided great care for me. I'm so thankful God puts people just where they need to be when they need to be there. From lining up special nurses for me to making sure those who needed my husband's pastoral care would have it God had His hand in all these things.

No matter how much we may be hurting let's not loose the perspective that life, even our own life, is not about us. God has a much bigger story to tell. As any good author knows keeping the mystery of intrigue requires intricately weaving the all the story lines together. Kinda gets me excited about eternity when I can see the whole story unfolded and get all my "What's up with that, God?" questions answered. It'll make the Bible look like the readers digest version. In eternity we'll see how each one played their part in the greatest story ever told!

Father, You are amazing, mysterious, and infinitely wise. May we never doubt in the darkness what You've shown us in the light. Help us embrace self forgetfulness that we may have eyes wide open to your hand at work. Amen

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