The last couple of weeks have been hectic, but the Lord has taught me a lot about planning ahead, making the most of my time, trusting Him for the results, and casting all my cares on Him knowing that He cares for me.
I have been the men’s leader in my fellowship for a number of years now, and last weekend was the annual Promise Keepers conference in Ottawa. I had a number of men coming with me, and getting all of them there was a challenge. I got most of them there, too. We had a great time, and we learned that the Lord wants us “all in” for Him, the theme of the conference. As good as it was, it was tiring. However, my week was not over, I had to prepare a sermon for the following morning. The regular pastor had taken a week off to support their spouse in a second procedure to eliminate atrial fibrillation, a serious and life-threatening condition. I had agreed to provide pulpit supply three weeks earlier, knowing what I was getting into. I can handle this no problem, I thought to myself. I know how to plan ahead. Now I’m thinking I should have thought twice, but I completed my sermon preparation and then went to bed.
I awoke the next morning and prepared the agenda for the annual meeting at the church, preparing for potential disagreements or attempts at politics within the church, something I have come to hate – yes, full-on unadulterated hate – with a passion. As the new moderator, it is my job to act as chair at these meetings. As I sipped my coffee and my paperwork and sermon rolled off the printer, I hoped for a quiet day, and for a ride home (my vehicle died a grisly death of sorts last October and I have used public transit ever since) for my family.
At that moment, I was overcome with anxiety at my situation. I began to pray, and the Lord brought this verse to mind: “Cease striving and know that I am God…” (Psalms 46:10a NASB) Peace flooded my heart as I remembered those words and how at times past counting God had been my strong tower at such times.
The Worship Service had already been altered because of illnesses, and was now needing further alteration because not all of the music could be found. But we made those changes and didn’t even bat an eye. The service was wonderful. The sermon was well received and spoke to hearts. God worked in unseen ways and through His servants.
The weather was threatening freezing rain. (Later, it fulfilled that threat.) It prevented enough church members from coming that we could not achieve quorum for the meeting, so no votes could be taken. We had our meeting anyway, and it became a wonderful time of celebration and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
I had an assignment for my pastoral training course due on Friday, but my wife was having Gastric bypass surgery on Thursday. Using my ability to make the most of my time, I handed it in on Wednesday, and went to sit at the hospital with my wife while she underwent life-altering surgery. She was nervous, but I at least put on a brave attitude for her.
I had brought my laptop thinking to do a little work on BereanNation.com. In all the chaos of trying to get it all done for the Lord and managing a house where two of three children have genuine mental health issues, I had forgotten to write about half of the assignment. The good news was that the instructor read it, and loved what I wrote…and invited me to resubmit with the second half. (So if you wonder why there is no Galatians 4 study, now you know.) Guess what I did? You bet – I wrote the second half and resubmitted. And I had a sense of peace about it.
About 7 that evening, they finally let me see my wife. It was truly a frightening sight. Her face was grey, her pulse was too high, her oxygen stats were too low, along with her blood pressure. We spoke for a moment, and the surgeon pulled me away. He told me they were going to have to go back in because of internal bleeding. I nodded, and I put that brave face on for my daughter (13 years old and with me). I told her things would be okay. And one of us believed that – her. I admit I was terrified. I didn’t know if I would see my wife alive in the morning. We took the bus home.
At 11 p.m. or so, the hospital called. She was out of surgery and doing much better, though she had lost a lot of blood. They gave her 3 units and 1 unit of plasma to refill the lost volume and kickstart her system again. I slept fitfully.
I’ve just now come from the hospital. She’s fine but weak, like you might expect. She’s going to be in hospital for a few days. The worst part for me is I can’t be there, I have a training course. But thank God.
So what does all this tell me? Are we going to have trials that are thick and fast at times? Yes. But stop struggling. God our Father has us in the palm of His hand, and according to Him, no one can change that. Praise His name!