There are several things I have been considering over the past week during my recovery since a heart procedure one week from today. I have been wondering why, during frequent pains, soreness and blood pressure issues I still do not feel "normal". I do not necessarily know what normal is, but I know that I do not feel "up to par".
I have quietly felt in my spirit that I am very impatient; ask my wife, she will confirm this! I have been thinking of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis. A man who talked to God face to face, one who was called the friend of God because he was a man of faith. How long did he wait for the promised seed that would bring salvation to the world? Tens of years! And this man talked face to face with God. Angels visited him and his wife with the promise; he talked with them in person and fixed a meal for them! Still, the period of waiting.
What purpose could this possibly serve? God waited until Sarah's womb was beyond the capibility to conceive. She was as barren as a female can be. Abraham wanted the son of Sarah's maid to be the promised seed; he was not according to the will of God. What Abraham did in the natural would not do. God Himself shut that down in short order when the time of promise had finally come.
Consider Moses in the back side of the desert. Forty years in obsurity tending sheep. Day multiplied upon day, month upon month, year upon year for Moses. I wonder what this man thought as he gazed into the starry heavens remembering his calling? Did he question God or just give up? Finally! A burning bush! A sign that the time had finally come.
Consider Joseph and his great dreams and promise of nations bowing before him. Hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, set up in Pharoah's court by the wife of Pharoah and charged with rape! In prison for years. The time of waiting had begun.
These things happen for a reason. There is a purpose for the wait. I believe these men were changed and it brought out things hidden deeply in their hearts that even they did not know existed deep within their being. Issues that had to be dealt with that could only happen in times of isolation. Not surrounded by friends, family or a support system. Only God and the person, dealing with each other.
One thing I have learned that I do not think I would have seen in any other way is the necessity to hold others up in prayer. When I was feeling good I causally prayed for people, for their salvation, their healing or any other pressing issue. But when confronted with my own mortality and my own recent walk in the valley of the shadow of death, it has been embedded deep into my soul the finality of eternity after death.
God has given me a new sense of the eternal state of those who pass into eternity. There are two people I work with that I cannot even stand to be in the same building with them. God has forced me to pray for them with more passion. They are lost, misguided, full of themselves and their issues, even at the expense of others. But yet, they are lost without God. "Pray for them...." I will stand before God one day soon and that issue will arise. As I watch or hear of their final judgment I will be asked, "Did you pray for them?" Was there someone to stand in the gap between eternity, heaven and hell, for these two people?
I want to be able to say I prayed. I would not have learned this important lesson unless I had went through this ordeal. During the night seasons I have had dealings with the LORD about these things. There are truly treasures in the darkness the Bible speaks of; and the only way to retrieve that treasure is to go through the darkness and stop skirting around it or avoiding it at all costs.
Another minister friend of mine who has issues of his own, high sugar, dialisis and other things said that when we are walking through that fearful valley that Jesus is called the Lilly of the Valley. How true. He has never left me nor fosaken me. He is always there.
I feel that when that tinge of fear tries to overtake me during these times the choice is mine; do I yield to it or do I fight it off? It has been my choice and will always be my choice. A sudden fear, I believe it is a tangible spirit of fear that attacks the children of God even more so than non-Believers descends. It is our duty to know the Word of God, to quote the promises and remember what our position is as Children of God.
Fear not! I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. Bowing down to fear is of the devil. It could even be a case in our spirit of bowing down to Satan in fear. God says NO! It is not to be. When that tinge of fear comes around, fight it off. Be strong and of a good courage; the same Spirit that raised up Christ from the dead dwells in our mortal bodies. He is a Spirit of life, of breath, of renewal.
The waiting periods in our lives may be long, they are sometimes blessfully short, but God is sitting at the controls. Everything works together for the good of those who love God. Never lose heart.