A Conversation With God
Tuesday mornings the Pastor’s Heart is prepared for posting and emailing. If you get this letter on July 16, 2019 the objective is for me to be in recovery from surgery to remove my spleen, about half of my pancreas and whatever else may have been affected.
Exactly four weeks ago from July 16 I had an allergy. A light cough had me subconsciously slide my fingers across my abdomen. I felt a slight sensitivity under my left rib cage---not pain, normally would have ignored it. The diagnosis about two weeks later was cancer of the pancreas. Long before the diagnosis the sensitivity under my rib cage was gone. I believe the Holy Spirit guided my fingers and impressed me to see Dr. Stokes the same day.
Good news is that the University of Virginia is a leader in this type of surgery. Good news is that it was detected early. Laila and I are greatly encouraged by Covenant Family and leadership, response from family and friends.
The pre-surgery meeting with Dr. Zudyfudin was sobering. About 25% chance of something not going according to plan.
Laila and I were not shaken. We have faithfully served the Lord.
I retreated to talk with God.
There was silence for some time. He waited for me to speak.
I said: “I want to live.”
There was a pause while he mused: “Why?” was His response.
Somewhat taken aback I was momentarily at a loss for words. Then I blurted out: “I have a bucket-list of dreams!”
Perhaps it was my imagination but His face looked pained. He replied: “I do not do bucket-lists. Can you be more specific?”
“Lord, (maybe there was pleading in my voice), I have never been to Africa. Laila and I have bold plans for missionary work. Laila wants to go to Sweden. Covenant is finishing a building program and preparing for a bold future. I would like to see my grandchildren grow up….”
I was on a roll…
He raised his hand. I sensed my first question had turned more to an argument on my part. He did not speak.
It occurred to me to mention others who had not lived righteously but lived long. But the holiness of His court banished thoughts of judgment of others.
“Sovereign God, (I decided on another approach), You know how faithful I have been. You know the sacrifices I have made. You know my stewardship of tithes, offerings and giving to missions. You have a record of the long nights, lonely days and challenges I have faced to serve you…”
He responded. “Have you counted the miracles I have performed in your life? The answer is, 'No'. With your limited vision you did not see the times that angels rescued you from enemies, saved you from accidents, protected you from sicknesses, kept your house from burning, and held Satan at bay when he would have destroyed you.”
“Have you forgotten I gave my Only Begotten Son to die on a cross for your salvation? Do you realize that if I the Holy Spirit had not brought you to Jesus you would have been in a grave long ago?”
I was driven to silence. I wanted to live but did not seem to have a reason that justified heaven granting such a miracle.
The look on his face was not pity but love. He spoke kindly in a way that was like honey being poured into my soul.
“Son, there is only one reason why I would give you more time. Your body I made and breathed soul into you. Your creation was a divine act for heavenly purposes. More time would only be meaningful if you choose to be a servant of My Son, Jesus Christ, who gave his life to redeem you. You are only allowed in my presence because of him and his love for you.”
"Are you willing to lay your life down for His glory and His Church?”
In meekness I said: “Lord, then all I ask is that whatever time you give me please guide me by your Holy Spirit that I may never disappoint you.”
“Son,” He responded, “Now you have asked for favor that pleases me.”
He extended his hand. With my head bowed in submission I approached Him. His gentle hand on my shoulder was like a purifying fire!
Then He whispered to my soul. "When I formed you in your mother's womb I numbered your days. I had a plan for you. Do you want my plan or yours?"
"For in Him we live and move and have our being..." (Acts 17:28).