Wednesday, November 30, 2005

God Works Through the Net

I had a rather interesting day yesterday. After my posting I went on to read a couple of other blogs. One, in particular, was an update page for Gordy and Debbie Schmidt. Gordy is in the hospital in Tampa after experiencing a brain bleed. I could not help but post. My heart went out to them and their desparate need.

Not long after that I got an email from JLGlass, the site's owner saying how surprised Deb and Gordy would be to know I had stumbled into their lives and was praying with them and for them. I hadn't really expected a reply, so it was great to hear from someone firsthand.

Then, later that night, as I got on to do a little bit of work, I noticed another email. This time it was from more friends of the Schmidts, Diane Viere, thanking me for praying for her dear lifelong friends. She described them to me, and this made them all the more real to me. One line in her email really struck home. "To be known by God is...eternal." I cried when I read her email.

I started this blog because I had been laid off of work. I decided to pursue my dream of being a writer. I knew it would not bring in a decent living, but it gave me something to dream about, and hope for, and do while I was searching for employment. Several of the jobs I have applied for have asked for writing samples. To keep in practice, I blog. And sit and wait for rejections or acceptances for my submissions. For an entire month I have submitted works to magazines and publishers. I haven't heard anything. But that doesn't stop me. I have read that it may take months to receive answers. Needless to say, I find myself getting discouraged.

But yesterday was a red-letter day. God reminded me that I am not alone in this life. That there are others who need desperately my prayers. There are those that are fighting for their lives. There are those who sit where I once sat, feeling the same things I once felt. They needed to hear from me.

I was 22 when my father's illness struck him. His was a rare neurological state brought on by brain trauma. Who knows which trauma it was. My father had been in several vehicle accidents, twice breaking his neck. God was merciful both times. He was never paralyzed from it. Nevertheless, his illness came on suddenly. He seizured for 20 minutes before they could get him to a hospital. He stayed in intensive care for 10 days. My mom brought him home and cared for him for five years. I wish I could say it had a happy ending, but he passed away at 51. But God was with us through it all. Every moment. We were strengthened by the prayers of people with faith. So I know what it is to feel those prayers.

Some day I am going to write a memoir of sorts. My mom passed away in 2001 from her second bout of breast cancer at the age of 61. She is my inspiration. She was a godly woman. She was a true servant. I miss her so much. Her story would take many pages to tell. Her philosophy during her illness was to pray for the best and let God have the rest. She did not fear dying. She worried about those she was leaving behind. I remember her telling everyone she came in contact with what a peace she had about it all. What a woman. What a God!

So you see, Diane, I am no stranger to hospitals, illness, trials, and heartache. At one point during my mother's illness, my mom was in Jackson General and my mother-in-law was in Vanderbilt hospital at the same time. Both were on chemo. My mother-in-law died of leukemia in 1998. I look back at that year and know that it was the grace of God that kept me going. And he will keep Debbie and Gordy going too.

We just have to keep the faith. I'm so glad I blog. Smiles.

2 comments:

DIane Viere said...

Isn't God amazing! While our focus on www.gordyupdate.blogspot.com is to corporately pray for Gordie Schmitz--God directed us to you as well!

I have copied a devotional that I wrote for our Church devotional some time ago--Life Line--you can receive them daily from www.woodridgechurch.org

I don't know about you--but I have been energized and inspired...to look more carefully at my day--looking more closely at where God is pointing me to. For even in the quiet moments of my life in front of my computer screen--God shows up! I just need to be looking for him.

I'm so glad you blog too!

Unanswered Prayers?

I am a student of words. I believe in their power; they are descriptive, they are inspirational, they are enduring. Whenever I discover meaningful quotes, I copy them to my journal. Every book I own has been highlighted, earmarked, or paper clipped for easy access should I want to revisit a meaningful passage. I have been comforted, challenged, and convicted many times throughout my life solely by the printed word.

Yet, it is within the living breathing Word of God, that I have found my greatest sustenance. My most deeply cherished possession is my Grandmother’s Bible. The pages are yellowed and the edges are frayed, yet, it remains alive with soul nourishment. Her handwritten notes are fading but the truth of their message continually speaks.

Next to 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10, she wrote Morning, June 27, 1948--Brother Gottwald, having underlined verse 9. This verse held special meaning to my Grandma. Even though she died when I was only 10, I continue to learn about this cherished loved one by reading her Bible. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

After wondering what my Grandma’s thorn may have been, I continued on to read the underscored verse: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” She did not list her thorn; she left a greater message--her strength was found in Jesus.

I draw great comfort from these words; for over the decades, I have repeatedly (more than three times!) petitioned God to remove my “thorn.” This thorn has tormented me since I was 15 years old. I have sought every kind of medical treatment, have been prayed over, and have believed that God would take my pain away. Yet, I continue to struggle with its pervasiveness.

For centuries, Bible commentators have only speculated what Paul’s thorn may have been. Isn’t Paul brilliant! Instead of identifying his weakness, he points us to Jesus--his strength. Perhaps he knew, that had he identified his struggle, believers of his day would have become distracted and responded with remedies or cures. Paul wanted our focus to be on his “weaknesses” (vs. 9b) because it is there that we find Jesus. This truth is relevant, whether in A.D. 55, 1948 or 2005.

Challenge: Where do you look when you are suffering? Do you set your eyes on the struggle only? How are you distracted? Within your own unanswered prayers, look for Jesus. Find his strength in your weakness. Let him sustain you, giving real purpose to your pain. Highlight 2 Corinthians 12: 9 and pencil in the words of Bible Commentator, Ray Stedman nearby: “The weaker you are, the stronger Christ can be.”

Diane Viere said...

Thanks so much for your post today. It is no surprise to me that you have experienced such pain in your life--your compassionate response to www.gordyupdate.blogspot.com was evidence of 2 Corinthians 1:4 in action!

I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share the comfort that has been given to you. You are a blessing!

I am going to e-mail my network of friends and notify them of your blog. We will pray for your employment opportunities--knowing that the power of prayer is real!

Have you read Rick Warren's book: The Purpose Driven Life? It is an amazing "love letter from God" to all who are struggling to find their real purpose in this life. If you haven't--I recommend it highly--as it was life-changing for me. It will bolster your faith as you wait for God to partner with you and open the doors of your dreams. After all, he is your creator and he knew each of the days of your life...before you were born (Psalm 139).

Another great site to visit is www.surprisemegod.com. Terry Esau, an acquaintance of mine from church, has authored two books...his most recent is "Surprise Me, God." I look forward to hearing about the surprises God has in store for you....on your blog.

Diane