God’s ways never cease to amaze me. I’ve enjoyed so much of His goodness in my life, from the subtleness of sensing His presence to witnessing the immediate answer to prayer in the form of a miracle, each experience exposing a new revelation of His magnificent character. We too often associate God’s goodness with our obedience; however, my most powerful testimony of God’s abilities has little to do with my obedience and more to do with the truly amazing power of God and His ability to use us in spite of ourselves.
It was 1986, just a year after my mother passed away when I received a telephone call early one Sunday morning from one of my three sisters. Her oldest boy, 18 at the time, had been involved in a horrific automobile accident the night before. Three of my four high school years were spent babysitting her two oldest boys every evening after school and they had become more like little brothers to me. The news itself was crushing, but later when I walked into the ICU and saw him lying on that bed, air being mechanically pumped into his body which was inflated twice its normal sized due to the build-up of fluid, I felt the weight of the world on my heart.
He had lost his spleen and one kidney. The other kidney was barely functioning. At 6’2”, 185 pounds and an avid weight-lifter, he looked anything but vulnerable – until that day. I cried and prayed throughout the day with my sister, privately holding out little hope. My sister and her husband had only recently come to know Jesus as their Savior and she was holding up amazingly well, extremely faithful. I was more than a little impressed.
Later in the evening I convinced my sister to let me take her home for a few hours of rest, as her son had shown little change throughout the day. A few hours later I received another call from my sister. Through intermittent sobs I was able to ascertain that the hospital had called. Her son had taken a turn for the worse. He was not expected to make it through the night. She kept repeating over and over, “God won’t take him. I know God won’t take him from me.”
Hanging up the phone I knew what I had to do. Her son was going to die, I knew it. The doctors knew it. My sister had to find a way to accept it without losing her new found relationship with God. I was so worried that this would rob her of the faith she had found after all these years. I had to convince her to accept this as God’s will. I had to make her understand this was just God’s plan.
The drive to her house took twenty minutes and I used every available second to plan my words carefully. I got out my car, walked across the street, up the flight of stairs and put my hand on the doorknob, rehearsing my speech up to the last possible second. She had to accept the fact that it was just God’s will without turning against Him for taking her oldest son. I had to make her understand.
I walked through the door and the first words out of my mouth were, “You’ve got to pray harder than you ever have. We cannot let Satan take him from you.” The rest is just a blur until I closed the door behind me on my way out, at which time I remember asking myself, “What just happened? What did you do?” I scolded myself all the way home for being “weak”, although I had no recollection of what I said, other than the first words I uttered.
It wasn’t until the following morning that the full impact of what had really happened would hit me with a force that left me in complete and total awe of God’s amazing ways. My sister called around 6:00 a.m. the following morning, thanking me over and over for what I did, what I told her to do. She even stated, “I did just want you told me do, and it worked.” The nurse had called from the hospital relaying the information, the doctors and staff were astounded and calling it a miracle! For reasons beyond their understanding the remaining kidney suddenly began functioning when it should have failed completely. Within a matter of days he was out of ICU and made a full recovery.
To this day I have no idea what I said that day, but they were not my words nor were they meant for me. I was but a vessel that God used to get His message to my sister. I can take absolutely no credit for anything, and I was truly humbled by the experience. I have learned to never allow circumstances to dictate the outcome and override God’s plan for my life or anyone’s. He is in control, always.
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