God works in miraculous and mysterious ways. God gave me opportunities to witness and to plant seeds in ways I would have never otherwise gotten. There were opportunities to counsel hurting people and I took great satisfaction in those. God used me in mighty ways that I never would have anticipated. Our marriage is stronger than ever as we walked through this crisis together. We both grew during this time. We learned that God will put us in very difficult positions to test us. My situation gave me influence I otherwise never would have had, We find that our faith is stronger than ever.
I have neuropathy - typical for diabetics. The nephrologist tells me my kidneys are weak. He believes that I will have to go back on dialysis - but I have made up my mind to never go back. God alone determines when He wants me to come home. My lungs are slowly healing. But God will heal me of my infirmities as He sees fit. My bed sore wound took almost a year to be healed.
I chose to see my time in the hospitals as a time for solitude and contemplation. I chose to “get busy livin”. I chose to live day by day and keep active as best I could and leave the rest to Jesus.
People have asked how we kept a positive attitude during these times. God certainly upheld us. The prayers of the thousands who prayed for us were so deeply appreciated and we felt them. We find that our faith is more resolute than ever.
My healing journey continues. I still have health issues such as neuropathy in my feet. My lungs have some serious scarring; even the lightest strenuous activities gives me problems breathing.
Years ago I was reading Luke 2. I was reading where Jesus tells Mary that it was time for Him to be about His Father’s business. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that being saved was not enough. You could still be saved, but The Lord is looking for a 100% commitment to Him. I decided then and there I would commit my life 100% to Jesus. There would no turning back. I would pursue Jesus with all that I had to give. I certainly would not be perfect. But I would press on fully intent on serving Him to the fullest. It was this commitment to Jesus that God used to get me thru this trial. To God be the honor, the glory and the praise!
Scripture tells us as much:
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. …But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Rom 6:18-22)
“...and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. ” (Mark 10:44)
I firmly believe that my decision to be 100% in for Jesus is why I’m alive today. To absolutely without any qualifications turn my life over to Jesus. James tells us that if you have a divided heart you should expect nothing. 99% in for Jesus is 100% divided! I don’t regret a single instant of what he allowed in my life. Because I gave myself over to Him a fully unqualified 100%!
Knowing that I will meeting Jesus at some point makes me like a giddy kid looking forward to Christmas. Paul said he wanted to go there but the work here wasn’t finished.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” (Phil 1:21-26)
The reason why God had allowed the overall process? We were chatting with a nurse the day I was scheduled to leave Lynchburg General. She said “You know, there had been so much Covid-19 and so much death, we needed something. And you were such a breath of fresh air. You see, we needed you just as much as you needed us.” You see, I found I could make them laugh. Later on, the Holy Spirit clued me in that I needed to walk the entire “Covid-19 road” to have influence with the staff. It all had been done so that I could connect emotionally and support the nurses and medical personnel. It was all allowed that I might have influence for Jesus!
I recalled what Paul and Silas endured:
“...Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)
In a similar way, I was able to minister to the staff at UVA dialysis in that I could make then laugh. I bought them lunch one day; flowers on a couple of other occasions. Several of the staff still follow my story. Emily - one of the techs - and her husband treated Kathy and I to dinner one night. She told me the day I left that she would miss me enormously; “It sure has been nice to have someone who understands us.” Reportedly, several of the patients who I used to pray over have asked “what ever happened to the preacher?”
NEXT TIME: THE FINAL INSTALLMENT: "CONCLUSION"
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Nick is the Vice-Chancellor of Amherst Theological Seminary, and he has a D. Min. from Amherst Theological Seminary. He has his MA from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the author of the book: "The Walk Applied: Living the New Creation Life as a Citizen of God's Kingdom in a Secular World". He has also written "The Fasting and Prayer Handbook". Nick has been married to Kathy since 1985, and hey are the proud parents of 3 children.
Contact Nick at email@example.com
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