Once again, I find myself so very thankful for the church in which God has placed us. Not just because of our wonderful church family or our many friends here or the Christian school connected to our church but because God Himself is present here. Last night during the sermon, I found myself deeply convicted. I grew up in a Christian home, taught by godly parents; I attended Christian school from second grade on through my senior year of high school; I attended Hyles-Anderson College, the best Bible college on the planet; I have continued to be active in our church's ministries throughout my adult life. I have, truly, tried to live my life in a manner pleasing to God since my salvation. But I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have actually prayed to the Holy Spirit asking Him to convict me---and keep on convicting me until I change! God's Spirit has been working on me about a number of things for quite some time; last night I decided to listen to Him.......finally. It wasn't that the sermon was particularly bombastic or of the "hellfire and brimstone" variety, but it was definitely caused some soul-searching on my part. The main emphasis was on Jonah (you know, the guy in the whale), but we moved all over the Bible while being reminded that it isn't just what you do for or give to the Lord.......it's what you don't do; it's what you hold back. And your sin---MY sin---affects me, my family, my friends, the people I come in contact with (therapists, doctors, hospital staff, folks who recognize Dale from the TV accounts), and even people I don't know (those who read this blog, families of those aforementioned). I believe that God allows/causes troubles to happen in our lives for various reasons: (1) as punishment for known sin, (2) to make us aware of unknown sin, (3) to test our faith, (4) to show His might to the world, etc. I don't think God allowed Dale to drown in the ocean last August because of some sin in our family. I believe with all my heart that God chose to allow this hardship to bring great glory and honor to His name and to test our faith in Him. However, I certainly do not want God to have to rein in His healing of Dale because of some known sin in my life. As long as I live, I want to be surrendered to His will and the Spirit's leading. I won't reach perfection until I reach Heaven, but I can sure keep on trying!
Dale had PT on Tuesday. I wish you could have seen how well he did! Usually, Dale (and the therapist) will walk down the stairs one step at a time until they reach the last couple of steps. Then Dale will walk foot-over-foot (as we normally do) down those last steps. He may rest for a bit before turning to walk back up the stairs; lately Dale has been going foot-over-foot pretty much the whole way up. On Tuesday, Dale surprised us by walking down the stairs foot-over-foot of his own desire. He did this on about half the stairs total, having to bring both feet onto the same step the other half of the time; but he managed to walk down the last six steps foot-over-foot in succession!!! YES!!! Then, without pausing to rest, Dale turned and walked back up the stairs, foot-over-foot, all the way to the top! I was glad there were not many people in the waiting areas around the stairway because Tracy (assistant therapist) and I were excited and cheering him on! Poor Dale was so tired once he reached the top; it was all he could do to walk semi-normally down the hall into the PT gym. We let him sit on one of the mat tables and rest and drink some water---before getting him going again! He worked on the Total Gym for a bit; then he did some push-ups on the mat table (!) to finish out the hour. I couldn't stop praising him for the great work he had done.
THEN---in the parking garage on the way to our van, Dale nearly gave me a coronary. I knew we had parked at the far end of one of the ramps; I just couldn't remember if it was on level B or C. We got off the elevator at level C and proceeded down the ramp with me holding Dale's hand for support, only to realize that our van was up the ramp on the level B side. I told Dale, "I don't see the van. I think we parked up the other ramp." I was still craning my neck in a vain attempt to use the x-ray vision that I don't possess to espy the van's location when Dale said, "Hang on, Mom." I assumed he meant, "Wait a second." Next thing I knew, Dale had jumped to try to see over the vehicles blocking our line of sight. He jumped off the ground......of his own volition.......just by instinct! When he landed, his knees buckled, but he caught himself; then his knees buckled again, but he caught himself again and steadied himself. He stood there grinning like a fool while I alternately scolded him and laughed for joy! I did threaten him that if he ever did that again without warning me first, I would probably beat him! I was scared half to death by something I wish Dale would do more often---and he will, now that he knows he can do it. Wow!
God is good, as always. Even through our darkest hours (or days or years), He shows His constant goodness and love toward us. If we had but a sliver of that same love toward Him, what might we be willing to do, give, share, leave, endure, achieve? And we have the promise of Heaven with Him after this life as well. We are truly blessed.
Matthew 5: 6 "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."