A Time of Testing and Blessing
At the beginning of April, I chose to have elective surgery to correct a problem related to my cancer. And some of you know that I was ill and I thank you for all of your prayers. Fortunately, I did not really realize how sick I was until I was actually on the mend because the infection I developed was actually in my blood. So, after two surgeries, 9 days in the hospital and several emergency visits, I am back at home recuperating.
When I was at the sickest point I could not focus my mind to read the Bible or to pray. It was as crippled as the rest of me. And I got these painful spasms that involved my entire lower part—bleeding, infected, inflamed, incised and stitched from here to there. But God was with me, though it was hard to feel his presence at that point. I was so uncomfortable I allowed them to give me oxycodone, which caused my mind to weaken and Satan took advantage. He sent me unceasing images and hallucinations of demons and other things, and they circled me for hours and tried to put horrible thoughts into my mind. I knew this was an all-out assault on me and because I knew that, I was determined to resist and called on God's help and Jesus and the Holy Spirit to drive him away and eventually they did. I told the nurse to add that medicine to my list of allergies.
Despite all of these challenges, miracles began to happen. God sent his Angels to surround me and lift me up he sent Christian nurses who understood that we live and die for Jesus. Their kindness and tenderness of heart brought tears to my eyes more than once.
Besides this, also others came to my rescue. I was blaming myself and he sent a chaplain who understood and said no, this is because living the life you have been, you have “a big old target on your back.” He read the 91st Psalm to me and prayed the armor of God over me. Others, people from the shelter where I volunteer, and my classmates from 1965 sent cars cards that brought tears to my eyes. People came to visit me.
I lost a lot of weight and a lot of strength. It may take six months to fully recover, but I will be about God's business much sooner than that. Also, he spared my kidney who which was the thing I was most worried about. ( I only have one ).
Another thing I found was that some old gospel tunes that I used to listen to raised me up when I was unable to read or think or pray. They calmed me and focused me. Now looking back, I feel God blessed me with this experience. I might have as bad or worse ahead due to cancer, chemo or multiple myeloma. I don't want to focus on those possibilities.
The main thing is when I realized that in my darkest hour and my blackest moment He was with me. His Angels surrounded me. When I could no longer stand, I was lifted up and carried. I was suspended in the air. Golden wings surrounded me and protected me. How blessed I am to know firsthand his faithfulness! How greatly I thank him for bearing me through this dark time as he brought his children through the Red Sea by their hands and delivered them. Whatever life I have left is his. My praise is ongoing. I also thank him as ever and always for putting me with my beloved wife who stood with me and suffered my pain and all else with me and kept the home together-- and must have been powered by the Holy Spirit as no one could do it alone.
So, I am blessed and grateful. It was painful, almost beyond endurance. But I rest in the sure knowledge of his grace and love, and his faithfulness. And the Devil’s attacks did not penetrate despite their intensity and my state of weakness. Amen.
Anyway, I have not been posting on this website for two months because of this period of testing and of blessing. Many times God's blessings come at a price. This one was very difficult. But I know, many other people suffer far worse than I have, and remain faithful. It is all we can do to stand the test he gives us the best we can with his help. How blessed we are to know that the Holy Spirit will come and God's Angels will come and all of the heavenly host will sing to us when we need it most. So, even though we may be wracked with pain in the body, our soul soars above the clouds. It is so hard going through. But when it is over, we have a gift and we have assured knowledge that God is there and that Christ is always with us and that they will never abandon us who belong to God, who look to Jesus Christ, who remain faithful in him.
Blessings, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit to each and everyone.
Joe, author of I, Witness
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