Have you thought about how your life can change in an instant? I write this story sitting in my church sanctuary while waiting for choir practice to begin. Flashbacks of nearly four decades of worshipping and serving the Lord in this place make my heart smile. I remember preachers and ‘Are you listening?’, cantatas and children’s sermons, youth years and mission trips, Sunday School with Love, Laugh, Lift, sons growing up and growing closer to the Lord here, and can picture my family sitting on our pew for Sunday sermons. Once, Cameron almost choked on a fire ball given to him by Mrs. Warren, who made the boys homemade wreaths with candy kisses every Christmas. Clint spent many worship hours drawing pictures on the tithing envelopes and falling asleep in his daddy’s lap. It seems like yesterday when each of them walked down the aisle and accepted Jesus. I look behind me to the place where they were baptized and thank God for the life
changing decisions they made many years ago.
Tonight all is quiet in His house where people gather to worship and praise the Lord. The stillness of these precious moments comforts as I confide in my Father. Perched in the choir loft with my computer resting on my lap, the words flow as does His sweet spirit. Have you ever spent time by yourself in church? It’s good stuff. Yet, I remember days of childhood when I feared being alone in any church. Being a babe in Christ and afraid of being by myself anywhere could have attributed to the fearful spirit that tried to control me. I thanked God for faith that freed me from fear. This ‘me and God’ time in His house is a treasure open for all His children to enjoy. If your church is locked, ask for a key. It’s a great place for refueling one’s faith and finding refuge from storms.
God speaks softly and tenderly but sometimes must shout to get our attention. 1 Kings 19 tells that God speaks in a still, small voice. Are we listening, are we sure we’re listening? For a split second, I see Pastor Bill Jones at the podium preaching his heart out and posing that question to all His sheep? Tonight, I thank God for such precious memories and for the hope of tomorrow to make even more. I thank Him for blessings and protection through storms, like the one raging outside now. Though it’s a rainstorm, there are storms that have people bound up in fear and frustration, depression and disgust, heartaches and horror, rejection and addiction. Things of the world that distance us from the Lord and loved ones, from enjoying life and all the gifts from God, is never ending. Yet, it only takes a second to change and come close to Him and them. God whispers that He is waiting to enter our hearts, but we must let Him come
in. I pray that everyone reading this story has opened your heart’s door to Jesus. If you have not, ask Him to come into your heart today, to come in to stay, to bless and protect and guide you on your journey.and He will. Having a personal, precious relationship with Jesus is the best insurance policy for life here and for eternity, and it’s free! No matter what happens to you in a skinny minute or a split second, you will be prepared and protected by the Great I AM.
Last week, James and I headed to Fayetteville to visit some hometown friends whose lives changed in one instant. We entered Thomas Robinson’s room wondering what we would say. Since Thomas’ accident, he and his family have been on prayer lists in churches all across our county. During prayer at Tim’s Gift last Tuesday, God pounded on my heart to go see him and his wife. God had whispered many times for me to go, but my good intentions got sidetracked with a busy schedule. Anyone with me on good intentions and busy schedules? As my mother in law reminds me often, ‘we can make excuses for anything and can do what we want to do’! We should stop in the name of love and do what He whispers.before something happens that could break our hearts.think it over. The Supremes sang lyrics about stopping in the name of love and thinking it over. I listened to that song over and over, memorizing every word. That’s what we should do
with His Word and His whisperings, listen over and over, know His voice, heed what He says, follow His calling.and He will give peace and protection, even when our hearts are breaking into. Loving and serving Jesus doesn’t mean we won’t have trails and troubles, but it does mean He will carry us through and we won’t ever have to walk alone. That’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Thomas shared the story of how his life changed in an instant. His accident left his body paralyzed and his heart broken but not his spirit! He talked about things we take for granted that he can’t do right now and his determination to work and faith to believe so he can do them again one day. James and Thomas talked; I listened. Learning to be still and listen to God is powerful.
Thomas told James he looks forward to healing, so he can once again pull weeds from his flower gardens and hold their grandchildren in his lap. He shared how his nurse puts a harness on his body and dips him into the warm water for rehabilitation, how friends and family have helped prepare his house for mobility in his wheelchair, how his devoted wife has been by his side, and how God got his attention. James affirmed how God works things out in our lives in ways we just don’t understand, how He pulls us out of sorrow to see the sun shine again, and He answers prayers in His way and time. I just smiled and thanked Jesus silently for knowing what we need and sending it at just the right time.
Thomas pointed to the cabinet where pictures and cards from children and churches were taped in place. I recognized the pretty cards made by my kids at The Learning Station. I could picture our kids praying for him every afternoon, Caleb and Taylor’s grandmother picking them up early one day and God working out a blessing. Her grandchildren were deeply touched as we prayed and wanted to visit Mr. Robinson’s machine shop to pray with the family and workers. Their precious grandmother saw their desire and my dilemma of having to stay and monitor homework, so she offered to take them herself on the way home. The next afternoon, they raised their hands at prayer time to give a praise. Caleb told about delivering one of the cards and praying at Mr. Robinson’s business. The kids were so happy, so was I. Imagine how good God felt seeing little children experiencing Him in a real and wonderful way. Little children being doers of the
The four of us joined hands in Thomas’ room and prayed. You could feel the Holy Spirit softly moving like a gentle wind comforting and reminding us that God really is in control. Before we left Thomas said, “thank you for coming, for praying with us. You’re doing good things at Tim’s Gift. We live in a great community. People have been good to me. God is good and He’s got my attention.”
I told Thomas God’s got him and God is doing the good things through us at Tim’s Gift. I handed him a copy of my book, hoping it will be a blessing to them. Then, God blessed me when his wife said, “We read your column every week. Her words touched my heart, confirming His calling to write the good news and let Him take care of the rest. And He is.
We women hugged, the men shook hands, and James and I left their room with blessings and thanksgiving in our hearts. We knew God had directed our footsteps to visit our friends. Little did we know what we would experience on our journey home. God showed us firsthand how our lives can change in an instant. Next week, I will share the rest of the story.