Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5 NIV)
Dear friends and readers,
Many of you know what is going on with me in these last few weeks, but also many are unaware of the physical challenges we have been facing in the last few days. We believe that the Lord will ultimately heal me completely and restore me to being fully engaged in ministry. But for the last few weeks it has been difficult to function and write these studies daily – I will explain. So my silence has just been due to a physical problem, and I will be back on the net soon.
For several weeks now I have been planning to have knee replacement surgery, and it was performed here in Stuttgart, Germany, 20 June, at an excellent orthopedic hospital. The surgery went well and my initial recovery progressed fine.
However four days after the surgery I suffered a seizure. The doctors will be studying the reasons for this – perhaps they will find something, or perhaps not. But it means that my brain was deprived of oxygen for a very brief time, but long enough to send me into this seizure. I woke up in the emergency room at the hospital completely confused and unable to remember what I was even doing in the hospital – I remembered my name but that was about it. Within hours full consciousness was restored.
In the following days they discovered I had also experienced a pulmonary embolism – or a blood clot in my lung – and also had pneumonia. Due to a heart attack three years earlier, I sustained some minor damage to my heart – nothing that would prevent me from functioning normally but no marathons! So all of these things are being considered together and we are praying and trusting the Lord for healing, as well as for a full restoration of my health and ministry – and full restoration in our life together, my wife Lana and I.
I stayed an extra week in the hospital treating these problems and on high doses of intravenous antibiotic for the pneumonia. After two weeks they were able to send me to the rehab I was originally scheduled to be in. I lost some ground on knee recovery due to more serious concerns. Orthopedic doctors know (or should know) that when it comes to make a decision for the benefit of a patient that the heart, brain, and lungs are more important considerations than the knees. But hopefully I am not too far behind – my knee should recover just fine.
Currently, due to my knee pain, it is very uncomfortable for me to sit in a chair. Lying down or reclining are much preferred. This means that I will not be writing much for the next couple of weeks. But I did want to rejoice in the salvation of the Lord and to invite you to pray for me and for my recovery.
I often read “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman, and have really been blessed by these devotions the last few weeks. Today’s, July 5, especially spoke to me. Perhaps it will be an encouragement to you as well.
I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness…And I will give her her vineyards from thence (Hosea 2:14-15).
A strange place to find vineyards–in the wilderness! And can it be that the riches which a soul needs can be obtained in the wilderness, which stands for a lonely place, out of which you can seldom find your way? It would seem so, and not only that, but the “Valley of Achor,” which means bitterness, is called a door of hope. And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth!
Yes, God knows our need of the wilderness experience. He knows where and how to bring out that which is enduring. The soul has been idolatrous, rebellious; has forgotten God, and with a perfect self-will has said, “I will follow after my lovers.” But she did not overtake them. And, when she was hopeless and forsaken, God said, “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”
What a loving God is ours!
We never know where God hides His pools. We see a rock, and we cannot guess it is the home of the spring. We see a flinty place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain. God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs.
In these past days I have discovered many hidden pools of God’s grace that have restored my soul. What matters most in life is not whether we are getting our way, but whether we are experiencing God in whatever way He has provided for us.
Thank you in advance for your prayers. Blessings in Christ to you and yours!