16 April, 2012

Those Incredible God Set Ups

While waiting in the hospital waiting room in Peoria tonight I struck up a conversation with a woman over her very unique tie dye outfit and we ended up talking for quite awhile. She shared with me about her son, Lance, who is in critical condition in ICU due to his drug addiction. She told me that he is 37 years old, and that his life has just been ravaged because of alcohol and drugs, that he'd lost everything and was living back in his parents home. He has been in and out of hospitals for years as he has drank and used drugs almost to the point of death more times than she could begin to count. She told me he almost died this time and had been on life support for a couple of days. She said that she had knelt by his bed and prayed last night and told God that she was done fighting, that if he was going to die, to just take him because she could not take this anymore. This morning, he woke up and was taken off the machines and was breathing on his own, however he is still in ICU and had serious complications.  I told her a bit of my testimony and that I was now a pastor. She said that she knew I was a pastor when she saw me (which I thought was really funny because I was in jeans and a leather jacket). She asked me if I'd be back this week, and I told her I would and she asked me if I'd consider talking with her son when I came back. I told her I'd make a trip over tomorrow to meet him and talk with him. She was just overjoyed that I would do this and her entire continence changed and her face lit up. As we were talking, the nurse came out of the ICU to tell me that I could now go in to see the woman that I was there to see, so I gave this woman my card, and told her I'd stop back out to see her before I left. 

I went in spent about 40 minutes talking with the nurse in ICU, which was really cool, because the Lord opened a door to witness to her of Christ as well. It was really kind of odd the way this whole thing opened up. We some how got to talkign about her fear of losing her parents and she said she'd never lost anyone close to her. I made a comment that I was at the other end of the spectrum and told her about losing both of my parents within 7 months of each other when I was 5 years old, and from this we got into a discussion where she spoke of her fear of death, and it just opened a door to talk to her about Jesus. She did not make a decision right then, but she thanked me and told me that she was so glad she had met me. By this time, it was getting pretty late, so I went in to see Linda, I only stayed  for a few minutes as she was worn out from the events of her day, so I spoke with her for a few minutes and had prayer with her. When I came out of her room, the nurse that I'd been talking to came and took me by the arm and introduced me to another nurse and said, "He told me about Jesus in way I've never known him before." I talked briefly with them, gave them both my cards and we promised that we'd meet and talk soon. As I came out of the ICU, I went back into the waiting room, and Lance's mother was sound asleep. I turned and started to leave and the man who was working at the desk followed me out in the hall and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her. He said that she had been there for 4 days by herself and that she had hardly spoken to anyone, and had cried most of the time. He also said that she had not rested more than a few minutes here and there the entire time and that he and the other workers had been very worried about her. He told me that after I went into the ICU, she was just beaming, and was telling everyone in the room, "God sent that man here just for me and Lance" and then went and laid down and had been sleeping peacefully for close to an hour.

I have spoke in my church many times about what I call, "God's setups." These encounters tonight were exactly that. I did not go to Peoria tonight with the intention of witnessing to anyone, only to pray for the wife of a dear friend. But God had another plan and purpose. Linda was supposed to be airlifted to the hospital, so I headed out and was there by 4:00 PM. Due the extremely strong winds, they delayed the transport, and finally they grounded the helicopters and decided to transport her by ambulance. Since we were going to have a few hours, I went to dinner with my wife and then sent her home. I grabbed a brownie and coffee from Starbucks and decided to go rest in the waiting room while I was waiting for Linda to arrive and for them to have her set up in her room. Little did I know that this was what God's plan was all along. I'm convinced of it. As I think about today, I am reminded that on my way to Peoria, I kept singing the chorus over and over, "In my life Lord, be glorified."  That is exactly what happened. While these women met me tonight, it really was not about me at all. It was the opportunity for Jesus Christ to be glorified through the telling of what he has done in my life. And he's not finished yet. I'm believing that he is going to use me to speak to Lance to share with him the message of hope and freedom that is found in Jesus. I have another saying that my church people know well... "Talk to God about your neighbor before you talk to your neighbor about God."  I'm praying, talking to God about Lance... and I'm asking any of my readers who will, please ask God to prepare Lance's heart to receive the Word of life. 

You'd think I'd be used to this by now... but God so amazes me how he can set the stage for us to tell others of His great love. I've missed many of those opportunities because I was not sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, but I'm so thankful that today I was aware and He was glorified.

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