Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 18, 2009

An Added Note: I forgot to say this in my post below and didn't want it to be left unsaid. I know that God does not always heal on this earth but sometimes chooses to bestow the ultimate healing in Heaven. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know I've lost 2 dear friends to breast cancer within the space of a year and a half. So I have wrestled this thing out with God--what do I pray and how do I pray for others? I believe what I've gleaned is that God is very able to heal, and willing to heal, and I should pray for His healing in every circumstance believing that if He doesn't heal according to my prayer, I can still trust Him with the outcome. He knows so much more about the person and the situation and His plan and what He's accomplishing. God is not evil. There is no darkness in Him at all, as the Bible tells us. God is love. And His mercy endures forever!

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

I quoted the above and the rest of Psalm 121 to my mother Monday night as she was trying to go to sleep for the night. She’d been in the hospital for 2 weeks. A week ago, she had had a liter of fluid removed from the lining around her right lung, had been put on a salt-restricted diet, and had her medication changed. Three or four days later her kidneys went into shock, and we were told she was in kidney failure. Both the heart specialist and the kidney specialist agreed if her kidneys didn’t improve, she would need dialysis. Then Monday morning she had to have another liter of fluid removed, and a renal scan was scheduled for Tuesday.

Monday night, after quoting Psalm 121, I gently explained to Mother that the psalm meant that no matter what she had to face in this life, God would be with her and would never leave her. He would see her through. Then I read several verses about overcoming fear and anxiety and trusting in the Lord. These are the same verses I’ve posted in this blog. I keep them in my purse, and I pulled them out to try and help my mother (as well as myself) release pent-up stress. Then we both settled down to sleep—I was spending the night with her in the hospital room—but I as I lay there, I felt a strong compulsion that we needed to pray. I had not prayed with Mother since she had been admitted into the hospital, although my pastor, minister of music, and a few deacons had done so while visiting with her.

Now, I was reluctant to ask Mother to let me pray for her because (a) I didn’t want her fragile faith to fail if the renal scan showed she needed dialysis, (b) I did not know what I was going to say because I was upset myself, and (c) I did not know how my offer to pray might be received. Mother had been snippy with me earlier—a result of her age (84) and being in the hospital and being poked and prodded for 2 weeks. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the spiritual atmosphere just didn’t seem conducive to prayer.

Still the compulsion to pray was weighing heavy on me and I had to have relief, so I asked her to pray with me like this: “Mother, I just can’t go to sleep without praying. I have to pray.” To my surprise, she said, “okay”, and I grabbed her hand and just prayed from my heart to my loving Father who always welcomes me. I cannot even tell you what I said, except I remember mentioning His throne of grace and asking that He would heal Mother's kidneys, but whatever happened, we knew we could trust Him because His perfect will is always in our best interest. I wiped the tears from my eyes and my mother said, “Now I’m going to say the prayer I say every night.” And she closed her eyes and prayed silently. And we both went to sleep, only to be awakened at 1 a.m. for her breathing treatment.

The next morning they came and took her for the renal scan. Later that day, the kidney specialist came in the room. He said the renal scan did not show any abnormality regarding her kidneys. Then he looked at me and said, “Remember I mentioned dialysis?” And I nodded and said, “Yes.” He smiled at me and said,” I believe her kidneys will continue to improve.” He then told us he wanted to see her in a few weeks after she left the hospital. And when he left the room, my mother burst out in tears. I called my dad who had come down with the flu the week before and was not allowed in her room, and we both gave God the glory for our great news! We brought Mother home yesterday afternoon.

Psalm 40:1-3

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

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