This past week at small group was a wonderful experience that I will remember for a while. Following our time of prayer, a large portion of the group ended up hanging out and visiting for another two hours before we realized how late it was getting. The time just flew, and everyone was enjoying themselves, sharing, and being ministered to. It was a very enjoyable and encouraging evening.
For the previous three months, I personally have been struggling with chest wall inflammation and pain that has been severe enough to take me away from my job for periods of time and limit the hours that I have worked. Three weeks ago, I finally felt like I was able to work a full-time schedule, but by the end of the second week, the pain that I thought was subsiding had begun to come back strong. When I finally got to bed a couple of nights ago after small group, I was able to go to sleep, but woke up with significant pain at 3:18 a.m.
At that time I did not have much hope of going back to sleep with the way that I was feeling, and I did not want to wake up Geri. I knew that I had 2 1/2 hours yet before I would be able to get up, and it seemed like an unbearable amount of time to endure.
Then something amazing happened.
I began to review the prayer requests from the evening before and prayed through as much as I could remember and then some.
After praying for whoever and whatever came to mind, I turned my mind back to the pain that I was feeling, which had not yet subsided.
I gave it over to the Lord, knowing that I could not handle it the rest of the night on my own.
I asked for relief and healing, and then thanked God that he would always be with me to comfort me through the pain.
I prayed for what felt like at most 20-30 minutes and looked at the clock. It was 5:47. 2 1/2 hours had passed by before I had realized what had happened. At no time did I feel like I had fallen asleep. At no time had I realized a single moment that I was not in at least a small amount of pain. There were two instances that the pain lessened, and I am assuming that I slept during those times, even though I never felt like I was at any time “waking up”. My focus, from my perspective, was always on my Savior and God. when Jesus met me in my need in the middle of the night, he brought me through it in as much comfort as I think possible, short of removing the pain entirely and healing me.
It reminded me of the disciple’s recollections of crossing the sea to Capernaum one night during the fourth watch of the night with Jesus not with them at time.
John 6:15 -21 (ESV) Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
Jesus was planning to walk right by, but sensing their need and fear, he met them and comforted them. What I find especially comforting and significant in John’s recollection is that once Jesus was with them, it seemed as if they immediately reached their destination. I am not sure if this meant that he immediately took them to the other side, or if this was a “Time flies when you’re having fun” type of experience. But what I do know is that once Jesus was with them and the seas were calmed, their fear was gone and they were comforted by his presence.
And that is how I felt for the last couple of hours of the night as I interceded for the needs of my friends and called on my Savior for my own personal well-being. The last three months have been rough as I and my family have dealt with pain and other issues in life, but as stated numerous times in the recent movie, “God’s not dead!”: God is good, all the time; All the time, God is good.
To God be the glory for all the things he has done!