PSALM 103: 1-5 

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
         And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
         And forget not all His benefits:
 Who forgives all your iniquities,
         Who heals all your diseases,
 Who redeems your life from destruction,
         Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
         So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

About 14 years ago or so, my mother got sick with a bad pneumonia. I saw her the night before at the hospital and her abdomen was oddly swollen. I found out later that happens when one has respitory problems and you can no longer breath from the diaphram but more from the stomach. She had triple pneumonia and something else they just were not sure of.

I remember the look of fear on her face. I told her she would be ok and would be back the next day. I really thought she would be ok. But I was wrong.

The next day she was put on a respirator. She lay there fully aware of her surroundings and was making gestures with her right hand. I picked up on it and got her a pencil and paper. At first my siblings kind of mocked me — how could I know what she wanted? But I was right. She wanted to write and she wrote a note saying she loved us all who were in the room.

A few days went by and she became more out of it as they doped her up with morphine and God knows what all else. At one point the lung doctor called us family members in a small conference room and told us to prepare for the worst. Telling her he had seen people not as sick as she, and not make it. He told us to go home and prepare for funeral arrangements.

I remember the deep shock and sadness on my family members faces. Especially my dad who was living at the time. My baby sister started crying. I stood up — partly out of shock and disbelief — partly out of boldness and said, “She is not going to die. I do not believe it. You all can call me a religious nut if you want but I am going home and call people to come and pray for our mother. I just do not believe it is her time to die.”

And that is what I did. I went home and called my friends and what was my church family at the time. They all said they would come on a certain night. Probably the next night, I don’t remember.

But we had the worst snow storm. It was icy outside and few people were able to make it, yet, still they came. There were maybe a dozen of us (I am guessing) calling out to a merciful God that night. The love and compassion from the family of God that night is something I will always remember.

Few days went on and no improvement with Mom. Instead the doctor told me one day, “her lungs are weeping.” I asked what that meant and he told me she had holes in her lungs and probably would not make it.

I went home and was torn between anger and grief. “God did you not hear us the other night,” I cried out.

One day as I was walking into the hospital, I noticed what looked like adult children taking their once sick parents home. They were wheeling them out in wheelchairs, balloons tied on the chairs, smiles on faces and flowers in their parents laps. I truly was not jealous, just sad that it was not me bringing my mother home. I asked God, “What about my Mom, Lord? How come she is not coming home? What about her?” I truly thought He would give me some kind of profound answer like you have to pray more or you have to do such-n-such, but instead, I heard these words, “Will you still love Me even if she does not come home? Will you still worship Me?” I did not falter. With a breaking heart, I cried out from the depths of my soul, “Yes Lord, for where else can I go! Yes, Lord I will still love You even if you do not allow her to come home.” I walked on in that hospital with a broken heart, went upstairs to intensive care unit and went into her room. Still no change. Doctor appeared hopeless once again.

I kind of moved in with my dad for a few days to help him out. The house seemed dead without Mom and he spent most of the time being silent. Actually, we both did. As it just was not the same house without her in it.

I don’t know how many days passed; three days, four, a week, then going on the second week with little to no improvement.

On the 11 day, I was with a friend who was waiting for the doctor with me. I had been up there for a few hours and being impatient and angry, finally just left. I walked home. Not a far distance. I walked home thinking God was not going to answer our prayers. And that somehow I had to find a way to trust Him in spite of the fact she would never come home. There was a rage in me I can not explain. I think it had something to do with feeling helpless more than an anger at God.

I walked in the front door and my phone rang. It was my friend who was still at the hospital. She said, “I just want to tell you the doctor came in and he thinks she is going to make it.”

I said, “Really!!! Really, he thinks that!?” She said yes and that the next day they would begin to try and wean her off the respirator. But still, it could be a touchy thing because of the pneumonia and the other strange unidentified malady she had.

So the next morning I went up there thinking I would be walking in watching them trying to take her off the respirator, but lo and behold when I walked into her room — there she was sitting in a chair! I almost started crying for joy — but my mother being a stoic woman — I did not. Instead, I walked over to her, kissed her on the cheek which was something I did until the day she died.

Her voice was weak and hoarse so she could say very little. I began to tell her what God had done for her. She acknowledged that but said very little more about it. Mom was a hard one to read at times. I wanted to just jump and shout and she was just wanting me to help give her a bath, which I did.

Mom got to come home. God answered our prayers. The prayers of many who prayed for her. I went home with her and Dad and stayed for a bit to help out. Oh, the joy in my heart! I weep even now for tears of joy for something that happened over 14 years ago!

God is good! He did not have to let her come home then. He could have taken her if He had wanted. But instead, He was so gracious He allowed her to stay on this earth another 14 years.

Those words, He spoke to me those many years ago still speak to me often: “Will you still love Me? Will you still worship Me?”

I have heard them over and over through every trial and tribulation I have faced since then and the answer is always “Yes, Lord!” Not because I am special or something spiritual. Because believe me, if you knew me in person, you would find me one of the weakest people you could ever meet! Only God is good! I have seen and come to know He is THE One who supplies every need at any given moment. See, there is nothing about me I can brag about, nothing at all. But in my weakness I CAN brag, because that is when He is the strongest.

He is a jealous God and that is for our good. He knows if anything else has captured our hearts it will only lead us astray from his love and truth and lead us into emotions such as hate, bitterness, etc, and lies. God didn’t ask me to prove anything, He didn’t ask me to jump through hoops for Him — He just wanted to know if I would still love Him. It was and still is important that I say “Yes, Lord!” no matter what happens in life.

I said “Yes!” because truly there is no where else to go. I said “Yes” because He is WORTHY of our love and devotion no matter what. So if you are being challenged in an area right now, just say “Yes, Lord! Yes, I WILL love You!”

Whether you win or lose, whether you get what you want or not — just say “Yes!” Say it and mean it just because He IS worthy!

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