Are you in a dark place? A place without lightbulbs? Even if you had one, it wouldn’t work in this dungeon.
Are you grieving something? A diagnosis of cancer? The end of your marriage? The poor choices of your child? The death of a loved one? The loss of your job?
These are the things that can stomp the life, the joy right out of a person. Yes, even you. Even me.
Are you thinking that Hell is actually a place here on earth, not below it? I tell you, friend, that I am right there with you.
But I’m not going to stay there. And do you know why?
Because God is extending His hand to me. He is reaching out to me. He wants me to grab hold and allow Him to pull me out of this life-sucking situation.
God isn’t called “The Great Comforter,” “The Great Healer” for nothing. No, God is ever-present – even in the worst of times. When misery raises its ugly head, we have a God who never left our side.
Our worst situations are opportunities to become close to God. You see, God wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. We can’t have that when other things have our primary focus.
We were placed on this earth to serve God. Not ourselves.
It’s a choice we make. Simply put, you either choose God or you don’t. What is the alternative to not choosing God? It’s choosing Satan. Makes the choice obvious now, doesn’t it?
So, I’m going to take God’s outreached Hand. I’m going to read His Words. I’m going to believe His Promises.
Because if I don’t, as sure as the seasons change, I’m going to stay in this dark place. This place that weighs heavily on a person’s chest.
No, I don’t want a lifetime of that. Or even a day of that.
I’m choosing joy. What about you?
“God is our refuge and our strength. A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1.
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TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
Do you ever wonder why you go through terrible ordeals? What is the point of suffering, you want to know? Come along with me today. I want you to meet my friend Doug Birkhimer. God used Doug’s intense suffering to bring hope into my life and the lives of others.
Doug Birkhimer is a very nice man. Someone you would enjoy having as a neighbor, a fellow worker, a friend, a relative. He is pleasant, unassuming and quick to help. He is also a man who has a strong relationship with God.
In March, 2004, Doug had become very ill and was diagnosed with mantle cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 4-a. Not only is this is an extremely aggressive cancer of the lymph nodes, spleen, marrow and blood, it is very difficult to treat. Needless to say, the survival rate was bleak.
Doug received a stem cell transplant and then underwent chemotherapy which left his immune system virtually depleted. These treatments, the best that medical science had at the time, left him exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and near death.
During the late spring, Doug went regularly for chemo treatments. By the time he arrived home, he was so fatigued that he laid on a chaise lounge in his backyard for part of the afternoon. The beauty of the outdoors comforted him.
Doug wondered if he was going to survive. Weak and ill, he sure didn’t feel like he was going to beat the odds. Doug was a man in desperate need of hope, so he asked the Lord to give him a sign that he would survive the brutal cancer.
Doug no more than asked the Lord for a sign when his attention turned to some mourning doves eating seed on the ground underneath the bird feeder. Suddenly one of the doves began walking straight toward Doug. It jumped on Doug’s foot, then onto his knee and finally flew onto the top of his head where it sat quietly for awhile.
Throughout the summer when Doug returned home from chemotherapy treatments, he sat in his backyard to rest. Once Doug was seated, it wasn’t long before the dove flew into the yard and sat either on the back of Doug’s chaise lounge or on his abdomen where it gently spread its wings. The area around Doug’s abdomen had contained a tumor before the stem cell and chemo treatments. The dove never missed coming to see Doug after he had a chemo treatment.
One day, a neighbor invited Doug to lunch after a chemo treatment. She told him that she thought they should eat on the deck because it was such a nice day. Toward the end of the lunch, the woman commented that there was a bird flying back and forth overhead, almost as though it was looking for something. ”Or for someone,” Doug told her.
Sure enough, the bird, a mourning dove, began circling and landed on Doug, gently spreading its wings over Doug’s abdomen. Doug told the shocked woman about the dove’s regular visits and how he believed this was the sign that he had asked God to send. A sign that Doug would live.
One day, it rained and Doug stayed inside after arriving home from his chemo appointment. Doug’s wife, Joyce, told him to come to the diningroom, that his dove was at the window. Doug could hardly believe his own eyes. There on the window sill sat the dove, pecking on the glass to get Doug’s attention. Joyce said, “Well, you’d better go out on the porch. I don’t think he’s going to leave until you do.” So Doug walked out to the porch and sat in a chair for his daily dove treatment.
The day after a pet-scan revealed that the cancer cells were gone, Doug went to his backyard and sat. He waited all afternoon, but no dove circled, flew by or landed on him. It was the same the next day and the day after that. It was then that Doug knew for certain. He had asked God to send him a sign that he would survive the cancer and this gentle mourning dove had been God’s reply.
Doug has now been cancer-free for seven wonderful years. He lives a full life and joyfully tells others how God answered his prayer with a dove. As Doug tells it, “That lovely mourning dove did not bring “mourning.” She was a sign of new “morning,” an assurance of life in the face of death, a sign from God for which I prayed.”
How did Doug’s dove story affect my life? I’ll talk about that in my next posting. So, come back for the rest of the story. Until then, enjoy the wonderful day that God has made for you.
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in Truth.” Psalm 145:18.
Do you have a story that you would like told about the way God has worked in your life? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. Be sure to tell me how to contact you.
Did Doug’s dove story make an impact on you? Please drop me a line and tell me.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2011Read More