Saturday, February 7, 2015

Room 314: It is Finished!

Friends, I recently returned home from a very lengthy and unexpected hospital stay. After anticipating a 3 or 4 day hospital stay for a relatively standard medical procedure, I developed complications from the procedure, and I ended up spending 22 of 26 days in the hospital. While these complications from the procedure have had profound effects on my physical body (including the loss of a lot of weight, strength, and lung capacity), I do anticipate, Lord willing, to make a full recovery. The complications and the hospital stay itself have had a profound effect on my spiritual and emotional condition. Not since Micah died have I truly felt as powerless and humbled. Not since Micah died have I felt the Lord's presence so strong upon me. Through the many long days and nights of laying in Room 314 at the hospital, I felt his presence upon me, even as I was too weak from the pain and drugs to do anything other than think and wait upon the Lord. I'd like to renew my blogging efforts, so that I can, for my own benefit, work through the purposes that God may have been accomplishing through my recent health issues. While the world might simply say, "What are the chances!!--You are very unlucky," we as believers know that God never wastes our sufferings, and that no suffering, in whatever form, cannot be ultimately redeemed for His sovereign and good purposes. Of the several implications I'd live to write about, perhaps the most significant encouragement to me is how I view God's finished work for the redemption of my own soul. Paul says in Colossians 1:18b-19, "...He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven making peace by the blood of his cross." At the cross, by reason of Christ's blood on the cross, we have been FULLY reconciled to God. When one is laying on the hospital bed, there can be no greater assurance that one's life has already been reconciled to God. We need not lay on our death beds regretting what we didn't accomplish for God during our lifetime, since God has already done it for us. As I lay in Room 314 through those long days, I was so grateful for that promise, for it kept me from innumerable regrets of what ministry objectives I didn't accomplish, what I failed to do with my wife and kids, or even unmet career objectives. Perhaps one of God's purposes in this significant health episode has been to teach me to remove a "salvation by my own works" thought process, and rely completely on Christ's work on the cross for my own redemption. Having been in Room 314 for as long as I was, let me encourage you to be so grateful for the fact that, if you are in Christ, your salvation is already accomplished!

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