It happened on a Friday evening. We were sitting at the kitchen table after dinner discussing a St. Patrick's Day party. I'd bought a large corned beef, cabbage, onions and carrots plus some wonderful Irish Soda bread and planned to invite friends to share this meal. Suddenly a confused look crossed my husband's face and he put his hand up to his chest. He received a full-force jolt.
Nearly four years ago my husband, Van, had a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted as he was experiencing cardiac arrhythmia. This is a potentially fatal condition. He's done so well and has been able to keep up with a busy life. When evidence showed that the device was making corrections, he was switched to another drug. He was not able to tolerate this new medicine, hence all the drama.
It was so painful for me to watch him get 'zapped', however he claims there was no real pain involved. Shortly after the first jolt, he had a succession of four more. I'd already called the paramedics and his doctor. We are blessed to have one of the best in the country treating him. In came the paramedic team, six of them I think, looking like the defensive line of the San Diego Chargers. As they carried him to the ambulance I noticed his face was drained of all color. I thought the Lord might take him home.
It's always good to call an ambulance as they can immediately be in touch with Emergency Room doctors and start treatment. By the time I got into his ER room, he was sitting up and all the color had returned to his face. He spent the week-end in the hospital where they got his drug therapy under control, then sent him home on Monday morning. His heart is weak and challenged, but he feels stronger every day.
"In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:10
Knowing this, we can have a calm and peace that God is always in control. There is nothing random about God's perfect plan. Job 14 gives us further peace when he states that God has numbered our days and counted our steps. Even though it often seems not to be true, no one leaves this earth too soon, or stays too long. We will enjoy memories of yesterday, not worry about tomorrow, and best of all rejoice in today.
Recently I was at a gym for my bi-weekly work-out. Well, to be honest, 'work-out' may not be the best description as I barely break a sweat. I concentrate on keeping my core muscles strong. I was warming up on a stationary bicycle when an elderly man sat down on the bike next to me. I smiled, and he begins to talk to me. He soon noticed I had earphones on. As I was taking them off, he apologized saying, "I didn't know you were listening to music."
I wasn't listening to music; I was listening to Bible study tapes made years ago by my friend and awesome Bible teacher, Glenna Salsbury. When I told him I was listening to a Bible study, he was silent for a minute, and then remarked that was probably a good thing to do. I asked him if he believed in God, yes he did. "Do you know for sure if you died tonight that you'll go to heaven?" I asked. He looked a bit surprised, thought for a minute, then said, "No, I'm not sure, but I've tried to live a good life and have spent many years going to church every Sunday."
"Then you're a Christian?" I asked. "Oh yes, for sure I'm a Christian!" he stated emphatically. Now this is sad, don't you think? We will all die. To be a Christian and not know for absolutely sure that when your numbered days are over that you will live eternally in heaven with God? I looked this man in the eye and told him I was sure of just one thing; being in heaven. I don't count on anything else in my life as being a sure thing, just this.
I know this because I've come to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and to believe, through the gift of faith, that He died for all my sins, He paid the price for my imperfection. God sees His Son in me, not my imperfect flesh.
"Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions (sin) - it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2: 4-5
Most of us don't understand grace, but we are very familiar with working to gain God's favor. If you believe in the One God sent, Jesus, you have attained God's favor. John 6: 28-29. We can take great comfort in this verse. . .
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no long live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
One day, I read the following verse with deeper insight. God opened my eyes to reveal a truth that would forever change my understanding of who God is and who I am.
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law (as in keeping the Ten Commandments), Christ died for nothing." Galatians 2:21
Jesus did not die for nothing. He died so that those who believe in Him will live eternally. He is the Righteous One and isn't expecting us to attain our own. Our faith is in Him alone, never ourselves. If we ask the Lord to reveal this truth to us, we'll never be unsure about going to heaven. In fact, start rejoicing now. There will come a day when our imperfect human body will succumb to death and in that day, we who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior can be fully assured that we have victory over death and will live eternally with God.
I'm not saying that it's easy to give up a loved one. But when you know where that one is going and all that God has prepared, you will have a great peace.
". . .an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God. . ." I Peter 1: 4-5 (New American Standard)
Thank you Lord for causing us to come into a knowledge of who you are and how much you love us. Thank you for allowing me to understand that your timing is perfect and I can always trust what you have planned. I thank you for each day with my beautiful man and that he knows you as Lord and Savior.
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.