Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I had the honor of visiting and sitting with someone at the hospital on Friday. She was a young lady of 80 years old, turning 81 this month. She told me she had surgery scheduled to fix two leaky heart valves. Once I arrived and talked with a family member I discovered that what she thought was going to be surgery to fix the problem turned into two procedures to investigate the heart and valves to see what surgery would work best. The family member said she was disappointed, however her smile and words were no indication of disappointment.
She was scheduled for the first procedure at 11:30 and had been bumped several times, getting in the operating room around 2. She was in ICU from 2:30 to almost 5:00 waiting for an open operating room for the second procedure. Smiles and kinds words continued to drip from her mouth to all of those who came in contact with her. No frustration, fear or anger for being bumped and the long wait.
As I sat with this lady she talked about God non-stop. All his blessings in her life. She talked about her marriage of almost 60 years, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her spiritual journey. She talked about the many times she could have died but didn’t because God choose to keep her around. She talked about how she loves to go to church because she loves God and wants to be there every time she can to worship Him, to praise Him, to sing to Him and to be with other Christians. She said how hard it was to get up to go to church on Sundays and how she longed for the days when she could go Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday nights. She spoke of week long revivals, events the church held throughout the year and how she used to volunteer to work at the church as often as the church would have her. Most of all she talked about how people today don’t feel this way and how it made her sad.
As we sat waiting on the second procedure, I shared with her how I admired her, her faith and her love of God. She called me close and whispered that in her lifetime she had voice God speak clearly and directly to her and today was one of those times. She stated as they were putting her to sleep she heard God tell her that He did not want her to be afraid because He would be with to the very end. She held my hand, looked me directly in the eyes and said “you know JoAnne, God will never abandon me. Never. AND I KNOW that that was God talking to me.”
What faith. What a witness. What a great woman of God. After the second procedure the doctors told the family that her heart was not strong enough to withstand the surgery. They said they would prescribe medication that might help but at this point there was nothing they could do. She was not disappointed, not angry not afraid. She simply repeated God’s promise “to be with her to the end.” That made everything alright with her. Sunday morning, she was in the church. She was worshiping God, praising God and fellowshipping with other Christians with a smile and joy that only God can give.
I don’t know who on this post is struggling with abandonment issues. Maybe you feel abandoned by a mother or father. Maybe you feel abandoned by a friend, a boss, someone you were in a serious relationship with, your spouse or a child. Who knows, maybe you feel abandoned by God.
I want to encourage you today. Today’s scripture is a promise and God keeps his promises. People may leave you but God never will. If you are going through a trial it doesn’t mean God has left you. We are promised in this world we will have troubles. God told us that so we could expect it, not like, but know it was coming. He tells us we don’t have to worry about those trials because He will be with us and help us to overcome the trials.
I love what this wonderful woman of God said to me and I believe it with all that I am. GOD WILL BE WITH YOU TO THE END!! My family used old southern saying which would be appropriate with her words, “Now you can put that in your pipe and smoke it”. The phrase was used after stating something surprising or undesired, to emphasize its truth. This 80 year old woman spoke the word with TRUTH.