LISTEN FOR THE SKYKLARK

Has God sent a skylark to you during this past year?  Maybe you have forgotten to look up and to listen.

I talked to a friend recently about the shutting down of businesses in her home town.  Crime has gotten so bad that even the Walmarts have closed their doors.   Cracker Barrel has also shut down, however my friend didn’t even know they had a Cracker Barrel, so that point was moot. A spirit of fear can fill our hearts.

A SURVIVOR

Corrie Ten Boom was a survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp. If ever there was a place for fear, it resided at that death camp.  The largest concentration camp for women in the German Reich, it was second in size only to the women’s camp in Auschwitz. The first prisoners interned at Ravensbrück were approximately 900 women in May 1939. By the end of 1942, the female inmate population of Ravensbrück had grown to about 10,000. In January 1945, the camp had more than 50,000 prisoners, mostly women. Can you imagine the despondency, terror, and desperation of the women interned there?

A BIRD SONG

Corrie recorded in her memoirs regarding Ravensbrück,“Once, while we were on a roll call, a cruel guard kept us standing for a long, long time. Suddenly, a skylark began to sing in the sky, and all the prisoners looked up to listen to that bird’s song. As I looked at the bird, I saw the sky and thought of Psalms 103:11. “O love of God, how deep and great; far deeper than man’s deepest hate.” God sent that skylark daily for three weeks, exactly during roll call, to turn our eyes away from the cruelty of man to the oceans of His love.”

FORGOTTEN WORDS

Has God sent a skylark to you during this past year?  Maybe you have forgotten to look up and to listen.  Maybe you have forgotten to let Him drill into your soul these truths: “For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. (Psalm 33:4-11) Listen for the skylark!

For further reflection, read This is My Battle Cry

A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

This ordinarily would not be that big a thing, but I am on blood thinners for my pulmonary embolisms.  Bleeding out internally is always a danger.

The series of unfortunate events began Friday.  We found ourselves again in Urgent Care because Bill’s blood pressure was spiking for unknown reasons.  Immediately I commenced sending out distress texts to my friends who know Jesus. They prayed. The hospital eventually released Bill.  This time we got to drive home together, rather than the previous time when they kept him overnight for observation.

I AM ON BLOOD THINNERS

The next day was Saturday.  We stopped at a roadside stand.  Who would have known disaster could strike at Meck’s Produce? While I was looking around outside, Bill was already inside the building.  As I went to enter the store, there was an older lady with a cane trying to exit.  I stepped out of her way, clueless that directly behind me was a pallet of pumpkins (or large gourds).  I tripped and fell headlong into the display.  Did you know that the necks of pumpkins can be rock hard?  One of them gave a direct hit to my ribcage.  This ordinarily would not be that big a thing, but I am on blood thinners for my pulmonary embolisms.  Bleeding out internally is always a danger.

WHAT TO DO?

The pain was intense and I hobbled into the store.  Happy shopper Bill had missed my pumpkin collapse.  He looked up and quickly got us into the car. I didn’t know whether to go to the ER or to go home.  The pain was about a level 15 on the scale. What to do?  I needed help.  Immediately, I sent out more distress texts, especially since the next day I was scheduled to give a speech for the bride at a wedding reception.

I JUST HAD TO WHISPER “HELP!”

My friends were praying, but even more powerful is that the Holy Spirit was already praying for us.  Romans 8: 26-27 has some wonderful things to say about these prayers:  Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. I didn’t have to text the Holy Spirit.  I just had to whisper: “Help!” He knew what to pray for even when I had no clue.  He interceded for us. 

THE ICING ON THE CAKE

Right now, Bill’s blood pressure is getting better. I am no longer in excruciating pain, consumed with fears of bleeding out. Best of all, today was the icing on the wedding cake – God gave me exactly the right words to speak at the reception.

HE KNEW HOW TO PRAY

I didn’t know how to pray. I cling to for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.”  Without even a text, He knew how to pray, even during a series of unfortunate events.

FEELINGS OF DREAD BUT CHOOSING TO BELIEVE

He immediately scheduled Bill for an emergency deep tissue brain MRI. Feelings of dread filled out hearts.

It was 2004 when we visited the eye specialist. Earlier that week, Bill admitted that when driving, the single car approaching him on the right now appeared as two separate vehicles.  Not good.  The doctor talked to him for about twenty minutes and immediately scheduled Bill for an emergency deep tissue brain MRI. Feelings of dread filled out hearts.

THE BRAIN TUMOR

Bill is claustrophobic and it took 3 tries before they were able to get him into the narrow tube for the 45-minute-deep tissue MRI.  The technician told us Bill had a brain tumor.  It was Friday, which meant a very long weekend until the appointment with the neurologist Monday morning.  The irony of the situation was that just a few weeks before, Bill had decided to take a huge step of faith and resign from his ministry position.  He wanted to be open to wherever God wanted him. This was an unexpected development. 

WHERE WAS THIS HEADED?

Monday came.  The tumor was a benign pituitary tumor pressing on the optic nerve which was causing the double vision.  It was inoperable.  Hence, the doctor prescribed drug therapy to shrink the tumor. Where was this all headed?

STILL CHOOSING TO OBEY

My husband is not one to jump into decisions (whereas, I often just want to know which particular cliff to jump off of) ……So, in the car, I told Bill I was okay if he wanted to reconsider his previous decision to step out on faith regarding his ministry career.  I still remember the certainty and strength in his voice when he replied, “No, I’m still going to obey.”  That my dear friends is faith.  Stepping into the what may be unknown, but taking God at His Word. 

JESUS WALKED WITH THEM THROUGH THE FLAMES

Psalm 91 kept going through my head.  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”  When Daniel’s friends were in the fiery furnace, it wasn’t like God said “Oh, my goodness!  How in the world did that one happen?!” Jesus walked with them through the flames. 

WE COULD TRUST GOD, REGARDLESS

God was not walking Bill and me around the fire, God was accompanying us through the fire.  We could trust God, regardless of the diagnosis because He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” 

WE KNEW WHO WAS TRAVELING WITH US

We chose to get our focus off the fire and look up to see the face of our Traveling Companion, Jesus. We chose to obey. “The person who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  The future was unknown, but we knew Who was traveling with us.