From November 2011
In less than one week (six days to be exact) . . .
. . . my mom was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with a second possible stroke.
. . . my cousin’s husband, 58, died suddenly of a massive heart attack.
. . . a college friend, who sang with Lois and me in a Marion College music group, was told by doctors there was nothing more they could do for her cancer and she was sent home to die.
. . . another friend’s work hours were cut in half and her husband is out of work.
. . . Lois will have surgery to remove her gall bladder and a suspicious lump in her breast Thursday.
And did I mention, I also spoke at a writers’ conference for two days? So I’m indentifying—just a bit—with the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9:
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Contrary to TV preachers who promise “health and wealth,” St. Paul honestly teaches that we can have great faith and still have great trials. In fact, I don’t have any objective research results, but I suspect there is no statistical difference between the amount of tragedy that holy Christians and heathenistic non-Christians experience—the same amount of trouble, perplexity, abuse and being knocked down.
There is, however, a huge difference promised in two little words: but not!
For instance, Earth’s atmosphere is pressing against each square inch of our bodies with a force of 14.7 pounds per square inch (1 kilogram per square centimeter). The force on a little larger than a square foot (1,000 square centimeters) is about one ton! You and I should be flattened by this crushing weight. But God has graciously created each of us with 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure on the inside, so we aren’t crushed.
Both Christians and non-Christians face the same pressures, but believers have the strength and power of God’s Spirit within to keep them from being crushed. If you’re having one of those weeks, I pray that you will experience God’s miraculous “but not.” And thanks for your prayers!
Copyright © 2011 James N. Watkins
Update January 2015
Mom continues to live in her own home, although she has physical and mental challenges. My cousin is still mourning the loss of her husband. Our college friend died a few months later from her cancer. Lois came through gall bladder surgery well, biopsy came back negative!
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