Monday May 16, 2011
On Saturday, I jloged about Esther being put into a position as Queen of Persia to save the nation of Israel. She was willing to step up and risk her life to save her people. Being in a “such a time as this” does not necessarily mean risking your life, but being available for God to use you is a necessary attutude for being in God’s time table.
Well, I had an experience on Saturday that fits into this category and it was when Dean, friend of mine, and I were playing golf in Flagstaff. We were ready to tee off on hole number 4 and one of the pros of the club came up and greeted me as Dr. Gorton so I responded by asking him how his winter went. He said “terrible” which stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to continue to play golf, but his response forced me to asked what happened. Over the next 15 minutes (I know what you golfers are thinking that we would be holding up others, but there was no other golfer behind us for 30 minutes) he began to open up his heart as to the problems he faced.
Here are the facts of Chad’s story. He thought he had food poisoning and so he didn’t go the doctor for over a week. He was vomiting every half hour and his stomach turned inside out, literally. Finally he went to the urgent care facility and they said he had food poisoning, but he pressed them so they went further and found that his appendix had ruptured. They did surgery and cut 12 inches of his colon. Unfortunately they didn’t get it all cleaned out and gangrene set in. They had to induce a coma for seven days and did four major surgeries while he was under the coma. He lost 50+ pounds and was in the hospital for 82 days. During his stay he experienced a near death experience and saw the white light and blue sky, but there was a door that prevented him from experiencing this place of peace. When he came to, he realized that he didn’t have a relationship with God and wanted to and became a believer.
I told him that my friend and I were committed Christians and would be willing to help him in any aspect of his new path with the Lord. He didn’t have a church in Flagstaff, so I told him about a great pastor in the area and he knew the name, but didn’t know he was a pastor. God put us in the exact place He wanted us to be to connect with Chad. We would have never had the opportunity to hear this story if we were more concerned with playing golf over connecting with Chad. How many times have we missed opportunities like this because we are preoccupied with our priorities and are not sensitive to God changing our direction.
On this journey we need a sensitive heart in order to experience “such a time as this” situations, but the reward for being willing to change direction can be awe inspiring.
I’ve had several people tell me of near-death experiences, each with a slightly different take on the details. It seems that the mere experience of it opens a door to faith. But more to your point, I am reminded of a sermon I once heard about discerning God’s call for a person to be the bearer of tidings to another, whether a proclamation of good news, or an inquiry out of love, or bearing a word of caution. This is usually done with some fear and trembling (if the call is very clear), or with an initial sense of reluctance, if it’s not entirely clear.
I think this is a great word and example for honing the Christian life, Dr. G.