1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (New International Version)
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
This is what I thought God wanted me to write about this morning. The Spiritual Gifts. Well, perhaps tomorrow. Then I thought He wanted me to write about a woman that I executed an exorcism on in a emergency room. Perhaps tomorrow. Then I thought He wanted me to write about Enoch. Perhaps tomorrow. Then I thought He wanted me to write about pride. I even wrote half a page about ego, before I realized it was not that either. I began to think that I was done blogging. Then in the clouds of my mind, I knew the truth of what He wanted. He wants me to write about my earthly father.
I believe the reason it was so difficult for me to find the leading of God in this, is that it is difficult for me to speak of my father. But, today, I will buck up and relay to you the story of the greatest man I have ever known.
My father walked quietly with God. He was a tall, thin and meek man. Strong in body and spirit, but meek in ego.
My father developed cancer of the mouth when I was 22 years old. It was a horrible blow to me. I was not walking with God and thought that my fathers God was cruel and must be aloof.
The first surgery, that my father went through, removed three quarters of his jaw bone, his teeth, gums and most of his tongue. When I finally got up the courage to see him, he looked like he had been run over by a tractor trailer. It tore at my very being to see him. Because of my sensitivity, I could feel his emotional pain and fear.
He could no longer eat solid food. He ate baby food and drank malts. He had a chemo machine hooked up to his chest, that delivered medicine to his body all the time. He dropped so much weight that he looked like he was starving to death. His pain was intolerable and there was no longer conversations with my father.
All the while, that he was suffering, his faith never wavered. He believed, that entire year, that God was going to heal him. He continued to love his God and not question what was happening to him. I, on the other hand, grew more and more angry at my father's God. I knew that, this God of my father's, was delivering him up to evil and had abandoned him.
I watched the torment of my fathers life, that last year that he lived, and wanted people to leave him alone and for his God to heal him. I cried endlessly for the one person in this world that I knew loved me and wondered what the world would be like without that love.
He did not have a lot of visitors. His friends abandoned him, not being able to look at his deformities. My mother took care of him and showed a stamina that was not of this earth. I just felt sorry for myself and lingered in anger.
He died a year after his surgery. His body unrecognizable and his hope for recovery finally gone. I had left to go on a vacation two weeks before he died. When I got back, I went to see him. While there, some kind of medical emergency happened with him and the nurses came running. I stepped out of the room. While waiting, I heard him stammer through a garbled sentence. "Now that I have seen her. I can go." He died 12 hours later.
What was the sense of this year of torment. Was there a reason? There was and it is good. After his death, there was a young man who came to see my mother. He had been one of the few that had gone to visit my father in that last year. He told my mother, that he had been a pastor and had turned from God. His life had become hopeless and confused. He said to her, that because of the way my father had held himself throughout his illness, that he had come back to God. That my fathers, hope in and love for God had ignited, back in him, the hunger for his heavenly father.
Is there meaning in illness? God, always finds a way. Through my fathers struggle, a good man came back to God and through that more came to God. Through my father struggle, I eventually found God and knew how to walk in humility. Through my father's struggle, I learned that God, no matter what it looks like, is good.
There was a man who walked this earth who was good and gracious. He was made of flesh and bones and yet was spiritually united with the Living God. That man was my father, who I miss with the depts of my heart.
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