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Here's a thought for June 22

June 22, 2012
By the Rev. Wesley J. Johnson , Marshall Independent

Wesley United Methodist Church

When faith is most evident

My 21-year-old son had just been taken by ambulance to the emergency room at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood. He was diagnosed with a severe case of acute pancreatitis. It was now beginning to affect his kidneys and liver, and we were told his recovery was expected but not sure when. More than likely there would be permanent damage and to what extent was yet to be seen. I woke up the next morning about 5 a.m. and began praying for God to grant a full and immediate healing. I took authority in Jesus' name that by the power of Christ, the great physician, God would bring a miraculous healing to my son. I remember praying that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had the power to heal. I prayed this with clear faith in God.

I was not prepared for what I believe God brought clearly into my mind. Suddenly I began remembering Abraham, who was told by God to demonstrate his faith by placing his son, Isaac, on an altar and sacrifice him to God. I had the clear impression that God spoke to me and said, "Wes, do you really believe and trust me? It's easy to trust me to heal your son but will you trust me even if your son dies? Faith is not as much about believing in me when you get what you want but believing in me when you don't get what you want. Will you still praise me even though he doesn't get healed immediately or maybe ever? Will you still testify that I am good when he is permanently scarred for life? Are you willing to have faith in me like Abraham had faith in me?"

Through tears I found myself saying out loud, "Yes Lord, I will still praise you even if you take him." It was in that moment that I felt the most profound sense of faith. It was at that time that I knew God was near and that no matter what happened my son was in God's hands.

(James 1:2-4 NRSV) My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Faith is most evident in the valleys of life and it produces the most benefits when endurance is required. Whatever trial you may feel you are in now, praise God for walking with you in it. Lean on God and depend on God no matter what happens. Persevere and let faith lead you into God's blessings. My son has had nearly a three-month hospital stay, including extensive surgery and many up and down moments. Currently he is in the midst of a very slow recovery at our home here in Marshall. God is good all the time!



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