Extreme Thanks

Healing and Prayer

My “joyously giving thanks” level has been somewhat low the last few days. The doctors say I need a “procedure” on my heart to get me out of atrial fibrillation (a-fib). It involves surgery, including being intubated and a three-to-five day hospital stay. I’m not a big fan of any of those. The alternative is to stay on medications—one with a substantial risk of kidney damage if used long-term, and a blood thinner with increased risk of bleeding. Not to mention that a-fib itself, with or without medication increases the risk of stroke. I’m even less a fan of that.

This morning as I worshiped, I realized all the songs I felt led to had to do with God’s presence and the healing, restoration and comfort that are found there. It reminded me of being in the hospital and rehab after Covid. It was a time of feeling alone, in despair, almost hopeless. As I began to recognize those feelings and realize that they were not where I needed to camp out, I became more aware of the Father’s presence and sought Him in my times of darkness. This truly was the beginning of the healing and recovery process for me. My wife, Trish, often reminded me of His presence, and to seek Him. It was life to me. It is the starting place for prayer. This heavenly, eternal being exists! And He invites me into His presence, to know Him, experience Him, and relate to Him. He is, and He rewards our seeking after Him. He is: Our Father who is in heaven. He rewards: like the most loving, caring, compassionate Father—Our Father.

Trish also told me of the hundreds of people all across the nation who were praying for me. This was a great encouragement as well. It strengthened my faith and inspired my own praying. It gave me hope for healing and recovery just to know that many people were exercising their faith and praying on my behalf.  It encouraged me to  intercede for others as well as Trish shared needs with me, though in my condition at the time, it was hard to stay focused to pray very long at any one time.

Obviously, I would rather the Lord would have just healed me early on, in January, soon after I was diagnosed with Covid, without the hospital stay, the respirator, the weeks in ICU, the months in rehab, and even the continuing recovery. I consider myself well now, though the pulmonologist is still assessing possible long-term damage to my lungs. For the most part, it is just a matter of regaining my strength after losing nearly 40 of my 165 pounds and laying in a hospital bed for so long with no exercise to keep my muscles functioning properly. (I am eternally grateful for my physical therapists—Gina and Bob at the rehab center, and Jared from the home health service).

However, because my illness was so severe, and lasted so long, the numbers of people praying continued to grow. Many, who had prayed very little recently, or in their life-time, have prayed and shared in glorifying God and rejoicing in the results. If this long, miserable process has resulted in others being helped, encouraged, strengthened in their faith, and praying like they haven’t before, then it has been worth it. I said at the outset, “I am eager to see what God is going to do.” He has done great things!

Obviously, I would much rather the Lord just reach down and touch me and heal me of a-fib so medical procedures and medications are neither one an issue. If I have to go through with the procedures, He’s still God. He’s still here. He’s present—Yahweh Shammah, the Ever Present Lord, is His name (Ezekiel 48:35). I will abide in His presence. I will seek Him, and know that He is my loving Father. He will care for me. He will bring glory to His name. The saints will pray, and rejoice in what He does.

I find myself almost timidly saying once again, “I’m eager to see what God is going to do.”