In the summer of 2009, Brian asked the church to do a spiritual gifts inventory. I have done several such inventories and was not looking forward to another item on my “to do” list. But, eager to support Brian, I obliged. I was not surprised to see my top gifts, the same as always. The surprise came when I took note of my LEAST gifted areas. Faith came in almost last on my list. Did I lack faith? The night I completed my inventory, I began to pray asking God to increase my faith.
Life lesson: God prepares our heart to pray His will
In October of 2009 my dad, only 59, had a massive heart attack. He had emergency surgery and we waited in the hospital four days for him to regain consciousness. The doctors told us it looked grim, but we knew my dad was a fighter with strong faith and we asked God for healing. Early in the morning on October 29th, we got an emergency call and quickly left our hotel room to return to the hospital. We arrived to hear really bad news. His temporary pace maker had stopped and his heart had failed to beat on its own. They had to give him a lot of drugs, do CPR, and shock him to get his heart to restart. They could do another surgery and implant another temporary pace maker, but these would be heroic measures. They left us alone to make a decision. I had received a text earlier that evening from a church member which quoted Deuteronomy 33:12 saying, "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders." When the surgeon left, my Mom looked to my sister, my husband and me and asked, “What should we do?” God gave me a beautiful vision of my Dad. He was very small in the arms of a very big God on a very big throne in a very real Heaven. I could only see the back of my Dad’s head and the strong arm of God cradled his head and soothed away all his pain. I told my Mom, “Dad is gone. He is resting in the arms of the Lord.”
We were able to say our goodbyes to my Dad. He never regained consciousness. I knew he was safe, resting between the shoulders of the one he loved most. The next several days passed by so slowly. They were weighed down by the heavy burden of grief I bore as I mourned the loss of a great friend, great dad, and great model of the love of Christ. At times, I lived moment by moment with pain so great. Each time the pain would become unbearable, I would cry out and ask God for what I called a “grace bath.” He was so faithful to flood my weak body with His perfect love and I could make it another minute.
Looking back, I will always miss my Dad, but God met me in my sorrow and His fellowship with me there was so sweet. I learned my faith could stand. I learned my faith could grow. I learned God could be trusted. I learned He had prepared my heart in advance to ask for an increase of faith, because He knew what the future held. I am awestruck and amazed at the perfect love He extends to me. He loved me so perfectly as He welcomed my Dad to His Kingdom, allowed me to see a vision of my Dad at rest, and showed me I could depend on Him, completely. Isn’t that what faith is? Yes, God answers prayers, AND He prepares our hearts to pray in accordance with His will. He was so faithful. Let Him guide your prayers, today. He knows the direction they should go!