Last Friday was Floyd's 73rd birthday! He has spent most of the last 3 years in the hospital, so I keep thinking back to his 70th birthday when he was well and whole. We would never have imagined what was ahead.
I took him a big red birthday balloon for his room. He smiled real big when I gave it to him, and wished him happy birthday. I read greetings from friends and family all over the world, showed him lots of family photos, sang to him, and prayed for him. He smiled the whole time, so I think it was special for him. We had a very sweet visit.
During our recent drought, everyone lost so many plants in their gardens. It was sad to see them shriveling up and dying. There was one beautiful flowering plant that we had that became very damaged. It was dry, barren, brittle - just a few twigs left. I planned to dig it up and get rid of it, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.
Then the winter rains came in June. I was shocked to look out the window one day, and see this "dead" plant beginning to turn green and flower! I was in disbelief. As far as I was concerned, that plant was dead and gone. I've used the photo at the top for you to see what it looks like now. When I look at it, it feels like a resurrection from the dead!
That plant that was "dead," and is now full of life and beauty has given me fresh hope to pray for Floyd! Floyd's situation seems hopeless on so many levels. The life as he once knew it - and that he celebrated 3 years ago - is gone. And yet......if God were to send His "healing rain," everything could change in an instant.
I've mentioned in these updates over and over that I trust God - trust His sovereignty over Floyd's life and my life. I don't know what He has in store for us. I have told Him I trust Him for "healing or heaven." I truly trust His plan. And yet He never tells us not to ask - so I've been asking afresh since his birthday for a resurrection miracle. A resurrection like the plant I've witnessed - going from dried twigs to beautiful flowers. I'm asking again for resurrection life for Floyd.
Someone left a message on the FaceBook Prayer Page for Floyd. It's from a blog post called "The Weekend Blessing" by Susie Larson. "There's an appointed time for every God-given breakthrough. Jesus knows when your accumulative prayers will make the most difference. He knows when your long-awaited breakthrough will bear the most fruit. He knows when your blessing will not be a burden. May you trust Him in the meantime. You've things to do in this season: rest, wait, trust, obey, give thanks, enjoy joy, and walk forward in faith. Breakthrough is on the horizon."
I've done all those things. And God has been so present, so faithful, so good over all these long months. I keep thinking of the word the Lord gave Floyd shortly before he became ill. It was his word for the year - "breakthrough." I haven't understood it, so I keep lifting it up to the Lord. I'm praying for breakthrough and resurrection as I pray for him for his birthday. I hope you will join me. I trust whatever the answer is from the Lord.......but I'm asking afresh.
"Whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you......Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:23,24
"I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14:13,14
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks find; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7,8
"If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you." Matthew 18:19
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
I'm not anxious - and my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God for His goodness to us.....but I'm asking, seeking, knocking afresh - asking God for a resurrection miracle for Floyd. Meanwhile, I trust His sovereignty. He is good and faithful!
On Sunday I turned 70! As I've approached this birthday, my heart has been full of so many things in thinking of God's goodness and faithfulness.
Then a few days ago a friend reminded me of a video. If you would like to watch it, I have included the link at the bottom. It captures what's in my heart better than anything I can think of. I have cried my way through it a few times. It reveals the "Father's" heart in such a poignant way.
This father, Dick Hoyt, had a disabled son. He had been born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. He was severely handicapped. The doctors encouraged the parents to put him in an institution. Instead, they tried to do as many normal things with him as possible. They were able to develop a machine that helped him communicate with his eyes and a movement of his head.
One day he told his dad he wanted to run in a race. The father trained and ran the race with his disabled son. Then they did a marathon, then triathlons, then a 3770 mile cross country trek - pushing, pulling, and carrying his son. Rick, the son, said when they ran, he didn't feel handicapped. Their journey continued for many years. As of 2 years ago, they had competed in over 1100 races.
I could so identify with this story. It's such an example God's grace. God has carried me, pushed me, pulled me day after day during these 29+ months of this unexpected journey we've been on. He has gotten me through so many "races" that I could have never managed on my own. Challenges, challenging circumstances, that seemed utterly impossible to me - He has helped me make it through them. I stand in awe of His goodness to me. I bow my heart in worship and gratitude.
I have been so grateful to be celebrating this birthday. Just a year ago I almost didn't survive, and now I'm celebrating my 70th birthday. It's more than a birthday, it's a celebration of life! It's a time to rejoice in all that God has brought me through. His grace has carried me, has carried both of us.
Billy Graham said "the will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us." We have walked minute by minute through His will for us in this season thanks to His sustaining grace. He has been so faithful.
I was sharing verses that have helped me during this season with some friends recently. I had a list of about 50 of them, and was still going. There are so many promises in His word of how He will help us in hard times, in suffering. He gave us these promises to hold onto when it's tough. And every one of them are so true! He's with us each day, each hour, each minute, each second. He never leaves our side. He continually holds our hand.
"Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the Godly to slip and fall." Psalm 55:22
"He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength." Isaiah 40:29
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him." Nahum 1:7
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23
"Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:16
He gives grace to endure in the absence of healing. He gives grace to endure sickness and pain. He gives grace to endure any hardship, anything we may be facing. He will help us!
I'm grateful for my 70 years. The future is unwritten for Floyd and me. It's a new year in our lives. I don't know what's ahead, but I know who's holding my hand as I step into the year ahead. He has proven Himself so faithful already! I can so easily trust Him for the unknown.