Joshua, chapter 5

Discussion in 'Campfire' started by clawmute, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Chapter 5


    In hard times, which are frequent for believers, I often have lamented to God, “why us, why couldn’t we just be normal people – whatever that might be - and have children when we decided to”? Miracles you see, are very wonderful, but there is a price you have to pay personally.It’s no fun going through life with people thinking you are weird or even crazy because you really believe that God is going to do something for you. The faith life is like getting on a special train that you can never get off of again. As Peter said though “Lord you have the words of eternal life, where else could we go”? But riding on that train is far better than trudging along through the deep mud and windfalls of the wilderness.

    The things that seemed easy for most others were an uphill battle for us. Having a home, having children or other ordinary things. It seemed to us while everyone else got to go in by the front door, we had to scrabble down through the chimney or chop a hole in the roof. Can you identify with any of this? If so then God is most surely working something in your life. Corrie TenBoom - Nazi death camp surviver - visited the sick and dying in hospital wards. She always carried a woven fabric with her. It was 12 or 14" square. When she ministered to a patient that was in a horrible condition she would show them the back of the weaving. "It's all tangled and ugly and makes no sense as you look at it she would say, and we can't understand any of it at all. But if we look at the other side, turning it around, we can see. The other side of the little tapestry revealed a beautiful golden crown woven onto a beautiful background.

    "From our perspective parts of our lives often seem ugly,tangled and confused, but if we trust in him always, then we will one day see that he has woven us a beautiful crown of eternal life." "You do not understand what I am doing now" Jesus said to the disciples "but later you will understand."

    Sometime during Martha’s pregnancy I began to get sick. I had been a Christian long enough to know that often spiritual battles manifested themselves as physical. This battle drove me to my knees in more ways than one. Never forget that there is an adversary and that he and his minions would be more than happy to steal from you, destroy what you have and kill you dead. Little by little over a period of weeks, it got to where everything that I ate turned to water a short time later and went right through me. Sometimes, amazingly (horribly), in just a matter of minutes. At the first I thought it was temporary and would soon go away, but it didn’t. I felt weak and nauseated all of the time.

    I went down for prayer at church more than once, but still the sickness continued, and after several months I was beginning to look bad, and was as pale as the proverbial ghost. It was beyond diarrhea, like nothing I had ever experienced before. The symptoms were physical but I knew that it was our adversary, enraged over all of the glory we had been giving to God for his gifts to us. I spent a lot of time on my knees praying for God’s deliverance with tears and crying out. It seemed such a paradox to be waiting on a miracle child from God and at the same time going through this nightmare. It got to the point that some days it was common for me to the toilet 12 or 16 times.

    Even water on my stomach made me nauseous. I went to the doctor and he gave me some pills that helped, but if I missed taking them the problem was right there. I finally decided to ditch the pills and go face to face with the enemy in Jesus’ name. I had faith, but I was really sick – and tired. Even as type this I can remember the constant nausea and extreme weakness. I didn’t feel like doing anything and all I wanted was to sit or lie down.

    I stayed as pale as flour and lost a lot of weight. I would go into work late because I felt bad, and would leave early for the same reason. Discouragement from being short on payday was heaped on top of feeling bad. Like Paul in the Bible, it seemed as if the sentence of death was on me.

    I drove into work on Wednesday, June 25th, 1980. Martha had not been feeling too well and had cramps and pains. She urged me to go on in though and I had no sooner walked into my office in Little Rock when she called. “It’s time now she said, better come and get me, so I jumped back in the car and retraced the forty five miles I had just completed. We gathered up all the stuff that had been pre-packed and headed for Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. I had called some people at church to let them know, and by that evening it looked like half of the church was there! They knew that a miracle was taking place and wanted to be eyewitnesses and in on the action.

    As Martha lay in the operating room waiting for the Caesarian section, the doctor said “So it’s going to be a boy is it”? "That’s right" Martha told him, we had had no tests or other proof that it was to be a boy. One of the nurses in attendance told Martha that she had not been able to have a baby. It was plain that she was longing for a child. Martha told her our story while waiting for the anesthetic to kick in. “Put your trust in the Lord Jesus and pray to him for a child”, Martha ministered. Even at a low or difficult point, it’s amazing how you can get pumped up bragging on Jesus.

    At 4:26pm that afternoon our son was born by Caesarian section. He weighed 9lbs and 13oz. and was just as fine as fine could be. His hair was just as blond as mine had been when I was a boy. He was quiet and peaceful and beautiful. He would indeed grow up to be “A gentle giant”, as had been prophesied to us by our pastor before his birth. Our hearts sang as you cannot even imagine! We had heard from God and he had done what was promised to us. We were neither crazy religious fanatics or wacko cultists – simply believers. It only took a few years, a million prayers and a river of tears – not much. We had been married for just over 14 years when God delivered on his promise to us.

    I used to sit at our table at supper time and just bow my head and begin to cry looking at our beautiful son in his high chair. I was looking at Nathan, but could see God there too, smiling at his creation. We have no way to determine the depth of love he has for us. Only by looking at the sacrifice of his only begotten son can we understand a little. We can look but never fully understand the magnificent gift God has provided to whosoever will.
    Over a period of time God healed me from the onslaught of sickness that had discouraged me nigh unto death. Having a lot of trouble seems to be one of the evidences of being a believer. People in the world have a lot of trouble, but do not have a loving God to deliver them. We go through hard trials for many reasons but we must always continue to believe as Job, “though he kill me I will still trust in him.”

    At this writing Nathan is 26 and lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is a big handsome clean cut young man and his fingers are half an inch longer than mine. I am 6ft. 3in. and he is about the same. I still marvel at what God did every time I see him. He is not only a gentle giant, he has a giant heart. More than once during hard economic times he emptied out his bank account to help with a mortgage payment or some other “won’t wait” emergency. We raised our children in love so that any of us would willingly give everything to help the other. It’s a constant encouragement that God will help us in other seemingly impossible situations. “Is there anything too hard for me”?, God asks us. "I have loved you with an everlasting love and engraved you on the palms of my hands."

    One Wednesday night, (June the 10 th, 1981), while praying, I heard something else from the Spirit of God. Can this really be? I asked myself. My eyes got as big as Elsie the cow’s when it went off in my spirit. Was that really God or just me? That eternal question that keeps popping up for believers. That small still voice can so easily be overlooked or dismissed. “My sheep know my voice” the good shepherd said. I’m a sheep and if you are a sheep in his flock you will also hear that wonderful voice in your spirit. Have a need or heart's desire? Remember "A deep seated heart's desire for a good thing is absolute proof that it exists."

    Chapter 6, “The next promise”, will be posted in the first part of March