During the years since my salvation, I have seen the Lord work in my life many times, in a number of different ways. However, until my recent hip injury and subsequent surgery, nothing could have prepared me for the amazing way that God was about to intervene on my behalf. Over the last four months, I have seen answers to prayer that nearly overwhelm me, not the least of which has been my speedy recovery from said surgery. In less than four months, I went from being in the hospital….
…to walking on my own two feet again.
One of the hardest lessons to learn is remembering the good things about God and the way He works during trials that seem overwhelming. It is just as hard to learn to wait patiently for Him to intervene when there is nothing (humanly speaking) that one can do about the situation. I think the prophet Jeremiah understood this when he wrote the following words in Lamentations 3:21-25, 31:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord…For the Lord will not cast him off for ever:”
Throughout the tests that have come my way this year, I have striven to maintain a right and proper focus on the Lord and to remain surrendered to His will and working in my life. The various bills relating to my hip surgery amounted to more than $50,000. Although I had not shared the amount, I had asked my church family to pray with me that God would work in His own time and way to help me pay off these debts. At the time of my request, the largest bill outstanding was the hospital bill of almost $34,000. Another major bill was over $4,000.
Before being discharged from the hospital, I had been told by a caseworker that my account would be submitted to the charity board for review, and that there was a chance that the hospital would choose to absorb a certain portion, anywhere from 20-100%, of the total charge.When I received my first bill, I noted that the initial bill of $56,000 had been reduced to $34,000, and naturally assumed that this was the charity write-off of which the caseworker had spoken. A subsequent phone call revealed, however,that this was a self-pay discount, and that my case would be under review until October, when I would receive a letter indicating the remaining amount I would owe. I again requested publicly that my church pray for God to intervene on my behalf, believing the promise in Jeremiah 33:3, where the Lord instructs, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and sew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
Last week, after my return from Florida, I asked my mom for any mail that had arrived in my absence, expecting–and receiving–a stack of bills. (When you owe people money, they like to remind you of that fact on a monthly basis.) I opened several of them before picking up an envelope with the hospital’s address stamped on it. Discouraged from reading of the other statements, I was expecting another to remind me of one more bill I was currently unable to pay. You may imagine my surprise when I instead unfolded a letter stating that the hospital had written off ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of my $34,000 bill!
Speechlessly relieved. I believe that sums up my condition upon reading that particular missive. I was stricken dumb by the incredible mercy of my God.
Our God is great, and He works in marvelous ways, but He threw another blessing in, just because He can. An agent representing the office I owed over $4,000 had informed me that with a copy of the letter showing the hospital’s write-off, their office would apply the SAME PERCENTAGE of forgiveness toward writing off their bill. In one week, the Lord intervened and removed the cloud of nearly $38,000 of debt that these business-men and -women had every right to collect from me. Once again, God proved to me the truth of Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” By trusting Him for the results, I was given something I never could have achieved on my own. I have no connections, no rich relatives willing to finance such things for me. I was forced to depend completely upon the Lord’s provision, and He proved–once again–that such dependence was more than justified.
I was able to share with my church the way that God worked in my life, in order that they might be encouraged by seeing that our God still answers prayer in a mighty way. Through their prayers they had a part in this amazing act of God, and I am thankful beyond measure for the many prayers they offered on my behalf. They believed, as I do, the promise in James 5:16, which still assures us that “…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Although there are still debts to pay, they are minor by comparison to those already forgiven. I feel as though the Lord has spoken directly to me in the words of Revelation 3:7 & 8:”These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
I know that my God is real, and I can say with Paul, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, world without end. Amen.”