[ Divine Signs ]

Message In a Bottle

A few nights after surgery on my leg, a stabbing, unrelenting pain in my incision frightens me. Fear makes my heart race and I feel so alone. Words of scripture like: "joyful in hope" and "patient in affliction" have gone out the window.

It is three in the morning. I pray for sleep, I pray for relief, but it does not come. I reach for the lamp switch to dispel the darkness I feel all around me.

With the light on, my eyes fall on a prescription bottle on the bedside table. This bottle is not filled with pills. Rather, it is filled with tiny scripture cards. In the years of my struggle with lupus, God has eased my loneliness and fear with the MEDICINE IN HIS WORD and now, perhaps, He was going to send me a message through one of the little scripture cards.

I prayerfully chose a card and read the scripture written there: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you have asked for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24 (NIV)

I had been praying and I had been asking and I had believed. I had been asking for healing and peaceful sleep. I wanted relief from my pain and fear. What was I doing wrong? Why was God allowing me to suffer?

When I asked myself that important question, I remembered that it was my physical suffering that finally brought me to Him as a 55-year-old-woman. It was the helplessness caused by lupus that brought me running to Him. Without suffering, would we need Him at all?

When I finally came into His comforting presence, with no change in my physical illness, I experienced a joy I had never known. How often I forget what He has done for me. He instantly healed me of 55 years of sin, guilt and depression. I was still focusing on physical pain relief instead of the most important thing I had even gotten in my life. I had longed to know that I was lovable just as I am and that I was not alone. I reminded myself how much better life is when I was get the focus on what I have and not what I don't have.

Then suddenly, something rather bizarre happened. I was in a different time and place. I was a young girl of 12 who had badly injured her leg when the horse she was riding ran through a fence. That night, 50 years ago, my biological father left me alone in a motel room, injured and far from home. I had the current surgery partly because of that old injury. But the worst pain I was feeling was the fear and loneliness of being left by my father. Sobbing, I cried, "God, this is too much pain."

Deep cleaning is often necessary to close a wound that won't heal. My Heavenly Father showed me that I still judged my dad for his abandonment and abusive behavior. "Judgment belongs to Me, says the Lord; forgive as I forgave you." It was as if God said, " It is time to let go of that part of your life and I will give you everything you need to do it."

I said it aloud, again and again: "It's over, it's over, it's over." I began to feel peace and excitement, all at the same time! As I finished saying those words, I noticed that my leg was no longer hurting. God used my physical pain for a higher purpose. There was hurt in the cleansing of the old wound, but hope and healing flowed in to take its place.

My hope is in God. I am no longer a wounded child of 12 with a fallible human father. I am a 62-year-old much loved daughter of the Lord God Almighty! I praise Him for taking me to a wound much deeper than my surgical incision - a wound so deep and dark that I had blotted it out of my memory. God left His Word to reach us in the deepest places where He wants to reside. His Word tells us in Romans 15:4 "that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we . . . have hope."

Who would have thought a little scripture card would take me on such a trip from despair to discovery.

Anne W.

Dallas, TX