Even In The Shadow of Death, God is Near – By Thomas Koester

The Enemy’s plan: Cause you pain to rob you of your future. God’s plan: Give you a future through your pain and rob the Enemy.

On October 11, 2013 I had symptoms of a heart attack, and was was admitted to the hospital, after several EKGs, blood work, nitro tablets, pain meds and then a stress test the following morning, the diagnosis was that the “heart attack” symptoms were stress induced. So, I created a few boundaries to lessen my stress levels and started some prescribed meds.

On November 13, 2013, I tripped on the mid-landing of our stairs, snapped my left quadriceps and then flew the rest of the way, landing on the hardwood floor below. Another trip to the ER and then surgery to reattach the quadriceps muscle and tendons occurred on November 27, 2013. I was in post op recovery and physical therapy since the day before Thanksgiving.

January 8, 2014, I came down with the flu. Never once have I ever had asthma, but by Friday, January 10, 2014 I was admitted into the ER for respiratory distress, complications from the flu and was prescribed with an inhaler and other meds.

In all of these illnesses and accidents, I bowed my head and thanked God for each and everyone. I did not maintain a positive attitude all the time. I had grumpy and hard days, and made it difficult for my wife to take care of me. But what brought me through each and every trial was the comfort of knowing that none of these events, no matter how painful, frightening or threatening, were outside or beyond the control of a loving Heavenly Father, who had permitted these trials and may have even order them in my behalf.

I create both light and darkness;
I bring both blessing and disaster.
I, the Lord, do all these things. Isaiah 45:7

To complicate these past three months of illness, sickness and my fall down the stairs is that we had lost our healthcare on July 31, 2013, due to a single and sudden increase of our premiums, further complicated by a substantial reduction in income, increased the severity and reality of what we were then left to face.

But still, in all of this and even the onset of the very serious flu I had, I was thanking God and welcoming the chills, fever, aches and pain. This past flu was so bad, that I had made my peace with God and ordered the affairs of my inner house and readied myself to meet my Maker. Yet, I continued to thank him for permitting even the possibility death.

“The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him any more. If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.” Isaiah 30:20-21

Since all this begun in mid October, 2013, my trust and confidence in God had grown. I had witnessed so may kisses and hugs from God all through these events. They are too numerous to list. But suffice it to say, as I surrendered my will to God and rather than complain and blame, I yielded and accepted each attack, fall and sickness as instruments in the hands of a loving God taking my momentary losses and messes and creating something out from all the chaos I had encountered.

You see, if we put our faith into God’s promises, just like Abraham did, God can, in His power do unbelievable miracles, even raise the dead and speak things into existence that did not before exist.

“As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations. He is our father in God’s sight, in whom Abraham believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist.” Romans 4:17

I am beginning to see the semblance, artistry, order and beauty from those past three months of chaos, pain and sickness and financial ruin. The very things that could’ve destroyed me were called out by God for a better purpose than death.

“On the day when the forts of your enemies are captured and their people are killed, streams of water will flow from every mountain and every hill. The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter than usual, like the light of seven days in one. This will all happen when the Lord bandages and heals the wounds he has given his people.” Isaiah 30:25-26

You see, when the earth was formless and in a state of darkness and chaos, His Spirit hovered over the darkness, over the empty waters and then God began to speak life, beauty, color, order, boundaries and life into existence.

“The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.

Then God said, “Let there be light!” So there was light. God saw the light was good. So God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light day, and the darkness he named night. There was evening, then morning—the first day.

Then God said, “Let there be a horizon in the middle of the water in order to separate the water.” So God made the horizon and separated the water above and below the horizon. And so it was. God named what was above the horizon sky. There was evening, then morning—a second day.” Genesis 1:2-8 (Gods Word)

It is in the nature of God to begin with chaos, disorder and emptiness and begin speaking beauty out of each of our messes. Whether these messes are bad news, sickness, disease or even betrayals, God has the ability to transform all of it into order, semblance, artistry and beauty.

But in order to go from the pain and chaos to beauty and rest, we must join God in faith that He knows what he’s doing. And the best way to do this is to thank him for every ounce; every moment of every pain, loss or hardship. You see, this grants God the permission to bless you through your struggles and hardships, because he can therefore reward your faith and trusting spirit. But bitterness, anger, blaming, or even un-forgiveness robs God of the very opportunity to bless you from all these things, and your faithlessness turns your mess into confused and meaningless tragedy.

So, I encourage you, yes, I en-courage you to begin to thank God for your present suffering, loss or betrayals and kiss the chains which bind you and the suffering which has inflicted you. I en-courage you to rather welcome what has come into your life with a “good morning pain!” or “good evening to suffering.” It changes everything and allows the Holy Spirit of God, hovering over the chaos, darkness and emptiness to start speaking things into existence over your life through all that appears out of control and, which may even be deadly.

Trust in the God, who holds all things together by the Word of his Power and who has even raised his own Son to life from death. God is well experienced in creating order out of chaos, it is his specialty!

My dear friend. Trust that there is absolutely nothing which can separate you from the Love of God found in Christ Jesus. Not things in heaven, nor things in the earth or under the earth; not height nor depth, not even the sword, nor perilous times and neither darkness or dark forces shall separate you from the Love and purpose of God.

But, you can distort what God wants to do by your attitude and being regretful or blaming God, the Devil, the World and others for what you’re encountering, or you can welcome it, thanking him, surrendering to his Will and Power and become all that he has desired to make of you. I can tell you it will be beautiful — it will be eternal and it will satisfy the deepest desires of your heart.

Oh, and by the way, God even works through mean bosses, difficult exes, in-laws and out-laws. You just got to start thanking him for where you are and who’s around you.

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8: 28 (The Voice)

Accept, welcome and thank God for his plan concerning you — God wants to display his love for you and satisfy you with good things. He’s not just God, but your Heavenly Father, wanting to father you through all of life, as his son or daughter.

…even in the shadow of death, God is near.

Look for him, and he will be found. Put your faith in God, in his ability and power over your chaos. Amen

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