Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Drought

"Carol! Will will you please call off the rain?  I think we've had quite enough!"  I would have laughed but Karen, my neighbor to the north, was serious.   

We had just been through the worst drought in many years, possibly the worst ever in the recorded history of our community.  Wells were going dry; farmers were getting desperate; there was even whispers of suicides; even my garden was suffering.  It hadn't rained in months.

And then one Sunday the pastor of the church we attended at the time did something he had never done before.  After preaching a convicting message from II Chronicles 6:26: "When Heaven is shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray . . .,"  he gave an alter call, inviting those who were serious about wanting the Lord to send rain.

After church, as I usually did, I sat down with my neighbor in her back yard to pet her poodle.  We discussed the damage the dearth was doing to our gardens, and I told her about our church service. My neighbor had always claimed to be an agnostic.  She had lost her faith in the Church as a young girl and therefore had given up on God, so she didn't have a whole lot of good to say about the service.  Still, she said she hoped we got what we asked for.

That night around 2am I couldn't sleep, so I went down stairs and started praying.  All of a sudden, I heard a strange noise.  It took me a while to figure out what it was; I hadn't heard that sound for so long.  I looked out the window, and started praising God.  It was pouring rain.

The wells filled, the crops recovered, my flowers perked up, and still it rained.  One day I was out in my lush garden, when Karen called out to me.   She had had enough.  One of the storms had done damage to the barn of a relative, and she was tired of the wet weather.  She wanted me to call off the rain.

I left the rain in the hands of the Lord, but I did continue to pray for my neighbor.

I will continue the story of my neighbors on both sides in my next blog.

To read the last blog see: God Led us to Paisley

Monday, July 19, 2010

God led us to Paisley

I cannot doubt that every path He takes us on, including the present one, is for His divine purpose.   We wouldn't have had the chance to lead Vern back to God, if the Lord hadn't directed us to stay in Chatham, and I wouldn't have had the  story about Mary to tell the girl next door if God hadn't led us to Paisley.

We had no intention of buying a house, or even moving from Chatham in April of 1998 when we decided to spend a couple of days helping our daughter, Samantha, find a place to rent in the town where she had found work.

We drove to Paisley on a Thursday, had to be in Detroit for Sunday service, and then were leaving for New Brunswick on Monday morning. And yet in that short space of time, the Lord set us on a new path he had already planned for us.

Samantha had expected to rent an apartment in an old home across from her sister, Susy,  but when that proved unsuitable we drove around looking for a house to rent.  We spotted an old board and batten house on the main street that had a sign, but it was a for sale sign, not for rent.  We thought maybe she could try a rent to own.

We were drawn to the house even when the Realtor told us the kitchen part of the house had been gutted because it was falling apart, and the owner had been planning on tearing that section off.  We still made arrangements to see it, even though it should have been obvious that it would not be suitable for Samantha.  It wouldn't be livable without a huge pile of work; not the sort of thing Samantha could do.

During the night Bruce couldn't sleep.  He kept thinking that we should be buying the house ourselves.  There was no reason why we had to stay in Chatham.  His time as pastor there had ended and he was doing more evangelistic work.  Our home base should be where most of our family was, and God was giving him a nudge.

We saw the house on Friday and though the owner was seldom in Paisley, it just happened that he was there that weekend.  He agreed to take the mortgage, and our pastor friend from Chatham, (see Groaning that Called God on the Scene and Can We Please Leave Now Lord ) offered to loan us what we needed to settle the deal and fix up the house. By Sunday morning we had bought ourselves a house and were on our way.

Though this house took months of hard work and patience while we made meals and ate in the living room, and washed the dishes in the upstairs shower, when it was finished it was a beautiful comfortable home.

The Lord wanted us in Paisley.  My neighbor, Mary needed us.   Karen, the neighbor on the other side was the one God used to put Bruce in the pulpit of the church where Mary played the piano, but that incredible story is the subject of my next blogs.  For Part 1 of that story see: The Drought

For the previous blog go to Trusting God and my Husband

Monday, July 12, 2010

Trusting God and My Husband

You would think that with all times God has spoken to my husband and then confirmed His word, it would have made me strong in faith. Why then was it so hard for me to believe Bruce when he told me God was not going to let him die yet.

All through the worst of his illness he kept telling me that God still had more for him to do, but when his health kept going down hill and his temperature kept soaring higher, I wondered if the promise was just wishful thinking on his part.

That day, a week and a half ago, when I woke before dawn and saw Bruce with his mouth hanging open, his arms dangling at his sides, and no visible movement in his chest, I tried reminding myself that God wasn't finished with him yet, but it didn't stop me from thinking he had died in the night.  It took me at least fifteen minutes of wondering before I reached out and touched his still warm hand, and saw him open his eyes.

It's easier to believe now that he is resting peacefully in his hospital bed with doctors and nurses watching over him, telling us that they have discovered the problem and are doing their best to help him fight the infection. 

I wonder, did I doubt that the Lord was watching over him, that He knew exactly what was wrong, that He had Bruce's total treatment in His own capable hands?  He knew exactly when my sister-in-law would need to phone and urge me to call an ambulance; He knew what specialist was needed to find the problem, and when each test should be done. 

I think I did believe all of this.  I know God is sovereign.  He does whatever is best.  If it was not Bruce's time to go, nothing could take him from me.  I just didn't know for sure that it was God's will for him to stay on this earth a little while longer.

I guess the one I doubted was my husband.  He had said God told him he would live, but I kept on thinking "what if?".  There are so very many reasons why I should trust my husband's word, and I find I am ashamed of myself.

If the Lord said that man was to be head of the wife as Christ is head of the church, I think that must mean that I am to trust my Godly husband just as I trust Christ. 


Tonight I need to read over some of my past blogs and remind myself that God can speak through and to my husband, starting at The Decision and then Groaning that called God on the Scene , Can We Please Leave Now, Lord and Vern and Bruce


I have had numerous experiences that have proven that I can trust the Lord to speak to my husband.  I will continue to write these down, partly because I need the reminders as much as anybody.


Bruce is still not well, but I am happy to say he is definitely improving.  Thanks for all your prayers!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Girl Next Door

After a full, somewhat stressful, day at the hospital today, I decided that I needed to spend some time in my garden.  I didn't realize that God had my evening planned, and the garden was exactly where He wanted me to be.  I was pulling out spent plants when the eleven year old neighbor girl came out.

"What are you doing?" she wanted to know, so we had a discussion on gardens and gardening, but then the conversation changed to include what was happening with my husband. 

"It's OK though," I assured her.  "There are lots of people praying for him, and God could heal him, and he could be fine.  But even if he died, that would still be OK, because he knows where he's going and it's a much better place."

I told her that he had friends in heaven that would be waiting to see him and thank him for helping them get there.  I told her about Vern (see Vern and Bruce  )  And then I told her about Mary.

I told her how Mary had been mad at God because she thought He was the one who had taken away her mother.   She had played the piano in the Baptist church as a favor to her sister but she had always managed to tune out the  preaching.  When the preacher left they asked Bruce to be the pastor for a while, and the first day Bruce preached Mary listened. 

I told my young listener the plan of salvation as Mary had heard. I told how Mary had gone home and talked to God, and then how she knew that she had been forgiven.  I also told her about how when Mary was dying with cancer, she was still thrilled to be able to tell us that she was ready to go, and how she believed that God had sent us to that town just for her.

As I spoke to the neighbor girl I was thrilled to realize (and I knew Bruce would be glad to know too) that God was using Bruce's sickness as an opening to plant a seed in the heart of an eleven year old girl.  I love gardening of any kind, but nothing beats that kind of planting. 

Now, Lord would you send some rain to water that seed?

For more about my young neighbor see Play Time Outside at christiangrandparents.com and Birthday Gift

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Vern and Bruce

Writing this post will be hard for me, today.  With the condition Bruce is in, this hits too close to home.  But the incident shows so clearly how God can use even these saddest events in our lives for His purpose, and I believe it can be a blessing.  

Our new friend, Vern, stopped coming for a while, (see Can We Please leave now Lord ) but when Bruce agreed  to pastor the church for a year if needed, Vern came back.  He began cleaning up his life, and became an enthusiastic member of the congregation.

Vern had health problems, but he almost never missed a service.  One Wednesday evening he entered the church early looking for my husband.  "Brother Bruce, I just came to tell you that I will have to miss the service tonight.  I'm passing blood and I need to go to the hospital.  Would you pray for me before I go?"

Bruce prayed that the Lord would cauterize the bleeding, and Vern left, but came back later to let us know what the Doctor had said.  "He told me that he saw evidence that I had been bleeding," he said, "but it looked like someone had gone in and cauterized the bleeding."  We rejoiced with him, and he continued to be a blessing to all of us.

He was always telling his friends and family what a wonderful friendly church we were, and inviting others to come.  He had a passion to see souls saved, especially his family.

One day we decided to invite him to come with us to an evangelistic service a few miles away.  We had a nice visit with him as we drove.  "You know," he said, "I am glad you obeyed the Lord in deciding to pastor this church.  I wasn't going to come back when I found out the church had no pastor.  I knew I didn't want to be floundering around on my own."

 He told us that he had made things right with God and had corrected his errors as much as was humanly possible.  Then he made another statement which we will never forget.  He said, "If the Lord should take me home tomorrow, I know that I am ready to go."  He continued on by saying his only concern was for the salvation of his family.

The next day we got the call.  "Come to the hospital quick. Vern is dying."  Vern passed on to be with his Savior before we reached the hospital.  Bruce had the job of giving the news to all his family as they arrived.  What a blessing it was to have those final words of assurance to pass on to them!

At the funeral Bruce preached a salvation message  just as he knew Vern would want.   At the end he asked for a show of  hands of those who wanted to make a decision to serve the Lord.  Five people raised their hands.

We taped the service and sent the tape to one of Vern's sisters in Nova Scotia.  Some time later Bruce got a call from her.  She said she wanted him to know that she agreed with what he had said at the funeral, and she had committed her life to the Lord.  She said she was going to pass the tape on to her sister who also needed to hear it, and eventually we heard from that sister also.

God had used Vern's death just as he had used his life.  His greatest desire had been to see his family serve the Lord, and death didn't stop those prayers from being heard.
......
Now, unless God sends us a miracle, it will be Bruce's time to go.  He, too, is ready to go, and he, too, has one great desire, an overwhelming longing to see all his family serving the Lord.  Bruce is still praying that whether through life or death his family will all be joined together in Christ. That, to him, is far more important than whether he lives or dies now.

To my dear friends who read these blogs, I would ask that you pray with us, not just for Bruce, but for  his family as well.  Thank you so much for the love you have already showed.