One thing is for certain: storms will come. I was reminded of this just today when I ran into a dear friend outside the post office. Jack was my neighbor for nearly ten years, but before and since he has been a great friend. Jack is one of the kindest, most soft-spoken people I know. He genuinely cares for others, and has the heart of a servant. Just a couple of years ago Jack lost an eye to cancer, and today he told me that it appears that the cancer may have spread to his liver. He asked for prayer - especially this Friday morning as he undergoes a biopsy procedure.
We got to talking about the storms of life, and Jack reminded me of the sermon he heard just two Sundays ago about how Jesus calmed the storm that arose on the sea of Galilee. And not only did he calm the storm, he calmed his frantic followers as well.
This gave me an opportunity to share with Jack a personal experience of being in a storm. Twenty years ago I had emergency surgery to remove my colon - yes, the entire length of it. I learned later that it had perforated and that I was in really bad shape. In fact, my surgeon gave me less than a 50/50 chance of surviving.
One moment I recall vividly from my eight days in intensive care. As I lay in the bed in this tiny room, with three IV poles behind me, feeding nutrients, meds, and who knows what else into a central line in my neck, I began to feel as if my life was slipping away. I couldn't move, I was so weak. So, I began to pray, something simple like, "Lord, help me." (Much like the disciples must have prayed.)
At that very moment a peaceful calm settled over me and I had this undeniable sense that I was not alone in this room. I never heard a voice, but I believe that Jesus himself was standing at the head of my bed, and the message I heard within was, "Child, I'm here with you. What I have in store for you is beyond description, and someday you'll be with me in eternity. But, it's not today. I will be here with you as you recover. I'm not through with you yet."
As I related this to Jack I felt the sting of tears in my eyes, and noticed that his own good eye was moist as well. I assured him of my prayers, and also told him I'd share his concern with others and ask them to pray also.
So, please pray for my friend Jack, and his wife, Deborah. Ask God to remind Jack that he is not alone and that the Lord will give him the strength and the peace that he needs.
"Lord, like the song says, 'Sometimes you calm the storm. Other times you calm the child.' May your perfect peace fall on Jack and Deborah as they face this storm. And, if I might be so bold, I'd ask you to heal him of this affliction, in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen."