Saturday, June 12, 2010

My story of hope

One of the campaign themes of 2008 was Hope and Change. But the order should be change then hope. To underscore that truth, let me share my story of hope.

I came to know Christ as a teenager when I put my trust in him and invited him into my life. I had the assurance that my sins were forgiven and that I had begun a brand new life.

A few years later I sensed the Lord calling me to ministry. I made a public commitment, but then I spent the next several years trying to run away. Jesus never left me, even though I strayed away.

Then came Vietnam. I served as an infantry officer commanding a rifle platoon in the jungle. Even there, on the other side of the world, in the midst of an ugly war, Jesus was right there. He’s always been there, wherever I was, whatever situation.

But the story that I want to relate happened 20 years ago. On December 30, 1990, a Sunday, I had emergency surgery to have my colon removed – the whole thing – because of a grave medical condition. My colon had perforated, and the surgeon gave me less than a 50/50 chance to survive. I remember, the second day after surgery, lying in the bed in intensive care with three iv poles at the head of my bed dripping meds, blood, and narcotics into a port right under my collar bone. As I lay there, I felt as if my life was slipping away.

Now, I had faced death before as a combat officer in Vietnam. But in those days, with bullets whizzing by, I was able to face death as a well-armed, well-equipped, confident warrior. But now I lay helpless in a hospital bed, unable to lift my head off the pillow.

I remember quietly calling out to the Lord, and sensing him standing there beside me. A peace came over me, and I experienced the Lord saying to me, “I’m here. You’re in my hands and I’m not going to leave you. I have wonderful things prepared for you when you meet me face to face some day, but it’s not going to happen today. You’re going to get well. I’m not through with you yet.”

Thirty-seven days and three surgeries later, I was released from the hospital, and the following Sunday I stood before the church I served with a new confidence that God wasn't through yet with my life on earth.

One of my favorite gospel songs expresses this confident hope.

I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure,
Since Jesus came into my heart.
And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure,
Since Jesus came into my heart.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Skip! "Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but we will trust in the name of our God!"