Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Story (Part 13) - The Fall of Silence

Read Part 12

I had just come home from an annual pastor's conference.  I was tired from the trip and ready for some time with the family and a good night's rest.  That is, until a phone call came.  It was September 15, 2010.  My Dad had called to tell me that my Mother was going to be going to the emergency room.  She was showing signs of severe pneumonia that had put her through a near-death experience a couple years earlier.  This was going to be a long night.  When we got to the ER, we found that her condition was worse than it was the first time.  Things were not good.

After two long and difficult weeks, things began to look good.  In fact, she was brought out of her "coma" and they were working with her to get her breathing on her own again.  We were able to talk with her on September 29th.  We left rejoicing that, perhaps, God would work a second miracle with her health.  When my wife and sister-in-law were with her that night, she whispered, "No time...go home."  We thought she either meant that in no time she would be allowed to go home, or that we should all go home and get rest - she was always thinking of others first.

Memorial at the Cleveland Zoo with my Mother's name
thanks to gifts given in her name.  The Zoo was one
of her favorite places to go.
Two days later, on October 1st, I got a call on my way home from getting my son from school.  My Dad informed me that my Mom had taken a turn for the worst and family had to get to the hospital immediately.  When we got to the hospital, my Dad greeted us weeping, informing us that my Mom had been given only a few more hours to live.  At that moment, everything became non-real - like I was living a movie or something.  We spent that evening at her bedside.  She was alert, but unable to talk.  As medication made her "more comfortable," she has drifted into sleep.  We spent the rest of that evening comforting one another.  Somewhere after 1 AM on October 2, she breathed her last and did go home - to be with Jesus.  Two days before her birthday.

Her memorial service was held on Saturday, October 9th at their home church.  It was one of the hardest days of my life.  The theme of the day from all who talked about my Mom was her love for Jesus and her love for people.

In the coming months, the emotional pain was, at times, more than I could bear.  I found myself clinging more desperately to the Lord than I ever had before.  As I thought about how well my Mom had lived her life, I found the Lord pressing me to examine myself and evaluate my life. I realized that my life had become very noisy.  Ministry, evangelism, theology, and other things had crowded my heart.  My focus on Jesus had become blurred.  I needed to silence all those "voices" and focus my heart back on the Lord alone.

Leonard Ravenhill
In this time, I went back to the Word of God.  And I began to dive into messages by a person who had been a major influence in my life years before.  In fact, so many who have impacted me in the past - Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, The C&MA, A.W. Tozer, Calvary Chapel, Keith Green and others - can all be traced to a common person.  Leonard Ravenhill.  As I re-read his books and began to listen to message after message, my heart was turning back to the Lord as never before and back to prayer.

I believe this season would set me up for a refocusing that God was doing in me.

Read Part 14  


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