Today was Sunday. I got up early and prepared to go to church, just as I have for 51 years. Since Trish and I have been married, we have probably missed church no more than two or three Sundays. But today I awoke and prepared to go to church without her. I had my cry about that for a while. Then, a passage came to my mind. I thought of the opening of The Revelation. John the Revelator begins his account of that bizarre and wonderful vision by saying, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.”
I thought about that a bit.
John was old. He had been exiled to Patmos by the Roman government. On that particular Sunday morning, he was far from home. Life had turned difficult. But it was the Lord’s Day. So he got "in the Spirit."
I thought to myself, "today, Trish is in great danger. She experiences a few minutes of mental twilight every few hours and then slips back into that void where I cannot reach her. I am missing her. I am grieving. But it is the Lord’s Day. It is the day the Lord has made. I cannot help her, I cannot pull her out of her coma. If I am to be of any benefit to her or to myself, I need to be "in the Spirit."
I drove to our early service, the one that begins at 7:45 AM. We serve communion every Sunday in that service and I wanted to receive Communion and prepare myself for the day. My son-in-law, Austin, was speaking today in that service, I listened carefully as he spoke from Isaiah 6. "In the year King Uzziah died, "the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord. When all was in chaos round him, Isaiah entered the glory. As I listened, Austin said thing in particular that struck me. I wrote it down . "Above all things," he said, "Satan hates the holiness, the transcendence, of God. Our enemy's main work consists in keeping people from experiencing God's presence."
When someone is in deep trouble, like we are this week, it is all the more essential to get "in the Spirit." It is in the Spirit," in the experience of the transcendent glory of God, that one rises above the nasty stuff and remembers that who we are.
Well, I stayed for a few minutes into the next service. I wanted to briefly greet everyone. I also wanted to sing with my children. That's what we do in our family when we are in trouble. We sing.
After we had sung, Monica Dong, a dear lady in the church here, walked to the platform. She took the microphone. Now, Monica came to America as a refugee after the war. She travels to Viet Nam to encourage the believers there but here at home, she rarely speaks up. But today she prayed boldly, fervently and with much tears. She did this for three or four minutes. Then she shouted, "TRISH, WAKE UP!". We all felt the Spirit moving through her words. I could hardly wait to get to the hospital.
A few minutes later, Pastor Hardwick told me that in Nashville at Christ Church this morning, the congregation experienced much the same thing as we had here. The congregation was seized with a spirit of intercessory prayer. Suddenly, in the midst of the Spirit, Pastor Hardwick prayed fervently, "LORD, YOU WOKE UP THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE GOSPELS. WAKE TRISH UP TODAY!"
When we do not know what to prayer, the Spirit prays for us. The Spirit was speaking through his church as fervent prayer was offered for my wife.
Well, she did wake up, at least for a while. She became so moved to see us, however, that she threw up. Then her blood pressure got very high. The nurse finally had to sedate her and ask us not to overdo it. Sometimes, healing can't be hurried. However, I am content with what happened today. Healing is still healing even when it is slow!
Tonight, the hospital did an MRI. The doctors want to determine why her left side is still paralyzed. I'll let you know tomorrow or the next day what they discover.
I did want you to know about something else that happened, though. This afternoon, as I was waking from a nap at a friend's house, I saw Trish's room in the ICU. I watched as a doctor whom I did not know hung a large bottle of some kind of liquid up on her IV tree. I watched as he hooked it up to her arm. On the side of the bottle, I read the label: "RESTORE."
Now I have learned to walk softly through matters involving spiritual gifts. We are, after all, fallen creatures. We are not always right about what we believe God to be saying at any given time about any given subject. Our own self-will is involved with every opinion awe make and every judgment we form. So our own desires color all that we perceive. That is why careful discernment should be a central part of trying to hear from God. But if I am discerning correctly all that has happened today, God has decided to deliver and restore Trish to good health. Time will tell if this is so, and it is in Gods hands, but that is what I believe.
Last night, T.F. Tenney, a well known Pentecostal pastor (and father of the author by the same name,) called me. After he prayed a beautiful and moving prayer for Trish and me, he said. "Dan, when you can't track God, you have to trust Him." Well, I do trust Him. I know that Trish would want nothing less that the perfect will of God for her. That is what I want too, at least tonight.
There are many days when I am not good at all of this. Today though, was a good day. It was the Lord's Day. I can truly say with John the Revelator that I have been "in the Spirit." The two main churches in our lives, The Valley Cathedral, where we pastor, and Christ Church, our home church in Nashville, lifted us up to God. So today, we saw God walking among the candlesticks. We joined our voices with saints, angels and cherubim. We cried, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
Today, the enemy of our souls failed to keep us from experiencing the glory and holiness of God.
It was a good day.