As I write, the news coverage is about the death of Prince at the age of 57. This past week my daughter was in the hospital, a friend informs me that he has lung cancer and said he may not live past 2016 and another tells me that a lesion has been discovered on his brain. Having had bypass surgery on my heart and my family was told I had a ten percent chance of living and the nurses in ER said to my daughter-in-law, a nurse; I had no chance of living in 2007. When this happens to most individuals your thoughts are usually negative. It seems like you are being influenced by demonic spirits trying to convince you of the worse. However, that is the opposite of what Scripture tells us to do.

Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 26:4 – “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.” Psalms 27:1 – “The Lord is my light and the One Who saves me. Whom should I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom should I be afraid?” NIV

Sometimes we may feel so unworthy that it is difficult to believe that God really loves us enough to answer our prayers. There can be times when we may least expect God to answer our prayer and He does. The more we see the Holy Spirit working in our lives, the greater we can be motivated to study His Word and pray. God knows what it takes to encourage us. So never give up and pray with the faith to believe your prayers will be answered. God doesn’t want us to fear. So if we want our prayers constantly answered, we must do as Scripture says.

James 5:15- “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

Then why isn’t everyone that prays healed? We know that prayer is appropriate for every situation and is certainly appropriate in times of suffering and illness. Jesus sent out His disciples with instructions to heal the sick. I believe God answers every prayer. He may not do it in the way we expect or in the time we want. I have personally witnessed a number of individuals who were extremely sick that were healed and I believe was a result of prayer.

Fear! Isn’t it a lack of trust in God? Physical and spiritual walls must be broken through if we are to be free to stretch our endurance, abilities and potential. Athletes learn that they can catch their second wind only when they are willing to go through the pain of breaking through a wall of resistance. Once they push through that physical wall, their task becomes easier and their energy and endurance increase exponentially.

Just as athletes experience a physical wall of resistance, Christians encounter a spiritual one. It’s called fear. Most often this barrier is more difficult to break through because the Devil and his spirits of darkness often put the “wall of fear” before us.

How we respond to any given situation tells us a lot about ourselves. Scripture tells us that God allows things to happen so that He can use us as His disciples. God has a plan for each one of us. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, how willing are we to be used? Are we more interested in our plan or in His?

As we study the Bible, those dedicated most to God went through some terrifying circumstances. The Israelites, the prophets, judges, King David, Joseph to name a few who were mistreated, persecuted and faced death continually.

I believe God allows Christians to go through pain, suffering or problems to get us to respond. Scripture says that once we accept Christ as our Savior, God will make us more Christ-like. When a Christian goes through problems, suffering or pain, as in my case, you immediately turn to God. Whatever it takes to drive us closer to a personal relationship with God is actually good for us. I wrote in “Miracle on the Hudson” that when a miracle takes place and a person realizes it, it can change the purpose and direction of their entire life. I have read of service men in a life and death situation promise God that if He will save them, they will live for Him the rest of their lives. Go through serious medical problems and see if you do not become more concerned about life after death and eternity.

We will all have needs, whether they are physical, mental, spiritual or financial. God promises to meet those needs. Yet, we worry and wonder why God, at times, is not meeting our needs. I have prayed with a number of people who seemed that all looked hopeless. They had lost faith and were struggling with why God was not answering their prayers. There is a reason for everything. If you ever find yourself in that situation read the following Scripture: Philippians 4:11b–13 & 19 “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength… And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

I found myself not only content but trusting that God would do what was best for me and meet my needs. There was not one minute I can remember worrying whether I would continue to live or not. The point I wish to get across is that knowing the Bible teaches that God’s Spirit is with us every second. I trust God completely and know that He loves me and wants what is best for me. Suffering does get our attention and it is great that we know that God is with us to take us through it.

Matthew 6:25–27 & 33 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

These past nine years I have had good health! I lived 32 years after my first bypass with good health. Did God get my attention and has life changed since 1984 and the first operation? You bet! I praise Him that I am still able to work each week and glad that the stock market is doing better.

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