Our pastors asked us to write and submit “Resurrection Stories” – examples of how God is at work in the lives of our Church family. On Sunday, May 2nd, I was asked to share my Resurrection Story…
During Holy Week, 2010, I will always remember that my life was changed. But it wasn’t something that I did – rather, what God did.
God has been in the process of re-building me, beginning with flattening my whole world in January 2006 when I was laid off from my job of almost 20 years. Over the last four years, He has shown me that in order to remake me into what He intends, the old construction has to be gone. He won’t begin building new until the old is cleared away. This is not punishment – rather His great love and desire to make me new.
Cracks in the foundation have been found, and although they aren’t perfectly mended, the process has begun. But one thing remained – my weight. I struggled with it, tried different things, but never gave it all over to Him.
Over the last year, He made it clearer and clearer that it was time to consider bariatric surgery. I had applied for it twice before, and been denied. I realized that in both of those times, I had applied for the surgery without submitting to Him – my mind and heart were not willing, thinking of it as, “well, I guess I have nothing else to try.” And this was not the attitude of heart and mind God wanted for me.
This time, He was asking me, “Son, do you trust me? I have a path for you to walk – will you walk it? Will you go where I’m leading, without reservation, not seeing it as ‘the last resort?’ Will you follow Me?” And, to the praise of His glorious grace, I said “yes.”
From that point, what happened reminds me of how Mr. Beaver describes Aslan in “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe” when asked if he is a “safe” lion… “No, he’s not safe. But he’s good.” Rich Mullins calls it “the reckless raging fury, that they call the love of God.” The path opened, and God’s will rushed forward in a flood.
Approval came back in two and a half weeks, when it could have taken up to eight. With it came with the news that the surgery would be in two weeks – March 30th, two days after Palm Sunday. Along the way, God calmed my fears, began to restore my heart in worship, and took us down the path in the palm of His hand. God was before us, showing us the way, and His saints were at our sides and backs, keeping us upheld in prayer. The morning of the surgery, Pastor Craig asked me how I was feeling, and I truthfully answered that I wasn’t nervous or scared at all – just ready to go. The surgery went as planned, no complications, the entire procedure completed, and a recovery so smooth that I was here on Easter Sunday to sing His praise with my family, just five days after surgery.
I’m coming up on five weeks since my surgery, am already over 40 pounds lighter, and am amazed by His love and care. Sometimes, all He is waiting for is our answer: “yes.” And I’m continuing to rejoice with these words, the phrase that kept repeating itself to me almost as soon as I woke up from surgery:
“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood, His mercy rains
Unending love, amazing grace.”