"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" This is truly my desire and testimony of this fiery trial that the Lord has put us in! The trials that God puts into our lives are His expressions and evidences of His great love for us. For each custom made trial that God gives us, He certainly gives us all of the grace that we need (Heb. 4:16)!
I also have learned about the deep sacrificial love that my dear wife, Bethany, has for me. She has been such a wonderful help meet during this trial in our lives. When I have been discouraged, she would encourage me; when I would sometimes forget what God is like, she would remind me of His attributes; when I would be in pain, she would comfort me; and when I was alone in the hospital, she would be by my side. I love my dear Bethany SO very much and I am SO thankful for her love, devotion, service, compassion, patience, and care for me in this time of sickness in my life. I have seen Christ's love in and through her throughout our almost two years of marriage...and it especially came through during this time of great pain and agony in my life.
My immediate family members, in-laws, and close friends have also been such a blessing to me. Y'all have given me such wonderful support! The Lord has used your support, phone calls, and letters as a means to help me through this difficult time in my life. It was SO good to have more contact with my parents, my brother, Bethany's parents, and close friends from Greenville, SC...some whom I have not been able to talk with for a while!
Finally, I have learned that I have a such a wonderful and loving church family! The love of Calkins Baptist Church has been truly overwhelming! They all have showered me with around fifty "get well" cards and have truly gone out of their way to make sure that Bethany and I are well taken care of and get the rest that we need during this time of sickness. Instead of rushing me back to my ministry, they are making sure that I come back close to 100% so that I will not have another relapse. Pastor Jones has been such a wonderful friend and mentor to me and his love for me has truly been demonstrated to use during this time. Also, a big thanks goes out to Kevin and Jackie Knack for taking such good care of Bethany during my second round in the hospital. Bethany and I are truly thankful for our WONDERFUL church family and we are truly grateful for each one of you who have gone out of your way to be such a blessing to us. We certainly have even more of a love and appreciation for Calkins Baptist Church having had to be away from all of you for so long and having seen such great Christ-like love demonstrated toward us during this trial in our lives.
I will end this testimony of praise with these few verses from Psalm 73:25-28 which best sums up what the Lord has been teaching and of my heart's desire during this time in my life. "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works."
To The Praise of His Glory and Grace,
Pastor Erik Hanson