Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Praise God to Whom All Blessings (Including Trials) Flow!

As you can see from these pictures I, Pastor Erik, have been ordered to get much rest from my normal responsibilities. For all who know me, resting is probably not the first verb that you would use to describe me...this certainly has been hard for me to do! I have learned to "Be still and know that I am God..." (Ps. 46:10). This past weekend, Bethany and I spent our time resting at her parents house which was a great blessing and a help to my recovery process. This time of recuperation from my appendectomy has been a much longer process than I have anticipated along with 10 1/2 days in the hospital along with 3 ER visits! However, through this time God has taught me SO much about His great working and His ways (His attributes) in my life. I have learned that my God is ALWAYS good no matter what the circumstance may be and that He is a sovereign God whose ways are perfect and best for me no matter what I think or feel (Ps. 100:5; Ps. 18:30). During this time of trial in my life, the Lord has been bringing passages of scripture to my mind constantly and reminding me of these truths as well as the fact that Christ is my life and that life is NOT about me but all about Him (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:4). God owns my life and He has the right to control and plan every aspect of my life even if it meant for me to have a ruptured appendix for 5-6 days before surgery (Col. 1:15-17). I must submit to His chiseling in my life by yielding my will to His will and my thoughts and ways to His thoughts and ways (Isa. 55:6-8). God has been using this deep valley experience to conform Bethany and I more into the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ...what else more can we want when the best thing for us is to be more like our Savior so that we can best reflect His likeness and bring Him ALL of the glory in this lost and dying world! I Peter 1:7 says, "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

No comments:

Post a Comment