I had been bringing specific financial burdens to the Lord for days; seemingly days on end. I perceived the Lord's reply was along the lines of, "Don't worry about it. I will take care of it for you." Day after day I labored to abide in His direction, "Trust Me. Have faith. Am I not able to provide for you?"
Two days ago at around one o'clock in the afternoon I knelt desperately beside my bed in prayer, "Father, I can't take this anymore. Please give me what I need, whatever I need. I don't even know what that is!" I remained on my knees and the burden partially lifted.
I wandered to my computer where there were three consecutive emails that answered my earnest prayer.
The first email was a 10 minute video and I wept as I learned that four children (we have four children) had been unjustly stripped from their parents through a bizarre set of circumstances. The children had been split up and placed in separate foster homes. The father of the family and his wife have been battling to have them returned ever since. One of the children, their seven year old girl, was raped while in temporary custody.
What I needed was to pray for them all. And, boy, did I ever drop my cares to do just that.
The second email spoke of a father with young children who is dying of cancer!
The third email hit the nail on the head. Here, I'll quote it, "When we look at our loved ones we see and feel the blessings God gives us beyond anything we could ever have imagined. You have a beautiful family...Frank."
More than ever the sense came over me, "Would you stop being so needy and pause to look at what I have given you?" My wife and I spent the rest of that day with our children in our arms.
Yesterday the battle was renewed and the grace of God increased. All day long we, my wife and I, had praise songs resounding through our souls. Words can't quite capture the experience of being overcome by the grace of God in this way.
I visited a dying lady who has been placed in Hospice. It seems she is all alone; a 50 something year old women that I met less than a year ago. When I met her there was zero evidence of any illness. She was vibrant and full of zeal. This has come about so quickly. I never imagined that it would be me standing at her death-bed rather than her husband or children. I stood as an ambassador for Christ, to care for her. Have you ever seen someone dying? It's not at all pretty. I don't even think she knew I was there. I knelt at her bedside, holding her hand and praying, "God, stop her suffering. If you are going to take her home, take her now Father." She actually stopped breathing for nearly a minute as I prayed that. I lifted my head to look at her face. She seemed peaceful anddead. That was a long, long minute. Then, as if the body refused to give in, there was a huge gasp of air and fraught breathing continued. I pondered how lonely she must have been feeling and earnestly prayed for her to feel dignity instead of abandonment. I hope to explore the mind of the LORD in the coming days about all of this and then pray accordingly. She does have a brother; I had met him once. I hoped to see him again at the Hospice facility. I wondered if he had been at her side. Her room seemed so lonely. After more prayer I left and returned home.
Susan and I skimmed and scratched through all that we had in order to take the family for a ride to buy a gallon of milk. Our gas gauge only works sometimes so we were truly on a wing and a prayer as far as I could decipher the mileage in relation to the last number of gallons added to our fuel tank we were on fumes. Nevertheless, the praise in our hearts was so loud that we each remarked to one another about how peculiar the sensation was and how clearly we could hear the lyrics. For me, it was, "He is good! He walks right by my side. He promises to be my guide. You never have to worry. You never have to fret. He is good! He is good! He is good!" For her, it was, "God is my everything. He's my joy in sorrow. He's my hope for tomorrow. He's my Rock in a weary land"
We were so thrilled to have made it home with that gallon of milk! We had an extraordinary sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, putting voice to the songs from our hearts all along the way. That just ain't normal! Still, to God's glory, this is our life.
Shortly after midnight this morning I received another loud and clear impression from God, "We live by faith. Not by sight." It was specifically 2 Cor. 5:7. I woke this morning hours before sunrise confessing, "I seek You early Lord and according to Your word I find You" (Proverbs 8:17). I sure didn't feel as though I had found the Lord through the next several hours. I had fasted coffee, spent time on my knees, read the Bible and took a peek at my email messages. While I didn't specifically feel the presence of God, there was one message that stood out. It was an email titled, in all caps, "FEAR NOTHING." Again, it was so short and to the point that I can quote the whole thing here, in its entirety, "ROBERT, 1 PETER 5: 6+7. AND KEEP ON SERVING UNTIL THE END!!! LOVING AND SERVING!!!"
The passage he commended to me seemed to be in harmony with what I perceived the Lord was telling me to do so, with all of my might, I continued to cast my cares, needs, and anxieties upon the Lord, forsaking them. My wife and I spoke and prayed together. It was intense and she cried. I was so blessed by one of her comments. We spoke of our "labor" to abide in God's Word and she insisted that giving childbirth was easier. I'd never heard that before but it was tremendously encouraging to me as I recalled seeing her give birth to our children. I ministered to her through the "we live by faith" insight, "Sweetheart. We must look at the wind. What has the Spirit of the LORD been saying over these last 10 days or so? It's all been amazingly good! We must pay more attention to the unseen than the seen."
I went back to bed hoping to get another half hour or so of sleep. As I drifted in and out of slumber I uttered a prayer, "Lord, please cause Ed and Terry to do Your will regarding their finances." You see, they called me and pledged to give a financial gift yesterday. I didn't just blurt out, "Really, how about now!" because, unless the Lord specifically tells us, we generally don't give any indication of our temporal needs. I replied to Ed's kind gesture, "Wow. Praise God; great! You know we live by faith so that would be really appreciated." Anyway, I was turning that whole offer over to God too. During the semi-consciousness of wandering in and out of sleep I saw an ear of shucked corn. I believed it to be a picture given by the Holy Spirit.
I sat up, grabbed my Bible and asked the Lord about the picture. Cornelius and Peter came to mind from Acts, chapter 10. I studied the chapter. Peter saw food come down from heaven during a trance and pondered its meaning. I noted that God's answer came while Peter was actively perplexed (verse 17). I thought, "How sweet? Even as Peter was trying to figure out what the vision meant, God's answer appeared." I continued to myself, "Well, that ear of corn looked ready to eat. It was shucked, clean, neat and trimmed. Are you trying to tell me to get up and eat, Lord?"
I got up and checked my email again. There was the corn! It was an email notification that Ed had fulfilled his pledge. Money had been placed directly into our bank account and was ready for "consumption." It was a meager gift [in relation to the needs presented to the Lord], but I had prayed that they would do God's will so I was literally thrilled.
It was a little relief through our labor of faith; enough to put five whole gallons of gas in the vehicle so we could take the family to the beach. Still, the email message from earlier in the morning rang through me, "Keep on serving until the end! Loving and serving!" So I told Susan that I would make another visit to the dying lady and then we'd have some family time.
I was at the front desk of the Hospice facility writing a note to the lady's brother. I wanted to leave him my phone number and, in the note, offered my assistance for any help he might need through this trial. I was just writing, "P.S. I met you once at" when he, the brother, walked up to sign in right next to me! We recognized one another right away and we each smiled.
We visited his sister who was not at all conscious and went on to have an absolutely divine meeting. God was totally in our conversation and I was blessed in many ways. At least one thing that he said really stuck out at me, "Sometimes the lamb's leg needs to be broken to keep it close to the Shepherd." I don't know about the theology of that and I haven't prayed it through, but it sure sounded sweet and wonderful to me and seemed to give a lot of explanation as to my journey over the last year or so. He, Robert (nice name!), said that he felt something special about our meeting too and he gave glory to God. He said that speaking to me really blessed him and that he was deeply touched. Praise God.
Afterwards I thought, "Wow. If I would have been self-centered and just went to the beach today I would have missed that extraordinarily rich meeting. Thank You Father. Your timing is remarkable!"
Wouldn't you know, on the way to the beach we got a phone call that a healthy donation had been made, enough to address most of those burdens I had been giving to the Lord. It was unsolicited and from an unexpected couple that we ministered to in Texas earlier this week. I thought, "What audacity we have? What a walk with Christ? Here, we have these mountainous needs and our plan today was to go to the beach! Our plan was obedience."
When you don't know what to do, simply love.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7.
Family laugh of the day: Susan shouted praise to God. Grace, our four year old chimed in, "Praise God!" Then Beth, our oldest who is 10 years old joined, "Because He is Al-might-y!" To which, Grace protested, "No. He is on-my-team!" Our mouths were filled with laughter.
(Al-might-y sounded like On My Team to her).
From working air traffic control in NY on 9/11 to calling bread down from heaven to layin' it all down in pursuit of Christ, through God's grace Robert Totman facilitates evidence of the risen Savior - Jesus Christ.