Thursday, September 28, 2017

Power of the Sword

"For the word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”—Hebrews 4:12.  

My insides lurched as I clenched the receiver, trying to wrap my mind around my brother's words on the other end of the line.

"Dad's pretty ill, Shara," my brother said. "He's been diagnosed with a debilitating disease that affects the muscles in his eyes and throat. The condition could be life-threatening. The doctors gave him some medication they hope will work, but his speech is already severely impaired." He paused. "It doesn't look good."

I called my parents’ house and talked to my Mom. While on the phone, my dad suddenly motioned to her to call 9-1-1. That was only the beginning.

The year was 2006 and everything we considered normal life abruptly came to a stand-still. Leaving Bruce to "hold down the fort" in Texas—tending to our horses and music ministry—I flew to California. In one phone call, I had suddenly become the foreman, secretary, and bookkeeper in my dad's construction business, as well as a caregiver when he was at home.

My plan to stay a week and a half turned into two months. My dad would get treated at the hospital, then be released. All would seem to be going well and then a few days later, I'd either be calling the ambulance or rushing him to the hospital myself. I finally quit booking flights home because I kept having to cancel them.

I needed help beyond the physical. I needed God Himself to show up in a big way.

Sitting in the emergency room once again, I stared motionless at the scene around me: Doctors and nurses hurried from one section to another; A gunshot victim groaned through the partition on one side; And there was some sort of unidentifiable commotion on the other. I looked over at my 75-year-old dad—a very resilient man—whom I had only seen really ill probably once in my entire life. It was nearly unbearable to see him in a hospital bed with a bunch of tubes hooked to him. I choked back the tears and tried to stay strong. What was going to happen? The tightening sensation of fear threatened to suffocate me. I felt so alone, so vulnerable. All the Bible verses and sermons I had heard went straight out the window—I remembered none of them. At that moment, all I could say was "Jesus, help me."

A "still, small voice" stirred within me, "Didn't you bring your Bible?" I reached for my bag and yes, there it was. Blinded by the fear that gripped me, I never saw the tabs and bookmarks that revealed my favorite verses. I just opened my Bible and numbly, randomly started flipping. On my second "flip" it opened, miraculously, to 1 Corinthians 2:5: "that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." Encouraged, I flipped one more time and again, miraculously, the pages fell open to 2 Corinthians 5:7: "for we walk by faith, not by sight." The Lord knew I would need these two verses that night and throughout the entire two months. I grabbed a hold of them with a white-knuckled grip.

His Presence in the emergency room jarred me loose from the paralyzing grasp of fear. His encouragement caused me to reach for Him through His Word, giving me hope even through distressing doctors’ reports and procedures; the stress of running a construction company; and other unthinkable situations that tested me during that time.

God's Word saved me and in turn, saved my dad.

It happened one night as I was sitting with him in his hospital room. Suddenly, for no reason, his blood pressure shot up into the danger zone. The Lord’s urgency spurred my heart as He told me to start reading His Word—out loud! I grabbed my Bible.

By this time, my dad's face was beet-red. I looked at his face, looked up at his patient monitor, looked down at my Bible, and started reading. As I read, a nurse came in with a shot. Lord, no! Please, no more medications for my dad! Now, I have no medical training whatsoever, but I sensed in my spirit that shot was the wrong thing to do. I was close to panicking as the nurse stood there with the needle poised. All I could do was sit there, read, and pray. Curiously, though, the nurse wasn't moving. She quietly watched the monitor, and I kept reading the Word. As suddenly as his blood pressure rose, it dropped. I stared in amazement as my dad recovered and he was safe. The nurse, visibly relieved, said, "Good, I really didn't want to give him this," and walked out of the room.

Later in the evening, I found her at the nurses’ station and asked her what had happened. She confirmed there was no explanation as to why my dad's blood pressure sky-rocketed. And then added thoughtfully, "I heard you reading the Bible when I walked in."
"Yeah, I just felt I needed to," I replied.
"Well, I’m quite sure that is why your dad's blood pressure came down."

She then shared something with me I will never forget. "In all the years I have worked at this hospital," she said, "I have seen powerful things happen when the Word of God is read to patients. In fact, I have seen a marked difference between the patients who have the Word read to them and the ones who don't."

Wow. The Word of God, as it proclaims, is life.

From then on, I read to my dad every day without fail. I knew for a fact now that God's Word spoken out loud was a powerful force. Sometimes he was awake, sometimes he was asleep. But I continued to read, if only in a whisper, putting his name in all the personal spots of the verses: "John Bueler, Sr. will live and not die"—Psalm 118:17; "No weapon formed against John Bueler, Sr. will prosper"—Isaiah 54:17, etc. (Hebrews 4:12-16; Psalm 119:50; Isaiah 55:11)

Today, my dad is recovering very well. In fact, his doctor says, "He's a miracle." She called the Mayo Clinic and other medical facilities that have dealt with this disease, and my dad is the first person they have ever heard of who has recovered this quickly ... if at all.

Praise God! "Don't rest on the wisdom of men, but the power of God,” and "walk by faith (in Him), not by sight"!
(Isaiah 53:5; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 6:10-18)

This year (2017) my dad turned 86. Not to say he hasn’t had any more challenges in various things (don’t we all?—life’s a journey). But the one thing that never fails in facing these challenges is the Word of God; The action that wields that Sword is believing the promises He gave. Through a most recent challenge, we all were in fervent prayer … and in the Word, running to our only source of Life. And God spoke: “Do not be afraid of sudden fear”; “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place; “You will not be ashamed” … and we weren’t.

Walk Like a Warrior: Inspirational True Stories of God's Encouragement on the Trail Less-Traveled: