I can understand how anyone would be reluctant to turn their life over to God. I have had those same feelings. It’s just fear. The fear that you’re going to miss out on something, and not be able to live life to the fullest. Years ago, I pushed past that fear, and made Jesus the Lord of my life. That was the best decision I ever made in my life. Listen to my story and you’ll know why.
My story is really the story of two people, my wife and I. We’re Larry and Marie. I met Marie in 1966. We were singing in the youth choir at Westhaven Baptist Church in Memphis.We fell in love, got married, raised three lovely daughters, and now were are grandparents to eleven exceptional grandchildren. There can be no doubt that God put us together.
We have walked together with the Lord for the past forty-two years. Like everyone else, we’ve faced some challenges. We call them our “fiery furnace experiences.” That’s a reference to one our favorite stories in the Bible. The one in which Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into King Nebuchadnezzar’s flaming fiery furnace.
A fiery furnace is an intense situation from which there’s no escape, You have to go through it, and you just hope that you’ll survive it. The most exciting part of that Old Testament story is there was a Fourth Man in there with them. Because of him, they didn’t just survive that fiery furnace, they were dancing around in it.
Who was that Fourth Man? It was Jesus. It was the same Jesus who is available to you when you are “going through the fire.” Life is full of fiery furnaces—health problems, marital problems, family problems, financial problems. There are going to be times when you need God. Because nobody else can help you. That’s the advantage of being a Christian. The Lord is already there with you and he will help you.
Marie and I have just faced the greatest challenge of our lives. We were in the fiery furnace. But the Fourth Man was right there with us, taking care of us— just like the Bible says he would.
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee . . . Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:1-2 KJV
|NLT ©||When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.|
|MSG ©||When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end-|
Marie had quadruple by-pass surgery at Baptist Memorial Hospital, in Memphis Tennessee on October 14, 2009. We had a great peace about it, and expected only the best. We were trusting the Lord to take care of her, and claiming the promises of God’s protection contained in Psalm 91.
The surgery was a success and Marie was a model patient. She went home and was recovering quickly. Then we discovered that she had a staph infection that had been contracted during the surgery. The Doctors were able to wipe it out with massive doses of antibiotics.
On November 5, Marie had a second surgery to remove the bone and tissue damaged by the infection. On November 11, she had a third surgery to close the wound in her chest which was four inches wide and eight inches long. Now, she is back at home and recovering well.
She could have died from that infection. But God preserved her life, and we thank him for that every day. And we thank Jesus for being there with us the whole time. He comforted us, and we experienced his peace, his faith, and his love.
Because of Jesus, the story of Larry and Marie is not over yet. We know that God loves us. We experienced his love firsthand every day of the crisis.
And now, we simply must tell everyone how great Jesus is and what he has done for us. We trusted him to take care of us, and he did. What a mighty God we serve!
The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad! Psalm 126:3
Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant! Psalm 35:27
O, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good; because his mercy endureth forever! Psalm 118:1
The chief advantage of being a Christian is having Jesus as your personal friend. He’s a friend who loves you and cares about you. He’s the best friend you will ever have, and he will never leave you nor forsake you.