Transformed for JoyA couple of months ago, two of my friends were in the hospital (I guess that's just one of the hazards of getting old when you have multiple friends in the hospital at one time). So I went to visit Dick and Roger. Dick was in bed, awaiting open heart surgery the next day. Now open heart surgery has become fairly routine I suppose, unless you are the guy in the bed facing it. But being with Dick was a special experience. He clearly had confidence in his God regardless of the circumstances. Its hard to explain how this confidence was manifested but it clearly was. We talked a little bit and as we talked some scripture came to Dick's mind as it often does and he said, "Get that Bible out of the cabinet over there." I got the Bible and we looked at some scripture together, talked about it briefly, we had a brief prayer and I left.
I went up to the fourth floor to see Roger. Roger had just had surgery that morning and while the surgery went well, the prognosis just wasn't certain. I had been with Roger the week before when the doctor told him, "For you, surgery would be a disaster. It might come to that, but we have to do everything we can to avoid it." Well, it had come to that and while the surgery went well, only time would tell the results.
Roger's room was filled with family and friends. He was in good spirits but more than that, he was at peace. Again, the same confidence that Dick had, Roger had it. We visited a bit and I left.
As I walked out into the parking lot, I felt different than I ever expected to feel coming out of the hospital. I was excited and calmed at the same time. I felt the same confidence they felt. Not confidence that Roger and Dick would get better, because I know that even if these medical procedures help, they are only temporary repairs. But rather a confidence that God is in control. I was excited, happy, glad, (its hard to find words for it) that I could go visit friends in the hospital and come away encouraged by them. What a wonderful blessing. What a joy!
A couple of days later I went back to visit them again. Roger had just gotten some good news about his progress which marked a big step toward his being able to go home. We had a little celebration together, and then went to see Dick together. It was "quiet time" in the intensive care ward but the nurse let us go into see Dick anyway (she's apparently a poor judge of character). We visited briefly with Dick and then joined hands together in prayer. What a blessing that was, to go to our father together, giving thanks and rejoicing together for his goodness to us.
Once again I came away from the hospital, nearly walking on air. I was overjoyed to be able to visit men in the hospital and to see how God had transformed these ordinary men into men of peace and joy through faith in their God. How wonderful God is that he transforms us in ways we could never imagine so that we might have peace and joy.
Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior doesn't just mean that we are saved from going to Hell. It also means that God will transform our lives so that we can have peace and Joy. I've told just one account .. I could go on and on.. there is no end to the joy. In John chapter 15, verse 11 Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full." Jesus wants our joy to be full, and he tells us just how that can happen there in John chapter 15. Won't you take Him up on his offer?