In his devotional for today, February 21, Oswald Chambers writes:
"We have to get rid of this notion 'Am I useful to God?' and make up our minds that we are not, and we may be near the truth. It is never a question of being of use, but being of value to God. When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time."
When my intensely powerful time of being in God's Presence at the retreat center came to an end, I had come to the end of myself. I knew in that moment that I had to give up this fierce notion that I MUST be of use to God somehow, every single day! My eyes nearly swollen shut from Godly tears, I packed my little bag for the 90-minute journey home and promised myself that in the future I would be content just to BE with my Sweet Lord, instead of always trying to DO for Him. However, a tiny quivering thought lurked in my mind: "Perhaps He won't trust me to DO for him anymore."
I pulled out of the driveway and onto the highway that has Colorado's highest accident rate every year. It was about 4:30 pm and I had been told to be careful because the road was already icy. I had no fear. I felt completely hemmed in by the gentle, content Presence of a Loving God. As I crested a hill and then began the descent down the other side, I could see two cars stopped in both lanes at the bottom of the hill, and a few people standing around. I was on black ice; down-shifting, braking gently and praying hard! There was no way my car was going to get stopped in time, and the road was completely blocked by the two cars, which I could now see were horribly wrecked. The embankment on either side was steep. I stayed in His Presence and prayed, as my car came gently to a complete stop about 20 feet before reaching the wreck!
When I stepped out of my car, a man who had just witnessed the accident a few minutes before, approached me and said, "The woman in this car (pointing to the right) is already dead. Can you go to the woman in the other car and talk to her to keep her awake? She is in terrible condition and we've called an ambulance, but it may take some time for them to get here. She must stay awake!"
I went to the smashed-out window of her car. The entire front end was a twisted-metal mess and her legs were completely pinned beneath. Her eyes were closed and her breathing shallow. I spoke to her, "Jesus just sent me to stay with you until help arrives. Please stay awake and talk to me. Tell me your name." She was moaning, but managed to say, "I am going to die." A sudden cheerfulness came from my throat as I told her, "No! You are not going to die, but live! What is your name?"
"Cheryl," she barely responded.
"Cheryl, you WILL live as God has a wonderful plan for your life. Do you know Jesus?"
Weakly she managed, "Yes, I know Him. But I'm dying."
Then I began to pray over her, His daughter, whom I knew He intended to keep alive. I prayed for angels to surround her and protect her and I entreated the Lord for breath to continue to flow in her lungs. I spoke Scriptures over her and kept my hand in hers, through the broken glass. It was cold, so cold! Everything was being covered in a sheet of ice, and the wind had come up. But I couldn't feel the cold - only the warmth of His Presence.
Suddenly, as I prayed, Cheryl opened her eyes and looked straight at me, and in a clear voice she nearly shouted, "I can see! My vision was gone, but now I can see!" Her eyes looked clear and blue. I told her Jesus had done this for her and exhorted her again, You will LIVE!"
It took about 30 minutes for the fire trucks and ambulance to arrive and Cheryl began to feel the excruciating pain in her legs. She would drift in and out, but I never stopped talking to her, praying over her, and believing that God would bring her through this horrific trial. Finally we heard the long-awaited sirens and the fire crew rushed to her car and began the arduous work of extracting her from the wreckage. I went back to my car, now covered over with ice, and turned on the heater. Pinned in by fire trucks and ambulances, I couldn't go anywhere for about two hours, so I sat in my car and prayed, watching them tear the roof off Cheryl's car, and then finally, watching them pull her free and lift her out. There was an oxygen mask on her face. "An oxygen mask!" I exclaimed to the Lord. "They don't put oxygen masks on dead people!"
At first I was crying tears of joy because I knew Cheryl would live. Then the equally joyous thought came to me: "You did trust me, Lord. You did still trust me to be of use to you when I fully abandoned myself to you, not looking for what I could DO, but just giving my heart to you!"
For the next three days I couldn't stop thinking about Cheryl. I had seen the name of the hospital on the side of the ambulance that whisked her away, but I doubted the hospital would give me any information when I didn't even have a last name. Finally, the urge to find her became too strong to ignore, so I began searching the internet for any report of a fatality accident on that date. I found it! And names were given! The young woman who had died in the other car was a mere 21 years old. And Cheryl Orr, with whom I spent thirty amazing minutes, was admitted to the ICU.
Immediately I got into my car and drove over to the hospital, praying to be able to see her. She was in a large ICU room with two people seated at her bedside, their backs to me. A nurse was giving them information as I silently slipped into the room. I waited until the nurse finished and left the room and then approached Cheryl's bed. Her face was cut and bruised and her feet, sticking out from white-wrapped legs, were deep purple and blue. She was highly sedated.
The two people sitting with her looked at me quizzically but I gently explained, "I just want to see if Cheryl remembers me." I got very close, near her face, and as she focused in on me, she quietly whispered, "My angel!" My eyes leaked. Through a big smile I said, "Hi, Cheryl. I told you you would live. And here you are - with both legs and both feet and all your toes!" She managed the smallest of smiles and said, "If you had not stayed with me, I would have died."
"It was Jesus," I reminded her. He is the One who stayed with you. And your last name is Orr. Did you know that in Hebrew the word or means light? The Light of the world was with you and I watched Him bring light back into your eyes!"
He is healing Cheryl. He is restoring me. One day soon she will walk out of that hospital and we will have coffee.
When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time.
The people of God are in a season of deep purification. Purification is painful, yet so very rewarding for those who stay in the process until it is complete. In the Torah cycle we are reading the verses of the children of Israel crossing through the Red Sea - the great mikveh or baptism they experienced, moving through walls of water toward the great promises of a new life. They were terrified by this wondrous display of God's Power, but He spoke to them through Moses and said, "Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you..."
I know I've been moving through my own "walls of water." At a breaking point I was led to go to a retreat center where I could hide myself away with the Lord for two days of confession, repentance, forgiving others, and healing. I spent hours loosing old stronghold thinking and bad attitudes, and binding my thoughts to Messiah's thoughts, my will to His. At the end of the process, I felt the Spirit was instructing me to get into the shower for a mikveh, where He would cleanse and restore me, So, I was obedient, and I felt light and unburdened when I stepped out! However, the lessons about water purification are still ongoing.
On Friday afternoon we had a leak from our refrigerator line that runs along a storage area in our basement. Before we caught the leak it had absolutely drenched about 20 of my old photograph albums and scrapbooks. Pictures of my own childhood, my children's young years, and even my parents' lives and marriage were soaked! My heart was devastated as I gently carried each album up to the back porch, where Abba was providing sunshine, warmer temperatures and a soft breeze. I laid each one out on the porch railings, hoping that they would dry out and some precious memories would be preserved. Interestingly, the only album that seemed to be soaked beyond saving was the one of my childhood - mostly black and white pictures from about age 5 to 16. John told me to get a roll of paper towels, and we carefully placed a white towel over each page, hoping to soak up moisture. Then we carried the soggy book into the house and set it over the forced-air heat register to spend the night there.
I began reflecting over this process. Were there childhood wounds that needed bandaging? Was the Lord purifying all those pieces of my life with water, and then blowing His "Forced Air" Breath (Ruach) into my life to restore me?
I went to bed last night and had a strange dream, but now, as the sun is rising, the meaning is taking clear shape. There was a great body of water and people were everywhere in the water. Most were treading water, desperately trying to stay afloat; some were sinking. A few were on something that looked like the old unicycles, peddling in the water! I watched as what looked like a very large hand reached in and helped some to the top when they were no longer able to tread. I also saw that some became disgusted and angry and drifted to the bottom. But most of the people stayed in the process, kept treading, kept believing...
When I was fully awake from the dream, I heard this in my spirit:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters I will be with you,
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
Be encouraged, my friends. We are entering soon into that time before the Passover, when we are greatly tested. Stand firm, and see the deliverance the LORD will bring you! Submit to the purification process He has set you in, and believe that His Right Hand will be with you, and His Spirit breathed upon you to bring you though it. In the process, old wounds will be healed, old thought patterns demolished, and your heart will be restored.
Kelly Ferrari Mills