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Recovering heart patient's Thanksgiving testimony: Life is easier with God

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"Don't you get frustrated?"

The person asking the question was Lori, my wife of 36 wonderful years, and came shortly after I had fallen near the kitchen table, popped a lens out of my glasses and suffered a very small cut under my left eye.

As we sometimes do with each other, Lori began to recite the setbacks we've faced: my mitral valve heart surgery in September, the collarbone she broke in three places at Downtown Disney in Orlando last December, my Parkinson's Disease, and the bills (especially medical) we have to pay to doctors, hospitals and labs. (She didn't mention her Multiple Sclerosis, which was first diagnosed in 1990.)

Yes, I get frustrated. But God has always been with us. God has never said to me: 'I don't love you' or 'I am leaving you.'

I can spreak as a disciple of Christ who has served the Lord God for over 40 years. I can write about the glorious one-time experiences that I would not trade for anything.

Like the time my youngest son and I got to witness the sunrise that ushered in a new year from a mountaintop, while we were doing mission work in Haiti. Or the time I got to be a "coach" in the delivery room and witness the birth of my oldest son's second child.

"My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19) is not some sort of carefully worded axiom to me. It is a statement that God keeps validating through my experiences in life.

Take some time and consider that the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians not from a place of safety and comfort, but while he was in prison. This warm and personal letter is full of positive statements like Philippians 4:19 or ealier in the same chapter when Paul writes in verse 13: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

When I am my weakest, the Holy Spirit is there to lift me up to face the challenge. When King David fled from his son Absalom, he was inspired to write the opening verses of Psalm 3:

1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

We may not have tens of thousands pursuing us, but it does not diminish the pain, sorrow, anger or frustration we face daily. I may not be able to help you, but I know someone who can make a difference in your life. Jesus surrendered everything and rose from the dead so we could be saved from sin and death, and be comforted in our times of trouble by the Holy Spirit.

And one more thing . . . I prefer to think of myself as "handicapped" and not "disabled." Disabled suggests that I can no longer do something. Handicapped says some things take a little more effort like walking through the mall or holding a cup of coffee steady in my right hand.

May it be said of you what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica:

"3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring." (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)

Remember you were created to be part of God's family.

Feel free to share your feedback, insights, suggestions or questions. My twitter ID is @denimartin. You can also comment on this article or send an email to deni-martin@att.net.

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