Anniversary. Something to cherish, celebrate, and remember. This month is the twelfth anniversary since suffering a stroke at work that partially paralyzed and weakened my entire left side. I wrote about the joy I was feeling earlier this year. You can read it after you finish this post here. I’m incredibly disappointed that I will probably never celebrate a wedding anniversary for myself and my bride. I try to encourage myself, knowing that marriage does not seem to be in God’s plan for my life.
In this post, I want to share with you some of the blessings and challenges I’ve experienced over the years.
I pray you are encouraged, forewarned, and comforted as you read what God has put in my heart to share in this space.
September 9, 2012. Barely two months after surviving the stroke that nearly killed me, I was able to walk into the church service at First Baptist Dallas that Sunday morning. I was so excited! My body was relatively weak as I was still learning to walk again. But I was so excited! I knew I would recommit my life to Christ at the altar call.
I sat in the front row with my dear friend and former caregiver. I can barely remember what Pastor Jeffress preached, but I could not wait to recommit my life to Jesus. God had been working in my heart for months.
Finally, the pastor gave the altar call. I jumped up as fast as I could and walked to the pastor. I whispered in his ear that I was a stroke survivor and wanted to recommit my life to Christ. He gave me a compassionate hug and had me go with one of the deacons. Then, I shared my testimony of faith and recommitted my life to Christ! I could barely walk, but it felt like I was floating on clouds afterward. I went out to meet my caregiver, and she took a picture of me standing at the front of the church. Oh, what a glorious day!
So, What’s Next?
There wasn’t much time to relish in the joy I was feeling. After some lunch, I had to prepare for a full day of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The van would arrive early in the morning to pick me up, and I would be at the rehab facility all day. I wondered in the back of my mind what to do next. What was God’s plan now?
I lived in a room in my parent’s home after being removed from the rehab facility due to insurance restrictions. All I had was a wooden card table to read my Bible and eat many of my meals there. Being back in a room by myself with very few visitors was surreal. As a teenager, I loved being in my room by myself, but all these years later, it felt different. Lonely. Isolated,
I immersed myself in my MacArthur Study Bible, longing to know God’s will for my life. It was a time of encouragement, enlightenment, and patience as I worked to improve my physical, spiritual, and mental health to live on my own again.
The Devil’s Three D’s
DOUBT. DISCOURAGEMENT. DISTRACTIONS. These are three fiery darts the devil takes pleasure in sending our way, intending to do great harm. Let me explain. Remember way back in the Garden of Eden? Look at what the devil said to Eve.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”
This is how the devil makes his way into our lives by creating doubt. He wants us to question God. Question our salvation and question our God-given purpose. Then look at what happens next. Discouragement arrows!
“You will not certainly die,” said the serpent too the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened. and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5.
The devil wants us to feel that God is holding something back from us. Why do we have to wait? Do you ever get those FOMO feelings? (Fear of Missing Out) Do you struggle to wait on God’s timing? I am terrible at waiting! However, God is faithful. With His gentleness, He lovingly continues to put me in situations asking me to TRUST HIM.
It is not always easy, but I am improving and growing in Him. Trusting in His love for me and knowing God wants what is best. For example. I love writing about my Savior. Sometimes though, I get anxious about writing my next book. It has been almost two years since I published the award-winning book, The Furnace of Affliction: How God Uses Our Pain and Suffering for His Purpose.
I’ve wondered when God would inspire me to write again. I had an idea of the topic I wanted to write about, but everything had not entirely come into focus. And then it happened! God inspired me! I had already begun typing out my outline, but God spoke to me, and I have been furiously writing and researching this next book. I know many who read will be blessed because it is God-inspired!
The Final Fiery Dart
This brings me to the third “D,” distractions. Even though I battle against discouragement quite often, spending time in God’s Word lifts my spirit and gives me HOPE.
“Distractions” can be a good thing but also dangerous. If they prevent or distract us from achieving God’s purpose for our lives, the devil wins! The devil wants to corrupt our thinking and keep us busy doing other “Good” things. Distractions are tricky. We have to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Doing so helps us from allowing distractions to knock us off course. So, if you are feeling restless or uneasy, ask God to show you any “distractions” that may be interfering with His plan for you.
Now that I’ve shared with you some of the challenges of living a committed Christian life let’s get to some of the tremendous blessings you will encounter when you seek God with ALL your heart.
POWERFUL PRAYER LIFE. PURPOSE. PRIORITIES. PATIENCE. I could go on and on about the incredible blessings in seeking and serving God, but I wanted to give you four “P’s” so you will remember. Besides, if the devil sends three at you, God will always have more than enough to protect you.
A powerful prayer life results from a genuine commitment to God. There is something so unique to experiencing hearing from God and witnessing His answer to your prayers. Seeing God at work draws you closer to Him, and you begin to go to HIm after everything instead of as a last resort.
I love talking with God throughout the day! Thank Him for waking me up and keeping me safe through the night. When I dropped the entire loaf of bread, and not one piece fell out of the bag, I thanked Him.
I want to keep the lines of communication with my Lord open at all times, whether they be good or bad.
Another Thing About Prayer
Another great thing about keeping the lines of communication with God open is that when a friend, loved one, or even a stranger needs prayer, you can go to God immediately! I have a story relating to this that I want to share with you so badly, but I am saving it for the new book!
The following two “P’s” fit together like peas in a pod! Purpose and Priorities. There is nothing that compares to God revealing His purpose to you. The joy, the direction, and the guidance you experience are tremendous. You know that you are not alone and that God empowers you to accomplish His plan.
Once you have a purpose, it is much easier to prioritize each day in your life. Remember that restlessness I mention earlier? In addition to asking God to reveal, ask yourself if what you do is working toward God’s purpose. Then shake it off, talk with God, and get back on track!
Patience is a Good Thing
Yes, I said it. Patience is a good thing! I cannot believe I am saying this, but I have learned much and continue to grow when I wait for God. If you have followed me or read my writings, you know how much I struggle with patience. With that in mind, the Bible repeatedly talks about the benefits of WAITING on God. I have hidden many of these verses in my heart to help me during waiting times.
Since ancient times no one has heard, nor ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who WAIT for Him. Isaiah 64:4.
I was first introduced to this verse through a bible study from Dr. Charles Stanley. I have loved it ever since! What a tremendous promise from a God who cannot lie. So, I’ve learned to embrace the waiting with anticipation, not consternation, and God continues to show Himself faithfully every time!
But they who WAIT for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.
I’m not sure what kind of fiery darts you are attacked with regularly, but it’s my prayer that I’ve given you some hope in pointing you to God’s Word. He is the ultimate Provider, Protector, Comforter, and Loving Shepherd who is constantly watching over and loving you. So, remember all the good things and thank Him for His blessings, and who knows, maybe He will give you something to celebrate too!
Horace Williams Jr.
By the way, if you want to gain some insights into how to enrich your prayer life, grab your copies of this short and powerful award-winning book. (Click on the image.)
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Horace Williams Jr is the oldest son of a pastor who went to be with Jesus in 2020. He is an award-winning author and amateur chef who loves Jesus Christ. His passion for Christ inspires readers to draw nearer to the God who loves them.