On December 23, 2011, I posted this on my Facebook: “Lord, all I want for Christmas is your Presence.”
I don’t remember much about December 24th and 25th. In fact, I don’t remember them at all. What is more, I don’t recall anything between then and January 1, 2012.
That weekend I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and admitted in morbid condition. I had collapsed at home into unconsciousness. I spent the next week in a coma in the ICU with acute pancreatitis, severe ketoacidosis, and kidney failure. My blood glucose level was at 2,239. My body went into sepsis. I was completely oblivious to what was going on around me. Little did I know that for the first four days, the doctors would not give my wife even a single-digit percentage of a chance that I would leave the hospital alive. When, on the fifth day, they gave hope, it was in the form of, “He’s probably going to live, but he may be physically or mentally handicapped.” I am, by the way, neither.
I was totally oblivious to everything, except for one thing – the Presence of the Lord. With no circumstance or event to tie my awareness to, nonetheless, I was keenly aware G-d was with me – that I was at all times in His Presence. No, I did not see Him. I sensed Him. I only knew that He was with me, yet not realizing that we were walking together through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Some people might try to write off what I am describing as coincidence or the effects of anesthesia, or because one of the last things I remembered was asking for His Presence. Let me emphasize that it was not a dream or an hallucination. It was a calm, certain knowledge that He was there all the time. It was a clear and distinct awareness that remained, even as I regained consciousness days later. If you are skeptical, read on.
When I awoke to the reality of the immediate circumstances and began to exercise independent thought again, I felt compelled to ask my wife for my Bible. I felt strongly impressed that I was supposed to read Exodus 33. I thought that rather strange, and, as I am prone to do, I questioned the prompting. But I was absolutely sure that the Lord was telling me to read that passage. So I did.
Let me make it perfectly clear that, had anyone asked me about the content of Exodus 33 before that time, I don’t believe I could have venture a guess that would have been close. Not being ignorant of the Scriptures, I did realize that it had to be about Israel in the desert after Moses had received the Ten Commandments.
I was amazed when I found myself reading the series of face-to-face conversations between Moses and the Lord in the tabernacle outside of the camp. Allaying fears and misgivings that Moses had expressed and responding to Moses’ plea for help leading the people, the Lord promised Moses that “my Presence will go with you.” Following that, Moses committed that he did not want to, nor would he, either go or lead the children of Israel anywhere if G-d’s Presence was not with them.
That was mind-boggling. But it’s still not the end of the story.
I was in the hospital for seventeen days. A week or so after I had returned home and had begun to recuperate to the point of being able to sit up and semi-function, I logged onto my computer to checked messages. Tears filled my eyes as I read the following from a friend who had read my December 23rd post, and had been praying:
“We were all so prayerful about your condition and truly felt that we were following the Lord’s leading by interceding on your behalf. Not only did the Lord heal you, but He gave us a special place beside you as He performed your Christmas miracle. We know the love He has given us for one another and we were touched that He entered into our experience in a real way as He answered your prayer to feel His Presence.”
I have nothing profound to share. The experience speaks for itself. But I can tell you that I have become much more aware and appreciative of the Lord’s Presence and what it means. Like Moses, I want to be conscious of His Presence all of the time, not just the times when all normal sensory interference is removed. I long for His Presence, and like Moses, declare that I do not want to, nor will I, go anywhere unless His Presence goes with me.
Oh, the glory of your Presence, We, your children, give you reverence. Come and rise from your rest, And be blessed by our praise, As we glory in your embrace, As your Presence now fills this place.
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Source: Israel in the News