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A Stroll At Leisure With God

Fierce Warrior

Yesterday, we had a bit of an incident at church. A dear sister—her name is Marilyn (just like my sis) fell down a flight of stairs, injuring herself rather severely.

Before I go on with the story, anyone who has been in our church building knows that there are a series of staircases just about at every turn.

Several years ago, I asked one of our seniors why on earth was the building configured that way? It certainly makes life difficult for seniors.

This man’s name was Olin (I think I am spelling his first name correctly). Answering with a rather sly grin on his face, he said, “Well, John, way back then, we didn’t really think about it. We were all young.”

Well, okay …

A few years ago, as we voted on a renovation of our auditorium, one of the priorities was an elevator. The first difficulty in building it was to find the exactly right place to install so as to hit all the four levels in our church. It certainly does help, but there are just times when you take the stairs.

Yesterday, Marilyn made such a decision. The flight of stairs that she decided to navigate only has five steps or so.

Later, as I talked to Marilyn on the phone, she said, “I don’t really know what happened. I think I got my cane caught as I was stepping down. I don’t know … “ She laughed about it.

I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

Marilyn fell down the stairs, and Marilyn T (to distinguish her) saw it soon after it happened. Marilyn was in a lot of pain. She hit her head and injured her nose in the fall so that blood was everywhere. It was very concerning.

Patti was there also. In fact, she was there from the start and was with Marilyn the whole time. They called an ambulance. This is when the story was suspended as far as I was concerned because when Marilyn T saw that Marilyn’s situation had stabilized a bit, she headed home.

In the early afternoon, I talked with Patti’s husband Jim who is one of our deacons. He was on the way to the hospital to see Marilyn. He said, “John, one of the main concerns is with Marilyn’s knee. She is in a lot of pain.” What made this even more concerning is that Marilyn has had both knees replaced, rather recently.

It wasn’t any time at all. I had stepped away from my phone for a moment. I notice that Jim had called again. He left a message. He stated, “John, just wanted you to know that the tests they ran on Marilyn’s knee at the hospital proved negative, so they sent her home. Praise God!”

I called Marilyn a little later. She answered the phone. “Marilyn, I’m so sorry you had a fall. How are you?”

“Oh, I’m fine,” she replied. She sounded normal. She was more concerned about me and how I was doing. We had a good conversation. We laughed and talked a while. My family and I praised God for taking care of Marilyn. We love her.

Well, this story is just another example of the way the Lord takes care of us, isn’t it?

As Jeremiah the prophet was complaining to God about the ill treatment he was suffering—right in the middle of his complaint—he affirms, “But the LORD is with me like a dread champion; Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, With an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten” (Jeremiah
20:11 NASB).

“The Lord is with me like a dread champion.” What a phrase! What does it mean? I looked it up. The word dread means “violent.” This phrase is often used in the Old Testament to describe the enemies of God’s people. This is the ONLY time it is used in reference to God himself. I like the Message version translation: “But God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.”

Love it. I’m never alone. Not matter where I am or what I am doing, even trying to go down a five-step flight of stairs at church—even there, even then. The Fierce Warrior is at my side.

He fights with me. He fights for me.

Not long ago, I met a young man and told him about my cancer. He said, “Well, John, keep fighting.” I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m glad I don’t have to.

I’m going to let Fierce Warrior do the fighting for me! Amen.

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