Straight Paths

This is part three of a series about Cora who enrolled in hospice services with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when she was 80. Cora reflected, “I was baptized when I was young in Garden City. But I drifted away and started doing things that I shouldn’t. About 20 years ago I asked my pastor to baptize me again and he baptized me in Turkey Creek.

“It was a cold day, but I didn’t want to be baptized in a baptistery. I’m sure glad God gives us second chances!” I emphatically concurred, “Me too!” I explained that Jerry, my longtime friend and Christian brother, and I continually proclaim, “If it wasn’t for the Lighthouse where would this ship be.” Cora exclaimed, “I love that song too! I have my bedroom and bathroom decorated with lighthouses.”

Cora reflected, “I’ve heard God speak to me twice. I mean really speak to me. Several years ago my son Bernard’s wife, Kim, was told she had cancer, so I went to the altar and was anointed for her. I didn’t feel anything when I went up there, but when I got back to the pew and sat down, I started shaking. I asked my friend next to me what in the world was wrong with me, and she said, ‘Just relax and enjoy it, it’s the Holy Spirit.’ And then I heard God say, ‘Kim is healed.’ I just knew it, and I never worried about it again after that. I called Bernard and told him and he said, ‘I hope so mom’, but I knew it.”

Bernard recounted the story, “Kim had been in a terrible car accident and had multiple fractures. She lost her spleen and even lost her leg. They did a full body scan and they discovered lesions on her liver, and it didn’t look good. She went through liver biopsies and PET scans, and we were scheduled to see an oncologist in Kentucky when we received the call that it was benign. I really didn’t doubt mom, but I needed to hear it from the doctor.”

Cora continued, “Then when I was living in my apartment at Buckeye Towers, out of the blue it was like someone hit me on the head, and God said, ‘He’s not your God, I’m your God’. I Immediately realized that I had put my preacher on a pedestal, and I never looked at him the same again. I’ll never forget that.” Then Cora asked, “Has God ever spoken to you like that?”

I explained to Cora that God had spoken to me like that on several occasions, and that I literally owed the Holy Spirit my life. When I was a college student at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico, my roommate, Tom, and I were aboard a bus on a 65-mile trip down the mountains to the Gulf Coast city of Veracruz. We were only a few minutes from our destination when something just told me, “Get up and move back one seat, next to the window.” But I said to myself, “That’s crazy! We’ll be in Veracruz in just a few minutes,” so I remained seated. Then a couple minutes later something just told me again, “Get up and move next to the window.” And again I said to myself, “Tom will think I’m crazy. That doesn’t make sense.” But when it came to me the third time I thought, “What the heck,” and I got up and moved. About five minutes later, as I sat with my head leaning against the window gazing down the road, I noticed a small dump truck in the distance driving towards us. There were three men standing in the dump leaning on the top of the truck cab. As they neared the bus, one of the men disappeared and then reappeared with a large rock in his hand. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when he threw the stone at the bus shattering the front windshield. The stone came through with such velocity that it exited out the rear window. And on the way through, it ripped through the headrest of the seat where I’d been sitting before I got up and moved. Now you know why I owe the Holy Spirit my life.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “God has given us His commands; there they are but we do not pay attention to them, not because of willful disobedience but because we do not love and respect Him … we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us … because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him.” (“My Utmost for His Highest”, Feb. 12)

In conclusion, I pose Cora’s question to you, “Has God ever spoken to you like that?” If He ever does, for God’s sake, and your sake, respond. You never know, it might even save your life or the life of someone else.

“For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Jesus — Matthew 13:14-15)

Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-357-6091 or at lorenhardin53@gmail.com . You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths: Insights for living from those who have finished the course”, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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