By Goldie Chong
Recently a minor stroke caused me to be hospitalised for about 4 weeks. While in hospital God said to me four times to rest. Reading my daily devotional Word for Today, three times the subject of rest was mentioned:
Jesus told his disciples to come and get some rest (Mk.6:31),
Jesus said, “I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28);
Jesus himself withdrew to rest (Mk.6:31). And on the same day, someone in our chat group sent the same passage!
God’s message to me was clear. Actually; my energy level limits what I can do, so many things were put on hold – visitors, meetings, writing, etc. So, I was ‘forced’ to obey.
Two weeks after my discharge from the hospital, when I was able to go to church, amazingly, our pastor Joyce Chen preached on Work & Rest! So, I take it that the order to me is not only to rest while hospitalised but also something for me to consider for my life. I learnt a few things which I did not know before but what struck me was God’s reminder for the fourth time that I should rest.
By ‘rest’ it does not mean doing nothing. It means listening to what God tells me to do – activities which replenish, nourish, add to my energy and not drain me; things I enjoy and not strain; activities which are not what I feel are urgent but what God says are important.
The lesson which I have known but now really practise is to listen to God. I have been busy doing and not really asking Him what to do. The tiredness that follows a stroke prevented me from reading His word with full understanding (the brain is lazy). I was stuck in the first few verses of Isaiah 61* and could not continue, so I decided to memorize them to improve my memory (another thing affected). When I did it, it became clear to me God is telling me what He wanted me to do:
Isaiah 61:1-2 (NLT)
*The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell the good news that the time of the Lord’s favour has come…. Isa.61:1,2
So, in obedience, I asked God for open doors to do this. And He did. I was able to naturally bring Him into the conversation with my Doctor, Nurses, Cleaners, Therapists, Massagers, Chaplain, etc. and pray for them.
God helped me to overcome my fear of what people will think of me, offending them, rejection, my reluctance, don’t feel to make the effort…..
Ann Graham Lotz’s book Just Give Me Jesus urged me to pray for boldness… If we are willing to use our little bit, He will do the rest. God said, “ I reveal myself to those who did not ask for me. I was found by those who did not seek me” Isa. 65:1.
My grandson who works as a physiotherapist in the same hospital explained that although staff are warned not to evangelize there is no restriction on patients doing it. So, I did it. God reminded me that I was like the postman. Some will like what I deliver, and some won’t, but I will deliver it anyway. In fact, everybody thanked me for praying for them. Later I got feedback from my grandson that the people I prayed for appreciated it.
EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WEAPONS
Suddenly one day I was feeling very depressed. I didn’t know that this was normal after a stroke and I thought it was a spiritual attack. I decided to use my spiritual weapon to pray in tongues for an hour. My family also prayed for me when they visited me that day in the hospital. Next day I was back to normal. From then on, I prayed in tongues for an hour every day, usually forcing myself because I was tired and did not feel like it, but it got easier and better as I continued. I no longer feel down in my mood even now.
Worship & thanksgiving
Our eldest daughter Cristal came back from China for ten days to help around. We could not go to church so every day she gathered Tek and me to worship, sing and pray. I thought it was a bit too much to do it every day. But eventually, I saw the benefits. I felt stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. I felt my brain was also not so lethargic. Depression never came back.
Thanksgiving is another effective spiritual weapon I experienced so I used it often: “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord; the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us – yes the many good things he has done.” Isa. 63:7
A sober thought dawned on me that I could have easily had a major stroke then it could have been the end of my journey in this world.
Pondering what is the most important thing I would need to know should it really be the end, I feel that this question holds the key: where will I go at the end?
I have the assurance that Jesus will keep His promise, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
I know He has prepared a room for me in His Father’s mansion. I pray all my loved ones will be in the other rooms.