“(The Lord) has not despised my cries of deep despair. He’s my FIRST RESPONDER to my sufferings.”
When serious crises appear in life, we often ask for prayer from friends and family. And we know that the Lord answers prayers, so we often remember to ask for heavenly help. As I was reading Psalm 22 yesterday (as part of my “read through the 150 Psalms each year” strategy), Psalm 22:24 in the Passion Translation “jumped off the page.” When this happens, I have learned to pay attention to what might be from the Lord—a “God Wink” as some people describe these surprising events. The more I meditated on the words “First Responder,” the more I realized it is a great, modern description of the Lord’s readiness to hear our prayers. He loves to help us in times of emergency! We have the ultimate FIRST RESPONDER—God Almighty—that is just a prayer away.
Jesus said in Matthew 21:22, “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Speaking of prayer, I remembered an amazing time of crisis that happened about 15 years ago.
The Start of the Crisis
There was a young woman in our family that became intensely ill. She had been working long hours trying to run a tea/coffee cafe in the downtown area of a city. Apparently, there was something infection that attacked her from cleaning the cafe. Later we found out that she had a bacterial infection that had attacked her heart and ate a hole in one of her heart valves! And there was a mass of bacteria that attached to her heart with only a precarious string-like connector. If the mass had broken off, it could have gone through her blood system to her brain! Obviously, she needed emergency hospitalization.
The First Responders
As we all know, there are wonderful, brave people that are First Responders. In our example, this young lady had an excellent primary doctor who discovered the heart murmurs on a routine checkup. And the doctor referred her to what became the perfect hospital and surgeon that was rated highest in heart-related surgery. The surgeon was a recognized expert in open-heart surgery and proved to be the right responder at the right time! When the family gathered to hear the results of the surgery, the surgeon said, “I did a really good job on this one!” That was strong confidence when we needed good news! They even presented her case at a medical conference as a unique example of bacterial infection and heart valve damage for a 30-year-old woman.
The ultimate RESPONDER
The Lord came right before the surgery when the young lady was in the hospital room waiting for surgery. She was listening to Christian music and suddenly looked up at the wall in front of her bed. It was a picture of Jesus on the cross! She realized that Jesus also faced death and rose above it. She felt the peace that came to her from the music and the picture. Going into surgery was just a bit easier for her with Jesus on her side!
The parents also experienced answers to prayer. They had seen their daughter in the recovery room and went home incredibly sad, thinking that she looked awful after the surgery. They went into heavy prayer. The next morning, they visited her in the hospital in the late morning. As they walked into her hospital room, their daughter said, “Hi dad and mom, where have you been!” She looked surprisingly good, sitting upright in her hospital bed! That was a huge answer to their prayers! They thanked the Lord and remembered John 14:13 where Jesus said, “whatever you ask in My name, that I will do.”
Isn’t the FIRST RESONDER a blessing! Cry out to him, pray in His name, and believe in your heart that He is the God of Miracles!
Pastor G. Harold