From the Depths

As he sat in the hospital waiting for the doctor’s word on his son, Ron pondered every conceivable question.  Why is this happening?  What did my son do to deserve this type of treatment?  What is the purpose in all of this?  As questions continued to arise, he placed his tear-filled eyes into his hands and wept like all was lost.  It was then he began to remember happier times.

Six years earlier, Ron and his wife, Barbara, had been surprised by the news that she was pregnant.  Although the child was unplanned by them, they understood God had bigger plans for this child.  They began to adjust their lives anticipating the arrival of their little baby.  Ron worked feverishly to ensure that most of the necessary construction on his house was completed, while Barbara picked out colors and cribs.

After the arrival of their baby boy, things went well for them.  He began to grow as most children do, making up words, playing with their toys and learning to say, “No.”  For the first five years of his life, David appeared to develop normally.  It wasn’t until the elementary school called indicating that David failed a hearing test.

David had experienced ear infections for most of his life.  Sometimes medication didn’t work, sometimes it did.  In all cases, it appeared that he was healed every time.  There were no “red flags’ that entered the mind of Ron or Barbara.  Now their biggest fear became a reality.  David had a tumor that needed to be removed, otherwise he could die.

The doctor called it cholesteatoma tumor, a non-cancerous tumor inside the ear that eats away at bones and cartilage.  Normally, it wasn’t fatal, but in David’s case, they feared that due to the size of the tumor, it would begin to eat at the base of the skull.  It was the worst news they had ever heard.  Never did either of them understand how or why this happened.  The doctor speculated David may have been born with it, while another possibility was one of his earlier infections created the tumor.  In either case, no one knew how or where this tumor came from.

Ron had sat with his son in the waiting room of the hospital.  He watched his son play with various toys as if there was nothing wrong.  The anesthesiologist entered the room with a smile on his face.  He carried a small cup of clear liquid and called David over to him.  David gladly took the drink and within minutes began to feel sleepy.  Ron and Barbara knew the time had come for doctors to attempt to remove the tumor.

Ron dressed in the suit provided by the hospital.  Dressed in white from head to toe, Ron didn’t cry.  In his mind, he didn’t have time for that.  This time was for David.  His son needed him more than ever.  Fully dressed, Ron picked up his son and carried him down the hallway.  As Ron looked back, he could see Barbara place her head on her mother’s shoulder and cry like the world was lost.  Not being able to bear the sight, Ron turned his head and followed the nurse.

They approached a small room, where every electronic contraption could be found.  Large lights were overhead, a heart rate monitor was to his right and the operating table was straight ahead.  Behind the table was where the anesthesiologist stood waiting for David to ensure he was fully asleep.  Looking around, the doctor stood there encouraging Ron with a smile as if to indicate that all would be okay.  Ron doubting the situation wanted to run with his son in his arms, but knew that wouldn’t be the best decision.  David had this foreign tumor and it needed to be removed.

Ron carefully placed David on the table before him.  The doctor placed a mask on David’s face and asked Ron to leave.  Ron leaned over his son, kissed his head and whispered, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright.  Jesus is with you.”  It was then that faith turned into a reality.  Did Ron really believe this?  Was what he read really true?  Was God really with his son through this?  Ron lifted his head, nodded at the doctor to say, “He is in your hands now”, turned and walked away.

The poor nurse assigned to escort Ron back to the waiting area, placed her hand on his back and said, “Everything will be okay.  Your son is in the best hands.”  Not desiring to listen to anyone or hear any words of encouragement, Ron just turned to the nurse and crudely stated, “Please be quiet.  I don’t want to talk with you right now.”  The nurse, having wisdom, just smiled and continued the silent walk back to the waiting area.

After checking on his wife, Ron decided it was time for him to get some air.  He told Barbara that he was going outside.  Barbara didn’t acknowledge Ron, but Ron understood that she heard him but didn’t care because her baby boy was undergoing surgery.  Ron slowly turned toward the door and walked outside picking up his cell phone.

As Ron stood in the sun he decided to call one of his friends, Bobby.  Bobby had helped Ron understand many different situations in life.  Bobby was a temporary pastor at his church and had walked with him through the process, thus far.  Now Ron needed to work through this so Bobby was his best choice.  The phone rang and Ron heard the comforting voice of his dear friend.

“Ron, how are you?  How is everything with David?” asked Bobby.

“He’s in surgery right now”, stated Ron with an exacting voice.

“So then the question is… how are you?”

With tears in his eyes and a fluttering voice Ron shared, “Bobby, I don’t understand.  God gave us this child.  Why did He allow this to happen?  David didn’t do anything to deserve this.  Why is this happening?”

With the wisdom of God on his mind and sympathy in his voice, Bobby said, “I wish I could understand, but I cannot.  Have you cried out to God and ask Him?”

“No.  Right now I am angry with God and don’t want him to be angry with me.”

“Bobby, didn’t Job cry out to God?  Don’t you think he was angry?  He lost everything, his home, his worldly wealth, his health and even all of his children.  Even King David cried out to God in his time in need.  In fact, on the cross, Jesus cried out, ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ Cry out to Him.  He will answer”, encouraged Bobby.

Ron thanked him for his time and comfort and agreed that crying out to God directly was the best way to understand the situation.  Although, Ron didn’t feel like talking with God, he understood that was the only way to possibly get answers to his questions.

As he sat in the hospital waiting for the doctor’s word on his son, Ron pondered every conceivable question.  Why is this happening?  What did my son do to deserve this type of treatment?  What is the purpose in all of this?  As questions continued to arise, he placed his tear-filled eyes into his hands and wept like all was lost.  He cried out to God and said, “Why?  Why is this happening?  What has David done to deserve this?  There are so many others out there who have done worse, so why can’t you punish them?”

No answer came.  As Ron continued to cry out to God but over the course of the next few hours, the questions became demands.  “God, why aren’t you answering me?!  I demand an answer.  I can’t handle this situation.  You said you wouldn’t give me anything I can’t handle.  God, where are you?!”

Again, no answer came.  Just as Ron was giving up on his prayers, the doctor came out, still clothed in hospital scrubs.  As she approached, she told them, “Ron, Barbara.  I want to let you know that David is doing okay.  He is currently resting but unfortunately, he will have to do this again in six months.  We attempted to get all of it but we cannot do any more until then.  I know it has been over five hours, but the next surgery shouldn’t be long.  After David wakes up, you can take him home.”

Another surgery?  Ron and Barbara didn’t fully understand why their precious little boy needed anther surgery but trusted the doctor for her experience and knowledge.  Questions flooded Ron’s mind once again.  What was happening?  Why to his little boy?  All he could do is get his son, take him home and give him the care he needed.

Six months later, the second surgery came.  Once again, they found themselves in the waiting room with their son.  Again, the questions flooded Ron’s mind.  As they waited for the doctor, their son was in the play area putting together some puzzles.  Not far from David, was another little boy who appeared to be crying and whimpering in his mother’s arms.  Curious about the situation David approached the little boy and asked, “Why are you crying?”

The boy’s mother replied, “He has to go into surgery.”

Overhearing David’s conversation, Barbara asked the crying boy’s mother, “Oh, what kind of surgery?”

“Tubes.  It’s a pretty long surgery, about an one and a half hours.”

Barbara just smiled and said, “I understand.  Our son needs surgery in his ears too.”

The boy’s mother responded, “Tubes?”

Barbara mustered all of the strength she could find and replied, “No.  I wish it was.  My son is having another surgery to remove a cholesteatoma tumor.”

“Oh I’m sorry.  Here I am crying over this silly procedure, while your son has a more serious situation”, the boy’s mother stated while wiping tears from her eyes.

Barbara responded, “Don’t worry about it.  Our son already had one surgery, so this should be his last.”

“How long is your son’s surgery?” asked the mother.

“The first one was about six hours but this one should only be two or three hours.”

The other mother appeared shocked and the look on her face resembled that of a statue with the expression of shock and disbelief.  Barbara and the boy’s mother continued their conversation when something incredible happened.  David turned toward the boy and said, “Let’s play a game” and took the boy by the hand and led him to the video game console.

“What just happened?” asked the boy’s mother.

Ron realized that something special was happening.  He had seen God work before, but never like this.  God was working through his son in order to bring comfort and compassion.  Before the mother could ask the question a second time, Ron responded, “God is working through my son to reach your son.”

It was about that time that the anesthesiologist came forward and called David’s name.  Once again, David was given a small drink which made him “sleepy”.  Ron then picked up his son and carried him back to the same operating table they had visited six months prior.  He laid his little boy down, kissed him once again and smiled at the doctor to acknowledge his approval of her skills.

A couple of hours passed and Ron and Barbara waited patiently for the doctor’s good word.  No one came.  They inquired from the front desk, who called for the doctor, but no response came.  “What’s happening?  Why is it taking it so long?” were questions that raced through their minds.  Another hour passes, no word from the doctor.  After another six hour surgery, the doctor emerged with a smile on her face.

“I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier, but there were minor complications.  The tumor had grown back so we needed to remove the tumor again and continue with the second stage of surgery.  Your son is resting now but all is well.  I believe we got it totally this time”, said the doctor with confidence.

Ron and Barbara finally felt relief.  Their son had been healed.  Ron still questioned God, but realized that the battle was over.  Their son would completely recover from his ailment.  He may not be able to hear but at least he would live.  Satisfied with the doctor’s results, they took David home and cared for him.

A few years went by and there was no sign of the tumor.  Only the scar behind his ear became the evidence of a prior complication.  One afternoon, Barbara took David to the doctor for a routine checkup.  It was there, the world was turned upside down once again.  The doctor warned, “I am sorry but the tumor grew back.”

Devastated by the news, Barbara asked, “Is it fatal?”

The doctor turned and said, “No.  It is operable, but I recommend a full ear canal wall down.”

Seeing the confused look on Barbara’s face, the doctor continued, “It means that he will no longer have an ear canal.  We will remove it completely, so that if this ever happens in the future, we can take care of it right here.”

This news brought a sense of relief to Barbara, but how would she tell Ron?  He had been questioning God since the last two surgeries.  Would he completely flip out and turn away from God or would he respond by going to God?  This, unfortunately, was a risk she was going to have to take.  No matter the outcome, she would stand by Ron and pray that he would respond properly.

She picked up her cell phone and dialed Ron at work.

“Hello”, said Ron.

“Hi honey”, Barbara stated with hesitancy.

“What’s wrong Barb?”

“David needs another surgery.”

The news was crushing.  It was as if his heart had been ripped out of his chest and placed into a trash compactor.  Everything hurt.  His body, mind and soul ached with pain beyond comparison.  It was then Barbara interrupted his self pity session, “Ron.  It’s operable.  The doctor will remove his ear canal and remove the tumor once again.  Once completed, they will be able to do it in the office so that David doesn’t have to go through this again.”

There was some sense of comfort to that news, even though his life felt crushed.  At least David would only have to go through this one more time.  Ron, however, knew that he needed to carry his little boy once again and place him onto the operating table.  The toughest of tasks he ever encountered was once again upon him.  Would he be able to do it again?  Would he loose his mind?  As he contemplated each of these questions, he remembered his first thought, ‘At least David would only have to go through this one more time.’

Weeks went by as Barbara and Ron prepared David for the final surgery.  Day after day they would answer David’s questions.  “Why is this happening to me?  Is God really there?  What will happen after this surgery?  Will I get sick again from the ‘sleepy medicine’?”  David has a number of significant and relevant questions.  After the first two surgeries, David had gotten very sick and didn’t want to leave the hospital.  Although the doctors and nurses gave him an anti-nausea shot, David’s body continued to react negatively.  Vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches and pain surrounded David after every surgery.  For David, the nightmare was going to continue.  Was this going to ever end?

On one occasion, David asked Ron, “Daddy, is Jesus really with me during my surgery?”

Understanding the fear in David’s mind, Ron responded, “Absolutely.  Jesus is always with you.  He never leaves us alone.”

“How do we know?” asked David.

Holding back the tears, Ron responded, “Jesus told us this in the Bible”.  It was then Ron waited for the response he thought he would get.  However, David was to respond in a different manner.

“Well, Daddy.  If you believe that, then so do I.  I love you, Daddy”.

No longer could Ron hold back his feelings.  Tears began streaming down his cheeks.  He opened his arms and David gladly embraced his father giving comfort and relief.  Attempting to control his composure, Ron looked into David’s eyes and said, “Thank you.  You helped Daddy today.”

“How?” asked David with a curious look.

“You helped me believe what God has told me.”

“What did he tell you?”

“He told me that this wasn’t about me.  It was about you.  God told me He was going to use these problems for your life.  I don’t know exactly what this means, but I do trust Him to complete the work He has started.”

David smiled.  He didn’t quite understand what Ron meant, but he knew if his daddy was happy then so was he.

The day of the final surgery came.  Once again, the anesthesiologist gave David the “sleepy medicine” but this time asked him a question.

“David, now that you are older.  Do you want to walk in on your own or would you like a wheelchair?”

David thought for a moment and looked up at Ron as if to ask for his approval.

“Would you like for me to carry you in again?” asked Ron.

David then looked at the anesthesiologist and with a sense of confidence and said, “I think I will walk in.  Can my daddy come too?”

With a smile on his face the anesthesiologist looked at Ron while bending down to David’s height and said, “Sure.  He can come too.”

David then grabbed Ron’s hand and walked down the hospital corridors to the operating room.  This was the first time David had seen it with his own eyes.  The other two times, David remembered falling asleep while waiting.  Fear began to encompass the young boy’s mind and body.  He knew he couldn’t turn back but he was scared.  David turned to Ron and asked, “Daddy, can you stay with me until I fall asleep?”

Ron smiled and said, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

They entered the operating room and Ron picked up David and placed him on the table.  While the doctors prepared the anesthesia machine, David held Ron’s hand.  Recognizing David’s fear, Ron bent over to kiss David.  He then assisted the doctors in placing the mask over David’s nose and mouth.  Ron then told David, “Remember, Jesus is with you and I’ll be right here when you wake up.”

David continued to hold Ron’s hand, gripping Ron tighter and tighter to let him know that David didn’t want his daddy to leave.  A few seconds later, David’s eyes drew heavy and his hand slowly released Ron’s hand.  Ron then knew it was the doctor’s moment.  Ron turned to the doctor and said, “This is my boy.  Please take care of him.”

The doctor acknowledged Ron and said, “As a parent, you have my word.”

Ron turned around and met the nurse in the hallway who was to assist him in getting back to the waiting area.  As Ron met up with Barbara, he embraced his wife and comforted her once again.  Both knew this was the last surgery, but it still didn’t make it any easier.  Emotions flared from one extreme to the next, from happiness to sadness, from smiling to depression.  Each moment was different from the next.  As they once again waited for the doctor to say she was done, Ron decided to take a walk outside.

Once there, Ron decided it was time to do business with God.  He hated the random thoughts that flooded his mind and wanted help to get them in order.  Standing by the ledge, Ron gripped it with both hands, looked up toward the sky and said, “Lord.  I know you are in control of all things.  You have shown me how faithful you are.  Even when I am not faithful, you are.  Please let me know if this is truly the last surgery.  I know you won’t give your children anything they can’t handle, but I am not sure if Barbara, David or I can go through this again.”

Ron then patiently waited for a response.  Almost immediately, his random thoughts became order.  Where there was disorder in his mind, now had a sense of organization.  As Ron searched his thoughts, he was reminded something Jesus told his disciples.  He remembered that during his final meal with his disciples, after his resurrection, Jesus told them to “baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.  Teaching them everything I command to you.”

Although Ron didn’t believe in trusting his thoughts normally, nor did he believe in numerology, Ron believed that this portion of God’s work was going to be complete.  He thought to himself, “The first surgery was for the Father, the second for the Son and this one for the Holy Spirit.  All of these surgeries were so that each member of the God-head could take part in working in David’s life.  Each one desired to do a work but each work was with one purpose, to bring David closer to God.”

Excited to hear this word from God, Ron immediately shared it with Barbara.  Although they would not have confirmation for years to come, Ron believed that God was done with teaching David this way.  It was God’s special way of reaching out to David and carrying him through the dark times of his life.  It was in their darkest moment, that God revealed Himself to their hurting souls.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “ – Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)


Trashing the Gifts

We’ve all seen it.  A child has a birthday party.  Their friends are all gathered having fun, playing games, eating and waiting for the infamous clown or magician.  After lunch and some more games it’s time for the child to open their gifts.  All the friends gather with the child’s parents.  There is joy and happiness on each child’s face.  The birthday child proceeds to open the first gift.

“It’s what I always wanted”, excitedly chimes the child.  Gift after gift, “It’s what I always wanted” echoes.  Then at an instant, one gift is opened that the child doesn’t expect.  It is not the gift they were looking for.  In fact, there is now a confused look on the child’s face as to what it may be.  The child looks up and says…….

So what is the first reaction you thought of?  There were two that I can remember as a child.  One was the child who was thankful no matter what it was.  They would figure it out or just place it to the side, but there was no way they would ever be rude.

The other example is one where the child says, “I don’t know what this is and I don’t want it.”  Sometimes it is with tears, sometimes with anger, but always out of a thankless attitude.  Now ask this question…how did the gift giver feel?

In this life, we have been given 5 essential gifts that our Gift-giver has given.  All of them are free-of-charge and require nothing but acceptance.  Yesterday, I explained the five (5) gifts are marriage, children, money, life and salvation.  Today, I want to explain how we (even Christians) have a tendency to trash the gifts God has given to us.


When we get married, we make a covenant (stronger than a promise) to not just love the person but go through the ups and downs of life with our spouse.  We make a public statement that no matter what happens we will stick by each other and go through the rough and calm roads together.

God has implemented marriage not as a strict way to procreate but also as a means to share His love with each member (husband and wife).  He explained that when a man and woman come together in marriage that they would “become one”.  This is not just physical but also emotional, thought processes and journey.  Marriage is the means to live this life together so that God will say, “It is good.”  So the question remains, how do we trash this gift?

Unfortunately, this gift can be trashed in many ways.  One of the most common ways is to not appreciate the person God presented to you.  Many times husbands and wives don’t see eye to eye.  Each has a different opinion or idea.  The key is to appreciate each other regardless of the differences.  When we learn to accept each other for who God has made us to be, we tell Him, “Thank you for the gift of marriage”.  However when we say, “I made a mistake in marrying you” we say to God, “This was not the gift I was looking for”.

Another way we trash the gift is we don’t hold to what God considers marriage.  According to Scripture, marriage happens between a man and a woman.  It also is sacred that no earthly bond should break.  So when the divorce rate is the same in the church as it is in the world, we say to God, “This gift doesn’t mean anything”.  We throw the gift of marriage back into God’s face or in the garbage.  In addition, when we think that homosexual marriage is good, even though Scripture says it is not, we take the gift of marriage and place it in the sewer.

God has made it clear.  Homosexuality is wrong.  It is an act of selfishness, pride and it is sinful as it goes against what God had intended for men and women regarding relationships.  Therefore, homosexual marriage is just as wrong.


One of the most joyous times was when my sons were born.  Although my wife had pains and struggles as every woman who has given birth has.  The end result was a happy one.  Out of a loving relationship in marriage comes a child who is the person that loves physically displays.

I stated yesterday that Christ loves the children.  Their innocence, commitment and unconditional love are just part of why God loves children.  However, we can take this gift and throw it in the trash and here’s how.

When we are too harsh with our children (I am guilty of this on occasion) or when we have no respect for them, we tell God, “This gift is nothing more than a burden”.  It is the same thing that Adam did after the fall.  Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Adam blamed God for the situation.  Many times children are falsely blamed for the parent’s problems.  I have heard people say, “If only I didn’t have kids.  I would be free.”  The reality is that children have allowed you to be freer than you have ever been.

When my sons are happy and playing nicely, I am happy.  When my sons are fighting over something silly, then I am not so happy.  Both of my boys have a way of showing their love and desire for me to have their interests in mind.  However, when I disregard their feelings or say, “What you say does not matter”, even I am telling God, “It’s your fault”.

Children are a gift and they should be treated that way.


This one is the most controversial subject in the church.  We can easily trash the gift of money by not doing something that is so easy but yet is so hard to grasp.  Give God the firstfruits.

As I explained yesterday, God accepted Abel because he gave his best to God, while Cain gave his leftovers.  We too can grieve God because we forget to give back to Him for what He has provided.  Did you know that your job, your boss and the strength to work have been given to you as a gift as well?  Work is a means that God uses to sharpen us to do His work.  If we do well at our jobs, we should also do well with His ministry.  One easy way to do that is to give God the best of what we have.  This is not just money, but it is a start.  Most people don’t give their time or talents to the church.  I would like to argue that most times those same people are also giving God the leftovers from their check.

We are commanded to give our tithe (both in the Old and New Testaments) but it can be argued about the amount.  The tithe typically was a minimum of 10% of what the person made.  Most times, it was in the form of food and sacrifices.  The tithe was to show God how much you appreciate and love Him.  God then used the tithe to feed the priests and those who worked in full-time ministry.

When we refuse to give God the best of what we have (including money), we tell Him, “This gift I made.  You did nothing.”  Remember, you and I didn’t make work, God did.  You and I didn’t make our bosses, God did.  You and I didn’t make the strength we need, God did.  God has done more for you and I than we could ever imagine.  Don’t trash your money to things that you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like.  Show God how much you love Him and give Him the best of your money.


We have all heard the expression, “Life is a gift”.  This is not just an expression but truth.  Life is a gift that God has given to all of us.  However, this gift is not an easy one.  We all have encountered sickness or injury.  We have either seen someone or experienced extreme illnesses, injuries that disable us and lifestyles that prohibit some of the happiness we think we deserve.

There are levels to trashing the gift of life.  If we don’t eat right or exercise don’t respect and love the bodies that God created.  When we go through plastic surgeries just to change the way we look (outside of medical reasons) we say, “God you made a mistake”.

We also trash life when we decide that life isn’t worth living.  Depending on your outlook, this thought process can lead to depression or suicide.  In fact suicide is the most selfish act you can take.  Taking your life says, “God you don’t know what I am going through and you don’t care.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  (The next gift will explain this.)

Life is gift worth fighting for.


Salvation is a gift.  It cannot be earned.  Salvation through Jesus Christ alone is the best life anyone could live.  God cares for us so much that while we were still actively sinning, Jesus Christ died for us.  Salvation is the greatest of all gifts.  We cannot give it back.  Once we are saved by Jesus, we are His children forever.

There is only one way to trash the gift of salvation.  Just don’t accept it and die in sin.  We have only one shot at this one.  Once we allow Jesus to enter our lives, He starts the work of transforming us.  Jesus cleans our closets, washes our floors and works to make our lives “living sacrifices”.  We are given the opportunity to choose eternal life or death.

God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us.  Because of this, we are responsible to use the other four (4) gifts in order to bring others to Christ.  We are only told to introduce people to Christ, not to convince them.  Only the Holy Spirit can convince anyone that He exists, so if you are trying to convince someone about Christ, stop it won’t work.  Let the Spirit do His work.

The use of our gifts tells God and others how we feel about our relationship with God.  From time to time ask this question, “How am I doing with the gifts God has given?”  Once you evaluate your situation, you will be able to act accordingly.  Open your heart to God and let Him tell you how to use the gifts He has given to you.

God bless and encourage someone today.