Friday, February 21, 2020 -
This has been a difficult couple of days for me for a number of reasons. Kathie has hurt her shoulder playing with our granddaughter – afraid she has once again torn her rotator cuff, which has twice been repaired by surgery. This, in addition to the severe nerve pain in her face from botched implant surgery more than five years ago, and chronic lack of sleep. On top of that, I got an email saying that she has been vomiting every morning this week and diarrhea hit her yesterday on top of everything else. She said I’d better pray for her because she’s getting weak and going downhill fast, and she doesn’t know if she’d be able to make it to see me this weekend. She tells me constantly that she needs me home right away, as she refuses to see a medical doctor until I’m home.
To make matters even worse, she told me yesterday my mother had been taken to the emergency room and admitted into the hospital. At first, they thought she’d had a stroke, but now the diagnosis is pneumonia. When I spoke to Kathie at 6:30, she told me to pray hard. If Mom made it through the day, she probably wouldn’t make it through the night.
I’d also just received word that a very good friend who has ALS was on her last days, which is grievous, although she loves the Lord and is joyful to be about to enter eternity. Then Kathie told me again that her health is going downhill rapidly, and it seems death comes in threes (my Aunt Shirley, Mom’s sister, died two weeks ago today). This is all so very devastating to a man in prison, as I thought last night Kathie meant she’d be number three. But I can pray, and I can fast. My heart was devastated. I prayed. I read my nightly Psalm, which brought tears to my eyes as I prayed these words, weeping before the Lord: “Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning. Indeed, more than the watchmen in the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord, there is lovingkindness. And with Him, there is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130).
I’ve also been reading a book Kathie has sent to me called Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy by Marie Chapman, an amazing story of a Slovene church planter and his family. He had spent many years in prison on false charges – either for corroborating with the guerillas during World War II or after the war, with the Germans, accused by those same partisans after their communist leader, “Tito,” became ruler of Yugoslavia. Eventually, the Communists also locked him up in prison for preaching the gospel, but that miraculously was short imprisonment. These were amazing people of prayer, and miracles often seemed to happen when they prayed in faith believing.
This man at one time was taken to prison for a ten-year sentence by the Germans, and his wife was given a six-year sentence, but she was reprieved for nine months until the birth of her child. Shortly thereafter there was a knock on the door, and she knew those who came would kill her, but she was miraculously delivered by God. And so she left her young son with a friend and fled to the mountains to join the guerillas, refusing though, to carry a gun. It was her only recourse. She hid her pregnancy but not her testimony, preaching Christ to all who would hear. She gave birth in a village kitchen of a stranger, and immediately fled with the baby back into the mountains, where she was miraculously delivered from being discovered by German soldiers, and then amazingly spared by Italian soldiers. But she and the baby were starving to death. Close to death, and cold, they made it to a farmhouse and knocked on the door. Staying there for a month recuperating back to health, she shared Christ with the elderly couple, reading them a small Bible they had. They eventually revealed that a preaching man had come a few years back three times, and gave them that Bible. She opened its corner and saw her husband’s name written, along with I Cor. 2:2. I now quote, “That night lying on the bed holding her little daughter beside her, she cried for Jakob. Just the sight of his name brought back his sounds, smells, his touch. She longed to hear his voice again, to hide in his strength, to clothe herself in his nearness. She imagined herself sitting beside him in the presence of others as he talked and gently guided the conversation. She would sit still, quiet, listening to the sound of his voice, the strength of his words, and in him, the closeness of him, she would be safe, sure, completely happy.
“But the crunch of the straw beneath the blankets, the sound of the clock ticking and the biting cold air of the strange house reminded her that she was alone, without him, and she felt again unfinished, like a pot without water.”
When I read the nest two paragraphs, I joined with her in more or less the same prayer, with tears, “’ My heavenly Father, I believe You are a loving God and I believe that You answer prayers. That is why I know that you have mercy on my son and on my husband, whom I cannot see. I know You will bring us together again.’
“She thought of little Josip and squeezed the edge of the blanket to hold back her tears. ‘My Jakob, my Josip, my brave men – God have mercy, we will be together again.’”
She made it home in spring, where she found her son safe and her husband, who had been miraculously released shortly after she had fled. God had answered her prayer. I myself prayed into the night, not falling asleep until after my watch read that it had just turned 1:00, believing that soon Kathie, myself, and my soon to be 92-year-old Mom will be reunited as well.
This morning I had nine emails from Kathie, the last telling me she had five good hours of sleep (which was good for her), that my mother had shown some signs of improvement. She had arranged for someone to go by her apartment to get her cell phone and take it to the hospital, so I could call her. We spoke for three minutes, but I was able to understand only a few words.
Today is also the deadline for the government (prosecutors) to make their final supplemental response to my request to Judge Arcara to vacate my sentence. A self-made legal expert here in prison (also a believer) wrote all of the recent motions and replies on my behalf – a miracle in itself that God would send this man to me here at just the right time! I have been praying for eight months for God to turn the Judge’s heart, and I believe that is miraculously happening. This final government response is the last mandated step required prior to making his decision. By faith, we are believing God for a miracle in which He alone gets the praise! I pray this will happen very, very soon.
Thank you again for your prayers. It is time to step them up a notch, taking them to the next level! Please believe for a miracle with me!
In His Service,
P.S. Jozeca, the woman I quoted above, said once, “We are blessed, we are blessed to have tasted a little of what our Lord suffered for us.” How true that is. Yet I feel so unworthy.