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Failing God and Myself

by Viola Palmer

We arrived in Dallas/Fort Worth airport from the mission field; I was in a wheel chair. The bone infection wracked my body with pain. Emotions ran wild knowing that bone infections are critical. The leg bone I had broken 5 months earlier had not healed and infection had set in.

Who knew what kinds of strange foreign bugs lurked inside my infected leg so the doctor ordered me into isolation. The doctor told me he didn’t know if I have lost circulation to the lower leg and foot. If I had lost circulation, he would have to amputate from the knee down.

The chaplain came to visit me; he was gowned, gloved and masked. He stood across the room. He didn’t come near to my bed to touch me or pray for me. I was contaminated!

The hospital forbade visits by my children. My husband came, he held me in his arms, and let me cry, but he had the responsibility of our children in the foreign land of coke machines, fast food, strange aunts and uncles they didn’t know, along with the emotional impact of a very sick Mommy.

In the middle of the night, I began to cry and couldn’t stop. I tried to explain to a nurse my fears of losing my leg. I tried to explain my concerns for my children. She stood across the room and offered me drugs.

I was broken physically, I was broken emotionally, and I was broken spiritually. God called me to be in Honduras, I had failed God I was in a hospital in the United States. I had failed my husband and children I could not care for them. I had failed myself; I could not control my life or my thoughts. I was not able to do what I expected myself to do. My situation and circumstances didn’t measure up to my expectations for my life.

I went through the surgery on my leg. Awake enough to realize the surgery was over I threw off the covers to see if I still had a leg. I did!

That day my husband brought me a tape recorder and soft praise music. Every moment I listened to the worship, I could feel God reaching out to me. I began to read the psalms. God was still in control. I was thankful to God for my right leg and foot. I was thankful that I had a mission sending agency that took care of my needs. I was grateful that I had family that would take us in at a moments notice and care for my children.

The Holy Spirit quickened this Scripture to me:

“Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 NIV

A planted seed’s rough outer coat, its husk, must die. It becomes the food nurturing a new plant. My rough outer coat of self-sufficiency and controlling had to die. God was working to change me from the inside. I had acted in my own power believing I could take care of my family and myself. I was full of pride. I was taking the place of God in my life. I had the same sin as Adam and Eve wanting to be like God.

God did not cause me to break my leg nor give me an infection. God used the circumstances in my life to let me know that He is sovereign and in charge, not me!

By listening to praise, music God was able to soften my heart and I was able to calm enough to hear him. Jeremiah 4:3 says, “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.” God used praise music to break up my heart’s unplowed ground. He took me out of the busyness of the thorns.

Nature, creation has traditionally been ways God has spoken to me. Released10 days after entering the hospital. I had lost track of seasons in the United States. As we drove the highway out of the city, wildflowers covered the roadsides. Blue-bonnets blanketed areas for miles. God was showing me the joy of his creation. Psalms 27:4 says, “One thing I ask of the Lord….to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.”

©2006 Viola Palmer. All rights reserved. Used by permission.