I had opportunity last Sunday to hear a preacher friend of mine preach – Steve Little – fine message and delivery, which is the usual for him. He took a theme from an Old Testament text, and followed it through with several New Testament passages.
I followed along attentively until he cited Romans 6:13. Part of that verse says, “…as those that are alive from the dead…” Parenthetically, I have that statement underlined in my Bible with my written note to the side, “How great is it to be alive from the dead!”
In that moment, the Holy Spirit of the Lord touched my soul, and that Scripture came alive to me, because it coordinated with a defined experience in my life. I laid my Bible off to the side and sobbed as quietly as I could (the older I get the worse I get about crying when stirred by the blessings of God in my life).
Two and a half years ago I had to have heart-bypass surgery times five. The surgeon said that there was a two percent chance that I would not survive the surgery as he spoke encouragingly and optimistically about the expected outcome. But, as we know, when the anesthetics turn out the lights, one can never be completely sure that they will come back on. Such is the reality of having surgery.
After all, our pharmacist son, Keithen, told me as I was being taken to surgery that he had always heard that one not coming back successfully see a light in the distance. So, he and the other two sons present in the moment called down the hall as I was wheeled to the room, “Run from the light, Father! Run from the light!” What I am saying is that a smidgeon of doubt had been planted in my mind about whether I would be returning to this side of eternity or not.
But, for whatever reason, it was an amazement to me that I did. I remember how my eyes seemed to pop quickly open. My eyes darted around the room, and I said in what I perceive was a joyful observation, “I’m alive!!”
That is what the Scripture coordinated with my life, and I realized in that church moment how exciting the statement “…as those that are alive from the dead…” really is for the Christian life.
Consider it. The Scripture indicates that to be unsaved is to be “dead in trespasses and sin.” That means that we are dead to God. We have no life with God. There is no eternal hope. Spiritually, the life we live is one vast grave. Spiritually, we are in a biotic coffin. But, when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, it is as though that we become alive from the dead. How exciting is that consideration?
But, let me be careful not to lose the point, which is that the Lord uses our life experiences at times to connect us with a more clearly defined understanding of Scripture. It is an awesome experience indeed. As exemplified above, I now have a deeper understanding of how awesome my life in Jesus Christ really is, which is connected to the real life moment I woke up from surgery.
The value of this observation is two-fold. First, it highlights the importance of Bible study. Evidently, from my studying, the phrase “…as those that are alive from the dead…” had caught my attention. I had underlined it. I had made a note to the side of it. But, when I compared it to my surgery experience, I could see its meaning more clearly, and I was deeply moved and blessed. I have been all week about it, as a matter of fact.
Second, it suggests that we practice a better patience and calmer endurance with the rigors and experiences of life, for it seems on many occasions that God uses things to reveal more of Himself to us in His Word, or that He uses matters to encourage us from His Word about some of the whys and wherefores of life. And, you cannot beat that with a stick!
This Preacher was blessed by the Preacher. It was a good day to be in church, and to hear a great message from the Lord.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and ministers in the local area.