LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Amazed by God's Grace

I believe God gives grace to His people to handle struggles, sickness, loss and other trials. Sometimes we look at someone who suffered a great loss and say, "How do they keep their eyes on Jesus? I don't think I would do so well if it happened to me."

I don't think God gives you the grace you need until you need it. He tells us to pray for our daily bread, not what we need next week or next month. He will be there to get us through today. And tomorrow He will be there again.

Vanessa Sanders and the Shaffer family are experiencing that right now in a real way. Three days ago, Stephen Shaffer, a 23-year old young man who has been very healthy and has his entire life in front of him, went into cardiac arrest in the middle of the night. It took three defibrillation's to get his heart beating again. Since then he has been in a medically-induced coma while they have tried to stabilize his heart and prevent his brain from damage.

I was so moved today by Gloria Shaffer's (Stephen's mom) note about the goodness of God. Even now, when Stephen's life hangs in the balance and they know he may not make it through the day, this mother keeps her eyes on Jesus. See if you are as encouraged as I was by Gloria's words...

Today is an important day, as we will find out if his brain in functioning properly. God has been SO faithful!!

God, You are faithful...

  • We asked You to start Stephen's heart, and his heart began to beat again.
  • We asked You for good care for our son, only to find out that he is in a famous cardiac care hospital with state-of-the-art equipment and world renowned doctors.
  • We asked You to give us strength to help us get through this, and you really outdid yourself Lord!! You blessed us with amazing family who extended what used to be their Newport beach vacation to be our rock. Other friends and family drove down, drove up, and hopped on planes, just to give us strength to get through this and to be there for Stephen. We have been blessed with beautiful beach house accommodations, every meal has been provided. Big HUGS to the Bob and Paul Shaffer family who take food orders for lunch and bring in healthy food (Chipoltle!) and make arrangements at local restaurants each night (for at least 15 hungry mouths) for us to dine together AND they will not let us touch the bill. They are amazing!!! Kudos to the Oranje fam who brought a jug (yes, a jug!) of hot Starbucks coffee and bags of cookies and pastries plus hugs, love and encouragement to us all in the ICU waiting room! Our family and friends have nurtured us so that all our focus could be on Stephen and on looking to you, Lord, to care for Stephen.
  • We asked You to calm Stephen's erratic pulse, and You calmed it.
  • We asked You to balance his potassium levels, and suddenly his body is holding potassium.
  • We asked You to help us proclaim Your glory, and You laid it on JC's heart to start a prayer page that is being followed by thousands of people around the world. Some of the people following this story do not have an intimate relationship with You, Lord :(. It makes me ache for them because they are missing such joy, such power, such a rich, full existence here on earth and an eternity with You! I pray that Stephen's story will touch their hearts and cause them to seek You and put their trust in You. You are EVERYTHING.

Today, my Savior and the Savior of the world, we ask You to answer a HUGE prayer. We ask that test results reveal NO brain damage! This is a huge request for someone whose heart stopped beating for a while but no biggie for You. It does not come down to You being able to do this, and we fully know this is easy-peasy for you; it comes down to your plan for Stephen's life. Oh how we pray that our prayer for Stephen aligns with Your plans for him. Our favorite thing about Stephen is his brain, which controls his personality. Stephen is such a crazy combo of being wicked-smart and crazy-fun!!! We have always been in awe of his ability to understand complex things with his brilliant mind and yet still be the prankster who duct-taped his little bro to the ceiling at church camp. We just don't want to let that part of our Stephen go. We selfishly want his brain, Lord! Please, please let the results be good!! But, if they are scary-bad, we will trust You. We will do our best to be strong and still shout Your name. You are ---- too many words are jumping into my head because you are SO MANY things --- our Savior, our Redeemer, Giver of Life, etc... So I will end this simply with You are. You've got this Lord!!

James 1:12 - "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."