Belinda Kersey 2/25/08
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
“Still Standing” by Israel Houghton and Cindy Cruse Ratcliff
As we were learning this song in choir rehearsal, I was taken back to that same date six years before. I had been lying in a bed at Harris Methodist Southwest Hospital on that Wednesday night in 2002. My church was earnestly praying for me because they had received word that my kidneys had shut down and that I would not be walking again. The reality was that my bladder was not functioning, I couldn’t walk, my hands were extremely numb and not working well, my eyesight was blurred. Basically, I was completely helpless.
I had entered the hospital on Monday after suffering through a weekend of pain following a fall on Friday. I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis just a short 3 months before. The progression of my disease was overwhelmingly fast and very rare. Tell-tale lesions had been discovered on my brain in November 2001 but were not on my spine. Now, 3 months later they were appearing on my spine as well, thus explaining the rapid deterioration of my mobility.
Hubby Jeff, had been asked by my neurologist if our legal affairs were in order. Those words were more devastating to him than any of the facts from my MRI. Needless to say, things looked pretty bleak for me. Death was not suggested or expected but a life of extreme disability seemed to lay ahead of me. Oh, as if all of this was not enough, there was a shake-up going on at Jeff’s job and he wasn’t sure if he’d be employed at the end of the week. In fact, it was suggested that he better limit the time he took off work to be with me at the hospital.
You see, apparently Satan was intent on knocking us down and keeping us there. He wanted us to believe that God's plans for us were to harm us! That’s why this song brought back all of that to me. It declares “I’m still standing, but by the grace of God.” Now, my story would be awesome if that prayer service my church had that Wednesday had resulted in my walking out of the hospital completely healed.
As you know, it didn’t happen that way. However through it all God “gave courage to believe that all (His ) goodness I would see.” My friend, Wendy, came to see me the day after that prayer service. She told me she had been so mad at what was happening to me that she “gave God a good talking to”. She then went on to relate that God listened and then told her to settle down because her friend was going to be just fine. You know what, she heard right! Even though I wasn’t healed then and haven’t seen my complete healing yet, I’m just fine. We’ve had much more to go through over the last several years but we know that “if not for (His) goodness, if not for (His) grace, (we) don’t know where (we) would be today...if not for (His) mercy, if not for (His) love, (we) most likely would have given up. If not for (His) favor (we) could never say, I’m still standing.”
As Steve Bryant, our music minister, said-we are like a Bozo the Clown toy that gets punched and then pops back up again. The enemy has taken many shots at us over the last six years but here we are- still standing! Despite the circumstances, Jeff was one of TWO people out of fifteen who were “still standing” with their jobs at the end of the shake-up. Despite the loss of my ability to walk, I am stronger now, I can see clearly (except for being old and needing reading specs!), the lesions on my spine have been gone since 2004 and I can take care of all of my own physical needs. And, as of February 2008 I have returned to work part-time! So, “to (Him) I lift my offering, and set my heart on higher things. For if it had not been for (Him) standing on my side, where would I be?”
Thank God that he is not going to leave you where you are at this very moment. Make a bold statement that by the grace of God, no matter what the circumstances, you are still here and you are still standing.