Well, I was really looking forward to the day and then all my plans collapsed. The Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is honored in January every year by many churches. It’s the one Sunday that I get invited to speak at a church in which people expect us to address the sanctity of life and to figure out a Christian response to the reality of abortion.
So I got invited to speak to a church here in the Atlanta area and was very much looking forward to it. I had brochures. I had our wonderful little fetal models all ready to hand out. It was a wonderful congregation of people. There was a great spirit in the place and I got up to preach then I collapsed. I started to get light headed. I could see I was losing my thoughts, and I kept thinking to myself, “Just make your introductions, just get started, get to the passage. Show them how God’s people are responding to abortion all over the world, in life saving ways.” I was very excited about being at this particular church on this particular Sunday. And down I went.
Next thing I know, I wake up, and there’s a nurse holding onto my head, and another nurse at my feet, and a doctor looking me over with an ambulance on the way. I’m feeling some pain at this point. All my plans have collapsed because I’ve collapsed and, of course, it’s a little bit of an embarrassment to be invited to speak at a church and then to go down like that. I ended up going to the hospital and the problem really was that I was dehydrated. I had been sick for a couple days before this and with the fluid losses, I just had not been able to maintain enough fluid to be able to stand up. My blood pressure went way down to something like 66 and down I went.
It’s an embarrassing moment in many ways, but it certainly is an example of the inherent weaknesses that we all live with as we go out to do great and eternal things. It’s not the first time in my life where I’ve had a very exciting plan and looking forward to it and then gotten sick or something else has gone amiss and you’re just kind of scrambling.
I remember I was once in China and I was going to the city of Lanzhou. I took an overnight train to get there and I got sick on the way and I had a terrible fever. I had to get to Lanzhou and I had to speak for about nine hours that day. I was at training all day. So I got started and I ended up doing the whole training while sitting down which is a very hard thing for a guy like me to do because I’m always active and I’m using a whiteboard and everything else. Finally I had to ask a couple of the pastors to take over and to fill in the blanks and do other things. But the point of all that is that you don’t really lose as much as you think that you’re losing because people sympathize with you and your weakness. They take a keen interest in you and even in this church. I’m going to get back to this church and I’m going to preach that Sunday and I already feel much more of a closeness there because the people have come to my rescue before I even got to talk to them about rescuing the weak and the innocent.
This reminds me of something that the Apostle Paul wrote. The Lord said to him in his weaknesses, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” That really is a life experience that I think God gives all of us in due season. He magnifies our weaknesses so that his own strength shines through all the cracks and I had one of those moments over this past weekend. I was in the hospital for a day, I’m out of the hospital and I’ve recovered. I have plans for heading to Mexico almost immediately now.
I just want to celebrate the fact that the Kingdom of God uses our strengths and He uses our weaknesses. That’s why we can press on and maybe he uses our weaknesses more than our strengths. God bless.