Paul’s song begins at 1:30 on the video.
Pain speaks volumes, if we’ll just listen. I’d like to think that I’m an active listener, both to God and others. Yet, there are times His still small voice must be dialed up to ten. C. S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Anyone who has had abdominal surgery will attest that the pain has a voice. Day three after my surgery, the O.R. nurses came for a visit and said, “We always like to visit our big belly patience on day three.” I didn’t know whether to be thankful for the care or insulted by the term. What they meant was that surgery that invades the bowels rises to a special level of concern. They’re right! I had three surgeries in 1998, the final culminating into a full hysterectomy. But this procedure was the grand-daddy of them all!
Those in my special club also know that a key piece of advice is to stay ahead of the pain. Once you let it get a good grip…it takes some management to put it back into place. So far, I’ve been managing the pain like a champ during the day. Oh, but, the night watches. They sneak up on you. I take my last medication on my bed. And then about 6 hour s later, about 2 hours too late…I get the wake-up call.
Each night, what awakens me is not the discomfort, but my own voice. I’m stirred by the sound of my own prayers. They are sweet and strong. I hear me calling out to Jesus or asking the Lord for help. Last night Skip asked, “Honey, what are you saying?” In a semi-conscious state I replied, “I think I was praying.” Then my sweetheart reminded me that my pain management was past due.
As I reached for my pills, God spoke. Seriously, I heard an audible harmonious voice. Somehow I’d brushed my iPhone with my wrist and had unwittingly engaged the iPod. Singing sweetly out the darkness, came the melodious tune of my dear friend, Paul Clark. And wouldn’t you know it, my favorite song, “Abide.” The lyrics promised… “The more I go on with the Lord, I find that I cannot afford, to stay away from His side, It’s in the vine I’ll abide…”
I asked Skip, “What is that?” He told me he thought it was my alarm. I assured him that I don’t use the alarm or 90% of the other apps on my gadget. He asked me to pass the device. “Hmmm,” he said, “It turned itself onto shuffle.” Those who are close to me know that I have never downloaded a song or know how to shuffle. But God did! He sang sweetly to me in the night watches.
David said, “When I remember Yo u on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice” (Psalm 63:6-7).
The Heitzig family, Paul Clark, and friends