Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thanks for your prayers

It has been a month since I had my up close and personal encounter with lightning. These last 4 weeks have been filled new experiences. Some of those were mentioned in Donna's update a couple of weeks ago. Others have been harder to articulate. About a week after the strike I was able to write the following to my church family.
Most of my thinking has been somewhat productive. Some of my thoughts, however, have been pretty dark. I have been reminded of Bunyan's Faint-heart, Mistrust and Guilt, who, if once they get in a man, know how to lay low both Mr. Great-Grace as well as Mr. Little-Faith. They have become familiar enemies the last few days.

I am not angry at God. I am not disappointed with Him. Nor do I think He had nothing to do with this. The events of early Tuesday morning are so unusual that it is impossible not to see the sovereign hand of God at work orchestrating every event.
As I have told many people since that night, my first conscious thought was, "God has done this." I don't think it is enough simply to say that He allowed it. I believe He orchestrated it. As I also wrote to the church,
The same God who sent the bolt of lightning through my body is the One who sent His Son to cross. I have no reason to doubt His mercy and grace.
Those thoughts have been increasingly confirmed to me over the ensuing days. By His grace I was able to attend our church's morning worship services this past Sunday and able to address, albeit very briefly, both English and Spanish congregations. It was very encouraging for me to be there and to fellowship and worship with brothers and sisters to whom I am united in the bonds of grace.

I reminded our church that God is good in all His ways. He was good in sparing my life. And He would have been good in taking it. Psalm 119:71 and 75 are my testimony. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, and I do know that God has done this in faithfulness.

There are many more lessons that the Lord is teaching me--and reteaching me. So much of the Christian life is not learning new things but learning fundamental things in new ways.

Doctors have given me reason to anticipate continuing progress in recuperation. I am seeing daily improvements. There are still some difficulties with which I must contend, and, I have been encouraged to be patient with these. Hopefully, they will diminish with time.

I am so very grateful for all of the prayers and expressions of love and encouragements that have come my way. Many who I know primarily or even exclusively through blogging have encouraged me with notes and comments. I am deeply appreciative and reminded of the wonder of being in the family of the living God.

Please continue to pray as the Lord brings me to mind. I am planning to preach this week for the first time since the strike. Fortunately, I have a great apostolic example of preaching "in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling" (1 Cor. 2:3).

In the future, I hope to be able to write more specifically about lessons learned through this experience. If I am enabled to do so, I will post such thoughts here.

23 comments:

Jason Vaughn said...

Tom,

It is very good to have you back in the blogosphere. You have been in my prayers and will continue to be. Your's and you family's attitude through this has been a great blessing to me and I'm sure to many others. Praise God for the grace bestowed.

MarieP said...

Yes...

I am so very thankful that the Lord has preserved you and is teaching you so much! I find too that it is not so much God teaching me new things but God re-teaching me in new ways things that I should know by now! Your words are an encouragement to all!

James Hunt said...

I pray that God enables you by His grace this coming Sunday.

Stan McCullars said...

Thank God you're getting better. I pray that God will allow the church to benefit from your ministry for many years to come.

I tried, without success, to link back to your post. Nothing fancy, but here's my post: Founders Ministries Blog: Thanks for your prayers.

Will said...

Brother Tom
What a joy it would be to hear your sermon Sunday! In your weakness He will be displayed. I am glad you are on the path to recovery.

Will
Cedar Hill Tx

Phil Johnson said...

Welcome back. We've been praying for you.

Arthur Sido said...

Welcome back Tom, I and many others have missed your humble wisdom. May God use you mightily to declare His Word this Sunday.

Jason Robertson said...

It is good to hear of your recovery. I've never personally known anyone who was struck by lightening and have thus never heard anyone talk about the after effects. Your testimony gave me the interest to read up on the subject; it is quite interesting. Your symptoms seem common to survivors and my research has given me a more informed burdened for your recovery. So thanks for sharing about all such things. We will continue to pray for you and pray for a full recovery.

Tom said...

Thanks for the encouragements. I should have clarified that my first attempt at preaching will not occur at Grace on Sunday, but tomorrow at a Reformation Conference in Anchorage. I am scheduled to speak 3 times over the next 3 days, plus preach on Sunday. Thanks for your prayers!

Maxwell House said...

Pastor,

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Is. 41:10

We are continuing to pray for you! We're in town until Tues so will just miss you. :( Have a safe trip to Alaska!

Sam and Jeremy

DoGLover said...

Tom, I'm delighted to know how God is graciously working in your life through this experience. I pray that He will continue to show you more of Himself in the days ahead.

Aaron Turner said...

My Brother,

I have been praying for you, as well as many folks with whom I have shared your experience.

I am trusting the Lord to give you complete healing, and to accomplish whatever purpose He has in this.

I will be especially in prayer for you as you minister on Sunday

theologshmeolog said...

Hi Tom,
have never met you personally, but have profited from your work here. I read Nettles' BHGAFHG years back, and am grateful there are men (like you) who have a commitment like his. From p. 427: "he who gazes into these doctrines can gaze for eternity and never reach the end of their grandeur and brightness; and he who plunges in can swim forever and never exhaust the routes and currents that might be taken." This is true because of the nature of our God. May He bless you with the mind and ability to continue to see the eternal depth, brightness and hope found in His gracious dispensation to us! My prayer is that you will heal well, and proclaim His glories in your trial and in your healing!

Pas. Sam Hendrickson
Westside Baptist Church
Jenison, MI
westsidebaptist.info

Wyman Richardson said...

Tom,

Continuing to keep you in my prayers, brother.

Wyman

Coty said...

Tom:
I've benefited much from meditating on your statement, "So much of the Christian life is not learning new things but learning fundamental things in new ways." See the resulting thoughts in this devotion.

Strong Tower said...

Praise God in all his providence towards you.

Enjoy your time with JW in Alaska and my God continue blessing you and your family.

tt

Darrin said...

Tom, I appreciate your references to Bunyan. May you ever be as Valiant-for-Truth, scars and all, and as GreatHeart, conductor of pilgrims.

Tom Bryant said...

Tom -
Praying for you as you preach tomorrow!

Jerry Brewer said...

Dear Brother Tom,

Haven't posted a comment of late. But I want you to know that I have been praying for you since the accident. You are the real deal and in the very tiny circles that I run in, real men of God are few and far between. I thank the Lord for you and all that He has called you to do. I am especially thankful that you are concerned about those in the work of reformation. I continue to pray for a complete recovery, and for your wonderful family, your church, and the work of the Founders.

God Bless - Jerry Brewer

debt said...

Tom,
Rick and I just read your wife's update on the 30th, as well as your recent blog post. I, Deb, wept though much and yet, we rejoice in the Lord's faithfulness to you and your family, knowing He is perfect in all of His ways. Thank-you for being so honest with the struggles and adjustments. We will be praying for your family and for you in the days ahead. God is good all of the time, all of the time, all of the time. Rick and Deb Tarter

Carl said...

Hang in there and may God bless. Glad you're getting better.

CaribbeanPreacher said...

Dr. Ascol,

You are in our prayers continually. The churches of the East Caribbean Baptist Mission in the nation of Antigua & Barbuda have appreciated your ministry for years. We are praying and looking forward to your full recovery.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Hensworth W.C. Jonas

BrotherMichael said...

Tom,

As a first time pastor who has been impacted tremendously by your ministry, I am grateful to our Lord for news of your continuing recovery. My family and I will continue to pray for you and yours.

In Christ,
Michael