"PLEASE LET ME DIE!"
By: Dan Revoir
GOLD DUST AMONG THE STONES
The words "Forty-Niners" in our country would probably, with most people, equate to statistics and players of a well known football team. A few short decades ago that title would have conjured up thoughts of a grizzled old man, with his face hardened and tanned like rough leather, having endured a lifetime of exposure to the burning sun and bitter cold. He was a man who left all the comforts of home and family to live a life of seclusion and hardship with all of his worldly belongings diamond hitched on the back pack of a donkey. His dream was the lotto of his day: instant riches, untold wealth, and a life of luxury and ease. But, as with most gold seekers, he usually managed to eke out a meager living, barely able to afford beans and baking powder for biscuits and maybe some coffee. Only a handful of prospectors ever struck the mother lode, a large vein of gold that ran through the strata of rock in the mountains of the West. Most of them spent their lives swirling river bed gravel around in a lead-bottom gold pan, searching for minuscule flecks of gold that would glisten in the sunlight.
The searching for the gold of our faith is very similar. We hardly ever discover the mother lode of life filled with unshakable faith but rather, like the old "forty-niners" we have to pan for it, searching for bits and pieces throughout our lives. My prospecting started among some stones in northern Michigan.
In 1980, I had just graduated from GRSBM, pronounced "Gris-boom" by the alumni of that school. Actually it is an acronym for the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music. I was 39 years old when I started (talk about culture shock!) But I knew it was God's will for me to go to Bible school. There were no visions. God did not speak to me verbally, telling me to move to Grand Rapids and attend Bible school. I Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have the mind of Christ. I just knew that was God's will for my life.
I then contacted IBM, not for instruction in the use of computers, rather the Independent Bible Mission. I wanted to preach and for several months filled pulpits in Michigan. One such church was a small one at South Boardman, a little town in northern Michigan. The congregation asked me to consider taking the position of pastor and in March of 1981 I accepted the call. We commuted back and forth from Grand Rapids each week until June, when we moved to South Boardman to begin our ministry. The first month there I was hospitalized with a kidney stone for seven days. I have passed five kidney stones and if you have ever had this problem you know how intense the pain can be. They say it is comparable to or exceeds childbirth. I can gladly say that I have never experienced the latter. I do know that the one stone I tried to pass (unsuccessfully) in Mississippi while on vacation was so painful that the doctors were concerned that it might stop my heart.
Why am I making such a big deal about such a small matter? (A kidney stone is a very small material which tries to pass through the even smaller urethra tube, causing unbearable pain). The point I am trying to make is, what is relevant pain? How much is unbearable pain? Some people think a hangnail is indescribable pain. But almost everyone knows the severity of kidney stones or the terrible pain that cancer patients suffer or the trauma of surgical pain, especially as the nurses command you to cough three times each hour after you are brought back from the recovery room. My prospecting started in northern Michigan and the gold dust of faith was found among the kidney stones which had caused so much pain. This experience didn't teach me anything but it started the thinking process about why things happen at such inconvenient times. It is as though everything is out of sync according to logical thinking, yet there seems to be a definite design.
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