What is First

Me:  It is another nice day to be outside!

Prodigal:  So I figured we could share while we are walking.

Me:  I already have something picked out!

This is from the book My Heart’s Cry by Anne Graham Lotz

Dr. Alan Redpath was an outstanding Bible teacher and preacher from Great Britain.  For years he pastored the great Moody Bible Church in downtown Chicago.  At the height of his ministry, the church was exploding while many national opportunities were opening for him to speak and write.  One day Dr. Redpath was in his study when he suddenly fell to the floor, unable to speak or move.  When his daughter discovered him, he was rushed to the hospital, where it was determined that he had had a massive stroke.  For three months he was totally incapacitated with no mobility at all.  He could not lift his head nor open his mouth nor move his feet nor raise his hand.

Yet, interestingly, his mind was clear and active.  Without ceasing, he bombarded the gates of heaven with his prayers for victory over the stroke, believing it had been sent by the devil to halt his ministry.  Day after day he asked God why he was allowed to remain in what was almost an outward vegetative state.  He became more and more defeated and depressed.

One day, lying propped up in bed, he looked over and saw his Bible lying on the table beside him.  It was open, and his eye fell on Psalm 39:10  “Remove thy stroke away from me:  I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.”  With shocking realization, he knew his stroke had been sent to him by God!  At the same moment, he knew the reason for it–that he had allowed busyness of his work for God to take precedence over his worship of God.  He had concentrated all of his time and attention and effort on bearing what he thought was fruit, and he had ignored his personal relationship with Christ!  As a result, while his life was extremely busy and active, it wasn’t fruitful from God’s perspective and therefore not acceptable to Him.  Immediately, Dr. Redpath repented of his sin.  Almost in the same instant, he found he could move and speak!  His health was restored!

The doctor declared it was a miracle, and it was!  The doctor also told Dr. Redpath he would have to greatly reduce his schedule and that he would never preach again.  Dr. Redpath just smiled.  When I heard him tell this story thirteen years after his stroke, he was preaching as he told it!  But he never again allowed his personal relationship with Christ to take a secondary position in his life.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Romans 5:12

Jennifer Van Allen



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