Joseph Herrin (09-09-2011)
On Tuesday of this week (September 6, 2011) I spent the morning writing the previous post titled “Why Does God Require Christians to Suffer?” Little did I anticipate that before the day was over I would be entering into a further season of suffering.
In the afternoon I rode my motorcycle up to Macon to visit with Mr. Stanfield, the 86 year old brother in Christ who is Randy Simmons’ grandfather. For those who do not know Randy, he is a brother in Christ that the Father introduced me to about 6 years ago. We have traveled together in ministry and there have been times in the past when I have, at the invitation of Mr. Stanfield, lived at his home. My bus was parked on his property during the time that I converted it into a motorhome.
I spent a couple hours with Mr. Stanfield, then I got on my motorcycle to return home. I was anticipating driving through downtown Macon, hoping to see Randy and Veronica (a sister in Christ) who were daily ministering to men and women on the city streets. I was turning from Spring Street onto Riverside Drive in Macon. This is a large intersection with two turn lanes merging onto two lanes on the cross street.
Accident Site – Intersection of Spring Street and Riverside Drive
(Click on image for larger picture)
I was in the outside turn lane, and there was an older lady in her 90s driving a white Impala in the inside turn lane. She was confused about what lane she needed to be in, as she had set out to go to Krystal’s to purchase something to eat. Krystals is the red and white hamburger joint you can see at the right side of the picture. I was driving beside this elderly woman’s car when she began to make a turn from the inside lane over into the parking entrance to Krystals. Neither of us were traveling fast, as we had just come around the corner after being stopped at the traffic light.
When I saw the woman’s car turning into my lane, I moved as far over as I could, trying to avoid being struck by her automobile. She kept coming over, however, and her front bumper made contact with my left leg just above the ankle. The impact pushed my motorcycle sideways, and I fell to the ground. Fortunately, she stopped quickly as I was laying flat on my back on the ground.
From the moment I saw her coming into my lane I had the sense of being an observer watching what was taking place. A question in my mind was “Why is this happening Lord?” I began to drag myself backwards a little, to get off of the street, and I looked down at my left foot and saw that it was flopping sideways as if it were not connected. My leg just above the ankle was evidently crushed. A man appeared quickly and told me not to move, but to just lay there until an ambulance arrived.
In a sense, I still felt like an observer to all that was happening. I was not feeling any pain at all, though I knew my left leg had been seriously injured. I just lay back and observed the entire matter playing out.
Immediately after the accident a woman police officer arrived. She said she had been right there and had watched the accident as it occurred. She said that she had seen me trying to avoid the woman coming into my lane, and the entire event shook her up some as she too rides a motorcycle. She said she could have handled the accident investigation, but, since she was a witness, she needed to call another officer to write it up.
There are police headquarters and a major trauma hospital within a mile or two of the accident site, and it did not take long for more police and an ambulance to show up. They began asking me questions as they prepped me for transport to the hospital. Inside the ambulance they removed my shoes, and cut off my pants, and saw that I had an open fracture where the bone on the inside of my right ankle had broken through the skin. There was some arterial bleeding. I heard all of these things being discussed, but as I was laying flat on my back I did not see the injury, and I still was not feeling any pain. I never lost consciousness, and was coherent the entire time.
I remember thinking at the time that I hoped the strain of the injury would not be too difficult for my heart to bear. My concern was relieved when they took my blood pressure in the ambulance and it was 130/70. During the two days I spent in the hospital my blood pressure was recorded to be as low as 106/60, but I was very relaxed at the time.
When I arrived at the hospital I was asked if any family members or friends had been contacted yet. I gave them my daughter Kristin’s number. Afterward I learned that it gave her quite a start for the only thing she was told by the hospital employee was that I had been in a motorcycle accident and had been brought to the hospital in an ambulance. This caused Kristin some emotional distress. When she arrived at the hospital with a young friend who had ridden with her, the first thing they saw through a large glass window was the view of my foot on the stretcher. It was wrapped in gauze, and covered in blood. At that moment she did not know whether that was what the rest of my body looked like as well. It caused a temporary up welling of panic, but when they brought her into the room she saw that it was only my foot that was injured.
I had been wearing a helmet, as well as a motorcycle jacket with the armored pads built into it, so the top of my body was protected. It was also a fairly low speed impact, so I did not get thrown any distance. I did dislocate my left shoulder, but it popped back into place even as I was laying on the ground. It is a bit tender, and I have to be cautious about putting weight on my left arm for a while, but I can tell that it is healing quickly.
An orthopedic surgeon came in and, because I had an open fracture, he said they would need to attend to the injury quickly. The accident occurred about 4:30 P.M., and around 9 P.M. I was taken into surgery. I awoke at 1 A.M., and was told that the doctor was able to repair everything, and no further surgery should be required.
The doctor told me that the small bone in my lower leg was broken in two places. This bone is not a weight bearing bone, but it serves to keep the leg and ankle aligned. When it broke, the foot was pushed off from the big bone at the bottom of the leg, dislocating the foot. The doctor put two steel plates in the leg. One of them was the largest one they have available. A nurse indicated its length with her fingers, and it appeared to be about 8-10 inches. The second plate was smaller. Screws were used to attach these plates to the bones. The elderly woman who struck me had car insurance which should pay for the medical bills.
I arrived at the hospital Tuesday afternoon and I was discharged Thursday evening. My daughter asked me to come stay at her house so she could check on me during the day. She works a short distance away, and will come by at lunch each day to make sure I am okay and have something to eat. I was instructed by the doctor to keep the leg elevated for two weeks, and to put no weight upon it. Then I will have to wear a cast for about another 6 weeks, after which I will receive physical therapy. He said the total recovery time should be about three months.
I appreciate your prayers as there is pain and discomfort associated with the injury. Yet, I know the Father has His hands upon everything. I am beginning to sense His purposes in this further experience of suffering.
On Thursday, while at the hospital two technicians came in and removed the bandage and brace from my lower leg and foot. I was able to see the injured area for the first time. I have a long incision on the outside of the leg which was made in order to install the steel plates and screws. On the inside there was a jagged tear where the bone had broken the skin, but it had been sewed up. The technicians said both of them were looking good, with no signs of infection. They then put gauze around it again, and a partial cast and wrapped it with an ace bandage.
The nurse came in immediately afterward to take my blood pressure. It was up a little bit, as I had some pain in the leg from moving it around. When I saw the blood pressure reading, I knew the Father was giving me some insight into this experience. It read 153/91.
The 153 is related to the 153 large fish that the disciples drew up into the nets at the third appearance of Christ after His resurrection. They took of these fish and put them into the fire. Physical suffering and injury are a part of that refining work the Father accomplishes in our lives. Sitting in the hospital I was reminded of one part of the story “Hinds’ Feet on High Places.” The main character, Much Afraid, is given a specific route to begin ascending to the High Places of the kingdom of Love. The Shepherd has chosen for her to ascend the Precipice of Injury. As she ascends, she experiences a fall, and a painful injury to her knee. She is overcome with fear of continuing, so her traveling companions urge her to drink from the cordial the Shepherd had given to her. The small vial contained “The Spirit of Comfort and Grace.” Immediately she felt strengthened, and was soon able to continue on her ascent. I can truly testify of the comfort and grace the Father has given me at this season. I was meditating on the goodness of the Father this afternoon, and tears were streaming down my face as I confessed my gratitude for His hand being always upon me. I believe the man who came up to me immediately after the accident and instructed me to lie still and not move, was an angel the Father had sent. I had such a sense of peace that someone was immediately there watching over me when this event occurred.
It struck me as very symbolic that soon after I was able to view the injury for the first time, I saw these numbers 153/91. The number 91 relates to Psalm 91. The following portion stands out.
Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation.
The Amplified Bible renders these three verses in the following manner.
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness – trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.
Yahweh does not shield His sons and daughters from all experiences of suffering, persecution, and injury. However, He has promised to walk with us through all of these things. I have a strong confidence that my Father will never forsake me, no, never! He will give us comfort and grace to endure suffering, bearing up patiently, and overcoming the temptation to murmur or complain about those experiences appointed to us by our Father.
Just before I was discharged from the hospital yesterday, I had a gathering of visitors in my hospital room. My daughter was there, as were Randy, Veronica, and two men they had gotten to know out on the streets of Macon. There was a holy presence in the room, and the Spirit was clearly orchestrating our meeting. Randy had been impressed to bring Streams in the Desert with him. He had not read the day’s devotion, and did not know what it spoke about, but he had a sense that God would speak through it. Randy read the devotion to us all.
“Thou has enlarged me when I was in distress.” Psalm 4:1
This verse is one of the greatest testimonies ever written regarding the effectiveness of God’s work on our behalf during times of crisis. It is a statement of thanksgiving for having been set free not from suffering but rather through suffering. In stating “Thou has enlarged me when I was in distress,” the Psalmist is declaring that the sorrows of our life have themselves been the source of life’s enlargement.
Haven’t each of us experienced this a thousand times and found it to be true? Someone once said of Joseph that when he was in the dungeon, “iron entered into his soul.” And the strength of iron is exactly what he needed…
Dear soul, if you want your sympathy for others to be enlarged, you must be willing to have your life narrowed to certain degrees of suffering. Joseph’s dungeon was the very road to his throne, and he would have been unable to lift the iron load of his brothers had he not experienced the iron in his own life. Your life will be enlarged in proportion to the amount of iron you have endured, for it is in the shadows of your life that you will find the actual fulfillment of your dreams of glory. So do not complain about the shadows of darkness… The gate of your prison is the gate into the heart of the universe. God has enlarged you through the suffering of sorrow’s chain.
If Joseph had never been Egypt’s prisoner, he would have never been Egypt’s governor. The iron chain that bound his feet brought about the golden chain around his neck.
Is this not an amazing parallel? Joseph had iron chains around his feet, and I have just had steel plates installed into my lower left leg. I am restricted in my coming and going. It is the Father’s will that I remain where I am at for the present, but the hour is coming when the doors will be opened, authority and promotion will be realized. As we all endure the experiences of suffering appointed to us, one day we will find Yahweh commanding that the golden necklace be placed around our neck.
An example of the Egyptian golden necklace that sovereigns wore.
I am hearing from a number of people who are experiencing suffering at this time. These trials come in many different ways. Some are being scorned and rejected by family and friends and by other saints. Some are facing financial problems, while others are experiencing health crises.
I encourage all who travel this afflicted path that leads to life to endure with patience those things Yahweh has appointed to you. The grace of God is freely given to you. He will give us hinds’ feet so that we can travel over the mountains of difficulty as if they were a level plain.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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