Friday, May 2, 2008

He Will Save You

This story begins almost 10 years ago, during a summer that I was living with my sister Anita just before my junior year of college. It was evening and my heart was very heavy for some reason. I couldn’t pinpoint it but I knew I needed to pray. My sister wasn’t home so I was left alone. I shut myself into my bedroom, put my favorite song “He Will Come and Save You” by Bob Fitts on repeat, laid prostrate on the floor and began to sob. I had no idea why this intense feeling was over me. I tired to pray and my sister Sherri kept coming to mind but I didn’t know what I was praying for. I laid there for over an hour in prayer and intercession for my sister.


It was my junior year of college. The week of fall break to be exact. I was alone in my dorm because most weekends and holidays my roommates went home. Actually, on most occasions I would be home too, but this day was a Sunday, and I was planning to attend church with some friends of mine who were visiting from North Carolina.
I was pretty excited about this little get together though I don’t remember what church it was we were going too.

That morning after I rolled out of bed I really felt prompted in my heart to read my bible. I knew I was supposed to read a certain scripture but I didn’t know what. So I opened my bible up and there in front of me was Isaiah 35. My eyes landed on verse 4.

4: "say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you'."


I was really unaware of what God might be trying to say to me through this verse. But I kept it in the back of my mind and sort of mulled it over while I got ready for church.

I finished getting ready quite early. My friend Carrie wouldn’t be coming to pick me up for a while. Because I had that scripture in the back of my mind, a familiar song kept coming and playing in my heart that actually has some of the same words in it from the previous scripture. I kept feeling very strongly that I should play it. I figured it, “it can’t hurt” so I popped my Bob Fitts’ cd in my cd player and blasted song #8 entitled “He Will Come and Save You”. Here are the words to that song.

Say to those who are fearful hearted Do not be afraid

The Lord your God is strong And with His mighty arms
When you call on His Name
He will come and save

He will come and save you
He will come and save you
Say to the weary oneYour God will surely come
He will come and save you
He will come and save you
He will come and save you
Lift up your eyes to Him

You will arise again

He will come and save you

Say to those who are broken hearted
Do not lose your faith
The Lord your God is strong
With His loving arms
When you call on His Name

He will come and save

He is our refuge in the day of trouble

He is our shelter in the time of storm
He is our tower in the day of sorrow
Our fortress in the time of war


When I finished listening to the song, I was deeply moved, though I didn’t know why. I knew God was trying to tell me something, but what?

Because I had my music up so loud I didn’t hear my phone ring. When the song was finished, I could hear beeping coming from the living room. It was the answering machine. I walked over to the phone an listened to the message. It was my sister Anita calling. She was crying and she said "Joy, honey, you need to come home. Sherri died.” She gave no details.

My heart dropped to the floor. What? What does she mean? Is this real? What is happening? I don’t understand…. I dropped to my knees but I didn’t cry. I remember thinking I needed to wait for Carrie to come to tell her I needed to leave. I left a note on the kitchen table for my other roommates telling them what happened and that I would be gone and I didn’t know for how long. Once Carrie arrived, I shared the news and headed home.

It’s a 45 minute drive from Bethel College to my mom’s house. I remember crying in the car, I was trembling and praying and telling God that I knew that at any moment he could bring my sister back to life. I literally believed it. But I knew it wasn’t going to happen. God spoke to me and I knew I was to have the song “He Will come and Save You” played at Sherris funeral. I still didn’t even know what happened to my sister, but God had set events in motion that to this day I don’t fully understand.

Despite the circumstances I was remarkably peaceful. I had a calmness in my heart that I cannot explain along with deep grief and sadness. The night before Sherri’s funeral I got really sick. I laid in bed and my room started spinning. Then I got physically sick. At that moment the phone rang. It was our pastor’s wife calling. She asked my mom what was wrong with me. God had laid me on her heart and she knew there was something wrong. She said there was a spiritual battle going on and she needed to pray for me. After that phone call I was fine.

The last part of this story may be even harder to comprehend or understand but all I can say is that God was really truly with me on the day of Sherry’s funeral. And though I cannot express entirely the emotions I was feeling and all that was happening, I will do the best that I can. And if you are a skeptic of God or even of the Holy Spirit, please let this story soften your heart and open you up to the goodness of God. Because He loves you, and He will come and save you.

The day of Sherri’s funeral was a blur. All except one portion. It came the time for the pastor to play my song. I had forgotten the cd at school. So I prayed that if the Lord really wanted me to have this song played that I would find another recording of it somehow. Right after I prayed that prayer, I found a recording of it on a cassette tape I had made that I had in my bedroom. So I used that cassette tape. I remember sitting alone in the front row of the funeral home. Pastor Bill started the player and the song began playing. I closed my eyes and the most intense, overwhelming feeling of worship consumed me. All at once the room disappeared and I was alone with God. I no longer recognized that I was at the funeral of my beloved sister. My heart was face to face with God. I was just worshipping. And it was the most beautiful, meaningful worship I have ever experienced in my entire life. I am actually crying as I type this. God met me that day. At the most unlikely of places. In the midst of the death of one who was so very important to me. I forever hold that memory dear to my heart. Although it was through such tragic circumstances, God used that moment to change my life forever.


jenn said...

wow joy! tears!!! and chills! and tears! incredible story of God working in your life! amazing the comfort He provides and it is fabulous learning more about you and that amazing heart of yours!

Anonymous said...

wow....that is one amazing story! I'm getting the chills too.....

Anonymous said...

I love my wife!

Gloria said...

Wow - what an amazing testimony Joy.

Robin said...

God is the Best!!!

Anna said...

My son and his wife stopped by our home last weekend. They had just been to the funeral of a young man taken early in his life through a tragic accident. They felt it was a sweet funeral but lacking on a spiritual level.

It is encouraging when God shows up. In fact, it's shouting time. I bet you weren't the only one to feel God's presence. He was welcome there that day. Once you have been touched my Him and truly in a one on one level---you never forget! I have never had this experience that you talk about.

I had known joy and happiness in His presence but you have truly been blessed to experience such a connection with our Lord. It must have been what those who physically walked with him felt. There is no sadness in His company.

I enjoyed your story. I can see it will touch the hearts of many.

Laurie Ann said...

What an amazing story! I am so sorry for the loss of Sherry...but praising God that you're at peace in God. Thank you for sharing your heart with us through this incredible work.

HisFireFly said...

Thank you for sharing such a deep and profound touch from our Lord!

Julie said...

This was a precious story.

Thank you for sharing it.


Felicia Louise said...

wow... I don't even know what to say...I miss her so much and I wish she could have met my beautiful babies! I cried reading this whole thing aunt's very moving thank you for sharing how God comforted you through. I didn't feel him then and I've done so many horrible things to fill that void but I have found him now and I feel him moving in my life every single on day 12 of the purpose driven life and I'm on the worship team and dance ministry and im very involved in celebrate recovery. Im not quite sure why God has played my life out like this without my mommy but one thing I know for sure is that as long as I know im redeemed by his blood that I will have eternal life! And who knows maybe she'll be there?