Floor Time with the Lord
By Jo Bourne
The first thing we did upon arriving in Hot Springs was to find ourselves a place of worship. It was found quickly, but much larger than we were used to. If made us wonder if we could fit into a larger church. That was not the case; we were welcomed with open arms.
We became involved with the adult Sunday School class and began to draw even closer to people, making many faithful friends.
Summer came, and plans for VBS were being formed. I jumped at the prospect of being a part of this. The Lord was leading me into this for a reason which I was unaware of at the time.
When the first planning meeting met, there were many slots to be filled, like snacks, teachers, etc. I volunteered to pick up children that needed a ride to the church and immediately asked myself, "Now why did I do that?" This was the Lord's way of bringing more children and leading me into a ministry he wanted me to enter.
I started looking beyond myself and seeing the needs of the children in the community. I saw that they too needed to know the love of Jesus.
After that the Lord led me to start a bus ministry at church. The children were eager and overjoyed to come to Sunday School and church. The bus ministry brought a multi-racial group of children into the church body.
Soon I was summoned to the church office one day, just like a child gets summoned to the principal's office. Not knowing what was to come, I was both surprised and hurt to hear what was being said to me. It was about the bus ministry. A voice rang out, "We are not ready for all the black community in our church. You will have to stop." A knife stabbed into my heart could not have hurt worse.
After that I became a "pew warmer" or a "pew potato", and even had my very own little comfort zone. I sat near the side door of the church and when the last "amen" sounded, I was up and out of there. I just faded into the background.
I did continue to go to adult Sunday School and felt as though I belonged there. The fellowship was outstanding. But, here I was, a lump of dead meat, sitting in the sanctuary on my little area of "claimed property". By my actions I was saying to all eyes, "This is my space."
By this time my faith had grown very weak and living a life of indifference was catching up with me. The church had a pastor come and go and still I warmed the pew. There was probably a three year span and another pastor came to serve the church. I continued to flounder in my own self-pity through these years.
It was about this time that I faced the greatest challenge of my life. My robust husband of forty years began to state that he did not feel well. The doctor ordered lab work and was concerned with the results of the blood tests. Bill was transferred to a specialist who ordered another barrage of tests to be done.
The dreaded news came: Leukemia. I knew this was not good. We were in for three years of heartache and suffering, which weighed heavy on me. Throughout all this turmoil, Bill grew in his faith, while my faith seemed to wane. In my weakened state, the time came for the final goodbye. I was with him as he passed from this life to life with the Lord. I stood there, in a daze, beside the bed where the motionless body of my husband lay. All that remained was the human shell my husband had lived in while here on the earth.
Our pastor, Ken, stood on one side of me, while on the other side were two good friends, Jim and Ann. My pastor prayed for me, asking God to be with me in the hard times I would be going through. Also, he thanked God for how he was going to use me in the future.
As I heard his prayer, my thoughts were, "Why did he pray that?" And "Yeah, I've got to see this." This was the lowest point of my life, and I considered myself beyond repair. Many times I thought, "How is God going to use someone like me? A misfit?" These thoughts really stuck with me.
The funeral quickly came and was quickly forgotten. Friends returned to their homes. Families hugged me, got into their cars, waved good-bye, and were on their way home. I walked slowly up the steps to the front door. I searched expectantly, from room to room, in hopes of finding my lost loved one.
I had stood in the sands of time drawing a circle around me and keeping my distance from others, even God. Discouragement became my companion and I let my joy be stolen from me. I realized that something had to be done, but what?
At that moment I needed people and I deeply needed Jesus.
For two days after the funeral, I walked without purpose through the house and meandered amongst the flowers and blooming tree in my yard. I struggled up my steps once again and made my way to the front door. Aimlessly, the feet that would often glide joyfully down the hallway were now like dead weights dragging behind me. As I approached my bedroom door, I sensed a drowning sensation. Sinking under the weight of unhappiness, I went into my bedroom and slumped to the floor, sobbing inconsolably.
Tears clogged my nose. Tears saturated the carpet, as I desperately cried out to the Lord, "My Lord God in heaven, I need your help and I seek Your peace!"
Graciously, God answered my cry and the windows of heaven were flung open, with blessings flowing over the edges of the window onto everything below, just as when a dam is open and the waters flow freely upon the land. Things were happening in my heart, miraculous, wonderful and marvelous things.
The bedroom was transformed as it was engulfed by the great presence of God as He walked into my room, spreading His warm blanket of peace over me as He sat down on the floor beside me. I was in full submission to Him as He blotted away all my tears and heartaches. I thought, "God must have had a large handkerchief," for I realized there was no sign of tears on my face, and my nose was completely dry. No swollen face! No puffy eyes!
That warm blanket of peace, spreading throughout my body, was such a relief to my soul. I could do nothing but just sit on the floor and enjoy the moment. Time stood still, and the floor time withstood the measuring by the clock. All I could do was relish the moment surrounding me.