God is in control


Marti loathes hospitals. And that’s only the half of it. When she was in high school, she tried to work in one and that lasted a very short period of time until she had to walk off the job. I’m not sure where this comes from, but it might have something to do with not being in control, which is a predicament she doesn’t handle very well.

Sometime around 1980, I had hernia surgery. Though it was an outpatient procedure, it did require me being in the hospital in a recovery room for a few hours. When Marti came to see me, she walked into the room, took one look at me and walked right out. Turns out she had gotten the wrong room by mistake and walked in on a man about 40 years older than me at the time with numerous tubes attached, head back, mouth open and gurgling. She thought this was what the operation had done to me, confirming all her fears. I often joke with her about this incident and ask her what she’s going to do if that ever is me. She says she’ll shoot me.

I’m glad we don’t own a gun, because on Wednesday, she will have to face her fears once again as I will be having neck surgery to remove fluid from a cyst in my spinal cord that is pressuring the nerves to my hands and arms. This surgery is a long time coming and will require me to be in the hospital for a few days.

You should see the notes she gave me as to what I should write you all today. She has me basically saying goodbye. She is convinced this is the last she’s going to see of me. I joke about this, but I shouldn’t, because she is serious. To be sure, any surgery carries risks, so caution is in order. A good deal of my delay has been to get my house in order, and even now, I am still working on that.

The doctor is pretty casual about this (I’m glad for that confidence), and insists I will be sitting up with my laptop in a matter of days, not weeks. In the meantime, I want you to know that the ministry is in safe hands, overseen by the Board, led by Marti, and conducted by the MemberPartners who are the Catch’s lifeblood, and prayed over by the Prayer Warriors and their many PrayerPartners, and assisted by our dear brother and social media expert, Gunnar Simonsen.

As to the daily Catch, I am proud and happy to be turning over this pulpit for as long as necessary to the capable hands of my dearly loved friend and mentor, David Roper. Dave was one of the pastors at Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California, where I received my internship in the ministry. He went on to pastor a church in Idaho for many years and then he and his wife conducted a wonderful counseling, mentoring, refocusing ministry to pastors and their spouses all over the mountain states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas — pastors with small churches and no place to share their own struggles and fears. Dave and his wife Carolyn were perfectly suited for this caring ministry. Dave is pretty much retired now, though not from writing. He writes from his life, as I do, so you will recognize and appreciate the same kind of connection between faith and real life that is the hallmark of the Catch. I’m so excited for you to experience this strong, gentle, gracious man that it’s almost worth this surgery to expose you to him.

So though I know you will be praying for me, I ask that you pray mostly for Marti, that God would alleviate her fears and give her strength to handle things while I am out of circulation. And pray as well for our financial concerns that loom greater in vulnerable times like these.

And then this final word for today: God is in control. That is not just a saying. God is working out His will in and through all of this, keeping in mind that His will includes us and our prayers, decisions and activities. Saying God is in control doesn’t mean we don’t have to do anything. It means we have to do everything with the knowledge that we are living out His will in all that we do. And His will is for our ultimate benefit.

As I step away temporarily from the last 10 years as the consistent voice of the Catch, it is with an appreciation of the privilege it is to serve you and walk with you through the most extreme challenges when choosing to turn Grace Outward.

Check our Catch App and Facebook page for progress.

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24 Responses to God is in control

  1. Rollie says:

    John, praying for a successful surgery and a very speedy recovery.

  2. marg sutton says:

    John, will lift you & Marti up in prayer as I do each day .. God bless & keep & wrap His arms around you both … marg, gabriola island, bc

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    Prayers 4 u and Marti…

  4. Suzan says:

    Praying for you! What a wonderful experience of trust and faith all around. Looking forward to a new voice for the Catch for a bit, then a quick return of your familiar one. 🙂

  5. Kris Rudin says:

    I will hold you, Marti & the team in prayer as you go through this time. I know some might dismiss Marti’s fears, but they come out of her love for you! Even so, I pray that she will have peace through this time. It will definitely be a growing time for all of you, as you stretch your faith into uncomfortable areas. But I know that our God will surely meet you all and fill you with His abundance!!

  6. Jon Swedberg says:

    Praying for you, dear Brother! And for Marti. It’s been many years since I picked you up at your home in Newburyport for a retreat you led for my College and Career Group. It is great to be connected via internet.

  7. Praying for you, Marti, the doctors, the physical therapists, and David! I hope you’ll be driving all of them crazy in just a matter of hours, much less days!

  8. Sylveen says:

    Dear John…You connect earth and heaven for us every day, and help us immensely..now it is our turn to pray for you and Marti, We KNOW God is with you, loves you and wil pull you through succesfuly. Shall be reading you soon again..I know it. May God truly bless you..from Argentina..

  9. prisfraser says:

    John – praying for you and Marti.

  10. Nina & Mark says:

    We will be praying for you and your family. Looking forward to hearing from Dave too- he is a very insightful writer.

  11. TimC says:

    Have knees, will pray.

  12. KaT H. says:

    Including your ENTIRE FAMILY in my thoughts and prayers–esp. Chandler–He is my “favorite” now that he has joined the “Recovery Family 🙂 !

  13. Ineke says:

    May God guide the surgeons and staff as they operate on you. May He surround Marti, you and your family with His peace and assurance… Look forward to reading your inspiring thoughts again soon after a short interlude by being encouraged by David’s writings! (And yes, for many years I was like Marti with a great fear of hospitals…only to be working in one as a locum Pastoral Carer for the last 2 years!!! God’s plans often surprise me !)
    Ineke – Australia

  14. Markus says:

    I missed out on a couple of newsletters, or else I would already have prayed for you and Marti. Get well soon!!!!

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