Out of Breath

I’ve been fighting a cold for nearly two weeks. It started off as a very sore throat that became a deep cough. Last Sunday when I spoke at Gardner I got a tickle in my throat that wouldn’t go away. It was hard to concentrate delivering the message. I think God worked anyway which is a tribute to His love for us and His faithfulness. During the Elders meeting on Monday it was cutting out and someone said, I think you are losing your voice. I thought, oh no, I’m leaving for Orlando and the Exponential Conf for church planters at 5 a.m. the day. 

Sure enough when I got up on Tuesday I didn’t have any voice. I was supposed to lead a HGC gathering that evening and I didn’t want to give that up. I began to pray and shamelessly asked everyone to pray with me. When I got on the plane in Orlando I had an experience I’ve never had before. I sat back in my seat to relax and I couldn’t breathe.  My larynx had become so swollen air wasn’t able to get from my trachea to my lungs. I tried harder but it didn’t make a difference. In fact that sent a wave of panic through my body. I changed my position enough to get air. It felt like I was drinking through a straw. I felt like my body was crawling and I could feel my blood pressure rise. I started sweating and wanted to take off my shirt as if that would help!

I wondered if I should go to the flight attendant and tell her what was happening. We were preparing for takeoff.  At that point I knew that some of this was mental and emotional but I wasn’t sure how much. I got into a position where I could get some air and began to pray. I prayed for healing. I prayed for strength. Then I began to quote Psalm 23 phrase by phrase. Each time I spoke a phrase I would breathe in and hold it for five seconds or so. I wanted to slow down my heart. I prayed the Psalm slowly and deliberately. By the third time through my breathing rhythm was natural. I could breath just enough air not to panic. The Spirit was speaking to me through the Psalm and bringing me comfort. 

I’ve never experienced anything like that. I wondered if I was having an asthma attack. I have a friend who died from one so that had my full attention. I thought, they are probably prepared to handle something like this on the plane but that didn’t help very much. Everything in me wanted to run for fresh air as if that would help. I felt claustrophobic. But here is the point–God was there. I was not alone. My Creator held me in His hand. His words were clearly spoken over me and they brought truth to my racing mind. His Word brought peace to my soul even when my lungs were out of breath.

I remembered again just how powerful, present and loving He is. His Word is our comfort and refuge. This is a good prompting to memorize more scripture. You never know when you will need it. I experienced a miracle of the power of truth over panic and comfort over affliction. Oh, and by the way, my voice improved little by little throughout the day. I had all the voice I needed to lead the meeting. I sounded like a boy going through puberty but a big dose of humility and a reminder of my dependence on Him is never a bad thing. 

To those of you who prayed for me yesterday. Thank you. God may have used your prayer to save my life or even to enable the gathering to go well. Thanks again. Gary