The Patience of Job, or Hortencia?

Son,  I’ve been working on my latest advice to you about Patience.  It is an area that I have always struggled with.   I was just about finished when I started looking for the word patience in the Bible.   Before the search results came up, I remembered the saying:  “the patience of Job”.  I remember as a kid hearing about how God had tested him, so I started reading the book of Job.   The devil thought the only reason Job was so faithful and upright was because God gave him everything he could ever need and more.   God protected Job and gave him a great life.     God agreed to the test, he wanted to show the devil how the blessings God gave Job wouldn’t make any difference in his faith.  The devil told God “if you take away his possessions, I guarantee you he will curse your name”.  God allowed the devil to do his will, but he was to bring  no harm to Job.

The devil took away everything Job owned.   He killed most of his servants.   He caused the house to cave in on Job’s 10 children, killing them instantly.   The devil  made it appear as if this was all God’s doing.  When Job heard about the devastation that had just occurred, he knelt down on the grown praising God.  He said “what the Lord giveth, the  Lord can surely take away”.  Praise be to God”.  The devil saw this and was frustrated.  He returned to God and said surely if you threaten his life, make him feel like his life was ending, he will curse you to your face.   God agreed to let the devil attempt his plan, but he instructed him not to kill Job.   The devil then gave Job  sores from head to toe.  They must have hurt badly, because  Job was in so much pain he could barely speak.  He was wishing he was never born, and he wanted to die.  Job’s wife even told him to curse God and die to be over it already.  Job replied:  “You are talking like a foolish woman”.  Why should we accept good from God,  and not trouble”?  Through all of this,  Job did not sin by cursing God’s name.  He stood strong in his faith.  God doubled his possessions and gave him 10 more children to continue his lineage.  He lived a life much better than before the devil enacted his evil plan.

After reading the story this morning, I headed in to work.  It was the end of the day when Hortencia walked in.   We talked about her insurance needs, she didn’t have any coverage right now.  She said her children pleaded with her to get insurance, but she couldn’t afford it.  She put her trust in God that he would take care of her.   She started to tell me a story about why her kids where so concerned.   She was a cancer survivor, but how she found out about it was simply amazing.   She awoke one morning and all she could think of was that she needed a colonoscopy.  She felt good, but something or someone put this medical procedure in her head.  She couldn’t shake it.   Within hours she went to get the colonoscopy completed.  Within days she found out she had cancer.  She was lucky, the cancer had not sunk in to any of the tissue, and with chemotherapy she had a great chance to recover.  Praise be to God!

When Hortencia was stricken with cancer, there was a time at the end that she wished she was dead.  The pain was unbearable.  As she entered the Doctors office for her chemo treatment, thoughts of doubts and pain were running through her body.  She almost gave up hope.   As she left the waiting room, she saw four young children outside.  They looked at her with smiles on their faces.   She saw the sign.   Those beautiful children reminded her of how important she was to her grandchildren. Her strength was renewed.   Praise God!

Hortencia then started telling me about her grandkids.  They were supposed to be triplets, but because of complications only twins were born.  It required a complicated surgery to bring these dear grandchildren of hers into this world.   Two days after the surgery their dad, Hortencia’s son, was killed in a car accident.  She remained positive, telling her other kids that they will now see the power of God and will learn about true faith in his plan.   She was grateful  that her son hit that pole instead of missing it and possibly ending up in a spot that no one would have noticed for quite some time.  His body may have never been found had he not knocked out the power which alerted rescue workers.   She felt comfort in his death, knowing that her son would live on through his children.   He was also an organ donor, so as she stated it :  “He helped people, and his veins are helping push the blood through someone else on this earth”.  She knew he was still with her.

That night while she started to ponder her son’s funeral and how she would pay for it, she had a dream.  She was assured that she would have the money in 7 days, enough money to pay for the funeral.  She was told she should go the funeral home and tell the funeral director she had a message for them.  The message was: “Our heavenly father told me if you have faith in him,  you will know I will get the costs of the funeral in 7 days.  The funeral director was a person of faith.   Hortencia was told  she could write a check and post-date it for a week from now.  The funeral went on as planned without any money yet paid to the funeral home.

Not knowing how she would get the money, but having faith it would happen, she prayed.   When she awoke the next morning she realized she forgot about the cost of the burial site.  She found the least expensive site because as she told me: “it was just a resting place for his physical body, his soul was already in heaven”.  She told me her son had dedicated his life to Jesus just 2 months earlier.  She went to pay for the burial plot and was told it had already been paid for……twice.  The money she had for that $300 plot was given back to her along with a check for the overpayment from the two donations.  Praise God!

On the way home,  Hortencia opened a memorial fund account at the bank.   She still had no idea how she would get the $8,000 needed for the funeral services, but she remained strong in her faith.   When day 7 hit, she went back to the bank.   She soon discovered that the memorial account had over $7,000 in there!  When she got home from the bank, there was a large manila envelope in her mailbox.  It had no return address, it had no postmark.  She opened it up and it was the exact amount she needed to finish paying the funeral services.  The check was a generic check, no name or address on it.  She could  pay the funeral home in full.   Praise be to God!

Hortencia now takes care of her grandchildren left behind from her son’s death.    One of her grandchildren has had many physical issues of her own.  She has had 24 surgeries.   Each time that strong little girl wakes up from surgery, the first thing she says is “Nana, I did it!”  “She is so enthusiastic” Hortencia said.   Praise God!

It wasn’t long after all of this that  Hortencia’s youngest son was at a party and was stabbed 7 times in the face.  He was on life support at the hospital when Hortencia arrived.  She told me she prayed harder and louder than she ever had before.   “Lord, please don’t take my baby boy!”   “Please let him come back to me!”   Her youngest son was on life support, but miraculously woke up and was writing on a pad of paper. (he couldn’t talk with all the tubes in him)   He kept writing “brother,  brother , brother” all over that pad of paper.    He was getting very excited and worked up.  The nurses were concerned he may have another heart attack like the one he suffered after the stabbing.   She rushed back into the room to try and comfort her son.  She saw what he was writing and tried to speak to him.  “Son, you know I am your momma, right”?  He nodded.   “You know your brother was killed in a car accident last year don’t you”?  He nodded again. “Now relax child, we don’t want you to have a heart attack”.  “If you calm down, the nurses said they will remove all these things from you”.  Once the tubes were removed her son told her he must have died because he saw his brother.  “He looked great mom , but he told me I better get back, so here I am”.  Praise God!

What an amazing woman, what an amazing God!  I had never cried when talking to a client at work before this.  We had to grab the box of Kleenex today.  As we cried together, I listened and saw how incredibly gracious she was for everything the Lord has done in her life.    It gave me the chills, and I had goose bumps all over my body .  There was a reason she came in today.   There was a reason I was there to meet her and hear about her tragedies.   She was so upbeat!  Hortencia was so gracious for her mother who planted the seed about Jesus and what he can do in our lives.   This is why I write these lessons for you.  This is why I make you go to church with me.  The most important thing I can do for you is tell you about Jesus.

As Hortencia was getting ready to leave, I asked her if I could get a hug.  She said “you get two!”   She told me how she stomps her feet on the ground every morning when she wakes up.  She said it keeps the devil underneath her feet.  She has taught this to her grandkids, and they have even shared it with their friends.  She is an amazing woman with so much hope and joy in her eyes.  She lost her family, she lost her money, and she was stricken with a horrible disease.   She is more like Job than anyone I will probably ever meet in my life.  What an amazing sign from God, that the day I read the book of Job and his story, she enters my life!  Absolutely incredible day!  Praise God!

I love you son!

Dad

Romans 12:12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

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