God Saved Me from Dying… Inside and Out
It has been nearly 6-months now that I have been on oxygen. I’m slowly able to be off during the day. But I still have to keep a close eye on it as it will dip into the 80s regularly. Thankfully it has been remaining around 91 to 93 after all these months. Where I live, at 5000’, 95% is the norm. And when it all started, I was at 65%. That percentage of oxygen is brain damage and organ failure territory. And when I ended up in the ICU, that’s exactly where I was headed. I was on the verge of organ failure.
The deadly aspect of COVID is that you can’t breath. It feels like having a plastic bag over your head with only a pin hole to breath through. And my response to slowly suffocating to death was not faith, it was anxiety and fear. I was truly dying. And I couldn’t see past the nothingness.
You see, over the years, I’ve had a hard time trusting God; it felt like every time I lowered my walls and handed Him the steering wheel, He would veer off the road into a tree! You see, I had come into the church in my mid-twenties from the world, a world that had abused me, only to be abused again by perfectionism in the church.
It took me more than a decade to learn my way out of the hopelessness and properly understand the Gospel; yet, still there are always those nagging doubts that eat away at your sins. It’s one thing to attempt to believe in salvation through grace, it’s completely another world to step out into the pitch black nothingness of death based only upon the promises of mercy from God for sinners.
So, in my desperation I cried out to God at the top of my voice from my secluded ICU bed. “Where are you? I cannot sense you!” I cried out through the coughing spasms, barely breathing through suffocating attack after attack, “Help me, Jesus” (gasping, tears flowing), “Help me, I’m dying!” And He came! Oh, He came! And when I knew that He had not abandoned me in my darkest hour, I was at rest. I no longer cared if I lived or died. Because He was there. That was all that ever mattered.
It was then that the Spirit spoke to me and said, “Shayne, you’re not going to die. But I’m not gonna pull the punch at all. You’re going to drink every last drop of this cup.” With a deep sigh of relief, I said to Him, “Thy will be done, Lord. I’m just happy You’re here… Please stay with me tonight.” And He did.
The following morning, the Lord once again answered my fears directly by pointing me to Psalm 116 (NLT):
“Death wrapped its ropes around me;
the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only anxiety and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“Please, LORD, save me!”
How kind the LORD is! How good He is!
So merciful, this God of ours!
The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and He saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
for the LORD has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.”
Word for Word, the entire chapter applied exactly to what I was going through! God had seen my anxiety and sorrow, He has heard my cry to be saved, and He answered with, “I am good and loving and merciful, let your soul be at rest. I have saved you from death.”
And indeed He had. My primary physician afterwards, seeing my x-rays from the hospital said, “I’ve never seen it this bad in someone that wasn’t dead?!“ God truly saved me in that hospital bed. And the loads of prayers that came from hundreds of people in and out of the church saved me as well.
And so here I sit, six months later, still drinking this cup just like the Spirit said I would. But the difference for me now is I can truly trust God again, deep down in my gut. He had not abandoned me like my own father had. He has never left me through all these years of chaotic up’s and downs.
You see there are essentially two cups in scripture. The one designated for Wrath. And the one designated for Grace. Jesus drank the cup of wrath on my behalf in the garden and on the cross. And I now rest in the peace of the cup of salvation that He has given me to drink, the one filled with His blood.
Article: shayne Mason Vincent
Photo: Ýlona María Rybka on Unsplash