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Weekly Devotion

December 27 2020

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

James 5: 14-15

“14  Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray
over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15  The prayer of faith will save the
sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
(NRSV/ Bible Gateway) (emphasis mine)

When I was asked to do the devotion for the last week of the year my first thought was, “really,
you’re kidding me?” The thought had nothing to do with pandemics or elections or any of the
historical events of 2020. It had to do with how I ended last year and began this year. I had heart
bypass/valve replacement surgery on December 31, 2019. The surgery went well, the recovery
not so much. When they removed the ventilator in recovery, they discovered that one of my
lungs had collapsed. I ended up in Cardiac ICU for 16 days and on a ventilator for 10 of those
days. Not the ideal way to start a year! So, it seems that this ‘devotion’ has somewhat of a dual
purpose, God’s good like that, you know?

In spite of all the historic events of 2020, I have spent much of this year reflecting on the events
surrounding my surgery and trying to make sense of it all. So, here’s what I have come up with,
so far.

One of my favorite movies is the classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I imagine you have seen it.
There is a scene that pictures the cosmos, two “stars” are talking about all the prayers being
prayed for the main character, George Bailey. George has gotten into some financial trouble and
in his desperation is contemplating jumping off a bridge. But so many people are praying for
George that Joseph, (head angel?) intervenes and sends a rookie angel, Clarence, to help George.
I am thankful that I can say I have something in common with George Bailey, during my surgery
and recovery there were a remarkable number of people praying for me and my family. I am
certain that many of you reading this are in that number! God heard your prayers! Your prayers
supported my family through a very difficult time as they waited at my bedside. And your
prayers strengthened me and guided my doctors and nurses. Your prayers were priceless gifts to
me and my family. I praise our Lord and Savior for each of you and your prayers.

“Father in heaven, thank you for your people that pray for one another. And that our
prayers have power in your Most Holy Name. In the sweet Name of Jesus.” Amen