Total Dependence on God

want to thank all of you for your prayers. You unleashed the power of God through prayer. God is able at all times; yet, in his economy, he asks us to come before him with petitions. So I am very grateful for your prayers and lifting up me and my family during my time of surgery.

I want to thank Joe Davis for serving so ably in my absence and the staff for continuing to serve the churches while I was out. It does disturb me a little how well it went without me. It truly was a blessing to see God’s work go forward. 

I was born with a heart defect–a bicuspid aortic valve. The doctors predicted I would have to have it replaced by age 55 and I’ve made it to 63, so the Lord gave me eight extra years. I developed an aneurysm about 15 years ago.  

It became apparent to me, late last fall, that I had diminished stamina. I was still trying to run and work out. In February, after completing a run, I passed out.  

As soon as I could, I saw a cardiologist. His tests revealed the aneurysm was at a danger point. My aortic valve was shutting down as well. On May 4, I had a double surgery.

I was prepared to see Jesus, but the Lord chose to give me more time on earth. I woke up in ICU. It is a helpless feeling, lying in a hospital bed. You can’t do anything for yourself. Lying there in ICU, I became aware of the presence of God in a fresh and new way.  

After three days, I developed a complication. I had arterial fibulation that caused me to feel like I was running a marathon while lying in a bed. Medicine was not controlling it. The doctor decided to use the paddles on me. The shock treatment did not work and my condition worsened. They scheduled the shock procedure again Monday. 

I was told 1 out of 1,000 die from that shock treatment. My odds were only 1 in 500 on the second try, so I wasn’t real excited about having it again. A small circle of prayer warriors prayed for me. 

The next morning, the anesthesiologist had the syringe in his hand, ready to insert it in my IV. The doctor came in and he said, “It’s called off. He’s not going to have to have the shock treatment. He’s been in normal heart rhythm for about an hour.” So that was a direct answer to prayer. 

For the next month, I continued to go in and out of extreme afib. I was very concerned about whether I would ever get back to normal activities. Then the afib went away. At three months after surgery, the Lord is seeing me through my recovery. I’m not 100 percent but I’m getting there. 

“Total dependence on God is one thing. An unusual sense of God’s presence is another. All believers have the Holy Spirit living within us, but there is uniqueness about the presence of God when we are totally and utterly dependent upon him.”

What did I learn during this experience? Total dependence on God is one thing. An unusual sense of God’s presence is another. All believers have the Holy Spirit living within us, but there is uniqueness about the presence of God when we are totally and utterly dependent upon him. 

Our nation, our churches, our families and individuals need to recognize total dependence on him. The Holy Spirit resides in every believer, but there is a special sensing of his presence when we are filled with the Spirit.

Isaiah 44:3 is a verse about God’s promise to us for his presence in our dependence.  He said, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty.” 

Every Scripture verse has a primary interpretation. So when you look into the Bible, not all the Bible is to you, but all the Bible is for you. In that, we understand the primary interpretation is that God was speaking to the people of Israel. He was speaking about his blessings and relationship with them. There is also a prophetic revelation. This passage of Scripture could have an eschatological vision of Jesus’ return as king. 

Every Scripture verse has a practical application. We can receive a word from God in every Scripture verse, “What is God saying to me from that verse at this time?” In the dependence of his presence, I hear God speaking some insights from this verse: “I will pour water on him who is thirsty.” 

“I” is God’s person; it’s wrapped up in Jesus. Jesus said, in John 7:36, “If any man thirst, let him come and drink from me and I will give him living water.” As the Scripture says, from his heart shall flow a river of living water. The Holy Spirit comes inside of us at the moment we receive Jesus. He is the God who can satisfy our thirst at the moment of salvation, at every daily experience and throughout the rest of our lives. It’s just simply whether we’re willing to drink of the well God has provided in the person of Jesus.

He said, “I will.” That’s God’s prerogative. God is sovereign. He is not a cosmic bellboy who can be ordered around like some of these name-it-and-claim-it preachers preach. Psalm 115:3 says our God is in heaven and he does what he pleases. I love that verse because God is not caught off guard. He’s not surprised or strained by our difficulties. It is his prerogative to move in our lives. It is our part to plead and pray so we can get thirsty. 

“I will pour” is God’s power. God has the ability to do a work in our lives. He is present in our lives in a mystical way. Some are afraid of that, but I’m not afraid of the mystical presence of God and his power. In Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” We have the power available to us to live for him, honor him. 

“I will pour water.” That’s God’s provision. The water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures. We have the provision of God in the person of his Holy Spirit. He is the one who has an abundant supply that never runs dry. In Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Now, it’s according to our need, not according to our greed. 

“I will pour water on him who is thirsty.” This is God’s prerequisite; we have to get thirsty. 

I must confess to you that I’m not thirsty every day like I should be. I don’t hunger for him like I did in the hospital when I couldn’t get my heart regulated, when I was thinking, “Will I ever have the quality of life I once had?” Only God can give life. Only God can give us that power of the Spirit. God’s prerequisite is for us to realize we’re a zero with the rims knocked off. We’re nothing without him.

Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. Finally, I want to give a special “thank you” to my wife and family for their loving care. All glory to God!

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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