I’ve never had a guest blogger before!  I thought you’d enjoy hearing something from my Dad – his perspective on the last 5 weeks following his stroke.  He wrote this for his ministry* newsletter, but I thought I’d borrow it for this blog.  Lessons learned in the waiting…

On Tuesday, the early afternoon sun streamed into Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ where I was concluding three weeks of intensive therapy to recover from the stroke. I wheeled myself toward what I thought was the sun-drenched courtyard only to find the November sun had just left my intended spot.

In its place, the most beautiful music was coming from a piano strategically placed in a pleasant eating area. A fellow patient was playing old secular tunes, and I parked my wheelchair nearby to listen. Some mystical connection was made as I moved my hand in a gesture of approval. A subtle bond was established, and the man, who I later learned was a believer also named David, modulated into a hymn. “Amazing Grace” drifted through the rotunda.

It had been 32 days since I left our home in Towaco for a simple overnight at my son and daughter-in-law’s in Reading, PA and nearly that long without a mouthful of food or a sip of water. I had spent lonely nights listening to the moans of distressed and troubled roommates. I’d had feeding tubes in my nose and one inserted into my stomach. I had suffered complications in surgery and received blood transfusions. I’d had atrial fibrillation in the middle of the night and been saved by heroic medical efforts. A test showed that there would be a future hospital stay for bypass surgery.

But for those few magical moments, most all of the stress was eclipsed by “Amazing Grace.” As David moved into a second verse, I began quietly mouthing my praise. “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” Thanks, friend. I needed that!

David then swung into “The Old Rugged Cross” and rounded out the hymn trilogy with “It Is Well.” The last chasm between human troubles and divine grace had been bridged. The old hymns had spoken the message of the blood, God’s grace and perpetual comfort. Thanks, Lord. I needed that!

And don’t we all, whether we are in sunlight or shadows.

Praise God for putting in hearts a new song that is really the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
Yours, still serving,

Dave Virkler

*my Dad is the Founder and Director of Dedication Evangelism, Inc. and hosts a weekly radio program called “The Word and The World”.  They are celebrating 50 years of ministry this year!  So proud of him – and so grateful that God’s plan for him here is not finished yet!