As I heard the P.A. announcement in the hospital, it said “code blue room 244.” I knew that code blue meant the patient had some kind of cardiac emergency or stroke or seizure, or another type of emergency requiring immediate attention to keep the patient alive. I was recovering from a brain surgery operation done on May 23, 2023, to remove a malignant tumor. Previous to getting the operation I had gone through several seizures out of nowhere. After the MRI and CT scan it was determined that I needed the operation. I quickly found out that just because the operation was successful and I was symptom free, it did not necessarily mean that all would be well. I had asked my nurses what code blue meant and found out that it was very serious.
The point is that this code blue could have been for me but it wasn’t. My brain tumor could have killed me but it didn’t. How many times have we seen a horrible wreck on the side of the road and realized “but for the grace of God, go I”? There were a lot of things that could have gone wrong after my seizures, but they didn’t. A lot of things could have gone wrong then and subsequently but they haven’t. A lot of people have been praying for me and my family and I have been the beneficiaries of much generosity from our church and cowboy families. As has happened for much of my life the disaster that could have happened did not. This is the central message for today. I have lived it many times. It is a faith builder for me and hopefully a faith builder for you as well.
I don’t think that anyone backs into the box thinking that they are going to miss or their horse is going to fall down in the corner. We all hope for the best outcome. The same should be the attitude for our whole lives in every area. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Note also that Jeremiah 29:13 says “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” In my opinion this is deliberate. God wants us to know Him and wants relationship with us. If you feel distant from God, it is not Him that has moved from you. It is probably the inverse of that. Believe me, in the two minutes before I was wheeled away to be operated on, I was seeking Him as intensely as I ever had and it was no small comfort. I felt Him with me. As I write this I am preparing a message to deliver to my church on July 2. The message is on Psalm 23, verse 4:
“Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the
shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.”
I had a good friend who just died a few months ago. Pete Lambert was a B-17 pilot in WWII. He lost three aircraft to damage before his tour was over. When he would talk about his combat experience with me he would always tear up when he gave credit to God for bringing him through. Pete was over 100 when he died. He walked through that valley of death many times. The operative word here is “through” the valley. He made it.
I awoke from surgery five hours later; I made it as well. My words didn’t come out backwards and I can still throw a rope. As Jim Cyphers, a good friend of mine, told me about two years ago, “Bob, you are immortal until God’s purpose is done in your life.”
I encourage you to remember stories like these when threatened with disaster. What God has done for me He will do for you as well. Psalm 23, verse 5 says:
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup runs over.”
So who was my enemy here? It certainly was not the surgeon and nurses who all treated me as though I was one of their relatives. It was the devil himself. God’s will prevailed over the enemy’s will. And it always will. I had the best care and my kids and wife were texted by the surgical staff all during the operation to keep them apprised and updated on the operation. I am fine today. In a few weeks I will probably start riding and roping again. As it is now, I experienced love, support and encouragement from my family, my church family and roping family as I have never had before in my life. As I said, what He did for me He will do for you. IF you know Christ, Live and rope with confidence that He is for you and there is a reason that you are reading this today. IF Christ is for us who can be against us? No power at all can oppose God’s sovereign will in our lives.
Rope great, have fun, enjoy God’s presence.
Bob Ow lives in Ferndale, California on the northern coast. He and his wife Jo Anna, own a small 5 acre ranch and two really good rope horses. Bob is an independent financial advisor (which pays for his roping expenses), and an elder at a Ferndale Community Church.