Tag Archives: Illness

Whispers of Love

I love foggy mornings.  The world is enveloped in such softness, like a gentle presence has descended and embraced her.  The fog reminds me of my life, of the reality that the Glory of God in Jesus Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, has come to me – that He is in me and I am in Him.  I live wrapped up in His Love, the way the morning fog hugs the earth.

One of the many blessings of this intimate relationship is our tender, confidential conversation. When difficulties come, He gives me visions and words that are tailor made for me and my circumstances – personal messages just for me from Him.

Recently I had some symptoms that were highly suspicious for cancer.  I went to see my doctor and had several diagnostic tests.  In the midst of that stress, my Lord whispered and revealed truth.  I leaned in to listen and be comforted, and I responded.

He breathed, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price…”  (Romans 6:19-20)

I sighed, “That is true.  My body is yours. Whatever the outcome, Lord, I trust you.”

He opened up Revelation Chapter One, and I saw Him – the One with a face as brilliant as the sun and hair as white as snow – the One with a sharp double edged sword coming out of His mouth and feet like bronze glowing in a furnace – the One whose voice is like the sound of rushing waters – the One whose eyes are like blazing fire.

I said, “Even though you are beautiful to me, Jesus, you are fierce and frightening. I am grateful that I am hidden behind you and that my enemies have to deal with you!”

My enemy symptoms disappeared and all my tests came back normal.  I said thank you to the Lover of my soul, and I praised His Holy Name.

The One, who shed His blood for me, shed it for you as well.  He wants to share an intimate relationship with you.  You are One of A Kind, and no one knows that better than your Creator and Redeemer.  No one loves you like He does.  No one will ever have the conversation with Him that He wants to have with you alone.  Come.  He calls you.

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Prayer Metaphor

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Coverings come in different sizes and forms.  They are a provision.   They warm, although sometimes they cool.  They often protect and shelter.   I am grateful for a roof that doesn’t leak; a secure covering over my home.  Last summer I was thankful for the umbrella that shielded me from the hot sun when I sat at the patio table.   This winter, on these sub zero days, I am grateful for throws and blankets to snuggle under.   They keep me warm.

In Exodus 40: 34-38, we learn that a cloud covered the tabernacle and the Glory of the Lord filled that portable, moving place of worship.  The children of Israel did not break camp and travel unless the cloud over the tabernacle lifted.   The fire was in the cloud at night.   The cloud was God’s presence and provision.  His presence, His covering provided protection, light, warmth, guidance.   The cloud was His covering of love.

Our spiritual daughter, Linda, made a covering – a soft, warm throw.   She stitched it with love, packed it with love, and mailed it to us with love.  The throw arrived with a letter telling us to remember we are covered with her prayers and the prayers of others who love us during this winter that is devoted to fighting my husband’s lymphoma.

Our friend Jen fasted and prayed for Howard’s cancer to be less serious as he waited for his biopsy.   The fear of kidney cancer gave way to a diagnosis of lymphoma and words of hope regarding the efficacy of it’s treatment.  Our friend Nancy has prayed during every treatment that the chemotherapy would be filtered through the blood of Jesus and anointed to kill the cancer cells, while not harming the healthy cells.   There are prayers being spoken for us that we will never hear about.  There are blessings we will experience without ever realizing they are answers to prayers on our behalf.

When I snuggle under Linda’s throw, I feel warmed by the love of God’s people expressed through the covering of prayer.   I am thankful for this metaphor that reminds me of the real covering that exists over my husband and over me by the power of prayer.

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Paul’s Accounting Method

 

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“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Jesus Christ – the righteousness that comes from God  and is by faith.”  Philippians 3: 7 – 9

I’ve been meditating on these verse for quite some time now, pondering their significance.  I want to fathom the meaning in a way that will allow me to apply it where the rubber meets the road in my life, in the nitty gritty of the here and now.

It seems that the Apostle Paul had a ledger with a plus side and a minus side.  One side stood for all that was worthwhile.   The other side stood for all that truly didn’t matter compared to what was actually important.   Amazingly, as he sorted through his life, the plus side of his ledger had one item: knowing Jesus Christ.  Everything else, in comparison,ended up on the minus side.

When and how will I come to a place in my life when there is only one thing listed on my gains ledger? When will I realize that everything I ever gained, compared to Jesus was rubbish?

Life has forced losses on me and on my husband.   We certainly wouldn’t have chosen them.   I was not chosen as assistant head nurse when that position seemed so important to me.   My husband never received another position as pastor after he left a church without a call to serve another one.   He was a pastor, and not having his own church to serve was like being disconnected from himself.  It was excruciating.   Yet, according to Paul’s accounting method, these hoped for gains in our lives would really have been rubbish compared to knowing Jesus.

Everything – every loss and every gain – serves the one goal, the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ.   For every experience – every heartache and every suffering, as well as every joy and happy gift – is just another opportunity to know Jesus better.

The disciples pulled their boats up on the shore and left everything behind to follow Jesus, to know him, to be with him.   They considered all they had gained in life as rubbish compared to the great gain of being students of the Master.

Lord, please let my husband, who I lovingly call “the Count”, keep counting lymphoma as a valuable gift, as an opportunity to get to know Jesus better.  Let me keep counting this fight with cancer as a gain, if it helps us be better students of our Teacher, Our Master.  Let us pull our boats up on the shore and follow you, in sickness, as well as  in health.  Let us, as Paul said in Philippians 1:10, share your suffering and become like you in your death.  Let us keep saying no to our own will and yes to yours.   Amen.

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The Beauty of Dark Days

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On cloudy days the autumn colors are more vibrant, more intense.  Like the cloudy days, the back drop of a journey with cancer makes the Scriptures richer, deeper, and even more meaningful for my husband Howard.  As he copes with the weakness and fatigue of chemotherapy, he has a whole new appreciation for Philippines 4: 13 and 19.   ” I can do everything through him who gives me strength…And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

I feel sad that my husband has to suffer.   As his caregiver, I feel anxious.   The back drop of these emotions makes the promises of my Lord more dear and more beautiful.   I share my sadness with The Father, knowing he said,  “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13)   I take courage as I remember his words, “Don not be afraid, for I am with you…” (Isaiah43:5)

Father, Thank You for the cloudy days, the dark seasons in life.  Thank you for the way they highlight the colors, the spectrum of your beauty and the beauty of your marvelous words to us.

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