Walk with me for a short while as I recount my recent days in the face of trial and hardship in the hospital. I’m about to let you into a very private and completely raw moment in my ongoing struggle with Congestive Heart Failure. I might be taking a risk here, but I think it will be well worth your while me to do so.
It was a Thursday morning, the day before we were flying to Denver for our daughter’s wedding. We had waited years for this wondrous moment to come, and had spent the past 12 months building toward the day. Our plans were made, our tickets booked, our hotel reserved, our car rented – all things read and in the “go” position.
Bu then my health took a turn for the worse the day before we were to leave.
I went to the doctor to see if he could do anything to help me discharge the excessive fluids in my body, so that I could make the trip without any complications.
He examined me and said, "You're not flying anywhere; we need to get you in the hospital today to start a treatment to turn this around." I was crushed in my spirit, and so overcome with emotion that I covered my face with my hands as I began to cry a deep, sorrowful release of out of my broken heart. I was not going to be able to go to my daughter's wedding.
I encouraged Belinda to go ahead and go, because there would be no point in her staying here, seeing I was going to be in the hospital under 24 hr nurse care. She drove me to the hospital and walked me through the admittance process. Then she left and went to Denver.
I lay in my bed overwhelmed with great disappointment, and imagined how each of our kids would feel, but most especially my daughter. My thoughts turned toward the Lord and I felt something I've not felt in a very long time. In fact, I never felt it as strongly as I did right then.
I was angry with Him. I was offended by God. I felt like I had entrusted Him with the most precious thing I had, and trusted that He would work things out for me to be with my daughter on her wedding day.
But no, He wasn't there for me. It seemed to me as though He had slept through the whole thing like He didn't even care.
Shall I continue?
This ate at me on the inside because I knew deep down this was a defining moment for me. I felt as though I would never be able to trust the Lord ever again with anything that truly mattered. Oh, sure, headaches and sprained ankles are within reach of His power -- but you've got to take aspirin, and stay off your ankle for two weeks. So take Him the little things, for He can handle that – if He wants to, when He gets around to it.
Shall I continue?
I got honest with Him, seeing He already knows everything I'm thinking. "Lord, I got to tell You; I think this is going to be something between us.....and I have no way around it. I cannot see or understand why You would let this happen. And, frankly, I don't even know how to move forward with You seeing that this makes me doubt You so strongly. How can I truly depend on You to care for me when You made no effort whatsoever to help me make this one trip....this once in a lifetime moment -- my daughter's wedding. I just don’t get it.”
So there you have it. That's where I was emotionally and spiritually by Friday evening. Down and out, I was feeling hopeless and despairing of ever seeing anything good again; feeling that my relationship with Jesus was effectively over. It's not a good place to be.
The next morning, Saturday, the day of the wedding, I was still brooding in my funk. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon as I let my thoughts drift to what might be going on at the wedding; the Lord suddenly spoke to me.
He was not angry or put out by my honesty, and spoke as though there was nothing between us.
"James, what if you were in Denver right now?" He asked. "And what if medical complications had escalated because of the flight and the altitude, and they were now rushing you to the hospital in Denver. Of course, Belinda would be in the ambulance with you. And as the ambulance pulls away and its sirens fade in the distance -- what do you imagine that would do to your daughter's wedding?
"It would have totally crashed it," I said.
"That's why I kept you here," He said. This isn't about you, it's about your daughter? I wanted to make sure she had the best day possible."
Then He said, “And your welcome.”
I started laughing and crying out loud, "O Lord I am such an idiot!" I said. "Please forgive me!"
And, as It turns out, one of the guys at the wedding had set up a live stream video and I was able to watch the wedding as if I were there! The Lord is good!
Did my daughter miss me? Sure. But the Lord was there for her, and for my other kids as well. Did the Lord care about it? Far more than I could have ever imagined!
"Lord, you're not just good," I said. "You're 'Tony the Tiger' GREAT!!"
After all this I took a walk around the hallway. Turning the corner I came upon a sigh somebody had put on the wall. It said "You Have My Heart." That stopped me in my tracks. I felt the Lord was saying, "I have your heart in my hands.....and you have Mine."
A peace came over me and I knew everything would be alright.
· Nahum 1:7 -- The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.
· Psalm 100:5 -- For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
· Psalm 34:8 -- Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
· Psalm 145:9 -- The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.
By the kindness and goodness of the Lord, I was saved from a pit of despair, from a root of bitterness, and from the snare of unbelief. I write this in hope that the same can happen for you....whatever your circumstances may be.
For the Lord is good.