Things are busy this week as we find the new normal for our daughter after her surgery. Everything has gone better than expected and she is recovering nicely but has a way to go before she is up on her feet and feeling at her best. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I truly appreciate it.
As God often does, he has provided needed words at exactly the needed time. I came across this meditation as I was listening to The Things Above Podcast hosted by James Bryan Smith. It is by Luis Espinal. May it encourage you as it has encouraged me:
Meditation by Luis Espinal
There are Christians
Who have hysterical reactions
As if the world had slipped out of God’s hands.
They are violent
As if they were risking everything.
But we believe in history.
The world is not a roll of the dice
On its way toward chaos.
A new world has begun to happen
Since Christ has risen?
We rejoice in your definitive triumph
With our bodies still in the breach,
Our souls in tension;
We cry our first “Hurrah!”
Till eternity unfolds itself.
Your sorrow now has passed.
Your enemies have failed.
You are the definitive smile for humankind.
What matter the wait now for us?
We accept the struggle and the death,
Because you, our love, will not die!
We march behind you on the road to the future.
You are with us. You are our immortality?
Take away the sadness from our faces;
We are not in a game of chance?
You have the last word!
Beyond the crushing of our bones,
Now has begun the eternal “Alleluia!”
From the thousands of openings
In our wounded bodies and souls,
There now arises a triumphal song!
So teach us to give voice
To your new life throughout the world,
Because you dry the tears of the oppressed forever?
And death will disappear.
With the help of my wife, Leah, we have told a little of our daughter Joy’s story involving birth defects, multiple surgeries, and God’s means of working and encouraging us during heavy times.
On Tuesday, Joy will be having another surgery. This one will be on her jaw and requires a bone graft from her hip. Recovery shouldn’t be much fun as she must be on a strict liquid diet and have very little activity.
One aspect of my spiritual growth is an awareness of when I need help. When sticking to the status quo just won’t cut it and I need to be intentional and be willing to prepare, from a spiritual standpoint, for a difficult event. Here are some ways that I plan on preparing myself spiritually and emotionally for next week:
- Fasting – I have talked about fasting in this space before. The biblical use of fasting was largely to mark solemn occasions or times of repentance and returning to the Lord. Joy’s surgery, though routine for the doctor’s performing it, still will have deep impact on my daughter’s daily life for the next month and our family’s as well. This occasion requires me, as her father, to be at my best, and to be constantly in a state of prayer. In my recent practice of fasting, I have found deep moments with God and opportunities for spiritual reflection that has been life giving and a needed reset in my spiritual life. I don’t want to go into this time running on spiritual fumes, so I need something drastic to set the spiritual tone.
- Asking for prayer – Even though I have a blog and share some of my business, I am normally a pretty guarded person. I don’t like to talk about my own problems for fear that people would think I am fishing for sympathy or think my situation is more serious than someone else. But, in several of my church and work settings, I have specifically asked for prayer for Joy and that the surgery will go smoothly and that recovery will be light and free of pain. I have seen the power of intercessory prayer, and need that power in my family’s life this week.
- Surrender – I remember when Joy was just a few month’s old and had her first surgery on her lip. The dust had settled on the surgery and time in the recovery room. I made my way to the small chapel in the hospital where she was staying. I can’t remember too many times that I felt more reliant on God and aware of my lack of ability to control much of anything. I had come to a place of surrender of my child over to God. This is a terrifying yet comforting place to be as a parent. So, I find myself back in that spot again. I have to be willing to let things be for Joy and our family during Christmas. I have to daily pray for God’s will to be done for the surgery and for the aftermath. I have no control over how she will respond and what will cause her the most discomfort and irritation. I have to simply trust that God knows our deepest needs and will provide for those in a way that is best for all of us.
2017 was a very difficult year for me and the beginning of 2018 may have been even worse. So many Sundays, I would arrive at our church’s worship beat down and jagged and angry. But in the practice of worship and in the participation with the transcendent, I would be reminded of God’s glorious riches and his love for me. I would transport past the immediacy of my pain to sweet comfort of a Savior who hurts with me and knows my sorrow and grief.
If you are not practicing worship then you are susceptible to “what have you done for me lately thinking.” Scripture talks about God’s glorious riches and out of those glorious riches come God’s strength. But if I am not spending time in awe and not willing to worship the God of these riches then I am just left with the immediacy of God’s action and there may not be much there to think about and be in awe of.
God is not only as good as his last action, he is vastly more great, more powerful, more loving, more dynamic, more glorious, and more beautiful than we can ever imagine in our current state of humanness. But in our fickleness and emotionally driven impulsiveness we will miss all of who God is unless we take time for worship.
I pray that you are taking time to worship and sit in awe of God and that you are constantly reminded of his good and beautiful nature. That knowledge was refreshing and healing for me, it can be for you as well.