Stay the Course, Keep Your Eyes on the Cross

I have been reading through old CaringBridge posts to review what was happening during my early days and weeks of hospitalization. As I have done this I have been reminded of the key individuals who came into our life at just the right time.

One of those was my Physical Therapist at McKee Hospital Gary Harkness. Gary is not only an experienced and knowledgeable professional he is also a fellow believer. After I left McKee Hospital Gary continued to follow my progress, pay me visits and we have benefited from his support, friendship and prayer over the months. (Picture above Gary when I was at McKee, August 2013)

Gary and son Grant visit me at home

Gary and son Grant visit me at home

As I was battling with West Nile Virus and meningitis and encephalitis it was discovered that I was also experiencing a Myasthenia Gravis crisis. This required a specialized dialysis type of procedure that removed my old antibodies and replaced them with new. While the diagnosis was an important discovery, it was very discouraging at the same time. The procedure would take place over five days and would take several hours each day. This took place just as we were anticipating a transfer to Northern Colorado Acute Care Hospital.

It was during this time that Gary was visiting with Debbie and uttered words of encouragement that became our slogan for the coming months, “stay the course, keep your eyes on the cross.” As we faced disappointments and setbacks in the coming weeks and months, Debbie would say, “stay the course, keep your eyes on the cross.” I am thankful that one of the ways the Lord shows His love for us is in sending the right people at right time with the right message.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”  Proverbs 23:17,18

One of the legislative awards I received was called, “Common Sense in the Court Room.” It was given to several Representatives and Senators who supported tort reform in Colorado. I recall one event where there were little cards on the table that contained the wording of “warning labels” on products that were the result of past litigation. You have probably seen those in the past. The warnings that “coffee is hot” “don’t use the hairdryer in the bathtub” and the like. The sad reality is that those warnings are there because people don’t always use common sense and actually do some of those things that warning labels list.

In like fashion we read in the Bible warnings and admonitions because they represent real risks.  Many of the prohibitions in the Book of Leviticus for example are there because they were to keep God’s people from common practices of the pagan people whose land their were going to occupy.

When Solomon says, “don’t let your heart envy sinners” it is there because there are those times when we are tempted to “envy sinners.” The Psalmist in Psalm 73:3 says, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” If we are not tempted to envy sinners there are those times when situations arise that allow our eyes to be taken off the Lord.

Difficulties and trials can turn hope into hopelessness and trust into despair. It is in those times that we need to continue to walk in the fear of the Lord, to continue to believe, even when faith is not yet sight and the road ahead is clouded with darkness. We do need to fix our eyes on the future and not be locked in the present.

When I was awaiting my surgery that I knew would be needed the early part of August that didn’t take place until the end of September, the delays and setbacks were frustrating and discouraging. But now that it is over and now that I am where I am in my rehab process much of what was testing our faith and perseverance seems like a faint memory.

I have found what Solomon said so many years ago is true, “there is a future and your hope will not be cut off.”  Paul the apostle said, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”                             (2 Corinthians 4:17)  So often my family was encouraged by the words of the song “God is With Us.” God is with us always; nothing can separate us from His Love and when He is with us nothing can defeat us!