When What I Fear Happens

Today I have had more energy and strength then in the past two days. The last two evenings Debbie has helped me with my walking with my walker. I have been able to make it the length of our property line which is almost a block, more than that for my round trip after a rest break. I have had to delay my outpatient appointments until after my antibiotic doses are completed. I will have two outpatient therapy appointments in early September before we take a trip to Orlando.

I was pleased that I was able to get out and get the lawn mowed between the morning and afternoon rains. The grass was long enough I will need to rake up the trimmings in some spots.

This afternoon I stopped by Timberline Church to catch Pastor Jay Pathak from Mile High Vineyard. My son Christian is on staff at this church and Jay was in town sharing “The Art of Neighboring.” This was a seminar for community leaders based on his book by the same title.

I received an email from some people in Texas with a friend in his mid-70’s with West Nile Virus. He is hospitalized receiving some of the same life support and experiencing some of the same symptoms as I did. Please pray from Lloyd that he recovers and is strengthened in his mind and body.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY….  For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.”  Job 3:25

This statements is from Job’s first “discourse” after not just losing children, servants and live stock but also his health. It is Job’s physical suffering that makes his wife say, “why don’t you curse God and die.”

This verse contains an idiom that we still hear today. “What I feared has come upon me.” I am not sure if modern psychology would attribute this to some “self-fulfilling prophecy” or just a bazaar occurrence. It is true that 99% of the things we worry about don’t happen. That is why worry is unproductive. But there are those scenarios that all of us have in our mind that we would not want to face.

For me an extended hospital stay with tubes running out of all my body cavities was one of those. As a pastor I had seen people in all types of serious conditions in ICU units and hospital rooms. That exposure was probably the reason for my “I-don’t-every-want-to-be-in-that-situation”  list.

When I received the email this morning about the man with West Nile his situation was similar to mine. With the exception of his diabetes (not sure how serious) he played golf, was an active member of his church and in good physical condition. I am sure the for a man in his mid-70’s he would have expected some other health crisis other than one from being bit by a mosquito. I am use to men like this outplaying me on my senior softball team.

When we face the unexpected our faith is put to the test. Faith is only revealed in the midst of the test or the fight. Peter talks about the trying of our faith. (1 Peter 1:7) Paul writes about the “shield of faith” that distinguishes the enemies (Satan’s) arrows. (Ephesians 6)

When we face the unexpected we find strength to meet the need . Paul in pleading with Jesus about his “thorn in the flesh” received the message of reassurance from the Lord, “my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul goes on and makes a statement of contrast, “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9,10) I like the adage that says, “God doesn’t give dying grace on non-dying days.”  

When we face the unexpected it reveals our character. Job’s wife asked him, “will you still hold on to your integrity?” The reality is when all is is stripped away, that is all that you have. A recent issue of Readers Digest contained an article by retired Navy Seal Mark Divine entitled, “Learning to Take a Stand.” Divine, speaking from a career in the military to business, says, “I’ve noticed that leadership is not skill. It’s character. Successful, happy, and fulfilled people embody core values such as honor, courage and commitment to personal excellence…”  This applies to whether you are leading a troop, company, family or yourself. Just as hot water brings out the flavor and color of the tea, so the “hot water” circumstances of life bring out what is inside of us.

I am thankful that the Lord is faithful to give strength in the midst of the tests of life that build and reveal our character. Just as the Lord’s love and faithfulness endures forever, so our faith must endure in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.