SLEEPLESS IN STERLING
I laid awake in the dark, predawn hours on Sunday, June 11. I was overcome with emotion while hanging on to both of my sleeping Honey’s hands. My mind started down a road that sometimes assaults me in the quiet & I started to silently cry at the thought of my approaching “Take 2” surgery. I momentarily considered waking up Steve but then, thought the better of it since he had to preach later. I whispered through my tears, “I don’t want to do this again, Lord.” All the possible outcomes- short term & long term, ran through my mind. What was going to happen to me, to us, when all was said & done? Quickly following those moments of despair came the words of the prayer I’ve said for years, when I don’t really know what to pray. “I’m Yours, Lord. Save me.” ( This was inspired by the movie LUTHER, but based on Psalm 119:94) This year I’ve changed that prayer to, “I’m Yours, Lord. Thank you for saving me.”
When I pray those words, until the peace of Christ again rules my emotions, I’m not doubting my initial salvation…the moment I prayed to receive Christ. I AM stating aloud to Him, what I know is ALREADY TRUE in my relationship with Him. I’ve realized that as great as the gift of being saved from hell is, the salvation Jesus Christ paid for with His death is much more than that. He gave us His life, through the Spirit’s indwelling, for daily victory. He saved me from me, from being ruled by my flesh. He saved me from the influences of the world. And He saved me from the lying accusations & temptations of the enemy. Choice is a powerful thing. And we have it. We can choose life in Him, or by default, choose death- when we rely on ourselves. The former requires “giving up” so we can have peace & rest. He is strong when we are weak. The latter fights with all the self-effort we’ve got- to the point of exhaustion. We try to be strong but never really feel at peace, at all. When we let go & abandon ourselves to Him, in the particular situation we’re facing, everything falls into place in our soul. It’s by His doing so we can’t take any credit for it.
So the next day, Monday, the morning of my surgery arrived and, once again, I’m awake in the darkness. This time I got up and did some reading & journaling. As ridiculous as it sounds, I was wrestling with the notion I should feel & respond just like the first surgery. I mean, I did this before. Right? I shouldn’t feel any apprehension. Not! First, I confessed to the Lord that I had false expectations on myself that had nothing to do with His plan. Or maybe even His purposes. Each new opportunity is just that….NEW. Just maybe it was ok for me to feel quiet, contemplative and alone. As much as the support of my family means to me, & as thankful as I am for the members of my personal “choir,” the fact remained that I would go into surgery alone physically, but very much spiritually, with Jesus. I experience these tests, humanly alone in my soul, depending solely on Him. When push comes to shove, that’s the way it is with most things in life. Only He knows my intimate heart. So, I remained quiet, but content. When I checked into the surgery center & found out my time had been changed to an hour earlier, I was actually excited & thankful for it. The same nurse did my preliminary preparation, but then I met a whole new group of people involved in my care. When I was wheeled into the operating room, I waved at Dr Clarke sitting at the corner desk. He waved back. J You start to feel a comraderie with the folks God brings in your life to protect & help you. Thank the Lord, my last falling-into-oblivion-thoughts were of my Savior. It’s when my focus is turned inward, & I “what if” myself to emotional death, that I’m a mess inside. That can happen in any given day, in about 5 seconds! We are weak vessels in ourselves. I’m learning it’s ok to be real, & not hide my weakness as expressed through worries, doubts, & fears. Pride hides. Dropping my guard & admitting my need frees Christ to do what He wants, through me. I can’t, but He ALWAYS can.
This morning, before concluding this post, I read through a monthly newsletter by Open Doors, an organization that helps persecuted Christians. I was humbled to read about a couple who were forced from their home and beaten until bloody, because of their faith in Christ. Their baby was thrown in the rocks. As a result of the physical trauma, she also lost her unborn child. My eyes filled with tears. I can’t even imagine that Mama’s sorrow! After all that, they still believed God would take care of them, when they were forced to leave their home with NOTHING. How would I have responded? Sometimes all we really need is a strong dose of a heavenly perspective. A reality check. Worlds a part, completely different trials, opposite daily living experiences… but the same Savior. I prayed for them. And for myself, to be that resolved.