The life of faith is a life of continual choices. No matter what God brings you through, when the next thing comes along, you have to choose faith again. His mercies are new every morning, and with each new road (or obstacle course) He is charting, He admonishes us not to attempt to get by on yesterday’ manna for nourishment.
So, on 12/12/12 God set our feet on a new road. This cartoon comes to mind:
I laughed until I cried when I saw this cartoon several months ago because I figure there were more times God dragged me, than He carried me, by virtue of my, shall we say, hesitancy to go along with the whole “Father Knows Best” thing.
I feel pretty safe in saying that neither Garrett nor I would have chosen this road for our family voluntarily, even despite the absolute peace we have had, there is still a vast and yawning “unknown” gaping ahead of us. But we have decided that we are just going to trust Him. It’s just so darn much easier than trying to force ourselves calm, (impossible), or “visualize the desired outcome”. We’ve submitted our request, of course, for Garrett to be cancer-free at the end of his 6 months of chemo, for his hemoglobin to build back up to normal range. It takes so much energy to worry all the time. Neither one of us has it in us anymore.
We marveled at how God sent the right docs and nurses with all we needed from them. We marveled and thanked God that He moved the first doctor in the line-up of many who would see him, to do lab-work and discover his extremely low hemoglobin.
When we were driving home from the hospital on 12-21-12, rather than feeling like our world was crashing down, we were marveling at the hope we felt. Garrett was doing a fair impression of Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. “Hullo, old bridge, Hullo you wonderful old broken-down house”. It made me chuckle. That’s my favorite movie of all time. But Garrett felt even more like George Bailey after he got home, and has had calls and visits, someone bringing a meal here, someone else slipping in monetary help for getting by while he is out of work, and we are just humbled by the outpouring of prayers and love and generosity even coming from a dear brother and sister who know us only through this blog. (You know who you are, and we thank you from humbled hearts). We are so grateful for God’s grace and goodness and for the love of the body of Christ and family near and far.
Whenever you find yourself in a situation where clearly things are simply out of your hands, there is a certain relief that comes with that. I know that if it were left to me and my natural inclinations of the flesh, I could get terribly torn up over this. We could both panic or get depressed. It has been a crazy year, and certainly things beyond the walls of the Lloyd household, out there in the world, are getting more insane all the time, as we well know.
But God remains firmly in control, on His throne, and this is part of His plan. It is just “the next thing”. We anticipate the privilege of seeing what God is going to do in these circumstances, how He will use it to mold our faith, the faith of our kids, and others.
This morning was sort of my time to put it in neutral and give myself a little time to process it all. I was a little afraid that the bubble of grace might pop. But I was just honest with God. “Lord, if it’s up to me, You know I’ll not handle this well, so I’m leaving it up to You. I am an empty vessel. Whatever I am going to need, I look to You to put it in me”. I still have not experienced any fear. I think by Thursday night we were both stretched taut nerve-wise, after his hemoglobin continued to fall even after surgery, necessitating 2 more units of blood, but by Thursday night we had the pathology reports and had been given the bottom line. Knowing the news is generally less excruciating than waiting for the blow to fall. You’ve probably heard the saying “don’t tell me to relax, my tension is the only thing holding me together”. I have often felt that way, but this time it was just a relief to know where things stood and get a plan in place.
I had been concerned about Garrett’s health for a while. Even though it was not surprising he was weary after the year we have had, it was still troubling for me to see him get as weary as me with all my conditions, and I’d been suggesting he get established with a doctor but I also know that nagging is counter-productive so I hadn’t pressed the matter. I think just the time in the hospital, people ministering to him and having all responsibility lifted temporarily from is shoulders, was a tremendous and much-needed break for him. It is hard enough for men in this world, especially Christian men who are striving provide for, protect and lead their family while slaying the dragon out in the mad mad work-a-day world.
Our pastor was there not just the first day, but several times during that week. And when we walked into church yesterday, Garrett was quickly surrounded with well-wishers, people happy to see him back, assurances of their prayers being lifted up on our behalf.
So, old George Bailey and I are just deciding to get on board and enjoy the ride, and see where God takes us as He writes this next chapter in the curriculum of life. School is never out for the Christian. We expect we will know things in six months that we don’t know right now. We expect to see God’s hand at work, and maybe even some miracles along the way. The good and wonderful life is not to be found in what we make of our existence. The good life really only comes when you surrender all your “rights and wants and expectations”. All we have, has come from His hand. We have nothing that wasn’t given to us. The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Though He slay us, we will yet praise Him. What the Lord requires from us He provides for us. That is not “organic” it doesn’t arise from anything in our flesh, and yet it is the perspective the Holy Spirit has put in us, and we choose to trust because, even though we don’t understand His methods, we know His heart toward us, His thoughts toward us are only for our good continually, at all times.
Looking forward to the most peaceful and blessed Christmas ever and we pray the same for you!