When The Light Goes Out: Part 4

Posted: March 6, 2020 in Meditations
man in black shirt and gray denim pants sitting on gray padded bench

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

“Answer me when I call you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”  Psalm 4:1  I would be remiss if I did not highlight important people in the midst of my struggle. God showed me mercy, grace, kindness, and unconditional love through precious saints every step of my journey through the shadow lands. Nobody fought harder for my well-being than Lynn, my wife. An income disappeared, an effectual parent disappeared. The stress on caregivers wounds every bit as deep as the afflictions of the sick. Many spouses walk away. My wife hitched her pants and said, “Let’s go.” My friend, Dave, never let a day pass without words of encouragement. He drew me into his world. We did water aerobics together at the YMCA. I joined a wood carving club with him. We went four wheeling up north and most important to me, we talked over coffee virtually every day. My pastors looked out for me, so did my men from Bible Study. Numbers of times, men and women brought me home from events when I struggled. Lynn picked the car up later. Bottom line, I walked in the strength of others. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

Two days into Lynn’s symposium at Harvard University, she called me. “Phil, I’m catching a train out of Boston and am headed to Providence to meet a doctor. I’ll call you when I’m done.” The previous night , Lynn had dinner with her professor friend and her husband. The conversation led to my health. Mr. Hudson said, “Tell me everything.” The rest of the night centered on my story. Unbeknownst to Lynn, Dr. Hudson was a premier neuroscientist. Symptoms, treatments: the doctor absorbed the entire narrative. In the end, Dr. Hudson said, “I think I know the man who can help your husband. I attended a global conference in Tehran, Iran, last week. A doctor presented a case study very similar to your husband’s. He lives in Rhode Island. Would you like to talk to him?” Lynn responded, “Absolutely.”  Twelve hours later, Lynn was on her way to meet a man, a self described short bald middle aged man driving a BMW. God certainly has a sense of humor.

Dr. Pedro met Lynn at the station. He was leaving for Lisbon, Portugal, the next day to deliver another presentation. He said, “I need to practice my speech. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Critique my speech and then we’ll discuss your husband.” Hours later, Dr Pedro said to Lynn, “Fly him out in two weeks. I need two hours to examine him. At that point, I will know if I can help your husband.” Lynn called me from the train headed back to Boston. “Phil, this is a God thing. The one man in the entire world that can possibly address your problem, I just met him.” My mind raced. I honestly didn’t think a cure existed. I assumed any healing would have to be divine, a creative miracle. But here was a chance, a possibility. I quickly checked myself. Six and a half years has a way of jading a chronically ill patient, at least this one. ‘God, my faith is weak, but this sure has the fingerprints of the divine all over these convoluted circumstances. Lord, help my unbelief. I’m stepping out of the boat. I’m all in.”

‘I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:12,13  My happiness in no way depended on healing. “Why me Lord?” left my head years before this moment. The Holy Spirit brought me to a place where I celebrated life regardless of my health, regardless of the opinions of others. I knew each day I belonged to God. I prayed, I read, I testified to the goodness of God. Nothing else mattered. Everything followed from my trust in the Great God, Infinite Goodness. I wasn’t interested in dying, but I wasn’t afraid of dying either. Even now, Psalm 100 rings in my mind, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” In the end, Christ is all that matters.

 

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