It was an extreme case of seasickness.
I haven’t quite figured it out yet: how to fix my eyes on Jesus when receiving CT scan results. But that is what I must do.
Monday was the first time, the first time in all these many months of getting test results, that I did not allow myself to consider beforehand the possibility that I might get bad news. I did not sit and imagine countless things I might be told: varying degrees of metastasis, wide-ranging speculation on odds and how much time I have left, multiple new changes in treatment plans that might have to be examined. I didn’t gird up my spirit with words of truth. I did not make any attempt to steel myself against a huge unexpected wave crashing into my little vessel.
So Monday’s devastating blow came at me from the blindside, and my eyes were not fixed. Not at all fixed.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
From “Seasickness” on Wikipedia:
The real cause is in the mind, which receives conflicting signals: while the eyes show a world that is still, our body sends signals of a moving environment. This discordance causes the mind to send to the whole body a general alarm signal.
The only, and quite simple way, to re-synchronize the signals is a conduct that will help our eyes to send the proper information of the movement.
Focus on the horizon. [Try to fight] the tendency of the eyes to focus on the objects nearby.
If you can stabilize on this latter reference system, the disturbance will disappear almost immediately.
There are behavioral methods to help the synchronization of the senses, such as being fully aware of the movements of the boat and anticipating them. Avoid reading, watching TV, and even talking to neighbors. After some time, depending on the individual, the mind will be oriented, and it will be possible to resume all normal activities.”
Of course this wisdom is in God’s word:
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Prov. 4:25
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
My friends, understand that my world fell apart on Monday because I was seasick. When I am in doctor’s offices, when I am forced to read CT scan reports and informed consents for new trials, I am forced to look at my enemy full in the face. I am forced to look at the winds and the waves that surround me in this storm.
It is the ups and downs; the quick, sudden and unexpected movements of what is “nearby” that disorients me. It disrupts my anchor: hope. On Monday night, my anchor felt dislodged.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
My disappointment comes in part because I want so badly for God to show up and show off. I believe with all of my heart that ANYTHING is possible for Him, that PRAYER MATTERS, that we should PRAY BIG, BOLD PRAYERS. I want Him to validate that belief. I want Him to make me not look like a fool. But that’s not His job. How dare I ask Him to prove Himself again? He has done it over and over and over again and we still reject Him.
What is amazing, what is miraculous, what I praise Him for today is this:
As far away as he felt Monday night, He feels closer than ever before, now.
Monday night, prayer felt so useless. So pointless. But my fear of God and the Spirit of God within me will not let me turn my back. So I just prayed this:
Oh my God, oh Jesus, oh my God, oh Jesus. Be here. Just be here. Oh my God, oh Jesus…
That’s all I could say. I went to sleep crying, literally crying those words.
And I have spent the last two days focusing on stillness, on the horizon, on what I KNOW to be true.
God is REAL. God is LOVE. God is GOOD. God works ALL THINGS FOR GOOD. My HOPE is firm and secure.
I reminded myself of my two options: I live or I LIVE.
Christ has defeated death. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Imagine this scenario: A woman lives on the streets; a beggar in a cruel, evil world. One day, the prince of that land comes to find her. He says, “I am preparing a place for you in my beautiful castle. You will no longer live here in this dirty, evil world. I will come back to get you and you will come and live in my Father’s palace. And not just you, but you and all those you love, if they too will trust me enough to accept this gift. I’m taking you away from this filth and this danger forever, and taking you to place more grand than I can even explain. You just have to see it. I’m coming back in two months.” Imagine just a few weeks later he comes back to her and says, “Well, things are ready ahead of schedule. You get to come today; several weeks early! You can go ahead and leave this place and come with me – to a place that is so beautiful I can’t even describe it. To a place where I guarantee you will never ever be sad. You can leave these streets forever.”
Why would that be a bad thing? Why would she choose to be anything but completely grateful and excited to go?
Maybe you are thinking what I’m thinking. That the only way she would even hesitate is if she is leaving two young children, a husband, family.
My friends, please understand. That is my only hesitation. That is the only reason that Monday’s news was difficult. That is the only reason I cling to this life at all.
But here’s His promise: He will protect those I love. I left that part out of the story. The prince promises her: “I will personally, I, MYSELF, watch out for your children and protect them until their place is ready in the palace. I will never leave them nor forsake them. If I have come to take you early, it is because this is the better way; though you do not know all that I know to understand why that is the case.”
My scenario is win-win.
My friends, I believe it is not yet decided. God’s arm is not too short to heal and heal miraculously even now. Perhaps He is setting the stage for an even grander revealing of Himself. And my Old Testament teaches me that His mind may even yet be changed.
So I will beg. Every morning and every night, and all times in between, I will beg for His mercy and His compassion. I will not use pretty words. I will not bargain. I will just plain beg for mercy.
But either way, my hope is secure. The victory is won. God wins. In the end, God wins.
I am sorry I got seasick on you on Monday. The Spirit of God, in His great mercy, has reset my anchor.
If yours slipped a bit too, do not give Satan the satisfaction. Do not give him the satisfaction of stealing your hope. Of stealing your prayer life. Dig in deeper.
Because this is in that book too:
“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.”
Jesus taught His disciples that they should “always pray, and never give up.”
We need you to bring stillness and order back to our minds. We are disoriented, as we are buffeted day and night by the penalties of our sin and our eyes have trouble fixing on you. Father, I thank you for this time to be with children. For it is really that simple. I want the faith of a child. And so I put my hand in your great big hand, I ask your forgiveness for my tantrum, and I beg for your mercy. For I don’t deserve it, but in your great love, that’s never stopped you before. I love you, My Father.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.