For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory (beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!) II Corinthians 4:17
Lying on the beach unable to stand up I watched a gleaming airliner soar over head. I imagined the sturdy blue seat coverings and seat tables locked in their upright positions. The jetliner ripped across the sky in seconds flat while I stared up into the skewed blue sliced by its contrail.
Gritty scenes of fragile bi-planes flitted to mind. Mustachioed men with a vision to conquer space and time creating blue prints with complex equations pitting thermal up drafts against Newton’s hard won gravitational laws.
I rolled over in the sand and eyed the distance I had yet to cross. It seemed unnaturally vast. How did I get out this far? One enthusiastic step at a time I supposed. Now how will I get back?
My husband gone on ahead to the point at my urging, I realized that I had desperately overdone it and had to rest. When the rest didn’t materialize I knew I needed to start heading back immediately.
I recalled reading about brave pioneers that had traversed thousands of miles in covered wagons. Birthing and burying family along the way, risking peril a hundred different ways an hour. Coming to the raw edge of a canyon with cattle and wagon and family with no way forward except down into the canyon. Not down a flower lined path but lowered down by men with ropes and pulleys.
The image of frosty waves plundering wooden hulls as praying people clung to one another below deck fearing for their lives. Hopeful families with their livestock and provisions daring to cross the ocean to a land they could only really imagine.
How far we’ve come. How God made such gifted people. Man can literally drive a plane home from outer space while others plumb the depths of the ocean floor.
Exhausted I flung myself down next to my granite destination. Once again my body betrayed me and what started out a simple hike turned into melodrama. The possibility of a wheel chair became a startling reality; morphing into the most intelligent mode of locomotion ever invented.
With constant prayer I was able to move at 100 yard increments. Charging crazily toward a sandy target and flopping down to slow my breath and regain my balance. I prayed, “Lord help me!” and that this conniving neuro-muscular disease wouldn’t win, that God would give me the strength to get home.
The was sun nearing the horizon and I still had to venture through woodlands to get back to the parking lot. I might as well have been climbing Mount Everest with a book of matches and a party hat; that’s how disabled I became on this simple outing. In the sand not two inches from my nose was a striking piece of aqua marine sea glass. Something on a good day I would treasure. I held it up to the setting sun and asked God if this was from Him, sort of a cheer leading gift. My husband easily caught up with me, with soft comforting words helped me back to our car.
Later the real fun began. I won’t get into the ugly details suffice to say a duel between breathing and regulating my temperature became a discomforting decision. One usually supervised by our autonomic nervous system. Apparently mine was on the blink having used all of my energy and what ever reserves there were on a simple walk on the beach.
God has been using this recovery time to make me hyper aware of my limitations. I have boundaries where I never knew they could exist. I am hemmed in every day by a tangible “energy envelope” which I dare not empty ever again. I can no longer be certain of my capabilities and all expectations have been dispensed.
Rejoice and exult in hope: be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation: be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
But I am not alone, I never was. As frightening as it was, God was sitting right there with me in the sand, it was His idea to break the walk up into manageable chunks. He was right there with me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t breathe. He put calming words in my husband’s mouth, and gave me focus as I weighed my options. He gave my children patience as they coached me into resting at all times. He gave them strength to help me get through the holidays.
What passing challenges this disease presents changes by the day sometimes by the hour, yet it is nothing by comparison to what others are suffering. And it is nothing in comparison to what God is capable of or what He promises awaits us–those who believe in Him and what His son Jesus Christ has done for us.
My current situation will pass or become permanent, every second will feel like forever, or my forever will pass in a second. As long as I trust in God it really doesn’t matter.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:18
I can only inhabit this body and view my circumstances with all my past experiences coloring my interpretation. The greatest distance to traverse is from my limited point of view and The Lord’s all encompassing plan. He can see the end from the beginning. He created me and my pain and by sharing the burden with Him in return He gives me grace —His strength.
His grace will strengthen my faith which brings me JOY. God becomes my joy because I find it in Him- my constant companion. And so the circle wheels around. Pain, trust, grace, joy, peace, with God in the center.
I know that my problems are no surprise to you. I pray that what comes of this trial glorifies you. That in trusting you I am led exactly to where I can do the most for you.
Please keep granting me the faith to trust you and the grace to move forward. Your will Lord. Your will be done.