Sometimes, a person sits down and has no idea what they should feel. This is exactly where I am today. The last week has been a blur of emotions, activity, and adjustments. The long and short of it is, I experienced a TIA (A transient ischemic attack) last Wednesday at 5:30 in the morning. It is a small stroke that left my left leg and arm nearly useless. These are the words which no 20-year-old has ever thought they would have to learn. Most 40-year-olds live without thinking about these things. Frankly, this 61-year-old had assumed that I’d live my life as wisely as I always have. On Wednesday my ideas shifted. I have officially entered the land of the mortality club. No big, “AHA,” moment, simply a notice, my days have a cap. My activities on earth will someday come to a close.
This is hardly a morbid moment for me. I feel pretty good and Dawn and I are working through a few transitions. I also realize that my days matter, certainly, not more than ever, but I am more aware. Most of the physical issues caused, let’s say 99%, are completely restored. I am tired but I attribute this to my team of diligent nurses who made sure I was doing well each hour.
I suppose I currently have three takeaways from the events of this last week.
1. Prayers matter.
I literally felt a peace and security that would transcend the circumstances. Can I preach for two sentences?
There are times of difficulty in which we decide God’s job is to deliver us from the difficulty. I have come to understand God desires more to be with us in the inevitable struggle that is life. It makes sense right? This isn’t Heaven, and we aren’t ultimately trying to relocate to a better place on Earth. It is a relationship when we desperately need and seek it.
When God’s people pray, God extends His hands into our lives. I believe that the fact of His presence is more powerful than the work He does to “Fix,” it for us. I felt this in the last week.
2. We have an army of friends and family.
The body of Christ is an invasive force of God’s love. I have been overwhelmed by the people who chose to invest in us during this recent hiccup in our lives. The church can matter. When God’s people love others, others are strengthened, encouraged, and comforted.
Remember, if God desires to manifest Himself, He has almost always used a human.
3. God determines our paths.
My phone has been strangely quiet. Don’t misunderstand though. Dawn’s has blown up. What I mean is the world did not end while I was laid up. There was no panic in the office or ministry. Since I could not control my, well, anything, God and His other people did. This makes a simple truth evident. God allows me to partner with Him and incredible people for His Kingdom. He doesn’t need me to though. That is pretty freeing.
I’ll be doing smart things to be healthier for certain. I will try to rest in God’s plan each day, but I am not entitled to it. That is freeing as well.