As I write this post to share last Sunday’s teaching over the church of Smyrna, the suffering church, I am waiting for a phone call from my cardiologist to let me know whether I am report to the hospital. Most of you know that I am a heart patient and have survived not only a stroke, but also pulmonary embolisms (more than one), as well as several other heart complications, one such being that I am need a pace maker to help my heart work somewhat properly.
I spent the better part of five years living day by day, never quite knowing if my body would be strong or dependable enough to trust for a somewhat “normal” life again. Sometimes I still catch myself feeling much like a prisoner who has escaped my ever closing in walls to enjoy and cherish what freedom I can grasp with what time God has given. Only my walls are my own body, and my knowledge that I have been granted the priceless gift of LIFE and the freedom to enjoy it, even if at the same time, I need to be mindful that I am not promised another day or even another day of feeling somewhat powerful again or even the lest bit in control.
In a weird way, my awareness of my fragile body has been a great gift to me. Most people, my old self included, lived in a blissful state of ignorance of just how fleeting and fragile life is.
One of the most profound moments of my existence and one that I think about daily occurred during the last few seconds before I lost consciousness while fleeing to the ER as I was dying from a pulmonary embolism. At once, something that I had thoughtlessly done my entire existence had suddenly become impossible, breathing!
At once I realized my own smallness, and inability to even do that which would allow me to carry on existing.
What a gift to suddenly become aware that we are merely existing in GOD’s own hands, and just as quickly as He has given us life and breathe, He can take it back.
I knew He was with me in that moment, the One Who had formed me and made me, and breathed into me, was there to comfort His own creation.
Because of that moment, I am not afraid to die.
Yet, I would be lying if I said that I was never afraid.
For those of us who have been granted a second chance at life, and even the greater opportunity to have some semblance of a new normal after surviving such trauma, there remains a heavy burden of making what is left of that life count.
I would be lying if I said that I have not feared the weight of this.
For if making life count for me were the test, I could ace that one. I am well aquainted with how to live my life selfishly for my own benefit.
Yet, I can not deny that I now know and understand the One for Whom I am indebted to for my life in ways that, prior to my near death experience, I could have never imagined.
Paul’s words ring truer than ever before, “For me to live is Christ, to die to gain.” (Phil. 1:21).
What does it really mean to live for Christ?
This has been another way having a body weakened in the flesh has been secretly been a blessing to me.
Before I was sick, I would mentally ascertain what serving Christ looked liked and I would run towards it.
But as a weak women, and one who has often been incapable to physically run, and even at times mentally strive towards Christ, I have found the greatest joy and blessing in KNOWING at last that He loves me, even when all I can do is lay in a bed, weak, and wondering, yet breathing.
In my inescapable powerlessness, I have discovered the secret to truly entering HIs rest which is to FINALLY KNOW that I have absolutely NOTHING to offer Jesús, save my great need for Him.
Those moments when I feel the weight of living for Him rising up, like a noose tightening around my neck, I must remind myself of that moment while, in my husband’s truck, I had not even a breath to offer my LORD, yet there He was offering me the comfort of His Presence. Or the countless moments while, alone in a hospital bed, feeling lost, alone, dejected and rejected by my own weak body (AGAIN), He was there offering me the dignity of knowing that He is the GOD WHO SEES ME, and even then and there, was willing to accept my frustrated tears in HIS bottle, and count them as an offering to HIM if only I would allow myself to rest on HIS shoulder.
And even now, as I sit here waiting for the phone call that may eventually lead me back to having to acknowledge my own prison cell of a body, yet I am encouraged to remember Paul and how he wrote much of the New Testament from a prison cell.
Our lives, even those lived out in great weakness, are never wasted once we turn our face towards Jesus.
At the end of our last breath, He is there extending us His…this is the Way, He is our Way.
He is our Way home.
With that said, I am awesomely aware that I may not be there this Sunday to teach my beloved Class, nor am I promised that I will ever be allowed to return.
I pray that I am, but I do not know what is ahead.
But I can promise that I will be praying for you and that I love you.
As soon as I know more, I will let you know.
In the mean time, here is last weeks lesson.