The pain is intense, I don’t know how he bears it, but he does. It wrenches my heart in two, seeing him cringe and his body contort from the pain, but at the same time, I’m amazed by the grace God is giving him to walk this road with a heart of surrender and worship. Truly amazed.
In the midst of the pain, there is a river . . .
One of my favorite Psalms talks about a joy-giving river. The Psalm describes earth-shaking destruction and God-wrought devastation, while also presenting Him as being our refuge and source of protection. And in the middle of all the upheaval, that river runs through the passage as a source of stability and joy.
[box]God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. (Ps. 46:1–4)[/box]
We’ve taken a rest retreat at a river this week. We’re deeply grateful to the gracious hospitality of the Evans, for offering their beautiful cabin to us as a place of rest.
We’ve had a few “earth changing” moments, a few mountains quaking and dreams slipping into the heart of the sea . . . but we’re resting by the river whose streams “make glad.”
In a single day, we experienced several life-markers. LeRoy celebrated his fifty-eighth birthday with a future-shaking conversation from our family physician. He’s a kind, compassionate friend, and spent more than an hour with us that day, strongly urging LeRoy to apply for Medicare disability. He expressed concern for the enormous financial burden this illness will be for us. He seemed to be trying to prepare us for a much different future than what people normally expect at our age. Disability is something neither of us had ever considered and hearing that felt a bit like being hit by an earth tremor.
It is a little shocking to be presented with medical disability as a recommendation on your 58th birthday.
We also received a sweet gift that same day—our precious sixth grandchild entered the world, healthy and thriving. But she is more than a thousand miles away. We’re grateful for pictures, but we ache to hold this new gift from the Father. We long to be with our daughter and son-in-law, and their three little ones who are welcoming their new sister, covering her with “mooches” and hugs.
It was a hard day. It was a marker day. But it was a good day.
We ended the day by retreating to the river for a “transition” period. We’re taking a week to transition from what we knew before to prepare for this trek into the unknown. We’ll be returning to Dallas soon for informational meetings for patients with NMO and appointments with the neurologist that will be mapping out a medical plan for the future. But for this week, we’re sitting by a river. We’re seeking the Lord’s face, His direction, His instruction . . . and we’re receiving His comforting presence as He reminds us that He is here.
[box]God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah
There’s no doubt that He is here. He’s reassured us of that in so many ways. He’s the God who has the power to merely raise His voice and cause the earth to melt. He is the One who is with us right now. Through the pain, through the foreign territory, through the unknown . . . He is here.
[box]There is a river, whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. (Ps. 46:4)[/box]
And yet, as we are receiving the gracious hospitality of a comfortable home to retreat by a river, we’re deeply burdened for the thousands, not too far from us, who are suffering the blows of life-altering devastation from the wind and water of hurricanes. You are in our prayers, we are asking God to meet with you in your suffering. We are asking Him to use these events to awaken an awareness of the need for all peoples to turn to Him. We are asking Him to draw the hurting to Himself, may all come to realize that:
[box]“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”[/box]
Thank you so much for your prayers and recommendations. As I’m sitting by this restful river, I’m researching suggestions you’ve made, reading up on nutritional diets and alternative medicines. Our girls are helping us with research, my daughter is passing on her high-nutrition recipes, and we’re making some healthy eating changes that are supposed to help with the healing process.
So grateful to each of you who are interceding and sending helpful information!
We are truly grateful.