Another sleepless night. After only two hours of sleep, although bone-dead exhausted, the pain urges LeRoy awake and although he tries to lie silently, suffering in the dark to not disturb me, I’m aware when his rhythmic breathing stops. I know he’s awake and waiting for his next meds, lying there praying and hoping for relief. Most mornings start this way.
Precious readers, you have left sweet comments, encouraging messages, and sent kindness my way through words of affirmation. But, I need to assure you, God is the One who is faithful here, not me.
There are days that my flesh rises and threatens to take me down.
Last Friday was one of those days . . . I recorded the events in my journal and am now recounting much of that day for you (lest you have too rosy a picture of me). Even when I am a faithless stinker, and cave to the flesh—the goodness of God never wavers.
God’s faithfulness holds fast—no matter what.
The morning began, as many do, at three a.m., with muscle relaxers to try to calm the relentless spasm in his thigh. We moved him out to the recliner and I put an ice pack on the thigh. Both he and I tried to reclaim an hour’s sleep after that, but the morning sounds and light broke through before we could nap.
I put the bacon in the oven to cook, set the skillet on the stove to warm for eggs that would soon be frying, and started looking over his morning meds. Through bleary eyes, I read the label from some new meds that our kids had picked up for us the night before. My fatigued mind went into an avalanche of confusion . . . the type of prescription didn’t look right to me, the name on the bottle wouldn’t compute. The neurologist made some tweaks with LeRoy’s medication the day before, and I took notes during our phone call, so I ran to find my bulky medical folder and pull out those last notes.
My heart was racing—had I messed up? Did I give him the wrong meds this morning?? Did the pharmacist fill the bottle with something other than what the neurologist prescribed? I was getting frantic and overwhelmed.
I never do well when I try to function before time in the Word and prayer. Never.
Praying happens throughout night’s waking hours, but if my “still time” before the Lord, the time of trembling in awe and delight over His Word—if that time is pushed beyond the first waking hour, I’m always off-kilter. In this new world of “non-normal” my day often starts in the predawn hours with an urgent medical need, rather than a peaceful moment in the Word.
If my normal Bible study and prayer routine is upset, I catch up later in the morning, but typically I feel like I’m functioning in “crazy land” until the Lord graciously settles my heart and mind through reflective time in the Word. And this particular morning was definitely not beginning well, having missed the time in the Word that I need to reach sanity.
Still frantic, I punched in the numbers to the Neuro Clinic before taking time to do a more thorough investigation of this new med. Looking at my notes about the prescription changes, checking the name of the steroid, I looked again at the label of the bottle in my hand—confusion and fear seemed to be causing my weary brain to misfire. I left a message about the wrong meds from the pharmacy and got back to work on breakfast. The bacon was burnt and the eggs sat waiting to fry.
Nearly an hour later, after doing a more thorough investigation, having my mind a little more alert, the confusion finally cleared. The labeled name on the bottle was different than the generic name I was accustomed to using (that’s happened before with other meds, but my mind was too fuzzy that morning to even come up with that as a possibility at first). The pharmacist wasn’t wrong, the notes I’d taken matched with what I gave him—my mind was just too foggy and sleep deprived to figure it out more quickly.
But sadly, during that hour of confusion and fear, I’d allowed my flesh to rule, and it showed in short answers, my tone, and impatience. LeRoy could hear the frustration in my voice. My heart had moved from early morning worship to sinful fear and anger within seconds of reading a prescription bottle label.
After it was all settled (had to call back the nurse and straighten out the confusion I caused), the breakfast dishes and skillet washed—I sat down to read Spurgeon’s prayer. It was a personal word to me. Spurgeon graciously led me through this prayer:
“He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
[box]Lord, save me from my sins. BY the name of Jesus I am encouraged thus to pray. Save me from my past sins, that the habit of them may not hold me captive. Save me from my constitutional sins, that I may not be the slave of my own weaknesses. Save me from the sins which are continually under my eye that I may not lose my horror of them. Save me from secret sins; sins unperceived by me from my want of light. Save me from sudden and surprising sins: let me not be carried off my feet by a rush of temptation. Save me, Lord, from every sin. Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Thou alone canst do this, I cannot snap my own chains or slay my own enemies. Thou knowest temptation, for thou was tempted. Thou knowest sin, for thou didst bear the weight of it. Thou knowest how to succor me in my hour of conflict. Thou canst save me from sinning, and save me when I have sinned. It is promised in thy very name that thou wilt do this, and I pray thee let me this day verify the prophecy. Let me not give way to temper, or pride, or despondency, or any form of evil; but do thou save me unto holiness of life, that thy name of Jesus may be glorified in me abundantly.
(C. H. Spurgeon, Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, October 20 entry)[/box]
It was a sweet meeting with Jesus, as I confessed to Him, and to LeRoy, my sin. There is nothing so ugly, so destructive, so anti-God as sin. It’s easy to excuse frustration borne out of fear or sleep deprivation, but when I give voice to that frustration and am unkind or impatient—it is sin.
Why is Jesus so lovely? Because He is faithful and true. It is impossible for Him to lie. He came, was tempted just like you and I, but rather than giving into that temptation, He conquered the power of sin. And when I give way to sin, it’s as though I’m tossing aside His gracious work on the cross. May my hatred for sin grow, my love for Jesus deepen, and the recognition of my own sin increase. May that recognition quickly take me back to the cross.
He is faithful—even when I’m not.
“But the Lord is faithful, who will strengthen you and will keep you from evil.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
What is your prayer, today?