Friday, March 4, 2011

New Understanding

It would be nice if God revealed his purposes and desires in plain and succinct ways. I would love to wake every morning and hear with my ear what God had to say for the day. I say that because, I like it easy. Easy, though, would take anticipation, expectation, discipline, faith, and possibly love, out of a relationship that is designed to deepen.

On Good Friday of 2006, another season of listening, waiting, and understanding entered, unwelcome, into my life. The week prior to Holy Week I had been experiencing severe pain in my back. Pain so bad it was debilitating, and did not respond to some really strong drugs. A test indicated a rupture of a lumbar disk and my doctor told be to stay on my back for the week. Three days before Easter the problem became an emergency. A scan gave a picture that the x-ray did not. The L5 disc was pushing closed my spinal cord and I was in trouble.

Donna drove me the 150 miles to the hospital in Saginaw. Waiting for me was one of the best neuro-surgeons in the country. He was called to Washington when President Kennedy was shot. So, Easter Sunday morning he is performing surgery and removed the disc. He told us the surgery went well and he expected that I would make a full and normal recovery.

My recovery seemed to be going very slow. The periodic followup visits with the doctor were still optimistic. At six months since the surgery there was still very little progress. I had to deal with severe damage to the nerves that traveled down my left and right leg. My left leg was about 75% dead, dead to pain or sensation in the muscles. My right leg was worse with about 90% damage. My personal doctor ordered me to undergo an EMG test, to verify his concern regarding the amount of damage and how permanent it was. Well, the EMG tests, they made my legs flop and jump around like giant frog legs. It hurt Donna more than me, I watched her cry as they inserted the probes deep into my muscle groups from feet to, well, guess.

God, what was I supposed to be doing now with my life? I had to learn how to walk with muscles that would work but felt nothing. Going up and down stairs was hard at best and dangerous to an extreme. I realized I could not perform my pastoral responsibilities and faced the fact that I would have to resign. Things were going to become very difficult for us financially. Donna was substitute teaching, on call, with no benefits or guarantee of class time.

I applied for social security and my doctor told that 90% of all initial applications are denied. He was right, mine was. Now a serious time of financial distress was upon us. My appeal for social security could take up to two years. I had no idea how, but in my spirit I knew that God was in control and my life, the life of my family, was in His hands. He was going to provide for us in some very clear and plain ways. My outlook was different as I faced this crisis. Before, I was filled anxiety and a very deep despair.

Now, I knew that God was in control, He was present and He was involved in the affairs of my life. I still didn't understand the, "whys". I didn't need to understand now, the insight and understanding would come. Not to seem contradictory, I did desire to know what God was leading me into at this season in my life. It is just, it wasn't driving me nuts. I loved preaching and congregations confirmed that God used my gift of communication. Get this, the church that I had to retire from, their board asked me to preach longer. Who ever heard of such a thing.

Today I wait for doors to open and paths to stumble on. Knowing that He is in control and my hearts desire is to be found faithful. Friends who read this, please pray for me. I want to find a path to tell others about my God, who sheds light where darkness used to cover and dispels the shadows that brought fear.

1 comment:

  1. I SO get the part about not panicking this time around even though in some ways the circumstances were similar! Nice job of communicating! Hope the new writing adventure is as great a joy as this one was.