Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Are Going to Die

I was sitting outside on our back deck wrapped in a blanket, enjoying the peace and quiet of the day.  I was still very weak from the radiation therapy, but the pain, at long last, had lifted.  I had spent quite a bit of time in prayer and felt very much at peace.  For three days after my surgery to remove my thyroid, I had felt a strong sense of God’s presence, stronger than at any time before.  And I needed it then more than ever.  My husband, Wayne, had left for his deployment to Afghanistan after receiving a good report from my surgery.  The day he left, however, I was told that not only was there cancer in my thyroid, but it had spread to my lymph nodes.  The battle was on.
For now, though, I felt no battle.  I was almost content.  So I was very surprised to hear within my spirit “You are going to die.”  Hmmmm, I thought, with no sense of panic.  I’m going to die.  OK.  I’m so grateful to have time to plan for this.  What do I need to do first?  Take care of the girls.  I know, I’ll start a journal with my hopes and dreams for them to look at when they need encouragement.  I need to write a long letter to my parents and sisters so they finish what I have started in raising my girls.  What about Wayne?  I know, I’ll…  then without any warning waaaaay down deep in my spirit came a resounding “NOOOOOOOO!”  “You will live and not die!”  I remember physically shaking my head as if trying to clear my thoughts.  First I heard God say “You are going to die” in a still small voice.  Then, I heard “NOOOOOO!” screaming within me.  Almost instantly I realized the words about death were not from the Father, but the father of lies.  The words seemed so quiet, so seductive.  I had bought them, hook, line and sinker. 
Ø  The lie came naturally:
John 8:44  (NIV) …He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Ø  The lie came to the surface so smoothly, almost seductively:
Acts 13:10-11 “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?"
2 Corinthians 11:3  "I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." 

Ø  The lie can be resisted:

     James 4:7  "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
Most importantly to me was how merciful God was in this situation.  I was seriously meditating on what I thought was a word from God.  That word was so gentlemanly and orderly.  The screaming from deep within is not what I would have thought would come from God.  Yet, that is exactly what happened.  Imagine your child in danger, contemplating something deadly.  You would do whatever it took to protect your child.  Screaming does not sound so unreasonable anymore.  Thank you, Father, for your willingness to do whatever it took to keep me safe from destruction.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Bicycle

When I first moved to Bryant, Arkansas, I had to switch family doctors.  After several recommendations, I picked a friendly, knowledgeable doctor whose wife was our children’s pediatrician.  After the first visit, we realized that the doctor lived on the same street as my parents.  In fact they were only two houses down. 
When the doctor realized who my father was, he kept wanting to discuss my dad.  More specifically, he wanted to talk about my dad’s physical fitness regime.  For several visits, the discussion would go something like this:
“Saw your dad riding his bicycle yesterday.” 
“Oh,  good.”
“Yep, he rides his bike every day, rain or shine.”
“He sure does.”
“I mean, he is always on his bicycle.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” 
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Silence.  I mean, there comes a point when talking to your doctor about your dad’s bicycle riding seems a little strange.
Until you see the bicycle.  Pictures will be coming, I promise. I’m not sure words will do this justice, but I’m going to try.
It starts out innocently enough.  A sturdy ten-speed bike.   Imagine a boom box duct taped to the front of the handlebars.  I’m not talking MP3 player or walkman, but an honest to goodness radio strapped with large amounts of duct tape.  I even gave the man an MP3 player for Christmas one year, but apparently the radio fits his needs better.  He plays the radio loudly (no headphones) while riding around the neighborhood.  Because the sun sets so early, he also has a flashlight duct taped to one of the handlebars.  He was never in the boy scouts but he sure should have been.  And finally, for effect, when it is raining, he cuts slits into garbage bags to wear as a poncho.  The man has a poncho.  I’ve seen it in the closet.    
There would have been a point in time that I would have shrunk in horror imagining my dad in this getup.  Now I laugh and thank God for him.  My dad will never be known as someone trying to conform.  I have inherited some of that from him, and I am thankful for it.