I’m snatching a few moments to write while I stay at home to monitor my dad’s condition. Dad did badly last night, and while he has been on a slump over the last few weeks, he seems to have had a relapse of the infection that he had last year. He’s a very old man, and while he was particular about his habits when he had strength, he has progressively stopped caring and it has been fairly difficult to get him to eat and more importantly, drink water which is what keeps his system flushed and the infection under control.
However, what is strange is how quickly things fall into focus when pain comes. It’s like a lens that shows us what is valuable and precious, and what needs attention and protection. While I continue to feel the distress of my dad’s condition and chafe under the limitations I face, I have recourse to cry out to God again as I have done before and look to Him in the press of events surrounding me at this time. It’s forcing me to take decisions that I would not normally take, like asking for leave from work knowing that my colleagues will face the brunt of substitution when we are already extremely short-staffed. It’s the pain that gets us to prioritize. And what an enormous blessing when the workplace has brothers, not colleagues.
I was reading a post by a fellow-blogger who is now a friend (check out Caralyn’s excellent post Permission to Let Go) and was struck by the similar thoughts. The last time I did not know whether my dad would live or die, and this time, I don’t again, as his condition is so much worse than the last time. I guess we all expect miracles to last forever and bypass reality (which they sometimes do!), but Lazarus, I’m sure, did die ultimately, and of all the people who experienced Jesus’ healing, how many continued to walk with him? How many of their miracles remained that pointer towards Him, the sign of what was possible, if they would have it? And once those miracles played their purpose, what then? Would they continue to be needed for us to believe and trust?
I guess these are troublesome questions, and I am forced to look at them now that my dad has come full circle and so has my watchman. I am forced back to the bottom-lines. Pain reveals what those bottom-lines are like nothing else.
The bottom-line that God is the best father in the universe, and He is aware and working long before I even become aware and ask him to. He loves me enormously, like the apple of His eye; He cherishes me and is deeply concerned about my well-being (you’ve got to be clear you can use the personal pronoun with conviction rather than the general ‘us’!). He is faithful till the end, and will not let me down, even if I’m occasionally faithless or even unfaithful. He forgives and helps me turn toward Him and is deeply pained by my pain and is filled with compassion and longs to heal, restore and bless. He is quick to hear, and quick to comfort. I can rely on Him in the impossible and the chafing constraints of my own situations. He knows my heart and hears my cries that no one on earth will hear or know. He breaks my heart with His love for me and His friendship.
I can rely on Him through all of this, whatever the end may be, and He will enable me to overcome beyond what I can imagine, and He will do for me far beyond anything I can ever hope to ask. He’s the best dad I’ve ever had!
Here’s a song that I like very much by Lauren Daigle. If you are in that place of pain, my prayer for you is that you will find life in the bottom-lines when you’re forced to them.