Sunday was our anniversary and instead of the wonderful steak dinner we planned, Phillip and I ended up in the ER. My head incision split back open and Phillip didn’t want to wait for me to see my surgeon the next day fearing yet another infection would set in. I love that Phillip loves me – even when that means giving up a great dinner for the ER. However, being back in the hospital was very discouraging for me.
As we headed home, I started to cry. A couple of intense
weeks months years of medical struggles seemed to bubble up in me. As I sobbed, Phillip consoled me the best he could. Sometimes, the weariness of life is so great that almost nothing touches the pain. It is just there, and the tears roll.
Yesterday, I woke up exhausted. Before I even knew it, I pulled out my list of recent life history. I lamented to the Lord that in the past 4 years I’ve had a very large abdominal abscess rupture, a major surgery to remove my part of my colon, uterus and repair a hidden incarcerated surgical hernia. I’ve been over dosed by a nurse causing a heart attack and brain injury, had surgery on my cranial nerves, an unexplained stroke and an incision on my head that just won’t heal. On top of all of that, I have a treasured relationship broken with no pathway to reconciliation. Heartbreaking.
My lamenting was not a respectful lamenting mind you – it was the type that told God he doesn’t know what is good and right and that I surely know better than him. Yes, in a matter of seconds, I rambled off the overwhelming experiences of the past 4 years – my list – and in doing so caused myself to spiral into hopelessness where I demanded pity from the Lord. Thank goodness God in Heaven is longsuffering and full of mercy.
Here’s the thing my list…while true… is not a good thing for me to meditate on. Once I start, I become self absorbed, angry and depressed. My list prevents me from living life outwardly focused, and drives me to a self-centered point of view.
Philippians 4:8 says, 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
I particularly love the final portions of this verse. “…and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Wow, while my list is true, it certainly doesn’t meet the full criteria of Philippians 4:8 does it?
Two paths. Meditating on the truthful realities of the past four years of my life or meditating on the truthful hope of the Lord’s plans for me. One path leads me to despair, hopelessness and anger. The other, leads me to the comfort of the living God. One path leads me into an inward focus. The other grows my desire to help and serve others. The choice of what I do is mine, the results of those choices are very, very different indeed.
My list, will always be with me. It is my history, my present and in some ways my future — that is until the Lord chooses to heal this broken body and free me from this time of physical pain. The key is, my list does not need to rule me. So, today, I lay my list at the foot of the cross and ask the Lord Jesus to carry the realities of my heartache, physical sufferings, disappointments and weakness for me. Through His strength I look to my future with abundant hope and believe the words found in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
It is my prayer that I learn more and more how to leave my list at the foot of the cross. It is my prayer that I become more and more focused on serving and loving those in my life. It is my prayer that I learn to press in deeper to the loving arm of the Lord when I am weak – and instead of pulling out my list – I instead pull out HIS. His list, is of full of endless hope, enduring love, inexplicable peace and strength. HIS amazing list covers sorrow, pain and fills my weary soul with His endless and awe-inspiring hope.
May we all learn to dwell and meditate on the beautiful things in our lives that only come from Him.