Thoughts From a Hospital Room

 

For the last two weeks I’ve been in the hospital. It hasn’t been great – I mean, compared to getting sick in the middle ages, it’s been wonderful…but in general terms, a hospital isn’t high on my bucket list. I was there because of some complications surrounding a scope and then received a preliminary diagnosis of Primary sclerosing cholangitis. To this fairly fit, active and healthy person, this has been a pretty big blow, a chronic illness that may end in liver transplant… it’s almost too much to believe. I know some of you are dealing with much more intense sickness, life and death situations but perhaps my simple reflections on the last few weeks may give you some hope and peace in the midst of the storm.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, it would be completely untrue to say that I am a bastion of trust and unwavering faith. I’ve been afraid. My mind has travelled all sorts of ‘what if’ routes, and I have spent too many hours awake at night in worry. I’ve succumbed to my own thoughts and the fear of the enemy and have failed to cast my burdens on the Lord. Yet…in spite of my failure to ‘be strong’ and to ‘cast my cares on Him’, there has been a smoldering wick deep in my spirit that refuses to go out. It’s a glow, a faint ember that is hope and strength in weakness and trust and all things that are good, and it is there and burning almost in spite of me. In my weakness, He is proven strong.

A dear friend and ministry partner of many years spent hours by my bed in some of the more painful days. He began reading The Fellowship of the Ring to me out loud. It was perfect because I knew the story, so I could just follow along without being really focused. As I returned home to recuperate I continued reading and one evening read the following lines that describe the time the hobbits spent in the land of Rivendell,

“For a while, the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.” (274, Tolkien)

I can’t describe to you how much I long for that peace, and how that peace, much like the little ember of smoldering wick is beginning to burn. We don’t know what the future holds, good or ill, but we know that the Lord works all things together for the ultimate good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Paul’s words to the Corinthians have become all that much more poignant in these days,  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what isunseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I’m not as strong as I sound, I often find myself wallowing in self pity, anger and fear, but beneath it all there is a still, small voice, that whispers to that bruised reed and that smoldering wick… “it will all be OK, it’s all going to be OK.” Maybe not now, maybe not here temporally – but ultimately we do not lose heart because we are citizens of an eternal glory that outweighs it all.

Thank you Father, that you have pity on your people and you reach out to us when we are unable to reach to you. 


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