Desirous Doubter

For over five decades I’ve prayed religiously—

I’ve prayed for the restoration of the atrophied muscles in my right leg, injured in a skill saw injury at the age of eighteen. The nerve was severed, and despite a surgical and rehabilitative process, I currently contend with the consternation of a foot-drop condition.

My preference for cowboy boots is rooted in the supportive role they play in minimizing the handicap by keeping the foot from dropping as it would in a typical shoe.

For all those decades I have stumbled over “invisible” elements, resulting in both minor physical injuries and major psychological embarrassment.

As I approach my mid-seventies, other maladies and conditions have surfaced: Heart disease (resulting in a bypass operation), deafness, arthritis, and unrelenting sleep challenges.

I pray for all of these conditions. And I have experienced healing in some of those conditions. Yet, despite the seeming randomness of God’s answers, I remain unwavering in my belief that God heals. He heals in this life! Now! In the physical realm!

Healing is for here! Heaven is for wholeness!

Additionally, it is not failing faith that may result in our entering heaven having never embraced the promise of complete physical and emotional healing. All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Hebrews 11:13 (New Living Translation, NLT)

The incongruity is that God seems more focused on revealing than healing!

It is in the midst of the myriad malaise and messes of our lives that God reveals Himself. In seemingly random, but righteous serendipities, He intervenes in the persistence of our particular pain with a poignant reminder of His presence, power, and peace, and we are comforted for a season with knowing that we know the reality of the promises of His Word.

Thomas was more desirous than doubter!

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” John 20:25 (New Living Translation, NLT)

God desires that, despite our doubts, we thrust our hands upward toward heaven where Jesus sits at God’s side. Therein lies the revealing of our ultimate healing—our hope on earth of our ultimate wholeness in heaven!

Originally posted July 2018

Heaven. Can’t Wait!

Several public personalities passed recently. Prominently, at 92, Barbara Bush, wife of our 41st President, George HW Bush. Knowing how beloved she was, and having observed her public persona for decades, triggered a more pronounced sense of loss.

On a personal plain, the father of one of my daughter’s best friends lost his battle with cancer a few days ago. He had become a Facebook friend, decades after our daughters’ friendship began before their high school years. I could always count on him liking my Logos Bible verse posts. I was unaware of his physical prognosis.

Several months ago my oldest niece passed after a long battle with a parasite. Despite her phenomenal faith and steadfast service to God, she was called home in what to us felt like an untimely transition.

I was vividly reminded of my own mortality two years ago when faced with a triple bypass operation. That procedure indelibly affected my perception of the future. Mom survived two heart bypass operations, extending her life to 91. Despite Dad’s malaise and loneliness after Mom passed, he reached the 96-year mark.

Longevity is a hope, not a guarantee!

In the process of scanning my parent’s lively and loving letters from their 1939 time apart from each other, I witnessed the tender and naive exchanges, further evoking nostalgia at my recent loss of them. It contributes to my sense of vulnerability at this temporal life juncture. I’m prepared but not ready for the passage!

Heaven’s crowning reward will be our reveling in wonder in Jesus’ presence, with our adoration and ecstatic joy!

Despite Biblical descriptions of heaven by others, my overall sense of what comprises heaven remains vague, leaving a lot to the imagination. Within the context of the passing of celebrities and friends, and having experienced my own possibility of imminent death, In my flawed state, a most comforting description of heaven is what WILL NOT be there:

Regrets, shame, sorrow, or nostalgia rooted in my PAST…
Pain, fatigue, depression, or loneliness from my PRESENT…
Dread, anxiety, fear, or misgivings regarding my FUTURE…

Heaven awaits those who accept His Gracious offer of Salvation! Yet, while on earth, in random moments, He gives us a Glimpse of Glory revealing The Hidden Story!

Since God is my Shepherd, I’ll not be in need.
In green pastures He makes me lie down and feed.
He leads by still waters, my soul to restore;
He leads me in righteous paths, His name’s sake for.
Through death’s shadowed valley no evil I’ll fear;
You’re with me with rod and staff’s comfort so near.
You ready a table in front of my foes;
My head You anoint so my cup overflows.
So mercy and goodness shall follow my days:
I’ll dwell in the house of the Lord for always.

Psalm 23, Poetical Psalms

First posted May 15, 2018

“Death, Where is Your Sting?”

Today I noticed a Facebook post inquiry from a niece asking how long my parents had been married. I remembered and confirmed their marriage of 72 years when Mom passed in 2011, at the age of 91. Dad navigated a daunting year of loneliness and confusion, and then joined her in 2012 at the age of 96.

In revisiting the memorial bulletin I had crafted, I realized that I had composed a poem for the Mom memorial. Perhaps it will touch some of you out there as it moved me afresh a few hours ago.

When death had left its final sting,
The bells in heaven’s halls did ring.

She entered whole into His love;
Her feeble frame transformed above.

And now awaits her love below,
To mount his horse and upward go.

Oh, death your senseless sting is slight,
When from this earth we take our flight.

To dwell where time has lost its grip,
To Him we love—our final trip!

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:54–58, New Living Translation

Originally posted in 2018