If wounds are medals, my chest is decorated and heavy. If trials are marks on a map, mine is covered. I have had three liver transplants with several rejections of those livers throughout the process. I have also defecated, at times, pure blood due to a large intestine disease that ultimately ended in the removal of the entire large intestine. Recently I recounted, on average, just how many times my large intestine disease made me rush to the toilet. For one year, I had seen more than four thousand trips to the bathroom due to this disease; almost twenty five thousand trips to the bathroom throughout the course of my diseased period. It’s crazy to think that often times I never made it to the toilet but defecated in my pants or somewhere else. To add insult to injury, I had developed drug-induced diabetes as a result of so much trauma and surgeries upon my tattered little body. I had seen my grandfather’s heart literally explode before me on a golf course, witnessed countless yelling matches and feelings of bitterness in my heart due to a terrible divorce happening with my parents, and had the full knowledge and recognition of death pronounced over me several times.
I have had an estimated twenty liver biopsies where instruments are shoved through my rib-lined cartilage in an effort to remove pieces of diseased liver. I have defecated blood so many times that I ceased to fear the red that consumed and stained my toilets. How many colonoscopies have I had to endure? How many sigmoidoscopies, how many tubes shoved down my throat and how many IV’s have been started in my near ruined, abused and almost exhausted veins? How many questions have I had, fears have I experienced, hopes that have been crushed? In the past fifteen years, I might have taken over two hundred and fifteen thousand pills just to stay alive and cope with the body of diseases I have had to endure. I have taken experimental drugs, overdosed on them, and received boils on my neck and face in an effort to survive. Pulling over to the side of the road while driving and stopping to defecate during dates and courtship were commonplace in my life. I have felt the fire of disease in the confines of my skin so horribly that I have at times itched off places of my skin just to relieve it. I have wished for death during periods of my life on an almost daily basis, experienced the humility of not being able to control my bowels at the age of twenty, as well as the utter anger and hatred of myself and my condition. I have lost my faith so many times it is unbearable to mention and mocked the God who died for me. I have welcomed death, wished for death, and prayed for death. I have contemplated suicide in many forms, eager to end the misery to which I was experiencing, jumped up on balconies hoping they would break and walked numerous flights of stairs with my eyes closed praying that God would trip up my feet so that my neck would break.
And last year, December 24th, I lost my precious son. He was only nineteen days old when he passed and went on into eternity, but during that time, I was forever changed. God has consistently used the fires in my life for His glory.
If life is elemental, mine is a fire. A raging maelstrom of flames eager to lick up any hope of life within me. But God is not afraid of my fires. No, He consumes them with His holiness, walking alongside of me in them and morphing them to something useful for Him. Now, it is with this fire submitting to the roaring Lion of Judah, our Holy God, in which I seek to show the world. This Mighty Champion who gives grace to the humble and increases the power of the weak has given me wings to dance on the air with the eagles.
Let the fires of my life sound the promises that God, though he calls us to the fires in life, will never leave us or forsake us. This is a promise, not by me, but by the stalwart and trustworthy character of the God of hosts. And let this Fire consume the entire world with holiness and love. Magnify the Lord in His goodness!