December 24th marked the anniversary of my first liver transplant sixteen years ago as well as the death of my third child last year. It was a hard but good holiday for us as we spent time together as a family thinking about all the Lord has done for His glory. Today marks the anniversary of my second liver transplant and instead of celebration, I feel somewhat shoved to the ground with my face down in the mud of contemplation.
I write in my office now, after having posted on twitter some disheartening news, reeling from the possibility of new trials and new circumstances that seem to plague me. Oh Father, why do they plague me, bite at me, and never let me go? I know I will not get the answer to the why, but Lord; Lord! It is hard for me right now; my flesh is screaming loudly in my ears. I heard from the medical staff at SCRIPPS that the latest blood test results for my liver were not good; in fact, it was bad enough to elicit very important tests and scans that could only mean one thing; my health is in flux again. The earliest I could get in to get these tests is January 10th with a follow up appointment on January 30th, a day before my oldest son’s fifth birthday; two weeks after the anniversary of my third liver transplant five years ago. I am not a victim; Oh Lord, I am not a victim! I have given my life to you, and yet I take myself off the altar so many times.
I need your hands to cradle me and enfold me and lift me up. I need you to physically take my eyes off of these trials and force me to look only upon you. I don’t care; take the clay that is my life and mold it! I don’t want to, yet I do want to, look upon these trials yet again and feel like a rag doll pulled elastically back to the reality that is my life. I know nothing; nothing is certain but your love for me. You have imputed me with your righteousness as through your death you have been imputed with my unrighteousness. You indeed broke the chains of my sin and have set me upon a hill like a city to proclaim the light of your truth to the world that will see. And yet I feel alone right now Lord; alone in my trials, alone in my pain, alone in the confusion that pours over my heart and mind.
I am not alone. I will focus on your truth. I will contemplate and meditate on your word as the only source of strength, for I know that I am nothing more than a beggar in search for food and strength and nourishment from the fountain of living waters. Plant me by and in your truth; give me your life-giving sap of abundance that is your presence as I seek nothing more than you right now. Swaddle me in the cocoon of your love and breathe life into my dry dry bones as I’m so tired. Oh Jesus, I need you! I need you so desperately.
The mantle of these trials upon these shoulders you have given me are not my heritage; you are. They are not mine to carry, they are not mine to bear. They are yours; and to you this is possible. My wife is pregnant; expecting child within two months. I was dying with my third transplant needed five years ago; so sick in fact that I was in a walking comma. Kelly was pregnant with my first son, about to give birth, and about to lose her husband. You proved yourself faithful again, and as I kneel to this truth, I know you will be faithful according to your steadfast love and will. Your word, according to Psalm 119, is my counselor; may your testimonies be the loudest in my ears as I have only to look back on your goodness to find strength. I look back on that time and know that you will take care of us. You have never failed me; you have never failed any of us.
You are my God. Help me to praise you during this time. Help me to point others to your goodness and your everlasting covenant of grace made through Jesus Christ alone. If this is a race, then indeed, let me run to you with eyes fixed obsessively on you. If my finish line is near, help me to run the race set before me with endurance and faithfulness. But may my life give glory to you alone; for this is what I was created for. This is your plan for me. This is my meaning to life.
I will find out more information as soon as the doctors get back from their vacations early next week; but my life is in the hands of the Almighty who gives grace to the humble and increases the power of the weak. Give me eyes to see Lord, that indeed there is nothing to fear and that you have overcome all of this.