A lot has happened since my last post.
I last posted on Friday, June 26 and wrote about an unusually difficult week. I didn’t mention it, but just prior to that post I had experienced an episode of autonomic dysreflexia (big-name for my nervous system trying to find out what is bothering it). My blood pressure and pulse elevate rapidly and are accompanied by a shot of adrenaline in an attempt to alleviate whatever is causing it. 85% of the time this is caused by a bladder blockage. Another good possibility is bowel complications or some other uncomfortable situation like a pinched finger. I usually feel some slight symptoms every week or 10 days; these are almost always immediately relieved.
On that particular Friday I experienced an unusually severe episode, which seemed similar to a very serious event I had a few years ago. So, I thought it best to have it checked out, although I thought this was probably due to an allergic reaction caused by an antibiotic. Since I was unable to get an appointment with my physician, I was referred to the emergency department, where I spent 9 monotonous hours. I was not manifesting any signs of infection or other immediate, serious problems. Therefore, the decision was made to have me spend the night in the hospital for “observation”. This “observation period.” was extended each day for the next five days.
I felt frustrated because I missed an opportunity to minister the Word, but also am very appreciative for the thorough investigation into what might have caused my episode. Having extensive testing and scans which turned up negative is a great blessing.
During this time, I was also blessed by the faithful, loving care of my wife, encouraging visits by the pastors and ruling elders of our home church, Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church. I also praise the Lord for the diligence of the VA system. I am learning that it is most helpful to consider the many blessings from the Lord when I am going through difficult times. There are usually many more than we recognize!
So, I returned home from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and began a rapid series of wonderful visits. First, we had good friends from New York visit for a couple of days. This was followed by our oldest daughter Katie and her daughter. We had a wonderful visit for a few days, including the Fourth of July. I preached morning and evening services on Sunday at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, Virginia.
Upon our return home, we were greeted by our youngest daughter Jennifer and her 3 boys, accompanied by Sarah’s family (2 boys and a girl). They cascaded down my ramp calling out, “Grandma – Pop-Pop!” This began another 3 happy days with more grandchildren.
We were truly blessed to have seen each of our grandchildren (and their parents) during this happy but hectic time. Several years ago I observed a bumper sticker: If we had known that grandchildren were so much fun, we would’ve had them first! I also remember going home to visit my parents with our first daughter and their first grandchild – I don’t think they knew we were there. So, I attempt to pay particular attention to the parents, while enjoying the grandchildren. Now I understand their actions a little bit better.
I get even more understanding and hope from Genesis 17:7 (ESV)
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
And then reassurance from Psalm 103.17, 18
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
Surely it is a wonderful blessing to trust in the Lord as we experience the joys, frustrations and uncertainty of life. Praise him for his grace to us and all the blessings we receive through the Lord Jesus.