Things I learned in March 2017

I haven’t posted for about a month due to some nagging health issues. So, here’s a good chance for me to catch you up on a few things. I say there are things I learned, but actually, there are things that I already know and need to review in my mind frequently.

  1. It is possible to get one’s taxes prepared in time. For the first time in many years, it appears as if I will be able to complete my income tax returns without filing for an extension… Hallelujah!

 

  1. My wife continues to show her love for me. This is not really something new that I’ve learned, but something which continues to be demonstrated again and again.

 

This year has been very challenging in many ways, especially with regard to home healthcare. For a variety of reasons, some good some bad, our home healthcare has been very inconsistent and disappointing. This has left the bulk of my caregiving to my wife, Judy. Not only are the demands “24 and 7”, they seem to be unending, with no end in sight. This results in fatigue, sickness and pessimism. Nevertheless, she continually showers her love and commitment to me through thoughtful concern and unwavering commitment. I could describe it as tireless work, but actually it is extremely tiring.  I am so sorry that her life is so difficult and that I am not able to provide relief.

 

  1. Our God is a God of hope. That is, he provides hope.

 

There are many verses in the Psalms, which are both memorable and helpful. Here are some which have encouraged and directed me over the past several years:

Psalm 118.9:  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

Psalm 146:3–5: Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,

 

The message of these verses has been frequently impressed upon me through difficult circumstances, even before my injury. However, I have proved to be a “quick forgeter.” That is, I may quickly learn a lesson but may forget it even more quickly!

 

For instance, for the last 5 months or so I have been struggling with intestinal issues. I am told this is very common for a quadriplegic. This is because the absence of abdominal muscles, exacerbated by the lack of exercise and movement inhibits my digestive process and produces constipation. Thus, I continue to struggle –discomfort, pressure and dull pain and bleeding combine to produce listlessness, lethargy, and times when “I just don’t feel well.” I’ve had x-rays, exams, consultations, CT scan, etc. Nothing seemed to help. Convinced that something was amiss, I was certain that a colonoscopy would resolve my problems or at least identify the cause. Finally, in mid-March, I made the extended preparations and had the scope. To my great surprise, no major issue was found. (I think at this point that I am supposed to be delighted. I would be except that the symptoms have become more intense.) So, here I am – just like before!

 

Here’s something I’ve noticed throughout the whole process. Each day and each week, I anticipate some assistance or relief as I go through the process or interact with a doctor or have a test. Even though I pray and spend time in the Bible, my hope for relief subtly shifts to man and man-made technology. I expect some medicine or procedure will provide relief and healing.

 

Do you see what I mean? There is a fine line between trusting in people or technology or human knowledge and skill as an end in itself, rather than trusting God who uses means to bring healing. So, for me, it’s worthwhile to frequently consider the focus of my hope and to instruct myself to hope in the Lord.

 

Psalm 118.9:  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

Psalm 146:3–5: Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,

Notice two quick encouragements from these text:

  • Both taking refuge in the LORD and hoping in the LORD bring me to call on the LORD, who is the covenant making and keeping God who has all wisdom, strength and power. He is always faithful to his word and is not limited by anything. He is both willing and able to help. He does all that he pleases.

 

  • Blessed is he whose help is in the God of Jacob… The LORD is the God of Jacob. When you investigate the life of Jacob you soon discover that he is unworthy of God’s love and affection. That is, Jacob repeatedly demonstrated that he did not deserve God’s favor. Again, this highlights the love of God toward those who do not deserve it. Considering that I frequently forget the love of my heavenly Father, I must admit that I am also unworthy. But God is gracious and continues to call me to himself and provides me the help that I need.

 

  1. God reinforces his, love, by giving hope through his people.

 

Over the past several months God has repeatedly demonstrated his love to us by providing encouragement and hope through family and friends who love the Lord. That is, many of the “24/7 pressures” have been relieved by God’s love demonstrated through his people. Several members of our church have graciously given of their time to provide us with prayer, companionship, transportation and encouragement. These acts of kindness relieve Judy of some of the constant demands of my care, allowing her time for other responsibilities or a brief break. We are often reminded of God’s future blessings by his present care. Apart from this hope, life would be very bleak.

 

Perhaps you’re like me, in need of being reminded of God’s love and commitment to you. Your circumstances may seem to indicate that there is no hope in sight. If so, try to remember Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Refocus and remember that you are blessed. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God

One thought on “Things I learned in March 2017

  1. Thank you for sharing.
    Am remainded of God’ love for the unworthy
    I pray that the God of Jacob will come to my aids
    LORD I PUT MY TRUST IN YOU. MY GOD.

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