Saturday, May 28, 2011

REpeat Offender

(Excerpt from Chapter 14 of “HOSPITAL GOWNS DON’T HAVE POCKETS”)

A long list of comforting RE-words helped me through my original cancer surgery REcovery. They continue to guide me while I live in this “Earth Suit.” I’m making progress through REstoration, REfreshing, REgaining, REpenting, REviving, REpairing, RElaxing—even REcreation.

I’m being REnewed by my daily REndezvous with God to build up my inner spirit.

But I REsist one word and would like to REfuse it. It is the word REpeat!

REalistically, however, many illnesses are REpeat offenders or some RElated problems. My surgeon frankly explained the strong possibility of REcurrence. It’s not unusual to go through the same or similar surgery or treatment again or REquire additional treatment. Perhaps more than once. REmission is often a temporary state.

Back to square one? I’m kept on a short leash. I circle X-ray dates and doctors’ appointments at regular intervals on my calendar. I’m suspicious of symptoms that might signal the REturn of the problem. No one can guarantee full REcovery from anything. We all go around in depreciating bodies. Thorns are part of the horticultural package in life and health as well as in the garden.

So, if it happens again…? I’ll just begin the cycle again.

If God and I successfully jumped the hurdle questions at the beginning, I hope I’ve developed my spiritual muscles and spiritual stamina to go through it again. The same questions and struggles and the same answers apply. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

God offers us the same grace and strength to match any new situation. For my good and for God’s glory is still the touchstone. God is as fully in control the second time around—or third or fourth—as He was when I went through it the first time.

Not all race tracks are configured the same. On one kind of track runners race straight ahead from the starting line to the finish line. No surprises, no curves. Another track is circular. The runner returns to the place where he started. In fact, the race may not be finished the first time around. He may have to run several laps around the same circle.

Still another is the marathon course where you run for the long haul through ordinary and REpetitious landscape: towns, country roads, hills, beside rivers and along busy highways. That’s a race for endurance. The Apostle Paul’s words are not an understatement: “Run with endurance (patience) the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36).

Whatever kind of race track the Lord has chosen for me, my Divine Coach is cheering me on: “Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). He was there at the Starting Line, and I know He’s waiting for me at the Finish Line. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Sooner or later I’ll report to Him, “I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

Then I’ll be qualified to go by the Judge’s bench for my prize. “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:7,8).

I can’t lose no matter what track lies ahead in my life, if I joyfully celebrate each day of life trusting my Coach, Jesus Christ, and obediently following His instructions!

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