From chapter “Working My Way Through Spiritual College” in Leona's book HOSPITAL GOWNS DON'T HAVE POCKETS
Setting: Still in the hospital recovering from lung cancer surgery.
(Transferable concepts to whenever we may be at a low point emotionally)
I feel gray and blah, dull and numb, bleak and drab, dismal and somber. Surely I can't be of use to the Lord in this condition. I'm glad there isn't a tag clipped somewhere to my case file identifying me as a “Christian.”
I feel like drawing into my self-pity shell and licking my wounds, although I couldn't reach my tongue around to my back with its 12-inch long incision still held together with 40 tiny wire staples. I'm too tired to think or pray let alone say anything spiritual or uplifting to anyone. I'm gazing at my own navel and wallowing in my gloom. I feel forgotten and forsaken since they gave me the news that I have “The Big C.” I'm sure that if I looked up, I would see a black cloud over my head like the one in the comic strip that floats above Charlie Brown's little friend wherever he goes.
IF I looked up....
But I haven't been looking up. I've been looking down, looking inward. My chin is on my chest. Yes, I know better, but do I always have to act like a child of God? Can't I take a vacation from “being a testimony?” I can't shine for Jesus when my batteries are so low. I'd just as soon leave my light under a bushel or at least under my hospital bed for awhile so no one would see how small my flame is.
A nurse brings me today's mail and the local newspaper. I toss aside the newspaper. Who cares what's going on in the world? Even war isn't important to me, certainly not politics, the economy, or the latest fashions. I only care about my sorry condition.
I shuffle the get-well cards. Here's one from a good buddy who includes a Bible verse in her own handwriting: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (Psalm 34:4,5). Whoa! Awesome! The Holy Spirit must have led her to send me that special zinger and caused her to mail the card four days ago to arrive exactly at my time of need!
Can I never take the phone off the hook spiritually? I know that God never hangs up on me. The Psalmist gave me good advice: “Bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). I suppose the time I spend in a hospital bed is included in “at all times.”
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I'm not radiating Jesus since I'm looking at myself and not up at Him. The ball is always in my court. Each time I've sought Him in the past He answered and delivered me. Therefore, I should know that He can deliver me again.
All right, let's get on with it. Lord. I'm sorry for my senseless withdrawal into my shell. “I trust in Thee; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to Thee I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8). Lord, change my batteries to “EverReady” charged by Your power. After all, how much effort does it take to reflect Your light? All I need to do is face in Your direction. Since I have Your light within, I should glow automatically.
Yes, I know all those trite expressions: Faith is best seen in dark times; the stars shine brightest on a dark night; when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Lord, please make such truths real to me. I do want to be a good “radiate-er” for You even here from my hospital bed.